As an Oklahoma employer, are you doing all you can to protect your company from the impact of worker’s compensation claims? Injuries happen, but here are some tips you should know about to mitigate the cost of worker’s compensation claims and hopefully help prevent them before the happen.
Small Injuries Can Mean Big Claims
Frank Pennachio, co-founder of The WorkComp Advisory Group says the most challenging claims he sees are “strains and sprains of backs, necks and joints,” because they amount to about 8 percent of all injuries, yet they represent 80 to 90 percent of the costs in the system.
Pennachio says more than 80 percent of injuries are “inconsequential,” and usually only require first aid treatment or one or two visits to the doctor. However, Pennachio says if the frequency of minor injuries is not addressed, then a more severe claim is likely to follow.
To protect from these types of claims, make sure that employees are using proper safety gear at all times, including back supports and belts. Another common cause of injury is employee’s overexerting themselves. similar sites They try to lift or move items that their body is not necessarily equipped to handle. Part of this comes down to company culture. You want a culture of “can do” but make sure you also have a culture of “using the right tool for the job” – in other words, if a forklift is available, take the time to get the forklift rather than try to move the heavy item by hand. Many injuries are the result of unsafe acts rather than unsafe conditions. This is a challenging area to address because it is human nature to “do more” and not ask for help. Regular safety training helps promote a culture of being safe yet getting the job done.
How to Prevent False or Exaggerated Claims
According to worker’s compensation experts, false (did not occur, or occurred outside of the workplace) claims actually represent a small percentage of injuries. A much larger number of injuries are “exaggerated” or the recovery process is delayed. You should address these claims by:
- Ensuring the injured employee is getting the right medical treatment;
- Returning the injured employee to work as soon as possible, even if their duties need to be modified during their recovery;
- Supervisors staying close and communicating their concern and support for the employee;
- Reducing the disruption to the employee’s life as much as possible during the recovery;
- Addressing behavioral issues that may be driving the disability.
Employers can reduce false claims by using a number of techniques;
- Video surveillance in retail stores and parking lots;
- Implementing pre-employment and post-accident drug screening
- Setting up and publicizing anonymous tip lines where other employees and relatives (such as ex-spouses) can report exaggerated or fraudulent claims.
How To Reduce The Number of Oklahoma Worker’s Comp Claims
The first step in reducing claims begins with the hiring process. It’s important to hire employees who are mentally and physically fit for the job. Having accurate job descriptions which list the physical demands of the job are crucial. Below are some additional steps you can take to reduce claims:
- Having tight post-injury response procedures in place where all injuries are reported to triage nurses immediately after an injury;
- Implementing top-notch workplace safety programs
- Having injured employees go to select medical providers who specialize in occupational injuries;
- Implementing effective communication programs to enable employees insurance adjusters and employers to speak with each other often and easily, and be on the same page with treatment.
Leadership and injury prevention go hand-in-hand. Corporate culture must embrace injury prevention from the leadership level. Employees who think management does not care about them will tend to have more injuries.
Mitigating the Cost of Worker’s Comp Claims in Oklahoma
There are several ways to minimize the cost impact after an Oklahoma worker’s compensation claim has been made. One way is through a “transitional duty program”. This allows employees to get back to work with reduced job responsibilities while they recover from injury. If done correctly with proper employee empathy, it helps employee morale, not only of the injured employee but also of their co workers who are shouldering the extra responsibility.
There are also treatment “guidelines” employers can reference that indicate how long it should take a person to recover from a certain injury and how it should be treated. While these guidelines are not appropriate in every case, they provide a starting point to understand how much time is required for a specific type of injury.
Companies who partner with physical therapy networks such as Oklahoma City’s Valor Healthcare can have more control over claims and you will most likely see employees recover and return to full employment up to 30 percent faster than companies which do not have affiliations with such networks.