Reducing Workers Compensation Claims
According to an essay published online by CCH Incorporated, the first step in reducing workers’ compensation costs involves ensuring that your company has effective safety and accident prevention programs in place to reduce the amount and severity of workplace illnesses and injuries. In addition to those programs, there are policies and procedures that should be implemented to help supervisors and Human Resources professionals in handling workers’ compensation claims in the most expedient manner possible.
Having an active safety program has a number of benefits. Some are obvious. Others are not. A safety program gives employees a sense that their ...view middle of the document...
It has been proven statistically that when an employee delays reporting a work-related injury, the costs for treatment tend to increase. If permanent disability results from inadequate or delayed medical attention, the worker may be entitled to a permanent disability settlement, in addition to the temporary benefits he or she received while treating the ailment. The claim may also have to be litigated, and refusal by the employer to provide appropriate and timely medical care is not likely to be viewed sympathetically by a judge and jury. In addition to legal fees and time spent preparing for trial and at trial, it is also possible or even probable that the employer will be required to pay much higher insurance premiums if delayed claims result in litigation.
Some employers are reluctant to contact employees while they are on medical leave as a result of work-related injuries. Many employers have no policies in place that involve getting employees back to work as soon as it is medically appropriate, even on a part-time basis or with limited job responsibilities. Instead, employers should actively track the status of injured workers. Employers should contact these individuals at least once a week. During your weekly contact, the employee’s manager or a representative of the human resources department should ask:
• if the employee is satisfied with the medical care they are receiving
• if their medical bills are being paid in a timely manner
• if they are receiving their disability benefits checks in a timely manner
• if they believe that their injury is improving
• how soon they think they will be able to return to work
• what the company can do to help them
Letting injured employees know that they are important and that you want and need them to return to work as soon as possible has tangible benefits for the employer as well as the injured employee. The return-to-work process needs to be managed to minimize the time away from work. Employers should carefully track the return-to-work process. Ideally, the process would involve some form of transitional return-to-work program in which injured employees are encouraged to return to alternative or light duty work as soon as possible. Each of these steps reduces costs to the employer and helps get the injured employee back to work sooner rather than later.
Regardless of how many employees a company has, the employer should provide regular and mandatory training seminars to both current and new managers about tools and techniques for promoting workplace safety, in addition to the critical procedures immediately following an injury. An untrained manager might not understand his or her responsibility to complete an accident report. He or she might forget to interview witnesses. The manager might forget to take photographs of the place where the accident occurred, or might not know what to include in the report, such as facts, and what to exclude from the accident report such as...