Tag Archives: work injury

Overcome 3 Common Return to Work Barriers

info graphic on factors that can be barriers to returning to work, for article: Michael B. StackMembers of the claims management team and other interested stakeholders in a workers’ compensation program need to be proactive when it comes returning an injured employee back to work. This includes being ethical and hardworking when it comes to vocational rehabilitation matters. This is especially the case when it comes to overcoming common barriers in the RTW and rehabilitation process. Failure to do so can result in increased workers’ compensation costs and other added expenses.

Who is Responsible

The employer is the most important and impactful party in return to work. The best practice is for the employer to develop the position of a “RTW Coordinator.” This should be a person who is knowledgeable in human resource matters, state and federal disability and discrimination laws, and accessible to the entire workforce. The RTW Coordinator should also be responsible for all interactions with the injured worker on behalf of the employer and maintain documentation related to a workers’ compensation claim.

Responsibilities of the Employer: This party is responsible for reporting the work injury and helping with the investigation. The employer should take action in letting the employee know their rights, which is often required under a state workers’ compensation law. They are also responsible for identifying available light-duty work opportunities and monitor the employee’s recovery.

Responsibilities of the Insurer: Coordinate with the employer on all work injury matters and pay for all workers’ compensation benefits the injured employee is entitled to under the law. The insurer can also make recommendations on light duty job opportunities and provide education to their insured.


5 Shots Of Tequila Does Not Always Equal Denied Work Comp Claim

October 14, 2015 by Michael B. Stack

Pee Wee Herman on bar dancing to TequilaImagine the following scenario when handling a workers’ compensation claim:

John Doe is a construction worker who shows up for work on Monday morning appearing to being “a little off his game.” Shortly after starting work he falls from some scaffolding and suffers a severe work injury.  Following the accident, he was taken to a hospital.  Post-injury blood testing is performed and it is determined his blood alcohol level is three times the legal limit. 

Sounds like an easy case for maintaining a denial of primary liability related to the work injury, right?

Sadly, this is not the case.

What is the “Intoxication Defense?”

Under most workers’ compensation laws, employers and insurers can successfully deny primary liability related to injuries sustained when an employee is “intoxicated.”  This defense is not limited to being impacted by alcohol.  It can also include intoxication from street drugs or other controlled substances.
Questions as to Legal Causation

Notwithstanding the obvious impairment in the above situation, the ultimate question for the courts is typically one of the legal or proximate cause of the work injury.  One example of this issue came into play in Kowalik v. Martinson Construction, July 8, 2004, MN WCCA.

Continue reading 5 Shots Of Tequila Does Not Always Equal Denied Work Comp Claim

Work-Related Injuries Can’t Happen Here…Can They?

Tdon't run with scissors signhis is from a Canadian perspective, but we think you’ll find the information pertinent to almost any work situation.

By Terry Bogyo 02/05/2014 15:35:00
One of the biggest barriers to improving health and safety is the belief that work-related injury, disease or death “can’t happen here”.  I’m not saying injuries are an inevitable part of work.  What I am saying is that believing work-related injuries are not possible actually makes it more likely they will occur.
A teacher commented to me that workplace health and safety really wasn’t an issue where he worked—a high school.  The only health and safety issues he could identify involved the occasional issue in one of the industrial education or foods classes.  “Schools are safe places for students and staff.  Work-related injuries can’t happen here.”
I agreed that schools are generally safe for students and teachers but hazards and risks of injury are present in every workplace in every sector—including education.   I listed Sandyhook,  Columbine,  Virginia Tech,  and École Polytechnique as high profile examples of a very real risk of  violence in the education sector that has lead to the injury and death of students and workers.   These tragedies tell us about very real risks—risks that have been identified and have led to most schools to perform a risk assessment and develop new procedures.
He conceded that his school now practiced procedures in the case of an intrusion but he put the risk of such an incident right up there with earthquakes and fires:  possible but not probable.   “These are rare events—terrible but rare.  Work-related injuries to teachers, teaching assistants, administrators and other staff in educational settings just don’t happen in day to day work…do they?”
That little bit of doubt provided an opening.  I agreed to check and sent along the following table [data fromhttp://worksafebc.com/publications/reports/statistics_reports/occupational_injuries/default.asp] :

Benefits of Stay at Work & Return to Work Programs

August 29, 2013 by 

If these benefits sound good to you, read on! 1.No lost days or fewer lost days. 2. Higher productivity.Return to Work for healthy workers, healthy business3. Higher employee morale as the employee sees the employer as trying to maintain  employee’s income level. 4. Higher profit for the employer.  The doctors and staff at Central Coast Industrial Care are fully trained to assist you and your employees with a Return to Work Program.

Employers frequently do not grasp the true cost of workers’ compensation.  Many employers mistakenly think that the cost of workers’ compensation insurance is the amount of premium paid to the work comp insurer, or if self-insured, the amount paid out in medical and indemnity benefits.  These are the direct cost of work-related injuries.  The indirect cost of on-the-job injuries is estimated to be three times the direct cost.

Return to Work Brings Employee Back During Medical Recovery

 The loss of productivity is the primary indirect cost employers incur due to a job injury related absence.  However, employers frequently continue to incur the cost of health insurance, accruing time for vacations / sick days and other employee benefits while the employee is off work.  Overtime hours paid to other employees to make up part of the loss of productivity or time training a temporary or permanent replacement for the injured worker is also a part of the indirect cost.

Returns to work programs are designed to have the injured employee brought back to work during the employee’s medical recovery process.  More and more companies are altering their return to work programs to include stay at work, a policy where all but the most critically injured employees are given modified duties, or even a totally new and different job to do immediately following the initial medical visit.

With a stay at work program, the employer’s workers’ compensation coordinator is on the phone contacting the medical provider during the time the injured employee is traveling from the accident scene to the medical provider.  The medical provider is advised that the employer will provide the employee with modified duty within any medical restrictions including providing total sedentary work if needed.  The work comp coordinator also requests the employee’s work restrictions to be provided immediately following the employee’s first medical visit for the injury.

Continue reading Benefits of Stay at Work & Return to Work Programs