Keep Injured Workers in the Loop to Reduce Claims Costs
One perennial topic in workplace safety is how to get injured workers back on the job as quickly as possible, and when it is safe to do so.
The key, experts say, is to help the injured employee better engage in the workers' comp system, so they have a better understanding of the claims process and what they can expect from it.
Employers that have the best success actually advocate for the injured worker, instead of just giving them the standard booklets on what to expect and then leave them until they are healed up enough to go back to work.
That won't cut it. For many people the workers' comp system is daunting and when they don't hear from their claims adjuster or anybody at work about their case for extended periods of time, they get nervous. And if that happens, and they feel adrift, they may seek out legal counsel for their claim, at which point it can spiral out of control for the employer.
The trend among forward-thinking employers is to use a few techniques for improving satisfaction among their injured workers, which in turn usually leads to less missed time from work and lower claims costs.
Studies by Rand Corp. back up what industrial medicine doctors have known for some time: Getting an early and accurate diagnosis and putting the injured worker on a treatment plan greatly helps them recover faster - and it prevents the misuse of medicines.
This fast-track - or sports medicine - approach has the added effect of letting the employee know they are valued and that the employer cares about their swift recovery.
One of the most important parts of this early treatment is to get the right diagnosis early, so the doctor can plan a course of treatment.
Once an employee is off work for a workers' comp claim, they can easily start feeling disaffected and lost, particularly if they are left out of the loop about their claim. This is where the employer can step up to show they really care about the worker's rehabilitation.
If you are at any point planning to discuss the claim, the injured worker should be in on the conversation. This is important because some injured workers mistakenly believe their job is at risk after filing a claim, and they may be feeling disaffected with their workplace.
Unfortunately too, their treating physician and the claims adjusters…