Implementing immediate change in any workers’ compensation program can be a tough job. However, it does not need to be complicated and drag on over a long period of time. There are several things interested stakeholders can do today to effectuate immediate and radical changes in their program reduce workers’ compensation program costs. Now is the time to get started.
Review Injury Reporting Policies and Procedures
Countless studies demonstrate that workers’ compensation costs are reduced when injuries are reported within 24 hours of the time of the incident. There are several reasons why immediate injury reporting is effective and reduce costs:
- Evidence and circumstances surrounding the work injury are preserved and properly documented;
- Witnesses are known and can be interviewed; and
- The injured employee will receive timely medical care that also helps important document things such as the mechanism of injury and an accurate recording of the symptomology and condition of the employee.
The timely reporting of an injury is key to reducing workers’ compensation program costs. Now is the time to rededicate your company to make sure all injuries are reported after their occurrence.
Implement Injury Prevention Programs
Injury prevention needs to start from the top of any organization to trickle down to others within an organization. It also helps boost morale within any organization and makes sure all employees feel valued. Many steps can be undertaken today to ensure your organization has a positive culture of safety:
- Develop an effective safety program, or re-examine your existing program to ensure safety is emphasized daily;
- Develop or review the effectiveness of a safety committee to ensure they can impact positive change;
- Educate and train all employers, supervisors, and upper-level managers on proper safety protocols. Buy-in needs to come from the top; and
- Recognize best safety practices within your organization, and provide incentives for injury-free work.
An emphasis on safety is key to reducing workers’ compensation program costs. Now is the time to invest in it.
Review of Post-Injury Response
Responding to a work injury is an essential driver in any effective program. When various steps are taken promptly, interested stakeholders can see an immediate reduction in their workers’ compensation program costs.
- Communication with Employees: It is essential to communicate with employees about work injuries and what to do if one occurs. This can be done in various formats such as newsletters, videos on social media, or weekly team meetings. The goal should be to empower employees, so they are comfortable reporting a work injury and ensuring the information will be communicated on the various aspects of the workers’ compensation system.
- Return to Work and Transitional Work Opportunities: Every workers’ compensation program should have a centralized contact for return to work. This is someone who preferably can interact with all levels of management and develop a plan to get employees back to work. Suppose the employee cannot return to work with the date of injury employer. In that case, they should have the creativity to understand transitional work opportunities such as “work on loan” or the Ticket to Work program.
- Port-Injury Response: These include have set guidelines on how to respond to a work injury. Vital considerations should consist of access to a telephonic triage nurse and coordination of medical care with a local clinic to provide consistent medical care. It is also essential for an employer representative to connect in person (or at least via telephone) with the injured employee within 24 hours of an injury to ask about their condition and express a speedy recovery. Showing genuine empathy is essential.
These are all simple steps that can be implemented today to improve a post-injury response and get an employee back to work. The net result is increased morale and lower workers’ compensation costs.
Now is the time to effectuate radical and straightforward changes in your workers’ compensation program. It is also essential to invest in safety and create a culture of trust. The final and most crucial step is to have a focused post-injury response. When all of these things are done, there will be a dramatic shift in company-wide thinking related to the workers’ compensation program and reduced costs. Now is the time to act.
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, which offers the Certified Master of Workers’ Compensation national designation.
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