Worker injuries are always bad news, but a robust response plan can make recovery easier. And quicker recovery saves a company money. Every industry has different levels of risk for different kinds of injuries, so it may be overwhelming to know where to start.
In this article, we cover 3 ways companies can save costs when dealing with worker injuries as well as ways to lower workers comp claims altogether.
Proven Ways to Lower Workers Comp Claims
1. Prevent Employee Injuries
The most important action a company can take to reduce worker's compensation claims is to prevent accidents from happening in the first place. There are many ways to make the health and safety of employees a priority.
As the employee health and safety resource EHS says, keeping track of injuries is important, but keeping track of near-injuries is just as important. By noting how an injury almost happened, and how it was avoided, a company can continually build a better protocol for company safety.
Hire the right people
Injury prevention begins before an employee is hired. That's because employees with the needed skills and training are who you want in these high-risk positions.
While employees are responsible for their own behavior and actions, it's up to the company to ensure they're putting the right people in the right positions.
For example, when a position requires the ability to regularly lift or carry heavy items, it's essential that a prospective employee can meet the physical demands of the job, to better avoid injury.
Provide safety training
The kind of safety training necessary will depend on the nature of the work. A work environment where employee work with heavy machinery, toxic chemicals, or do a lot of physical labor will need training in proper lifting techniques, using safety equipment and gear such as goggles, hart hats, gloves, or hazmat suits.
It's not just dangerous substances or hard physical work that puts workers at risk. Injury can occur from prolonged periods of sitting or standing, or repeated small muscles movements. Desk workers should be trained in proper keyboarding techniques to reduce repetitive strain injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome.
Monitor working conditions
Give attention to each employee's work area, as well as supply areas, vehicles, and equipment used on the job. Computer stations should be assessed for opportunities to improve employee posture and ergonomics to avoid injury.
Addressing physical complaints before they become full blown injuries can also save money and reduce the need for surgical or prescription intervention. By having massage therapy and physical therapy services onsite, employees can reduce the risk of a repetitive stress injury. Regular body work can then reduce tissue adhesions, muscle knots, and inflammation.
2. Act Quickly When Workers are Injured
In the event of an injury, gather as much documented information as possible. Both the injured worker and any witnesses should provide written statements, and pictures taken as necessary. The first priority should be to assess the nature of the injury and determine the best options for care.
The Workers' Comp Resource Center has a 20-point checklist of actions to take following an injury.
Having a process in place to respond to employee injuries will keep everyone taken care of -- employee and employer alike. By thinking through and setting up your response procedure, you're likely to give the time and attention needed to create a robust system that helps to avoid injury in the first place.
3. Reduce Recovery Time
According to the Worker's Comp Resource Center, the two main reasons companies spend more than they need to on worker's compensation:
- Too much time off after an injury.
- Lack of process for managing recovery process.
Providing care services to allow for speedy recovery. Use the right rehabilitation services for the injury to ensure a quality healing process in as little time as possible. Some injuries will benefit from a combination of surgery, prescription medications, and physical or massage therapy.
An employee who has recently recovered from an injury may be well enough to return to work, but still need follow-up care. This is where an onsite program could be helpful. Even a temporary massage program can decrease injury flare-ups, and assist in an employee's overall stress reduction.
Leaving an employee's recovery up to them could result in delays of care as well as unneccessarily long recovery, but that's not due to any fault of the employee.
Following an injury, a worker could be scared, stressed out, and confused about what steps to take. These emotions and lack of clarity will greatly slow the process down.
When a business as an established recovery process, it eliminates the need for employees to figure things out on their own.