Return-to-Work programs are designed to get injured workers back on the job as soon as medically possible. This is a win-win for both the injured employee and the employer.
If you don’t have a Return-to-Work program in place yet, there’s no better time to start than now. Developing a Return-to-Work program prior to a workers’ compensation claim will expedite communications with the injured employee, the claims adjuster, and the medical provider to transition the employee back to work or better yet to stay at work, after an injury. Having updated job/task descriptions and light duty job descriptions can help medical providers understand the ‘real’ current job and accommodations that are offered to bring people back to work quickly.
Though employees can treat with any medical provider, many employers inform the injured employee of local occupational health providers in their area, depending on the severity of the injury. Many of the companies we service reach out to local occupational health providers in their area to establish a relationship with them. The providers often will tour the facility, learn about the operations, and learn about transitional duty availability, which assists them in releasing injured employees to modified work.
One way a Return-to-Work program can add to your organization’s bottom line is in your Experience Modification Rating. The number everyone seems to focus on, whether it’s workers’ comp premium driven or you're bidding for a job and they ask for you current Experience Modification Rating. Many employers are not aware that if they can return an injured employee before the State of New Hampshire’s 3 day waiting period is up and the claims adjuster does not pay any lost wages, the claim is called a “Medical Only” claim. Medical only claims costs are discounted by 70% when your Experience Mod is calculated, 70%!
You are not only limiting the negative impact on your Mod by keeping claims “medical only”, you are also saving the hidden (uninsured) costs of losses by keeping the employee at work. Some hidden costs are overtime, decreased employee morale, and the costs associated with finding and training a new person.
It’s not only good for the employer to keep injured employees at work or to return them to work as soon as medically possible; it’s good for the employee too. They don’t suffer the loss of wages because they are out of work (workers’ compensation in NH pays 60% of your average weekly wages for the prior 26 weeks). They also get to stay on their regular routine of going to work, providing for their family, and keeping life as normal as possible while they recover from their injury. In many, many ways, this is a really good thing for your employee.
Accidents are very expensive and injury prevention is key, but when an injury occurs, having a ready-to-go, Return-to-Work program will help limit the cost of the loss and benefit both the injured employee and the employer.
In an effort to reduce work related injury costs for the Trust, all Trust Members are encouraged and expected to implement a Return-to-Work program. If you would like assistance developing a Return-to-Work program, please contact your Loss Prevention Consultant.