Because the goal of injury management is to mitigate the fall-out from work-related injuries, employees are the primary beneficiaries of your injury management program. By following best practices, employers can make workers’ compensation incidents run smoothly and lead to a better work environment – both mentally and physically.
Post-Injury Response Training
All employees should receive in-service post-injury response training BEFORE there is an injury. Training should be part of an on-going safety program. Consider role-playing exercises during your training so that the employees act out all steps of the injury response protocol prior to there being an actual injury.
Employees should be brought up-to-date and made comfortable with any new forms, policies, and procedures. All employees should sign an acknowledgment stating they have received the post-injury response training. Have all employees sign an Employee Acknowledgement Form indicating they have received the forms you require. Save the signed acknowledgments. We can provide you with a sample Employee Acknowledgment and other necessary forms.
Having procedures in place sends the message that you – the employer – are in control. Apply procedures consistently to all injuries so that every employee becomes familiar with the procedure. This assures that every employee receives good quality medical care from the moment an injury occurs. You want all employees, including witnesses and supervisors, to react promptly and properly to an injury. Each person involved in the accident response should have a set of pre-designated responsibilities. The employee, the employee’s supervisor, any witnesses, and the worker’s compensation coordinator should know the established procedures to follow in the event of the injury.
Best Practices for Injured Employees AFTER an Injury
By keeping the well-being of your employees in mind, there are employee expectations the company can maintain, despite a work-related injury.
There are seven standard practices for injured workers to follow:
1. ALL injured employees must participate in a weekly telephone conversation when out of work due to a work-related injury. The importance of quality communications with the employee cannot be overstated. The level and quality of communications will often make a difference in the final outcome of the workers comp claim.
2. Injured employees must bring the Work Ability Form to their medical provider, check to ensure the form is completed and faxed back to the proper authority.
3. Injured employees must participate in the employer’s return-to-work transitional duty program. If the employee remains off work, the employer should provide the medical provider with sample transitional duty job descriptions that can be offered to the employee. By making it easier for the medical provider to return the employee to light-duty work, you will shorten the length of time the employee is off work and reduce the probability of any permanent partial disability.
4. Injured employees must participate in weekly in-person meetings at the facility when on transitional duty. This keeps the employee an active part of your workforce culture and allows you to get needed forms signed.
5. Employees must understand that even if they are out of work, unless bed-ridden, they are expected to come to the facility for weekly meetings. An employer that stays in continuous touch during the month or two following a reported injury will be the first to learn of a problem, and the first to propose a solution. This will avoid a lawyer getting that first phone call.
6. Although injured, employees must still participate in all employee meetings and activities while on transitional duty or out of work unless prohibited by medical restrictions.
7. Employees must understand that they are expected to return to work in a transitional duty or full duty position as soon as they are medically able. Employees who are out of work receive more medical treatment, so reducing lost time will reduce the cost of both lost wage payments and medical costs.
Author Rebecca Shafer, JD, President of Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is a national expert in the field of workers compensation. She is a writer, speaker, and publisher. Her expertise is working with employers to reduce workers compensation costs, and her clients include airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality, and manufacturing. She is the author of the #1 selling book on cost containment, Workers Compensation Management Program: Reduce Costs 20% to 50%. Contact:RShafer@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.
Editor Michael B. Stack, CPA, Director of Operations, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is an expert in employer communication systems and part of the Amaxx team helping companies reduce their workers compensation costs by 20% to 50%. He is a writer, speaker, and website publisher. www.reduceyourworkerscomp.com. Contact: email@example.com.
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