Regardless of the strength of your safety program, accidents may still occur. This chapter, and the next, outline the steps that should be taken after the accident.
The key to reducing the cost of a specific accident after it occurs is demonstrating commitment to any employee who was injured. Although no materials accompany this chapter and it has not been focused on by experts in the past, commitment to injured workers is becoming a vital part of a safety program which can help reduce claims costs. Immediately following any injury make sure the injured person gets the appropriate medical care as soon as possible. If there is any question that an employee might have been injured, it is a good idea to send the employee to the appropriate health care provider before allowing him/her to return to work. It is much less expensive to treat an injury at the time it occurs than to wait until it has been aggravated over time and requires more extensive treatment. In addition, some life threatening injuries, such as internal bleeding, do not manifest themselves until hours after the injury occurs. Encouraging your employees to seek immediate medical attention after any accident will not only reduce the costs of treating their injuries but also save lives.
In the long term, a commitment to your injured employees means not forgetting them or their needs. Either you, or a supervisor who knows the employee personally, should be assigned to visit the employee in the hospital or at home recuperating. Ideally, it should be done on at least a weekly basis. This person should be sure to ask the employee about his/her needs and those of the family. Is transportation available to get the employee to medical appointments? By asking these and other questions, you can determine what assistance they might need. When you take the time to ensure that your injured employees’ needs are met, they will know that you are committed to them and to their recovery. An employee with this knowledge is much less likely to file a costly lawsuit against you or your insurance carrier. By reducing lawsuits, you reduce your workers’ compensation costs. In the end, both you and your employees will benefit from your commitment to them.