Even if your company has taken every safety precaution seriously, injuries can still happen. They are a necessary evil in some jobs and they have their consequences. Working in human resources puts you at the forefront of these situations. There are procedures you should follow when incidents occur and a worker files a compensation claim.
After an incident has occurred, you should collect all the facts and details regarding the injury. It goes without saying that this is in the interest of the worker, but it’s also in your best interest. Unfortunately, some employees find ways to cheat the system so they can collect the most money possible over their careers. They might file multiple workers compensation claims across several different job places.
There are other ways an employee might game the system. Some will claim that an injury occurred on the job site when in actuality it was outside of work. Others will simply fake the injury altogether to get more money or time off from work. Workers compensation fraud costs companies millions a year and preventing it should be on your to-do list. Screen your potential hires well before accepting their applications. Their history will tell you if they tried similar stunts before.
You should complete an incident report while all the info is still fresh in your mind. Claims should be written down within twenty-four hours of the alleged incident. Insurance carriers may even allow you to complete them via mail. Writing everything down is absolutely necessary. Memory can be fickle. Any inconsistencies between evidence and your testimony will be detrimental to your side of the story. Your company’s insurer will contact you and ask for a copy of this report.
Regulatory agencies also have to be contacted as soon as possible following an injury. Not doing so likely results in a fine for the company. Deaths have to be reported within eight hours, while heavy injuries have a time-frame of twenty-four hours to be reported. The paperwork will help you stay clean in the event of a safety inspection.
Keeping anyone in the dark in this situation will do you no good. Don’t do anything behind the employees back, make it clear you are also on their side. Fully inform them about compensation, potential benefits, and where to ask for additional questions. Discuss the issues regarding returning to work after the injury.
Keep communication open and frequent with the claim representative. They will inform you on how to handle workers compensation claim without issues. Form a partnership with them and they will help you end the situation in a way that is beneficial to all parties. They will also help you decide when it's best for the employee to return to work if they are able to.
Your employee may be entitled to lost-time claims if the injury made them unable to fulfill their duties. If you come up with a comprehensive plan to get your worker back to work, you can avoid lost-time claims altogether. Other than increasing productivity, this also lets the employee know you value them for their hard work. If their injuries aren’t too severe, you can consult the doctors treating them and see what kind of work the employee can do while recuperating.
Continuing some degree of work is important. Returning to work after a long hiatus can lead to lower efficiency and could possibly compromise safety. When the worker is medically cleared to work, have them do these transitional jobs until they are completely healthy. Afterward, they can continue the usual routine, and they will appreciate your effort to keep them on track.
In conclusion, taking steps to ensure a painless ending to compensation claims is good for all parties involved. Honesty and conscientiousness are your biggest allies. Your workers are the company's greatest asset, and you have to treat them like it. As an HR professional, you also have to look out for the company. Follow these steps and both sides will come out as winners.
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