Interested stakeholders are always seeking to reduce workers’ compensation program costs with a focus on injury prevention. Safety measures are critically necessary to ensure work-related accidents do not occur. If and when accidents do occur, you must have post-injury procedures in place to quickly address that accident, provide medical care to the employee if necessary, and return the employee to work in a modified or full-time duty position as soon as possible. This includes designing a program that will enable you to manage both safety and workers’ compensation costs.
Effective Tools to Reduce Program Costs
The same tools you used to build your safety program can also be used in managing your workers’ compensation program. Since a strong safety program is in place, once all employees are trained in as to signage, workplace safety, toolbox safety, handrail safety, etc., a post-injury response training program can also be developed. Since communication is such a large part of safety, effective methods can be also be developed.
- Use templates that are adaptable to develop a workers’ compensation policy such as an employee brochure, post-injury response documents, letters to medical people and claims handlers, a communication strategy; and
- Assess how your workers’ compensation management program mirrors your safety program to acquaint yourself with the myriad factors impacting your program costs. This should include using a workers’ compensation tool that is driven by metrics to allow interested stakeholders to understand where injuries occur and how they can be prevented.
What to Do Next
Stakeholders in workers’ compensation programs should be open to receiving recommendations. This should be in the form of a prioritized list developed from the assessment. A plan of action is also necessary and should include a calendar plan with identified action items, and cost estimates. It may also include the involvement of a company finance officer to ensure the plan receives adequate resources to do the job management gave you based on your company’s “safety experience.”
Issues companies should consider include:
- Instituting a strong post-injury response procedure;
- Instituting transitional duty program;
- Reviewing your claims handling practices to ensure claims handlers are responsive and plugged into your situation;
- Bringing injured employees back to work; and
- Launching a communications program for the employee population (this includes writing a workers’ comp policy, a brochure detailing the policy and post-injury response procedures, and a get-well component for keeping the lines open without-on-comp employees
Considerations for returning employees to work include:
- Designing modified duty positions as part of your transitional duty program for employees out of work for a short period of time.; and
- Convening file reviews to develop remedial action plans for those employees who are out of work for long periods of time. File reviews would typically take place at the insurer’s worksite. Participants should include the claim handler and a qualified vocational consultant. Discuss each case and decide the next steps for bringing the case to resolution.
Effective workers’ compensation programs need to focus on all interested stakeholders. This includes an evaluation that keeps the employer profitable, but at the same time, focuses on employee safety. Key metrics need to be analyzed and used when preparing an effective plan.
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 the founder & lead trainer of Amaxx Workers’ Comp Training Center.
Workers’ Comp Roundup Blog: http://blog.reduceyourworkerscomp.com/
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