Spring is here and it’s time to clean out the junk in your garage and trim the bushes. As we go through our annual spring cleaning ritual at home, it’s also time to take a look at tuning up your workers’ compensation practices.
A safe workplace is the best way to reduce workers compensation cost. Now is an excellent time to renew your commitment to safety.
- review your safety program for ways to improve your safety training,
- update the job hazard analysis of every job position within the company,
- review the qualifications of the members of your safety committee
- schedule the work-site evaluations and safety inspections for the year
- update the safety manual to cover new equipment, new machinery or new job positions
- review your safety posters, safety brochures and other employee safety communications
Report All Claims Timely
If a review of your loss run reflects that you have claims that were not reported the same day as the accident, a great spring cleaning task is to review your claim reporting procedures to be sure all claims are reported timely (the day of the accident). All department managers or location supervisors should be trained to report all injuries to the company’s claims coordinator or directly to the claims office immediately after they have arranged transportation to the medical provider. Timely reporting allows the work comp claims adjuster to investigate properly, establish compensability and better control the course of the workers’ compensation claim.
Keep in Touch with All Injured Employees
Make the commitment to show your injured employees that your company has a human side and does care about their well-being. For every injured employee who has not returned to work, mark on your calendar when you want to contact them. A contact schedule that you can modify as needed would be to:
- contact the injured employee the day of the accident (First Day Phone Call)
- contact the employee 2 days after the accident to make sure they understand the WC procedures and process, and answer any questions they have. Make yourself available. (Follow-up Phone Call)
- invite the employee to attend all workplace functions even if they are not working in the workplace temporarily.
- have the employee attend a Weekly Meeting until the employee is back to work. Use Weekly Meeting Guidelines to structure these meetings and make notes.
Stay Current on All Work Comp Claims
Closely related to staying in touch with the injured employee is staying current on ALL of your work comp claims. Make the commitment to do so.
- During these contacts with the employee ask the employee the status of their medical treatment and when the doctor may be able to let them to return to work either full duty or on modified duty.
- Stress to the employee that the work they do for your company is important and that you need them, not some new hire, doing their job. If you have employees you haven’t communicated with, now is the time to reconnect with them.
- We worked with a large bread company and when the risk manager started his job there were 45 employees out of work. We directed him to invite each to lunch and ask them when they could come back to work. Twenty said they could come back to work “now” but that no one had asked them to return to work up until that lunch. A good lesson about why to stay on top of all of your claims.
Do not rely solely on the employees for information about their work comp claims, call the adjuster on a regular basis to discuss treatment status, return to work status and any permanent partial disability which will require modification of the employees job position. Hold bi-weekly or weekly roundtables with the adjuster to discuss a rotating selection of claims.
Improve Your Return To Work Program
If your idea of light duty return to work is to have the employee count paper clips, now is the time to commit to improve your Return To Work Program. A good place to start would be to review our website and all the information we provide to employers on managing your Return To Work Program.
Your commitment to RTW should include:
- On every lost time claim to take the time to contact the medical provider and ask that the employee be allowed to return to work on light duty.
- Make sure to provide the medical provider with a complete job description so the medical provider can place the appropriate restrictions on the employees workability.
- You should have > 95% returning to work within 1-4 days after the injury.
Spring is a time for renewal. If you follow through with your commitments, your workers’ compensation program will bloom and prosper.
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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