For employers, workers ‘ compensation claims are always a hot topic. They obviously impact your premium but they also impact an employer’s OSHA log and ultimately they impact a company’s safety culture. While no business wants their employees to be injured, accidents can be a good opportunity for you and other members of your team to consider the possible safety hazards in your workplace and discuss improving your organization’s safety culture. We have created the concept of a Claims IQ® to gauge how effectively organizations respond to claims, and we’ve found that those with a high Claims IQ® have significantly fewer workplace injuries. Here are some tips on how you can increase your organization’s Claim IQ®:
Claim Discussions in Meetings
If you don’t hold regular meetings, now is a great time to organize meetings on a monthly basis. You can hold them at other intervals if you wish, but the monthly basis keeps you meeting relatively frequently while ensuring that you will always have things to discuss and the meetings and preventing you from overloading your team with superfluous meetings. In your meetings, you should include discussions about claims in your manager meetings and supervisor meetings. Before the meeting begins, make sure you have your carrier prepare a dashboard report, or a claims summary, as this will help the managers and supervisors understand the data on the claims. We can provide a claims dashboard report in Compass, but you can also get one from most carriers.
Posting About Claims
You should make sure that everyone in your workplace is aware of claims and what you are doing to prevent them in the future. The first thing we recommend doing is posting updated claims information on your employee bulletin board, or any other well-trafficked area of your workplace. We have created an infographic that you can post to your bulletin board about this topic, and you can purchase it from our site. In addition, consider posting signage around the time clock (in the format of “X days without a lost time claim”). This will keep your team in the loop and provide positive reinforcement that will encourage them to keep up the good work.
You shouldn’t focus solely on the claims that you’ve already received; ideally, you will not be facing any claims. In your meetings, you should also be discussing near misses, which are defined by OSHA and the National Safety Council as “unplanned event[s] that did not result in injury, illness, or damage – but had the potential to do so.” Near misses are a great opportunity for you to reduce claims because they are, in a sense, free. You will be able to find out about safety hazards and things that need to be updated without having to pay the price of property damage or an ill or injured employee.
You might be thinking, “Well, how do I know about near misses? If nothing bad happened, how will I know?” This is true; near misses do not result in claims. Because of this, it’s important to create an environment that encourages the reporting of near misses. Often, employees don’t report near misses, either because they don’t see the purpose in doing so or because they fear getting in trouble. Provide them with a quick and simple method to report near misses, and stress that reporting near misses will be non-punitive. In fact, if you wish, offer incentives that will encourage employees to report near misses. Get your management involved as well. If supervisors set a good example by reporting near misses, their teams will see that reporting near misses is a good thing to be doing. If you’re still having trouble getting enough data on near misses, consider calling them something more positive. Some businesses have chosen to rebrand near misses as “good catches”, as they feel that this takes some of the negativity away from them and makes them sound more like something that employees would want to take credit for. Make sure your employees know that it’s not about who made the mistake; it’s about solving problems before they’ve become problems.
About Compass RMS
The risk management firm Risk Management, Inc. has specialized in workers’ compensation since 1996, creating the CWCP (Certified Workers’ Compensation Professional) program in 1999 and the P4 process in 2000. We launched our Compass Risk Management platform in 2008 and recently released version 4.0. For more information about our services, give us a call at (770) 534-2042 to speak with one of our consultants.