July 4 is just around the corner when the United States celebrates its independence from Great Britain – mainly driven by evening fireworks celebrations. All interested stakeholders take this time to celebrate one step further by taking steps now to make a BANG in celebrating lower workers’ compensation program costs. Here are some ideas that can help your celebration get off to a great start.
Focus on Workplace Safety
A safe workplace should be the cornerstone of every workers’ compensation program. This requires buy-in from all interested stakeholders and should be reiterated constantly. This also requires thought leaders within any organization to demonstrate best safety practices as others will take note and follow.
- Review your safety training and determine if it has the right approach for the workforce. Make the training engaging and interactive. Be sure to include all levels of members within the workforce and solicit ideas on how it can be more effective.
- Emphasize safety at every workplace meeting. Upper management should require issues related to safety are addressed at morning meetings, monthly meetings, and every quarter. Emphasizing safety lets, all employees know the company is serious about what they do and how work is performed.
- Educate everyone on how to report a work injury and foster an environment where everyone feels comfortable reporting a work injury. This starts by treating all injured employees with respect and not being judgmental. Ensure that workplace safety is not economically disincentive from not reporting a work injury. Make the reporting procedure accessible to all employees. Examples include “language lines” that allow employees who do not speak English as their primary language to report injuries.
Not all work injuries can be prevented. Every organization’s goal should be to reduce them from occurring via a culture built on safety.
Consider Work Injury Triage Post-Injury
It is essential to empower managers and supervisors to deal with work injuries in an effective manner. Work injury triage can be used to evaluate, treat (if possible), and direct medical care for any injury not requiring emergency medical services. Now is the time to consider it in your workplace.
- Telephonic injury triage services are very inexpensive and are staffed by competent nurses and other health care professionals who can assist anyone in evaluating a work injury and making recommendations on medical care. Taking control of the injury at the onset reduces workers’ compensation costs and promotes program efficiency.
- Services such as these also assist in collecting necessary information regarding the work injury while memories are fresh and clear. This can help managers and supervisors obtain essential information, such as where the employee will be seen if necessary. They can also help direct medical care to an employer-sponsored Preferred Provider Organization (PPO).
- Post-injury triage services also give peace of mind to everyone involved. It is like having an “on-call” medical professional waiting at someone’s fingertips.
Having services like this available again can help establish trust and confidence in a system that is often adversarial.
Emphasize Return to Work
Every workers’ compensation program should emphasize returning the injured employee to work following a work injury. Countless studies indicate that the amount of money spent on a claim is significantly reduced if the employee returns to work promptly.
- Have a designated return to work coordinator. This is someone who can influence an organization and can communicate with upper management, managers/supervisors, the claim handler, and the injured employee.
- Be creative in looking for transitional work for every injured employee. Options should include “work on loan” settings and the Ticket To Work program for employees who qualify for Social Security Disability benefits.
Getting an employee back to work also makes the deconditioning process familiar when someone is inactive. It also allows the employee to have a more positive outlook on life.
The Fourth of July is a time to celebrate. This can include promoting workplace safety, injury triage to assist with medical care, and returning to work following an injury. These steps will promote a win for everyone involved in the claims process.
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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