Recommendations to have in place PRIOR to a workplace accident:
1.) A thorough accident investigation process/procedure. Obtain written statements, take photographs, and secure any video. The ability to reduce accidents is significantly enhanced when they are fully investigated instead of simply being reported.
2.) Stress the importance of timely reporting – within 24 hours is ideal. The sooner notice is received – the sooner an accident investigation can begin. Pro tip – have posters throughout the jobsite reminding employees to report all incidents immediately – including near misses.
3.) Review and update the panel of physicians (annually) to ensure that it includes quality providers that are willing to consider modified duty work releases. Having a posted panel of physicians (at each location) is very important to control the medical costs of a claim within the first 90 days.
4.) Establish an aggressive return to work policy and adopt it as part of the company culture. Generally, the longer injured employees remain off work, the less likely it is that they will return. Return-to-work programs get employees back to work sooner.
5.) Develop and implement training to develop safety competence in all employees – especially new hires. A safer job site creates better morale and improves employee retention.
6.) Develop a Safety Committee and hold consistent monthly meetings to review all incident reports and discuss how to avoid similar incidents in the future. It is important to ensure that these meetings are always relevant and effective.
7.) Consider a safety incentive bonus program rewarding safe behavior.
8.) Consider a Medical Triage program so that all injuries are addressed immediately, with medical professionals providing direction on any initial treatment warranted.
Note, it is NOT enough to just have these recommendations in place. There also needs to be accountability measures in place to ensure that all employees follow these recommendations. Over time, workplace culture will change for the better, and workers’ compensation costs will improve.
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