In 2018, work-related injuries claims in the U.S. escalated to $170 billion, as reported by the National Safety Council (NSC). Out of this figure, the value of time lost investigating workers comp claims and writing up the necessary reports and so on, as well as the cost of time lost by other workers who were indirectly or directly involved in the resulting injuries, was around $13 billion. Only with the right processes and procedures can the employees help the business reduce workers’ compensation costs. Here’s a look at strategies to reduce workers’ compensation costs that you can implement in your business to achieve this goal.
The Need for Effective Communication at the Workplace
A recent study from SHRM found that businesses with 100 employees lose an average of $420,000 annually due to miscommunication at the workplace. Simultaneously, according to a 2017 poll by the Harvard Business Review, nearly 60% of employees feel they do not get clear instructions from their managers. This is essential information to keep in mind because your workers’ comp costs will largely depend on your ability to communicate effectively with your employees. To avoid the costs associated with workplace miscommunication, especially when it comes to workers’ compensation claims, create a good Workers’ Compensation Claims Management Program, and get all your employees to particulate in the program.
In particular, your program should require such employees who suffer a work-related injury or illness to take the following actions:
Report All Workplace Accidents Immediately –
Encourage your employees to report all workplace accidents immediately. This is particularly important because soft tissue injuries may take up to a few weeks to develop fully after an accident. Moreover, if untreated, even an innocuous injury may potentially develop into a workers’ compensation injury. For this reason, you should encourage your employees to seek immediate medical assistance for both major and minor injuries.
Provide Regular Updates on Their Treatment Progress –
When an employee files a workers’ comp claim, the employee has to sign a waiver of medical confidentiality, allowing the treating physician(s) to share the employee’s confidential medical records with the employer. With this in mind, you should ask injured employees to provide you with regular updates on their treatment progress. For instance, you can require all treating physicians to fill out your injury treatment form at specified intervals, say, biweekly. To avoid excuses, ensure both employees and the treating physicians have sufficient copies of your injury treatment form. The form should include all the necessary details, including the doctor’s full name and contact details. Equally important, the attending doctor should fill out the form as soon as possible, preferably within 24 after each appointment, while the injury details are still fresh in his mind.
Attend weekly status meetings –
Have a pre-planned weekly status meeting with employees recuperating from work-related injuries or illnesses. In case an employee is unable to attend such an appointment due to one reason or another, arrange a meeting between the employee and a nurse case manager, with the approval of your legal counsel, to check on the employee’s recovery progress. These weekly meetings should continue until the employee recovers fully and returns to their original role at full capacity.
Return-to-work Program Policies –
Guided by your business’s policy, have modified work program policies ready for injured employees who can return to work, albeit with restrictions. This will help such employees better understand their roles and responsibilities in their transitional roles. At the same time, ensure all such policies are in writing and readily available to injured employees. Better yet, include the policies in your employees’ handbook, cover them extensively in your safety meetings, and have employees sign an acknowledgment form stating they’ve received and understood the policies.
To reduce workers’ compensation costs, make use of these cost reduction strategies. Do you have any questions about workers’ comp insurance? Contact our experts at Pittman Insurance Group. Our dedicated team is eager to assist with all your coverage questions and needs.