Tag Archives: workplace injuries

Orchestrate A Culture of Quickly Reporting Workplace Injuries

September 27, 2018 by 

band in front of shipping containers for article, Orchestrate A Culture of Quickly Reporting Workplace InjuriesAn important role of the claims management team is to coordinate with employers and defense interests to make sure quickly reporting workplace injuries is a top priority of your organization.  It is easier for claims to be evaluated and decisions regarding primary liability to be made in an effective and efficient manner when injuries are quickly reported.  There are many steps claims management teams can make to develop important work injury compliance steps, which includes the use of evolving technology.

Emphasis the Importance of Reporting Workplace Injuries

There are several steps that employers can make to ensure workers’ compensation claims are reported in a timely manner.  This starts with developing a culture of understanding on the part of the employees.  This goes beyond making sure the proper posters are displayed in the workplace:

  • Make all new employees aware of workers’ compensation information at the time of hire. This includes providing documentation to new hires about the name of the company’s workers’ compensation insurer and other contact information;
  • Provide documentation on how work injuries should be reported and the information needed to make a report of injury; an
  • Ensure that the employer has a contact person to make sure the First Report of Injury is filed timely with the workers’ compensation insurer. In some instances, employers and their staff are unsure how the process generally works.  Making sure these persons understand the process is important.

All workers’ compensation insurance carriers and third-party administrators can provide information to their insured on these processes.

[SEE FULL STORY HERE]

Stop Workplace Falls While Decking the Halls!

November 30, 2017 by 

Workplace safety is important during the holiday season.  Stressing this topic can also reduce workers’ compensation program expenses.  This is especially true as employees are decking the workplace halls — you want to avoid falla falls, falla falls, falls, falls falls!

slips, trips and falls graphic for aritcle, Stop Workplace Falls While Decking the Halls!

The Real Expense of Workplace Safety

Failing to have a safe workplace impacts, everyone.  Employees get injured; overtime costs go up; all employees get stressed.  It also reduces productivity and adds unnecessary costs to the hiring and replacement of talented individuals who cannot return to work.  It adds to healthcare costs in the United States and places an unnecessary burden on emergency rooms.  Now is the time to prevent workplace injuries.

Slip, Trips and Falls in the Workplace

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) tracks injuries and deaths that occur in the American workplace.  Approximately 15% of all deaths in workers’ compensation settings occur when someone falls in a same level or multi-level incident.  Only motor vehicle accidents account for more workplace deaths.

The economic impact of slip/fall injuries is astronomical.  The National Safety Council estimates these types of injuries cost American industry over $13 billion per year.  This averages out to be about $40,000 per incident.  The consequence of poor training and safety compliance continues to grow.  Interested and proactive claims management teams can make a difference and reverse this troubling trend.  It also starts with educating insured on fall avoidance and other safety issues.

Creating a Culture of Safety

OSHA does require training for all employees subject to slip/fall dangers.  Those interested in making a difference in their workplace need to go beyond the minimum requirements

Prevent same level slip and fall injuries:

  • Keep work areas free of clutter, dust and other debris;
  • Require employees to wear low-heeled shoes with no-slip surfaces;
  • Ensure that rugs and mats have skid-proof backing;
  • Avoid having non-tracked flooring installed in workspaces;
  • Discourage horseplay in the workplace. This can include specifically prohibiting conduct that can result in slips, falls or other related injuries;
  • Keep rooms free of clutter, especially on floors; and
  • Use correct lighting in stairwells and hallways.

Employees working at heights such as catwalks, ladders, and scaffolding are in extreme danger for severe injury from falls.  Important measures to implement in the workplace should include:

  • Development and implementation of a fall protection program. This includes training and ongoing evaluation of safety measures for employees and management to use daily;
  • Avoid unprotected side and openings. When these settings are unavoidable, use of a guardrail, safety net or fall arrest systems are paramount;
  • Provide instruction on the safe posting and use of ladders;
  • Purchase and require the use of OSHA compliant ladders when engaging in workplace activities; and
  • Inspection of ladders and scaffolding before and after all use.

While this list is not all-inclusive, there needs to be a proactive approach to employee safety when working at heights.  It is also important to engage management on these issues and foster a culture of compliance with safety procedures and injury avoidance.

Conclusions

The holiday season should be a time of joy and gratitude—not emergency room visits.  While slip/fall injuries will never be eliminated, they can be avoided.  Taking a proactive approach reduces workers’ compensation costs and allows people to focus on the holiday season.

Read more: www.ReduceYourWorkersComp.com Stop the Workplace Falls While Decking the Halls! http://blog.reduceyourworkerscomp.com/2017/11/stop-the-workplace-falls-while-decking-the-halls/#ixzz50QdWkZ1s
Copyright Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc.
Under Creative Commons License: Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives

Top 3 Pitfalls When Implementing Wellness In The Workplace

08/23/17     ReduceYourWorkersComp.com

Pitfall warning sign for article, Top 3 Pitfalls When Implementing Wellness In The WorkplaceNumerous studies demonstrate the benefits of wellness programs and their positive impact of reducing workers’ compensation costs.  While they can reduce costs in a program of any size, it is important to be aware of some common pitfalls organizations face when implementing wellness in the workplace programs.

A Common Hypothetical

The owner of the Acme Widget Company attends a workers’ compensation seminar and learns about the benefits of wellness programs in the workplace.  After returning, he installs a basketball hoop and buys a ball for employee’s to use while on their lunch break.  Postings about the basketball hoop were posted in common spaces and the owner strongly encouraged all employees play during their break times.

After the installation, the employees were excited.  A “one on one” league soon formed and the owner administered it.  Shortly thereafter, John Doe, the chief widget engineer, injured his knee why playing.  Is the injury compensable?

In Hemmler v. WCAB-Clarks Summit State Hospital, 569 A.2d 395 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1990), the following injury was found to be compensable.  Like anything, these cases are fact dependent.  Central to the court’s review were the following issues:

  • Did the injury take place while the employee was engaged in the furtherance of the employer’s business or affairs?
  • Was the injury caused by a condition of the employer’s premises that was a required part of the employee’s employment at the time of the injury?

Avoiding Work Comp Issues While Promoting Wellness

Promoting wellness within the workplace can create a double-edged sword for employers.  Liability will not be ignored in many instances even though the concept of healthy living and better health are a noble cause.  Proactive stakeholders can take the following steps to avoid liability from injuries suffered when employees engage in wellness-related programming.

In reviewing cases that involve injuries while engaging in workplace wellness programs, courts will generally examine whether the activity in question “furthers” the business or affairs of the employer.  Because wellness programs reduce workers’ compensation costs, courts have found the requisite connection between the work activities and an injury to uphold compensability and force the payment of various workers’ compensation benefits in certain instances.

[READ FULL STORY HERE]

5 Reasons Your Employee WANTS to Return to Work

May 11, 2017 by Leave a Comment

Back to Work road signThere can often be a negative connotation for those that are injured at work.  After dealing with thousands of claims adjusters can get jaded that claimants are up to no good and are only looking for a free paycheck.

A handful of bad apples can ruin it for everyone, but for the most part people just want to get back to their normal routine.  When injured, workers are usually in pain, receiving less money than they are used to, and traveling back and forth to doctor offices for examinations and therapy.

A revolving statistic may state that up to 10% of claims filed are not necessarily legitimate.  That leaves 90% just looking to heal and get back to pre-injury status.  Some injured workers even heal or return to work quicker than expected.  But why?  It seems obvious, but let’s explore some of the reasons in more detail:

  1. Loss of income

The biggest factor for an injured worker wanting to go back to regular duty is the income they receive.  There aren’t many people out there than can get rich off of receiving work comp pay.  Typically they receive a percentage of the income they are used to receiving, ranging from 60% to 80% of their net income.

Even in dual income families, this loss of income can be substantial, especially those that are living from paycheck to paycheck.  Do not be surprised when your injured worker is in a rush to get back to normal.

As long as a qualified doctor releases them to work with no medical restrictions, then you should be all set.  Of course this will vary on the injury.  I have handled cases when the claimant is adamant about making the doctor return them to work, and the physician will indicate in the notes that they are just retuning the patient back to full duty because that is what the patient requests.  You have to be very careful in this situation to avoid further injury, so if this should happen review it on a case by case basis.

[READ FULL STORY HERE]

Leverage Michael J. Fox’s Lessons to Prevent Creeping Catastrophic Claims

May 1, 2017 by Leave a Comment

photo of Micahel J FoxMost people wouldn’t think of Parkinson’s Disease as a gift. But for Michael J. Fox, that’s exactly what it is. “It teaches resilience and optimism,” the actor and ‘PD’ advocate said at RIMS 2017 in Philadelphia.

Speaking to a packed audience at the closing ceremonies, Fox regaled attendees with stories of his life growing up in Canada, his success in Hollywood, and how he’s used his celebratory status to advance awareness and research into the disease that threatened to end his career more than 25 years ago. His own resolve and the tools he’s developed have allowed him to continue leading a happy and productive life and can serve as lessons for the workers’ compensation industry.

Fox’s Journey

If you asked any of his 4 kids to list 10 factors about ‘Dad,’ Parkinson’s Disease would probably not be among them. “’Annoying’ might be on their lists, but not PD,” he said. Humor is one of the characteristics that help define Fox.

“I was playing golf in my 40s and someone asked, ‘what’s your handicap?’ he said. “I said, ‘isn’t it obvious?’”

But his self-deprecating, easy going manner about his condition took a while to materialize. Fox was 29 and making the movie ‘Doc Hollywood’ when he woke up one day with a twitching pinky. Attributing it to a hangover after a night out with fellow cast mate Woody Harrelson, Fox was shocked to later learn he had PD, and even more stunned when the neurologist “nonchalantly” told him “you have 10 years left to work.” The powerful impact of those words resonates even now, as Fox teared up on stage as he related the story. But Fox’s decision to live with acceptance instead of resignation led him on a different path.

Fox studied up on the disease and soon found a community of people with PD and their advocates. He went on to create the foundation that bears his name to focus on the most immediate need: research dollars. To date, the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research has raised more than $750 million.

Career-wise, the 55-year-old has acted well beyond the 10 year limit he was given.

[READ FULL STORY HERE]

3 Steps to Discover the Root Cause of Work Injury

March 13, 2017 by Michael B. Stack

Why Why Why graphicA near miss may be the best thing that ever happens at your company. Depending on what you do afterward, it can be a huge opportunity to save money and headaches.

After the initial ‘phew!’ reaction, it’s time to get down to business and find out what happened and why and, most importantly, what you can do to prevent a recurrence that could result in an injury and comp claim the next time.

Fact is, most (probably all) workplace accidents have multiple causes. Even the seemingly simple-to-explain incident likely has several underlying factors going on. By getting to the real root of the problem you can avoid potentially costly and preventable claims.

Root Cause Analysis

Delving into the true causes of workplace injuries requires a team effort, though it doesn’t need to be all that complicated. There are a variety of frameworks for ‘root cause analyses.’  There are templates to make it easier to organize the information. Some organizations use a fishbone diagram to group causes into major categories to identify variation sources. Whatever system is used, there are several keys to successful root cause analysis.

Do NOT assign blame!
This is the most important aspect in getting to the real root of a problem. It’s tempting to blame someone, punish him, and move on, but that doesn’t fix the underlying problems. Root cause analysis must be done without any finger pointing. Remember, most workplace accidents are the result of a confluence of contributing factors. The job of RCA is to identify and correct them.

Ask questions.
Then ask more. And a few more after that. The main questions to ask: WHY? You may feel like a 2-year-old asking ‘why, why, why’ – but this is key to getting to the crux of the analysis. As an example, let’s say “Fred” fell off a ladder and, luckily, was not seriously injured. It might be easy to say, ‘well, Fred was being careless, he was in too much of a hurry, so it’s his fault.’ But asking ‘why’ will uncover important details that would prevent future such incidents. The answer to the first ‘why’ could be that one of the rungs on the ladder broke. ‘Why,’ you ask again, and find out it could not hold Fred’s weight. Continue reading 3 Steps to Discover the Root Cause of Work Injury

Falls & Struck By Incidents Lead Work Related Deaths

By WorkersCompensation.com  | February 1, 2017

chart of workplace deaths by industryRaleigh,NC  – Falls and struck-by incidents continue to cause the largest number of work-related deaths statewide based on preliminary information released today by the state Department of Labor. Struck-by incidents accounted for the most work-related deaths with 19, while falls accounted for 12 deaths.

The department’s Occupational Safety and Health Division inspected 48 work-related deaths last year.

“Year after year, we see falls and struck-by incidents take the lives of too many workers,” Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry said. “Falls and struck-bys are especially troubling because we know nearly all these types of workplace accidents can be prevented when proper safety training is coupled with the proper use of personal protective equipment. Seven of last year’s construction deaths involved a fall from a roof. We never lose sight of the fact that these are human lives lost at work, and I take each one personally. These were someone’s husband or wife, mother or father, brother or sister, son or daughter, and in some cases grandparent. They were best friends and co-workers at an average age of 42 years old.”

The OSH Division tracks work-related deaths that fall within its jurisdictional authority so it can pinpoint where fatalities are occurring and place special emphasis on counties or regions where deaths on the job are happening. By tracking fatalities in real time, the department can also notify particular industries of any concerning patterns or trends identified and issue hazard alerts to warn industry. Continue reading Falls & Struck By Incidents Lead Work Related Deaths

Hospital ICUs Overused

Biomedical Research Institute (LA BioMed)

Intensive Care Units (ICUs), which provide the most expensive and invasive forms of care in a hospital setting, are being used too often for patients who don’t need that level of care, according to a new study by LA BioMed and UCLA researchers published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine today.

The researchers studied 808 ICU admissions from July 1, 2015 to June 15, 2016 at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center and found that more than half the patients could have been cared for in less expensive and invasive settings.

Of the patients in the study, 23.4% were in need of close monitoring but not ICU-level care. Another 20.9% of the patients were critically ill but unlikely to recover because they had underlying illnesses or severity of acute illness. For another 8%, death was imminent or the same outcomes were expected in non-ICU care.

“Our study found over 50% of patients admitted to the ICU were categorized into groups suggesting that they were potentially either too well or too sick to benefit from ICU care or could have received equivalent care in non-ICU settings,” said Dong W. Chang, MD, an LA BioMed researcher and the corresponding author for the study.

“This research indicates that ICU care is inefficient because it is devoting substantial resources to patients who are less likely to benefit from this level of care. These findings are a concern for patients, providers and the health care system because ICU care is frequently invasive and comes at a substantial cost.”

[READ FULL STORY HERE]

3 Ways to Make Your Worksite Injury-Free

By ReduceYourWorkersComp.com 12/20/2016

black and white photo of Flying WallendasKeeping workers safe on the job doesn’t need to entail major expense, and it’s the best way to keep your workers’ compensation costs down. But it’s easy to overlook the steps needed to prevent on-the-job accidents, no matter what type of work being done. Employers can take a cue from the person who has, arguably, the most dangerous job in the world.

Nik Wallenda, of the famed Flying Wallendas, walks a tightrope. But he considers himself an artist rather than a daredevil because of the safety measures he takes. Before each walk, he spends months preparing for the worst case scenario — having the local fire department douse him and the wire with gallons of water before going over Niagara Falls, or generating 90-mile-an-hour winds with airboats pointed at him as he practices for a walk above the Grand Canyon. He even rehearses his rescue plan — if it’s ever needed — where he kneels down to the wire while rescuers can get to him within 90 seconds.

While the dangers he faces are much more than those for most workers, his methods are best practices that everyone can use: understanding the risks, training all involved, prepping for the actual event.

Assess the risks

Before sending workers into areas with known or unknown hazards, companies should be very familiar with the risks involved. For Nik Wallenda, that means researching the area where he plans to do a wire walk from all angles — including below, where onlookers could be at risk.
Continue reading 3 Ways to Make Your Worksite Injury-Free

2 Must Have Concepts For Your Injury Response Message

By ReduceYourWorkersComp.com 11/14/2016
In Case of Workplace Injury poster from Central Coast IndustrialCare in Santa Maria, CA

EDITOR’S NOTE:  Central Coast IndustrialCare has “In the Event of Work Injury” laminated posters and wallet cards available in English and Spanish.
Just email our Client Services Manager, Susan Berban.
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High quality, and simple. High quality, and simple. High quality, and simple. Those two concepts are the cornerstones of the clothing brand Patagonia’s business philosophy.

High Quality & Simple

I’m Michael Stack with Amaxx, and I was recently up in Freeport, Maine with my wife celebrating our eighth year anniversary on a little getaway. Now, she needed a raincoat so we spent some time in the Patagonia outlet, and I picked up the book written by their founder Yvon Chouinard. As I was reading it that day and later following to finish it, these two concepts resonated throughout the 258-page book for their business success and the foundation of that company.

Employee’s Bombarded With Information

It got me really thinking as I was reading this book, is how these two concepts can really be applied to Workers’ Compensation, particularly in the communication and the messaging to our employees. Because the reality is that employees today are just bombarded with information on a day-to-day basis of things that they need to understand, and a lot of times need to put into action. Continue reading 2 Must Have Concepts For Your Injury Response Message