You don’t need lots of resources to have better Workers’ Compensation program. I am regularly privileged to experience WC improvements with various employers. I have facilitated and witnessed episodes of fantastic turn-around success over many years. Some require large investments, resources, and complex implementation phases. Others require more commitment than dollar investment and are simple in execution yet sublime in positive impact.
The seven suggestions that follow are field-tested and proven effective. These seven will not only improve the results of your Workers' Compensation program, but will enhance workers’ respect for their jobs and increase cooperative attitudes. Best of all, these seven can be initiated quickly into your claim handling processes and with moderate to low effort.
Quick-Tip: Seven Suggestions + Negligible Resources = Zero Excuses
#1 Is Anyone Injured?
Before and after each shift, supervisors can ask if anyone is hurt or injured. This is easy to implement where crews already have before and after meetings. By asking this, supervisors remind employees that proper WC reporting is a job requirement. It also discourages workers who arrive with an existing problem from making it worse on the job or blaming it on the job. This can also reduce late reports. If any injury or illness is identified then it can be managed immediately.
#2 Rights and Responsibilities Manual
Provide injured employees with a “rights and responsibilities” manual that is branded with the company logo. Many state WC offices provide adequate templates for this purpose. This serves as a reminder to employees that the WC process is connected to their employer and their job.
#3 Workers Comp Safety Summary Report
Devise a simple monthly WC/Safety summary report that goes to executive management. Copy this on public bulletin boards so staff is aware that executives monitor the related programs. This promotes the seriousness of WC and safety.
#4 "No fill" List of Prescriptions
Work with your TPA or insurer to institute a “no fill” list of dangerous narcotic prescriptions that will automatically trigger a refusal and review by appropriate medical resources. Most claim organizations have such lists already. It is a matter of demanding this level of service from your claims or managed care vendor.
#5 Weekly Calls to Employees
Require supervisors to make weekly calls to employees out on TTD and have weekly chats with employees on modified duty. This would be a simple general talk to ask how they are doing and if they need anything. This is a powerful motivator and reminder of the employee’s value and the fact that a return to their regular job is anticipated. It can also identify problems in the claim that need to be addressed.
#6 RTW Expectation Letter
Write a simple standard “RTW Expectation” letter that will immediately be given to every claimant’s treating doctor. This will cause doctors to recognize your transitional duty program, understand their expected role and thus enhance cooperation. It will reduce the likelihood of a claimant’s refusal to participate in early RTW and reduce the reliance of doctors on a claimant’s version of RTW opportunities.
#7 Workers Comp Costs
Make employees aware of WC costs in personal terms. “Dollars” are not as meaningful as referring to units produced or operating time. For example, if employees are aware they work the first 45 minutes of every shift or produce a certain number of pieces per shift, week or month just to cover WC costs they will relate to the problem. Track costs creatively to have impact.
Give these seven tips a try. Putting them in place will help increase awareness of job saftey. Everyone needs to play a part in this. If you want to decrease your WC costs, it starts with the workplace. Commit to changing the WC perspective in your organization. My experience says it will pay off.