For most employers, workers’ compensation is one of a thousand items that require their attention daily. Most workers’ compensation professionals will tell you that the best injury is one that never happens. The reality is that there are 249,000 private and public Ohio employers incurring approximately 85,000 allowable injuries on an annual basis (Source: Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation 2019 Annual Report).
Managing a workers’ compensation program can be simplified by implementing a few standardized processes that will make it easier for you to minimize lost days, control your costs and maintain productivity in your business.
Early Claim Intervention
Having a standardized injury reporting process and claim investigation mandate in place before an injury happens means that you will have tools at your disposal to quickly analyze what happened, is it work related and are there any red flags that will lead you to contest the claim.
Your Managed Care Organization (MCO) can provide your company with guidance on any questions related to injury reporting and seeking BWC (Bureau of Workers Compensation) authorized provider medical treatment. The injured worker will need to complete a First Report of Injury (FROI), which is the BWC form required for filing a claim application. It is also a good best practice to have your employee complete a supplemental accident report that is specific to your work environment and expands on some of the important questions that arise during an injury investigation, such as – were there any witnesses? Did you immediately notify your supervisor?
Minimizing Claim Costs
Once a claim application is filed with the BWC, things begin to move quickly and your window of opportunity to minimize the impact is small. The most common type of compensation is Temporary Total (TT). This is when the BWC pays the injured worker a portion of their regular pay to cover their lost wages while recovering from an allowed injury.
If you are not contesting the claim or its compensability, your focus should move to helping your injured workers get the necessary treatment they need to quickly return to full duty employment.
If you can accommodate a return to light duty while the treatment moves forward, then making a light duty job offer will prevent the claim from flipping from “medical only” to “lost time”. It will also keep your injured worker from getting used to being off work because of the injury. If light duty is not an option, then another path is to pay the claimant their regular wages – also known as salary continuation – while they are off work.