At Precision Manufacturing Insurance Services (PMIS), we work with manufacturers every day to help them gain control over their Workers’ Compensation costs. This includes emphasizing the need for supervisory training to eliminate injury reporting lag time and educating managers on the importance of filing any and all injuries reported by employees – even if these injuries don’t turn into claims. Equally important is clearly communicating to your employees that their health and safety is a top priority in your shop. A little TLC goes a long away in mitigating potential claims, minimizing a lengthy and costly claim, averting the potential for fraudulent claims, and lowering your Workers’ Comp premiums.
Employees want peace of mind and assurance that they will be treated fairly if they are injured. Therefore, it’s crucial to contact the injured employee and express the company’s concern as soon as possible after an injury occurs. The first contact, which should occur within 24 hours of the reported injury, is also an opportunity to explain the Workers’ Compensation process and answer any of the employee’s questions. During this time, an employer can earn the trust of a legitimately injured employee, preventing unnecessary attorney involvement and enabling the employer to assist the employee in obtaining the most effective medical care. Remember, what you do or don’t do in the first few hours after an injury has a significant impact on your ultimate costs.
In addition, have an injury action plan in place. Many employers think that when an injury occurs, responsibility for getting the injured worker back to work shifts to the third-party administrator (TPA) or claims adjuster. This is a basic misunderstanding that causes many claims to deteriorate, which can often result in the significant fallout between the worker and the employer. The TPA or claims adjuster’s job is to determine compensability, coordinate benefits, follow the law and work within it and the Workers’ Compensation insurance contract to resolve the claim satisfactorily. And while they play a vital role in the process, adjusters and TPAs can never serve as your public relations representative. Misunderstanding the role of the adjuster creates an atmosphere in which injured employees are left to drift, groping their way through a maze of medical services, uncertain benefits, and a cloudy future. As the employer, you need to structure a clearly defined path with periodic contact throughout the recovery period – from the moment of the injury to receive updates on the employee’s condition through early return to work to full employment.
Provide alternate work or accommodations if possible to get the employee back to work sooner than later. Contrary to popular belief, time away from work isn’t a carefree, impromptu vacation; it can be frightening and debilitating for injured workers. They are worried about their job and paying their bills. Often they also begin to think of themselves as “disabled.” The longer employees are out of work, the harder it becomes to get them back into the work routine. It’s crucial, therefore, to expedite their recovery through the use of modified duty, one of the most important tools an employer has in its arsenal to reduce lost time and costs. Modified or alternative duty is a bridge back to full duty, keeping workers active and part of the team.
A little TLC can go a long way to help you control Workers’ Compensation costs. When injured employees return to work more quickly and feel good about how they were treated, they convey this positive experience to other co-workers. Morale improves throughout the company and the recovered employees may become your most dedicated and loyal workers.
At PMIS, our mission is to protect the future of the manufacturing industry and the effect Workers’ Comp claims can have on a shop’s bottom line. We will help you secure the coverage you need in addition to providing you with a claims management evaluation designed to help implement efficient and proactive strategies. This includes positive communication on workplace safety and employee injuries and establishing strict claims reporting and management procedures within your organization. Give us a call at 855.910.5788 to find out how we can make a difference in your manufacturer’s Comp program.