By Strategic Human Resources, Inc.
If you are new to the responsibilities of managing the workers’ compensation process, it can be overwhelming. There are responsibilities that both the employer and employee have in the process. Compliance laws vary from state to state, so make sure that you are familiar with your state requirements. Compliance is very important, but it’s hardly the only thing that matters when it comes to true operational excellence.
It takes an integrated risk management strategy to ensure that your organization is performing safely, efficiently, and profitably. When proactive measures are implemented consistently, accountability is shared across the entire organization. Furthermore, when this is combined with a transparent process for when an injury occurs, an organization can achieve operational excellence, improve results, improve employee engagement, and the company reputation will also benefit.
1. Outline Your Policies.
As a first step, outline the process and expectations at your company for what happens when an injury occurs at work, the medical care for the injured, and a process for completing the claims.
Topics to cover include:
First report of injury
Time away from work
Communication methods and frequency
2. Build a Consistent Process.
Once outlined, you need a uniform and consistent process for executing these policies and procedures. Many companies have had challenges with managing workers’ compensation claims in the past because traditionally the forms were paper-based and then had to be emailed or shared on an intranet. Many companies are moving away from this due to the challenges of: consistency of information, accuracy, timeliness, and siloed information. Now companies are using incident reporting and safety software for data collection to solve these challenges.
Simply put, using technology to track the data and information makes it more easily accessible and it helps to make your programs more effective. These systems help you get the reporting and insights that you need quickly and easily to make improvements and understand your most vulnerable areas.
3. Prevent Injuries In The First Place
Much like healthcare’s focus on preventive care, environmental health and safety has been adopting processes to prevent incidents. If you keep workers safe, you will have fewer accidents and reduce your workers’ comp exposure. This is the secret to being successful in your role of handling workers’ compensation responsibilities.
A safe workplace includes basics such as:
providing and using proper equipment and personal safety gear
identifying potential hazards regularly and resolving them quickly
reporting and addressing unsafe conditions
providing health and safety training on safe work practices
using a consistent process to report and investigate accidents
Not only are proper equipment, training, and processes important, but establishing a culture that has a commitment to health and safety is key. This includes creating a supportive work environment that makes everyone accountable for safety and accident prevention.
As the owner of the process, you must ensure that all supervisors and/or managers know that they are responsible for the safety of employees under their direction, as they can take an active part in preventing injuries.
Not only is injury prevention important for the health and viability of your employees, but it saves substantial costs. Costs of managing workers’ compensation claims are not only the direct costs of sick and/or disability pay, but also the indirect costs associated with lost productivity, replacement costs, and overtime.
4. Technology Can Help
With anything, in order to make an overwhelming process successful, you need to provide the right tools. Easy to use software, like iReportSource, allows your workers to collect information in the field on a proactive and reactive basis. The ability to complete safety audits, site inspections, and/or allowing workers in the field to submit safety suggestions in real-time will help reinforce a culture of safety accountability. And what’s easier than a few taps on a mobile phone?
Your role in managing workers’ compensation is critical to the success of the business. Don’t let the compliance and day-to-day requirements overwhelm you. It can be intimidating in the beginning, but there are plenty of tools that can help you be successful.
The barrier to operational excellence in safety and workers’ compensation is lower than ever. What’s stopping you?
A special thanks to iReportSource for sharing their insights on safety in the workplace. For more information on iReportSource, contact Nancy Koors at firstname.lastname@example.org or 513-442-8595. iReportSource allows you to avoid complacency and to manage risk, all while helping you to reinforce behavior-based safety practices.
Strategic Human Resources, Inc., is a national full-service HR management firm based in Cincinnati, Ohio. Its president and founder, Robin Throckmorton, can be reached at Robin@strategichrinc.com.