It is important for members of the workers’ compensation claims management team to take a proactive step in reducing program costs. This includes a variety of opportunities for all interested stakeholders to take ownership of cost reductions within a program. The result means a more efficient program that allows the claims handler to focus on their job and serve not only their clients but the injured employee.
Educate all Stakeholders
Reducing workers’ compensation costs all started with educating all interested stakeholders and employer representatives. This includes the following activities:
- Be aware of important state laws and regulations. Making everyone aware of important state laws and regulations that impact a workers’ compensation claim;
- Treat all employees with respect and dignity. Emphasize the importance of treating all employees with respect and dignity. It buys goodwill and helps move claims toward settlement; and
- Be resource for employers and their management team. Become a resource for employers and their management team. Developing a good rapport includes being someone others can count on for timely and accurate information. This can consist of offering seminars and other educational opportunities.
Safety Priority #1
The best way to improve a workers’ compensation program and reduce costs is to prevent an injury from taking place. Making safety a priority goes beyond setting common-sense policies and procedures within the workplace. It must also include other actions that demonstrate a commitment to safety for all employees:
- Buy-in from management. Full participation in a safe workplace starts with buy-in from management. Practice what you preach and others with follow;
- Reflect the value of safety. Reflect the importance of safety in all workplace policies and procedures. When the expectation of safety is reflected in everything a company does, it is a lot easier for the employees to take notice and follow;
- Highlight safety procedures and accomplishments. Highlight safety procedures and achievements in visible locations throughout the workplace. It should also be something that is discussed at all team and companywide meetings.
Employees seek workplace cultures that are driven by success. One element should include safety, which makes employees feel appreciated.
Take Immediate Action Post Injury
Employees judge employers on how they respond to workplace injuries. Interested stakeholders should make every effort to respond to injuries promptly. Important considerations go beyond calling 9-1-1 or handing out a band-aid.
- Plan consistent injury response procedure. Planning is often overlooked in the modern workplace. Every employer regardless of size should have a plan in place that covers anything from minor injuries to large-scale disasters;
- Establish a chain of command. Establish a chain of command for workplace injuries. All employees should know and understand whom they need to contact following an injury. This will also include where to seek medical care and treatment; and
- Create emergency response teams. Create emergency response teams to assist an injured employee following an event. This can include having someone on staff that is familiar with first aid techniques that can include including cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and portable defoliators.
Responding to injuries also includes following up with the employee in the days and weeks after the incident. Studies demonstrate that workplaces that have long-term injury response reduce the likelihood a claim will be placed into litigation and quicker return to work times.
Sniff out Fraud and Stop It!
Fraud in workers’ compensation goes beyond the malingering employee. The true essence of fraud occurs when someone knowingly makes a false representation of a material fact to obtain workers’ compensation benefits. It can also occur when an employer misrepresents the amount of payroll or classification of its employees.
Members of the claim management team need to understand fraud by the employee and employer are wrong. All states have whistleblower laws that protect an individual who makes a good faith report of fraud.
The bottom line of any workers’ compensation program should be to reduce costs and pay benefits an employee is entitled to receive. Diligent workers’ compensation programs seek opportunities to reduce costs ethically and promote efficiencies.
Author Michael Stack, CEO Amaxx LLC. He is an expert in workers’ compensation cost containment systems and helps employers reduce their workers’ comp costs by 20% to 50%. He works as a consultant to large and mid-market clients, is a co-author of Your Ultimate Guide To Mastering Workers Comp Costs, a comprehensive step-by-step manual of cost containment strategies based on hands-on field experience, and is founder & lead trainer of Amaxx Workers’ Comp Training Center.
Workers’ Comp Roundup Blog: https://blog.reduceyourworkerscomp.com/
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Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker, attorney, or qualified professional.