The moment an employee injury occurs, it initiates a sequence of events that can last for weeks or even months. But no matter how prolonged the recovery period, the first 24 hours after an injury are the most crucial. To respond effectively to an incident, the majority of the action items should occur within 24 hours.
In a study published by the Hartford Financial Services Group, it was found that:
- Claims reported during the second week after an occurrence had an average settlement value that was 18 percent higher than that for claims reported during the first week.
- Waiting until the third or fourth week resulted in claims costs that were about 30 percent higher.
- Claims that were not reported until one month after the occurrence were typically 45 percent higher.
- According to the study, back injuries were particularly sensitive to delayed reporting; waiting just one week to report a back injury typically results in a 40 percent increase in the ultimate cost of the claim.
Because claims truly drive your insurance destiny, well-managed injuries go a long way toward improving your firm's total risk management program.
As promised, here are seven steps that must be checked off during this first 24 hours after an injury. Think of a sound workplace incident report protocol as another layer of insurance for your firm:
1.) Have a Plan in Place and Share It
To aid in educating your staff about workplace injuries, your company should create and post a written, 24-hour response plan for employees and supervisors to follow. OK, so you obviously want to have a response plan in place before an injury. Training on the plan will build confidence for both employees and supervisors.
2.) Examine the Injury
Immediate assessing of the injury and facilitating appropriate and personal treatment is crucial. Determine the type and severity of the injury. Ideally, a staff member trained in first aid can assess the severity of the injury and the appropriate action needed.
3.) Have All Types of Workplace Incident Report Forms Ready to Roll
Give the injured employee forms to take to the doctor. These forms allow the doctor to authorize return to work and note any temporary restrictions an employee may have. This shows the employee that she has a team with a plan during her recovery — a doctor and a boss who are on the same page.
4.) Visit the Doctor — Don't Delay Unnecessarily!
For injuries that usually result in the most lost time and highest claims costs, such as sprains, strains, neck and back injuries, appropriate medical care is most likely a prompt visit to a clinic or a doctor well-versed in evidence-based occupational health care delivery. An established clinic relationship facilitates prompt and appropriate treatment for injured workers.
5.) Show You Care
Communicate care and concern as soon as possible, letting the injured employee know that you care about his well-being and you want him back on the job as soon as he's able. Step out of your employer shoes for a minute and really listen to what he's saying. Make a human-to-human connection. Be sincere.
6.) Report While the Details are Fresh
After triaging the employee and providing prompt medical attention, it’s important that a workplace incident report and related documentation is shared with appropriate parties immediately. Ensure that injury reporting is quick across all levels (supervisor, injury management coordinator, and insurance carriers). Timely reporting is one important result of effective training and results in rapid return to work and minimized indemnity claims.
7.) Check In with Your Employee
Follow up with the injured employee by finding out how the doctor’s visit went. Let him know you've been thinking about him and how he's doing. Hear from your worker what the doctor had to say. Together, you can begin formulating an appropriate return to work plan.
Claims that stretch out are more expensive than claims that are managed quickly. What's more, a fast and transparent claims and injury management process demonstrates to an injured employee that you want him back in the pink as soon as possible. This goes a long way toward building your employer brand and controlling workers compensation costs.
What steps would you add to this list? Which steps in a workplace incident report, in your opinion, can't be emphasized enough? Please sound off in comments!