Accidents happen. No matter how careful you are. No matter how many safety meetings you have. No matter how many safety modules you make your employees watch, accidents can and will happen. This is the reason you have workers’ compensation insurance. This insurance pays an employee’s wages and medical bills if they are injured at work. Work comp is a great benefit, but it’s not perfect. There are things you, as an employer, can do to get the most out of your workers’ compensation coverage.
When An Injury Occurs
When an employee is injured the first thing to do is to assess the situation. Should you call an ambulance or would it be better to get the injured employee to an occupation health clinic? If the injury is severe you should call an ambulance to have the employee taken to the emergency room. For less severe injuries you are better off getting the injured employee to an occupational health clinic.
Occupational Health Clinics
Occupational health clinics are trained to assess, diagnose and treat work place injuries. There are also other benefits from having an employee go to an occupational health clinic over an emergency room. One is that the wait time can often be less at an oc-health clinic. Another benefit is that oc-health physicians truly understand the impact a work comp claim has on the employer and are trained to get the employee back to work as soon as they are able to. Talk to your insurance agent to get a list of occupational health clinics in your area.
Make Carrier Aware
Once you’ve begun the process of seeking medical attention the next thing to do is to notify your insurance provider of the claim in a timely manner. This should be done within 24 hours of the injury. It is important to report the claim quickly so the information is still fresh in your mind and no details are missed. You also have a duty to the insurance carrier to report claims promptly so they can investigate the claim if necessary.
Keep in Contact
If it is determined that the injured employee will be out of work for an extended period of time it is extremely important to talk with your insurance broker to discuss whether your health insurance will still cover the employee. It’s also important to stay in contact with the employee while he or she is at home out of work. The employee may begin to feel depressed while sitting at home all day and it can be very beneficial for them to hear a positive message from their employer.
Return to Work
It is important to get injured workers back to work as soon as possible once they are physically able. The longer the employee is out of work the more of an impact the claim will have on your work comp experience modification factor. It is also beneficial to get the employee back to work for their own well-being. Being home for long periods of time with little interaction can have a negative effect on people. Having a “return to work program” is crucial to a successful work comp program. A return to work program often has modified hours and also less labor intensive jobs. An example of this would be inputting computer data for a few hours a day. Often times if an injured employees main job is labor intensive it may take weeks of light duty work until they are cleared to return to work unrestricted.
Training all employees on workers’ compensation and what to do when an injury occurs is critical. The injury may be away from the office at a job-site and every employee should know what to do and who to report the injury to. Implementing these recommendations into your workers’ compensation program your premiums will be less and your employees will be happier.