The new year is here. Notwithstanding the many challenges of the past two years, workers’ compensation programs continue to move forward. Now is the time to prepare and review your “workers’ compensation checklist” to ensure a great 2022. Here are some areas to consider to make it a great year filled with workplace safety and reduced program costs.
Review and Update Safety Training
Successful safety programs can never remain static. They need to be implemented, revised, and revised again. Now is the time to review your safety program. Important issues to consider include:
- Does the program address common issues and problems within your workplace or industry?
- Does the program encourage all interested stakeholders to be involved – from entry-level employees to the CEO?
- Does the program engage your employees and educate them on making the workplace safer while maintaining a high level of efficiency?
These are some of the many questions that should be asked. Now is the time to review your program and improve it.
Conduct Workplace Walkthrough – Identify Safety Hazards
Every safety program should include regular workplace walkthroughs to identify and remedy safety issues. If you have not been doing this, it is essential to do it before the end of the week. Walking through a workplace to identify safety issues should include several items. Suggestions to review for your walkthrough can include:
- Ensure that flooring is secure. Mats that are worn, tiles missing, and torn carpet creates many safety issues and exposes employees to injury.
- Review the maintenance logs on tools and equipment. Some equipment requires regular servicing. Verify everything is updated when it comes to these maintenance issues. It is also vital to ensure that safety guards and other devices are not modified or missing.
- Verify that all safety equipment is maintained correctly. This should include a review to ensure that first aid kits are correctly supplied, that the fire extinguishers are correctly inspected, signage and other postings are correct, and that Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) are in order.
Performing a regular safety walkthrough in the workplace also promotes visibility and workplace morale. It is a simple step that shows a company is committed to its employees and safety.
Review Work Injury Trends in Workplace
Your annual workers’ compensation review before the new year should also include a review of the past year. This review should include understanding cost drivers in the workplace. This will assist in driving safety initiatives for the coming year and identify areas of concern. Metrics to review can include:
- Types of injuries that occurred such as specific incidents and repetitive trauma events. It is also vital to determine classifications of exposure injuries.
- Evaluate the timeliness of the injury report. Drill down on claims and determine if a telephonic nurse triage service could improve injury response times and the effectiveness of care following a work injury.
- Identify trends in time lost from work. This will assist in evaluating the effectiveness of a return to work program.
These are some of the many areas to review for the coming year. The goal is to reduce the frequency and severity of injuries and provide a better response.
Review Roles and Responsibilities for Injury Management
Everyone has a role following a work injury. Now is the time to ensure everyone knows what to do following the work injury. Key areas of consideration include:
- Employee: Ensure they know how to report a work injury and receive immediate medical care.
- Management and Supervisors: Ensure they know how to train all employees on safety best practices and ensure they are followed. Consistency is critical when addressing safety issues. They also need to “practice what they preach” regarding safety.
- Safety Committee: Make sure the committee can make a change when needed. This committee needs to be led by someone in upper management that can effectuate change in policy and culture.
- Risk Management: Make sure they know what is going on in the workplace. Having the “pulse” of a company will ensure the person in this position is successful.
Now is the time to review your policies and procedures to ensure all interested stakeholders are committed to a safe workplace in the coming year.
Now is the time to “check all the boxes” to improve safety in 2022.
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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