An important role of the claims management team is to coordinate with employers and defense interests to make sure quickly reporting workplace injuries is a top priority of your organization. It is easier for claims to be evaluated and decisions regarding primary liability to be made in an effective and efficient manner when injuries are quickly reported. There are many steps claims management teams can make to develop important work injury compliance steps, which includes the use of evolving technology.
Emphasis the Importance of Reporting Workplace Injuries
There are several steps that employers can make to ensure workers’ compensation claims are reported in a timely manner. This starts with developing a culture of understanding on the part of the employees. This goes beyond making sure the proper posters are displayed in the workplace:
- Make all new employees aware of workers’ compensation information at the time of hire. This includes providing documentation to new hires about the name of the company’s workers’ compensation insurer and other contact information;
- Provide documentation on how work injuries should be reported and the information needed to make a report of injury; and
- Ensure that the employer has a contact person to make sure the First Report of Injury is filed timely with the workers’ compensation insurer. In some instances, employers and their staff are unsure how the process generally works. Making sure these persons understand the process is important.
All workers’ compensation insurance carriers and third-party administrators can provide information to their insured on these processes.
Ensure of Culture of Compliance from the Top
The best workers’ compensation programs at the employer level have a culture of compliance and consistency. This means that senior-level leaders within an employer need to emphasize safety and ensure that reports are being dealt with ethically and honestly. All employees need to be treated with respect and dignity. Other steps can include:
- Preparation, issuance, and posting of quarterly safety reports. State industrial commissions typically require the posting of job site injury information. This should be viewed as the baseline requirements – do not be afraid to go beyond those requirements; and
- Highlight improvements to safety within the workplace. This ensures that all employees understand the important role they play in the process.
Eliminate ‘Accident-Free’ Incentives
Employers often attempt to drive a culture of safety through creative programs that provide cash incentives for ‘accident-free’ days. These types of programs are a mistake because studies demonstrate they have an adverse effect where employees feel they cannot report a workplace injury. In reconsidering these original programs, employers should focus more on a metric that encourages the timely report of work injuries.
Provide Effect Reporting Tools
Technology has created many opportunities for employers to ensure all workers’ compensation claims are reported by employees in a timely manner. It also allows employees to provide greater detail, including documentary evidence that allows for quicker and more accurate decisions concerning primary liability.
One example of matching technology with efficient and effective work injury reporting is app-based technology. The development of this technology is cheap, and it is easy to implement. With a vast majority of employees having smartphones, it is something nearly anyone can upload and use. Features that can be used on these apps include:
- Completion of the First Report of Injury and uploading to the employer, insurer and other interested stakeholders;
- Easy communication with the injured worker and the claims management staff. Communications include information regarding primary liability determinations, request for documents and prior authorization requests; and
- Payment status and direct deposit of indemnity benefits. This allows for injured workers to receive payments immediately, and avoids the uncertainties of mailing a check.
The workers’ compensation process starts with the reporting of workplace injuries. This is a process that causes confusion, delay, and frustration in the process. Proactive members of the claims management team can work with their insured to improve the reporting process through reforms to internal processes. It can also include the development and implementation of app-based technology to make the process efficient and user-friendly for all employees.
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.
Contact: [email protected].
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