There are countless hidden costs in workers’ compensation claims. When these costs are not discovered, they can reduce settlement opportunities and require claim handlers to perform extra work on a claim. Now is the time to discover these costs and take proactive steps to remove them to make a claim program more effective.
Lost Time by Employees Responding to a Work Injury
Work injuries have an opportunity cost for all employees. This goes beyond the employee who will lose time from work to tend to their injury or be taken off work for a period. Work also stops, and a co-worker needs to assist the employee. It also requires others within an organization to process paperwork and performs other functions. The goal of every program should be to reduce the amount of time lost for stakeholders within an organization following a work injury.
- Create an injury reporting portal using the Internet or smartphone app technology to ensure information is inputted accurately and uniformly. These methods of injury reporting can also create documents, forward them to the insurance carrier, and allow for pictures to be taken to preserve evidence.
- Subscribe to a telephonic nurse triage service. These services are inexpensive and allow for all employers, regardless of size or budget, to provide an immediate assessment of an injury by a medical professional. A triage nurse can also better direct medical care to reduce program costs. Always summon emergency medical services in for injuries that involve life-threatening injuries.
- Follow-up in person or contact the employee following the work injury. This may seem counter-intuitive as it takes “time.” There is a benefit that can pay dividends down the road and minimize the time that otherwise would be spent.
These are easy-to-implement tips interested stakeholders can take to reduce lost time following a work injury.
Reduction in Workplace Morale
Famous military generals succeeded by paying attention to the morale of their troops and looking for opportunities to improve it. The same concepts hold when seeking to reduce workers’ compensation costs. Poor workplace morale reduces productivity and the quality of employees who seek to join an organization.
- Create a culture of safety within the workplace and implement it daily. When lower-level employees see management focus on safety, they immediately take note and perform at a higher level.
- Frequent post-injury contact is vital. This can be performed by an injury coordinator who shares information about the injury and the employee’s status with supervisors and managers. This will allow these stakeholders to plan and adjust within the workplace.
- Send a “get well soon” card. It only takes a few minutes to prepare, and the cost of a stamp is cheap. Receiving a card expressing sympathy following an injury helps increase morale and return to work efforts.
Now is the time to take simple, easy-to-implement steps to increase workplace morale and reduce workers’ compensation costs.
The Additional Costs of Lost Time from Work
There needs to be a return-to-work plan that is implemented immediately following a work injury. This reduces the costs placed on a workers’ compensation program and addresses the additional costs and time absorbed by an employer.
- Supervisors and managers need to complete paperwork. This takes time and money.
- Supervisors and managers need to change work schedules and allocate possible overtime. This takes time and money.
- Supervisors and managers may also need to hire a replacement or temporary workers. This reduces productivity during the hiring and onboarding process. This takes time and money.
Interested stakeholders should consider the additional costs of any workers’ compensation claim and its impact on an organization. Taking steps to improve safety and reduce the severity and frequency of injuries removes hidden costs in any program.
Countless hidden costs are incurred by employer and workers’ compensation insurance carriers following a work injury. These costs are often reduced productivity within the workplace. Other issues to consider should include workplace morale and steps that can be taken to improve it. Reviewing processes and what can be done to improve them will allow any organization to recapture time and run a more efficient business.
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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