Cost Savings Through Return-to-Work Programs - Pt 2

Jamie Charter
December 20, 2007 — 1,834 views  
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ERGONOMICS: MAKES GOOD BUSINESS SENSE! Poorly designed work environments can be a primary reason for employee injuries, which can result in medical and permanent disability costs spiraling out of control. It is possible to modify a workstation effectively without incurring dramatic costs. Copy holders, wrist rests, ergonomic adjustable chairs, computer mouse alternatives can be identified and implemented, thus assisting that employee as well as others performing that same job. You can be then prevent other injuries by implementing a proactive strategy! Applying ergonomics to the workplace will minimize work related injuries and reduce the overall costs associated with your workers' compensation claims. Ergonomics can be applied to any and all work environments from manufacturing to field positions. Tools can be identified and provided, to more effectively design a workplace that fits the individual worker and can offer reasonable accommodation. ľ How does an Early Return to Work (ERTW) program benefit your injured employees? And how does it benefit your business? Injured employees typically recover faster when they return to work in a prompt manner. You, through a concerted effort with your claims adjuster and the treating physician can consider ways to bring your employee back to the workplace as soon as possible. If the employee cannot perform his or her usual and customary job, you may temporarily modify the job or create a transitional job that will provide meaningful work during the recovery period. This type of program can: * Reduce medical, temporary and permanent disability costs. * Reduce or avoid costly litigation. * Discourage fraudulent claims. * Avoid the replacement and training costs of hiring a new employee. * Increase awareness of safe work practices and injury prevention. Prompt Reporting of Injuries Employers can take measures to control of their workers' compensation costs. Prompt reporting of injuries provides one of the first, most important steps in the battle to reel in claims expenses. If an employee has suffered an injury or illness due to work: 1. help them secure needed medical care. 2. Contact your workers' compensation insurance provider as soon as possible to supply information about the injury or illness. The benefits of this prompt reporting include: * Increased likelihood of an early return to work, which can greatly improve the healing process and workplace morale. * Greater control over costs of the claim. * Reduced chance of litigation. Reminder of Employers' Responsibilities Provide an "Employee's Claim Form" to an injured worker immediately upon learning of an injury. Complete an "Employer's Report of Occupational Injury or Illness" in a timely fashion upon knowledge of any occupational injury or illness that results in lost time beyond the date of the incident or requires medical treatment beyond first aid. Adopt a written Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP). Make it available for inspection by your workers' compensation insurance carrier upon request. By implementing this proactive approach, you become instrumental in promoting a positive attitude throughout your workplace, while demonstrating a spirit of caring and concern to your employees. By following these strategies and taking a proactive stance, you will be instrumental in creating a work environment where the culture promotes working safer, through working smarter!

Jamie Charter

Charter and Company

Jamie Charter, consultant, trainer and author, has been providing employment and litigation consulting services for 23 years through Charter and Company employment resource consultants in Soquel, California. Areas of specialization include development and implementation of disability management programs, case management, EEOC/FEHA/ADA consultation, return-to-work facilitation, CalPers job description services, job analyses, conducting training seminars for employer groups on sexual harassment prevention and discrimination and litigation /expert witness services in Forensics.