Getting an injured employee back to work quickly is better for the employee, and it’s also beneficial for your business in several ways. These include eliminating losses related to reduced productivity, as well as those associated with hiring and training replacements, and it can also help you keep you workers compensation costs from going up.
The structure and size of your business, combined with the industry you work in, will all influence the details of the return to work program you set up, but there are several universal elements that will help make sure the system you establish is a success.
HAVE A PLAN
You don’t want to wait until a worker is injured to set up your return to work system. Having a plan established and put in writing ahead of time will help ensure that everything flows smoothly when you need to put it into action.
This plan should be as thorough as possible, including elements like complete functional job descriptions for all positions in your company, information about who is responsible for carrying out the various directives laid out, and exactly what steps to take as soon as an injury occurs.
Planning ahead also allows you to educate your employees about the way workers compensation works and what they can expect if they are injured on the job. Knowing that getting them back to work quickly in an appropriate capacity is a priority for you will make them feel valued, which can be a boost to morale even when the system is not in use. Educating all employees about the proper steps to follow when an injury does occur also helps to ensure that the plan is implemented quickly no matter when or where the accident happens.
Another essential element of your return to work program should be a clearly-defined hierarchy of responsibility so that each step is someone’s specific job. Depending on the size of your company, this could be the full-time position of an employee, or it could be an extra task someone takes on when the need arises. No matter who is responsible, though, they need to know what to do and when.
HAVE TRANSITIONAL POSITIONS
The longer an employee is out of work, the higher the cost of that injury and the harder it can ultimately be to get them back on the job. However, some injuries may require a longer period of time to fully heal, and so it’s important to have some transitional options available to them as they recover. Having these transitional positions established ahead of time will make it possible for a medical professional to assess the ability of the employee to perform the tasks associated with the position, and it will help ensure that the employee can be as productive as possible during the transition.
STAY IN TOUCH
Communication is essential throughout the process of handling a workers compensation claim and helping an employee return to work as soon as medically appropriate. Having one person in charge of keeping in contact with the injured employee, insurance provider and medical provider is a start, but you should also have an established schedule for when to check in with each group or individual. That will ensure that everyone is always on the same page and that no claims are left open for longer than necessary.
Whether you need help developing your plan from scratch, or you have an existing return to work system that could use an overhaul, our agents are always available to offer guidance and support.
Call or email us today to learn how we can help you reduce your workers comp costs and get your employees back to work as quickly as possible.