There are countless benefits to any workers’ compensation program when a work injury is reported accurately and in a timely manner. Among these benefits includes preserving evidence and ensuring the claim gets off in the correct direction. It also prompts companywide morale and demonstrates good faith to the injured employee that they will be treated fairly and honestly. It also encourages effectiveness and drives cost savings in a workers’ compensation program. Now is the time to review and implement best practices for reporting workers’ compensation injuries.
Critical Issues to Consider in Injury Report
There are many reasons why the timely reporting of a work injury drives cost savings. This includes the ability for all interested stakeholders to properly investigate a claim, ensure the employee receives immediate medical care and reduces workers’ compensation program costs.
When it comes to getting engagement from management and employees, certain factors need to be emphasized as to why it is crucial:
- Claims that are not reported promptly tend to spiral out of control;
- Avoids penalties often associated with the late reporting of an injury. This can include penalties assessed by an industrial commission to the employer, insurance carrier, or both;
- Ensures the employee receives the best medical care possible. It also allows employers and other stakeholders to better direct medical care through injury triage;
- Reduces litigation rates and ensures the employee views their interests as a priority within the company; and
- Promotes quicker and more effective return-to-work efforts.
Now is the time to educate management and employees on why a timely report of a work injury benefits everyone.
Essential Procedures to Following When Reporting an Injury
Everyone shares the responsibility of reporting a work injury. This is not limited to the employee or their immediate supervisor. Once an injury occurs, it is the responsibility of all to ensure it is reported on time.
Several tools can be used when reporting a work injury. These can include:
- Paper forms available in common work areas or breakrooms;
- Access to injury reporting tools via email or the Internet; and
- Allowing the report of injury to be done telephonically.
Forward-thinking stakeholders are using the power of app-based technology to allow for the reporting of a work injury. Through all smartphones, apps can document the incident and include the upload of video to document the injury and location where it took place. Voice recordings can also be made to obtain other documentary evidence and statements of the employee, supervisors, and witnesses. These tools can also capture contact information for future reference.
Other Considerations in Injury Reporting
Interested stakeholders with insurance carriers and third-party administrators should also consider education in injury reporting as part of their strategy to assist the insured in reducing workers’ compensation program costs. This can include regular on-site visits and in-person meetings with upper management, safety committee members, risk managers, and employees on these issues.
It is also vital for insurance industry members to consider inclusive measures when putting together injury reporting systems. This is driven by the changing workplace where languages other than English are being spoken, and people from different backgrounds and generations work. Issues to consider must include the following:
- Accessibility: It is important to be open and ready to report an injury at any time of the day. The use of round-the-clock call centers is a must.
- Language: Telephonic language lines allow for interested stakeholders to ensure all feel empowered to report a work injury. It is important to include TTY or Text Telephone services to allow the hearing impaired to report injuries. Inclusion is key.
- Quality Controls: All calls must be answered within a reasonable amount of time. Other issues should include preparing useful scripts to ensure the correct information is captured during a call. All calls should be recorded with appropriate disclaimers.
Access to these services is something to consider when selecting a suitable insurance carrier or third-party administrator.
The clock is ticking. What are you doing to ensure all work injuries are reported promptly?
Interested stakeholders seeking improvement in the system and program performance should consider implementing essential procedures to their programs now. This can also include working with insurance carriers and third-party administrators who offers practical tools. Making these changes now can improve your workers’ compensation program and reduce costs
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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