Workplace Safety Policy Includes a Return-to-Work Plan

Safety policies aren’t just about preventing injuries.

Preventing injuries on the job site is the goal of any workplace safety policy. But did you know you can also prevent unnecessary costs Safety firstby developing a return-to-work program in your company’s safety policy?

When an injured employee is back on the job as soon as medically possible, the company saves money by containing costs and keeping insurance rates low.

Build the framework first

Your organization’s preferred medical provider should be aware of the physical requirements of the positions in your company and require all injured employees be drug tested. Across-the-board drug testing prevents allegations of discrimination. In the event the provider refuses to comply with that policy, your claims adjuster should be able to get a court order.

Make sure your insurance company will cover the cost of the initial doctor visit and drug screening, no matter what the test results reveal.

All injury claims should be reported to your insurance company immediately, and they should manage all investigations and each case to its completion.

Developing the company post-injury response

Check to make sure your insurance company’s adjusters aren’t overloaded with claims cases. An overworked adjuster is one who won’t be able to process and close your claims quickly, which only drives your costs up.

Stay in communication with the injured employee. This engenders goodwill, staves off their worries of being fired, and may negate any desire on their part to hire a lawyer. Together with the medical provider and adjuster, work on a plan for the employee to return to work on a modified schedule and/or workload. If you’re concerned about paying the employee a full salary during the adjusted period, remember that you could be paying full Workers’ Comp benefits and getting no work done in return – and possibly paying a temporary staffing agency.

Workers’ Comp pays ? of the difference between the employee’s salary and what you pay him or her during the modified work period. Following this plan impacts your experience modifier and keeps your costs down in the long run. This works in your favor if the case ends up going to trial. The court would likely discontinue the injured employee’s Workers’ Comp benefits if he or she rejected a reasonable offer of modified duty.

Integrating a return-to-work plan into your safety policy is a cost control measure every company should take. And once it’s in place, make sure supervisors are trained to implement the post-injury response procedures and get all employees on board.

Safety first leads to money in your pocket!

Source: “Get to Work,” South Carolina Builder Journal, Vol. 7, Issue 1. 2014.

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