Safety Program Goals
• Investigate near-miss incidents to prevent future accidents. Seventy-five percent of accidents are preceded by a near miss.
• Create a risk control service plan based on your workers’ compensation losses. Pay particular attention to frequency and severity of claims to craft an appropriate plan.
General Safety Procedures
• Protect your employees by minimizing any job hazards. You should always be evaluating every aspect of your workplace to ensure the safest environment possible.
• Prepare emergency announcements and do test runs of emergency response systems to familiarize employees.
Return to Work Strategies
• Job offers should always be made in writing and should thoroughly describe the offered position to ensure the hire is fit for all duties.
• When the job is offered, send a formal job offer package along with the offer letter. Make sure it includes all the benefits the potential employee is eligible for, including return to work policies and procedures, so there is no confusion later.
• When developing a temporary assignment for someone returning to work, find useful tasks that are not covered by other areas of the company—the goal is not to take work away from another employee.
• Create a written job description and job analysis for all transitional duty jobs. These jobs should match physical capabilities with the work that needs to be done so that they are both useful and appropriate.
• Contact your injured workers early and often. This will let them know that you care about them, which can help keep morale up and encourage their return to full, regular duty.
• Exercise due diligence when investigating a claim. Beyond speaking to the direct supervisor and the injured employee, interview other witnesses or co-workers who could shed light on the situation
• Make sure that your occupational medical practitioner does a thorough and proper examination when an employee first goes to see them; this way, you will not be surprised when the independent medical examiner (IME) tells you that you have a problem claimant. This includes performing Waddell’s tests when there is a lower back injury involved.
• A diagnosis should be supported by the conditions of the accident. If the two don’t match up, then the diagnosed injury could be a result of something not directly related to work functions. In these situations, be very careful of what you pay for.
• Know and understand the interplay between your state workers’ compensation laws, the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
• Keep your legal counsel in the loop on workplace injuries right from the beginning. The first 24 hours after an incident are crucial, and your lawyer needs to beinformed about conditions, investigations and any updates.
For a complete guide of money-saving workers’ comp tips, contact ProAction Insurance.