Accident prevention will always be the best medicine for rising workers’ compensation insurance costs. But accidents will always happen, so the next best thing is having a plan to manage those events.
That means having an effective system in place to get injured workers well and back on the job again as soon as possible. It’s no secret that employers with proactive return-to-work programs have lower rates of workers’ compensation claims incidence and lower overall claim costs.
Here are 10 reasons to get an injured employee back to work as soon as possible:
- Fight the #1 cost driver in WC claims. Every day the injured employee is off work costs you time and money, and severity – the amount of time an injured employee is off work – drives claim costs more than anything. So your primary goal should always be to keep days off work to a minimum and get the injured worker back to work as soon as feasible, through modified or transitional duty if necessary.
- Avoid the disability trap. When an employee is unable to work after an injury, the physical disability can often lead to depression, fear, or a loss of self-worth and identity. Having appropriate transitional or modified work available for them can keep them in the game and help them avoid the downward spiral into a disability mindset.
- Help the employee recover more quickly. A person’s mental state can greatly affect how he or she heals from a physical injury. An injured worker who feels engaged and cared about can recover more quickly than one who feels isolated and out of the loop.
- Help the employee continue earning a paycheck. Being without a paycheck on top of being injured can only add to an injured worker’s anxiety and depression. Giving them transitional or modified work to perform keeps them engaged and earning a paycheck.
- Head off attorney involvement. One of the top reasons employees hire workers’ compensation attorneys is a lack of work with the employer. When an attorney gets involved, claim costs can only go up, so it pays to make modified or transitional work options available.
- Provide a smoother transition back to regular duty. Without an effective RTW program, you could be stabbing in the dark trying to determine the best time and strategy for bringing an injured employee back to work. That could lead to costly mistakes and a prolonged injury and claim.
- Demonstrate you care about your employees. When injured workers don’t communicate regularly with their employers, they often begin to feel neglected. A proactive RTW program keeps them engaged and lets them know the company is genuinely concerned about its employees.
- Sustain productivity. When a worker is out with an injury, productivity can quickly suffer. By providing some type of modified or transitional duty, you’re helping to keep productivity up.
- Keep experienced workers on the job. It’s hard to find and retain the best talent, so the last thing you want is to have valuable employees sitting at home feeling forgotten. Modified or transitional duties can keep those valuable employees on the job where their experience and expertise is needed.
- Reduce use of benefits. Getting an injured worker back on the job will cut down on medical, indemnity, disability, FMLA, and many other costs.
What’s your RTW strategy?
If you need help putting together an effective, cost-cutting RTW program, contact the workers’ compensation insurance specialists at Heffernan Insurance Brokers today.