Bridging the Return-to-Work Gap with an Injury Counselor
By Sherri Bryant, AIC-M
Injury Counselor Team Lead
By Andrew Barklage, CPDM
VP, Claims Cost Control Manager
Safety and injury prevention are the first steps in any solid workers’ compensation program. But what happens when an injury occurs? What about claim resolution? Is there a way to get ahead of a claim before problems develop?
Many employers overlook, undervalue, or interact poorly with the most critical element in the process — the employee. When an employee gets hurt on the job, how quickly is the individual contacted following the injury? What is the tone, content, and direction of the conversation? Are employees receiving the best possible medical treatment? Does the employer demonstrate care? Developing answers to these questions can empower employers to take a more proactive approach to managing their workers’ compensation losses, staffing, and production issues. These actions and steps will create a more positive workplace culture.
The key to a positive and effective approach to managing absence and workers’ compensation claims is building a concrete claims management program. The process should start with a comprehensive analysis of loss history and current and past mitigation efforts, as well as organizational culture. The program should be uniquely tailored to the work functions and worksite to ensure that employees are actively supported through the recovery process and in staying healthy. Once developed, rolling out the new program to educate everyone on the new protocols is critical to success. These efforts must include training for front-line supervisors and those individuals who engage in day-to-day contact with employees, giving you the greatest opportunity to set a positive tone from the very beginning.
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