As we discussed one of last week’s blogs, keeping our workers safe should be a top priority. Developing an injury management program involves selecting the right board-certified occupational health physicians’ clinic that both understands the importance of a full and speedy recovery as well as using a conservative care approach.
Overview of Injury Management
When dealing with an injury, the first step is to determine if calling 9-1-1 is necessary or if first aid would better benefit the injured worker. It is important to use the correct treatment at the right time. Be sure to continue to follow up with the injured worker during their injury until they reach maximum medical improvement, give them assurance, and make sure they're following up with their physician. It is only when the physician is confident that the worker requires no further medical attention and are feeling better that they may return to work.
Steps to Proper Medical Care
In her recent article in the January 2015 issue of Professional Safety, B.J. Heinrich gives us five best practices you should follow in your injury mangement program.
- Employee Advocacy:
There will be times when an injured employee must wait on approval for surgery or physical therapy. If this is the case, the company’s representative who handles the worker’s compensation claims must be informed. It is the company’s responsibility to advocate for the worker to ensure they receive proper medical care in a timely manner.
Closing the Claim:
Making sure the correct treatment is used at the right time should be your company’s motto for closing worker’s compensation claims. The representatives at the work site must have prior knowledge of first aid and over-the-counter medications, or have a medical resource available to explain the options to the injured worker. If the worker is in need of upper level medical care, then the work site must provide these items so the worker can be treated quickly.
As soon as an injury occurs, an investigation should begin as soon as possible. Firstly, use the OSHA’s recordable determination chart to figure out if this is an OSHA-recordable incident. These investigations should include a signed statement from the worker. Some examples of what you should include in your report are:
- If proper PPE was used
- Was the worker scheduled to perform this tasks at the time it was done?
- If the worker followed the proper procedures while perform this task.
Incorporate witness statements and a possible reenactment of the events that occurred. After all the date is collected a summary must be written to determine the correct course of action.
Escorting Worker to Clinic:
It is customary to escort the injured worker to their initial evaluation to provide the clinic with the correct billing information for the worker’s compensation carrier. Escorting the worker also allows the company to verify any restrictions the worker may have, off-work notices, and to assure the physician that the company is will to make the necessary accommodations if necessary.
It is the worker's duty to communicate with the worksite after all doctor’s visits relating to the injury. Providing an employee advocate to call once a week is a good reminder for the worker to inform the company of any documentation that indicates their work statue after each doctor visit.
While injuries are avoidable with a great prevention plan, if someone does get injured, a good injury management plan can help get the employee back to work quickly and prevent unnecessary OSHA recordables.