Your team may already be experienced in handling injuries but a clearly defined injury response plan will help them provide even more effective and consistent response, and ensure that supervisors and employees know what to expect when someone is injured.
It’s been proven that prompt and thorough action promotes the best outcome for everyone involved. The lag between when an injury occurs and the reporting of that injury has a significant effect on both the time it takes to close the claim, the final cost of the claim, and ultimately your experience mod and the Workers’ Compensation premium you pay.
Since time is so valuable to the process, it is important that training is given in advance so employees are clear about their responsibilities should an injury occur. For supervisors, training allows them to take a more active role in managing the response and to serve as a guide for injured employees. This means quicker reporting times and better outcomes.
Training should also ensure employees are aware of how to access appropriate care. Employees should be comfortable reporting injuries knowing they will be treated with respect. During training, continually reinforce the company’s commitment to helping every injured employee heal properly and return to work promptly. To aid in educating your staff about workplace injuries, your company should create and post a written, response plan for employees and supervisors to follow.
As part of the plan, immediately assessing the injury and facilitating appropriate treatment is crucial. For injuries that usually result in the most lost time and highest claims costs, such as sprains, strains, neck and back injuries, appropriate medical care is most likely a prompt visit to a clinic or a doctor well versed in evidence-based, occupational health care delivery. You may also utilize a nurse triage service where injured workers and their supervisors call into a dedicated line where an RN will assess their injury and provide self care directions or refer them to an outside provider. This allows you to keep claims from ever entering the system and out of your experience modification calculation.
After providing prompt medical attention, it’s important that the injury gets reported to the appropriate parties immediately. Ensure that injury reporting is quick across all levels (supervisor, human resources and insurance carriers). Timely reporting is one important result of effective training and results in rapid return to work and minimized lost time claims.
And finally, a key to your response plan will be to consider when the employee will be able to return to their duties and if short term modifications of their responsibilities will allow them to return faster. Whenever possible, employers should facilitate a safe return to work to help control indemnity payments, because even small payments can have an adverse effect on your experience mod.
For more information on the benefits of implementing a formal injury response plan, contact Aisha Hartford at 800-462-6435 ext. 233.