All companies are responsible for ensuring a proper working environment for their employees and caring for their health and safety. No matter what type of business you run, you have to comply with government rules and regulations and make sure you’ve taken all the necessary precautions to keep everyone out of harm’s way. Yet even when you’ve made all possible efforts in this respect, accidents can still happen and sometimes employees get injured.
That’s an unpleasant reality, but as an employer you have to be prepared for these types of situations. After one of your staff members gets injured on the job, a worker’s compensation claim will probably follow, so you have to know how to handle the whole process. You must be aware of the risks involved if you don’t focus on managing these claims properly. You might face compliance issues or end up paying more money than you should without good management.
So here are some important workers’ compensation-related aspects you should take into consideration to make sure both you and your workers are protected.
Better safe than sorry
It’s always better to prevent than to treat, so the first thing you should do as a responsible employer is to make sure you’ve taken all the steps to create a risk-free work environment for your employees. You have to stay up to date with all relevant guidelines and laws in the field, in order to ensure full compliance and prevent accidents from happening in the first place.
However, this might not be enough to keep hazards at bay. So, you’ll have to go the extra mile and approach health and safety from the employees’ perspective as well. You can do that by conducting thorough evaluations of the candidates who apply for physically challenging jobs. That will significantly decrease injury risks or at least reduce the severity of the injuries.
If an accident does happen and one of your employees results injured, you should make all possible efforts to act swiftly and not delay the claim process. Generally, the longer it takes for the claim to be reported, the higher the compensation costs will get. So, the incident should be reported right away, and then you can take your time and think about other details.
A supervisor and the first-aider should get to the accident scene immediately, assess the situation and provide proper care for the injured worker. If the incident wasn’t serious, there might be no need to call the emergency services or go to the doctors. Other times, the intervention of a healthcare professional might be necessary, and you have to make sure the employee receives the required medical care ASAP.
Know the facts
If you want to make sure your workers aren’t taking advantage of you and your goodwill, you should get to know all the facts and double check every detail about the event that led to the injury. For example, if your employee is making a claim for a broken foot, you must know all the details about how the injury happened. Pay attention to how the claim was initially formulated and compare that to the evidence you have and the following reports. If you find any disparities, you should make further investigations. That will keep you and your company safe from fraud and abuse and guarantee that the claimant won’t receive more money than he is entitled to.
Keep an eye out for red flags
If you want to do everything by the book, you should follow your company’s policies and procedures to a T. And if you haven’t yet set a policy for these situations, you shouldn’t lose any time and create one sooner rather than later. It’s not uncommon for employees to make unnecessary claims, and if you don’t have a clear set of rules and guidelines in place to handle these events, they can go unnoticed.
Some employees might also try to make their injuries seem more serious than they actually are, in order to receive a higher compensation amount. Your policy will help you spot the red flags in time and take the necessary measures to address the situation before it’s too late.
Keep track of employee recovery
After they’ve been injured, employees should seek qualified medical support and follow a proper course of treatment to make a speedy recovery. If they fail to do so, their condition can worsen or they can spend more time in recovery than necessary. That’s why you have to keep track of your employee’s recovery process all through the duration of the claim, and make sure he is taking the necessary steps to get well and get back to work soon.
A long recovery usually involves higher compensation amounts as costs for drugs and treatment will add up over time. To make sure that costs are kept in check, you and your insurer should play the investigator and monitor prescription medication usage for the employee that is undergoing medical treatment after a work-related injury. If you notice an unusual amount of drugs pumping up the medical bills, you might want to check why this is happening and make sure there’s nothing suspicious going on.
Get ready to bring employees back to work
Sooner or later, the recovery period will end and your employee will get back to work. Your aim is to make the recovery process as short as possible, and when the employee is finally ready to return, you have the obligation to ensure a proper working environment for him. In order to do that, you have to take into consideration your employee’s needs and make sure he can perform his activity as expected. Keep in mind that your employee’s situation may be different after the accident, even if he’s made a full recovery, so you’ll have to make the required adjustments to guarantee a safe return.
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