How can managing your workers’ compensation claims process protect every employee?
The first step is to file the claim right away. To this end, have claim forms available to all supervisors. Some companies keep forms near the first aid kit alongside the OSHA log. Management must acknowledge the problem to correct it, so keep good records.
Keep any information regarding preferred doctors networks or nearest emergency care facility with the first aid kit. Maps to these facilities help in crisis management.
Because of the privacy laws, keeping records of employee health concerns (hypertension, diabetes, allergies to medicines) at the ready is tricky at best. Without making the records readily accessible by anyone, they need to be available to supervisors in an emergency.
The insurance company has a depth of claims experience that no insured can have. If not treated properly, some injuries worsen over time. The company has a right to investigate and guide treatment and rehabilitation. A delay in reporting that causes the situation to worsen may create coverage problems. Dutifully report all claims immediately.
Allow the insurance company to investigate the claim. Usually, if the claim results in only medical bills and no lost time, the company will not spend time finding causation; but your company management needs to understand the progression of events that leads to any loss.
Uncover the cause. Were safety appliances, equipment, and personal protection in place and used properly? When the employee was drug tested after the claim, was that an issue?
Use any claim as an opportunity to discuss safety at your next scheduled safety meeting. Discuss the following topics as collateral to the claim:
Assure employees the injury is covered by workers’ compensation and the injured will be cared for properly. If the injured is at work, have them report on the level of care.Discuss the results of the investigation regarding the cause of the loss in neutral terms, but no personal information about the employee. This discussion is about future avoidance, not humiliation.Remind employees of the drug testing policy and explain the policy aims to protect everyone.
If the insurance company investigation implies fraud, fake injury, review safety rules or regulations in a more generic form. Perhaps discuss slips, trips, and falls prevention as opposed to that specific incident.
Risk avoidance is your best measure against workers’ compensation injuries. Maintaining a safety culture with training, meetings, and management leadership keeps a workplace safer. Having proper paperwork and first aid readily available reduces the lost production effect of injuries.
The more prepared you are to handle an injury professionally, the more you protect your workforce. Manage ahead of the crisis with proper planning.