Below we'll go over a rough outline of what you should do in-between your employee's injury and their eventual return to the workplace.
1. Inform everyone involved
The first step to successfully navigating a workers comp injury is to inform everyone involved in the process that the injury has occurred. This involves documenting and reporting on the injury to your workers compensation claims coordinator or whoever else in your business deals with workers comp claims.
You should also make sure the employee is aware of what needs to happen on their end, including filling out documentation showing that they have received initial medical attention for the injury. As long as you keep everyone on the same page and everyone knows their responsibilities the claims process should proceed smoothly.
2. Have a physician evaluate the injury
Once at the hospital your medical provider will evaluate and classify the injury based on the laws and regulations of your state. This is where you find out how serious the injury is and how much time off of work, if any, is required. In many cases an employee is able to return to work but has limits placed on their physical activity. In cases such as these you can ease the employee back into the workplace with transitional duties, which we'll discuss further down the list.
3. Stay in touch with the physician
Even if an employee is able to immediately return to work, they may require ongoing treatment. As the employer you should maintain an open dialogue with the physician so you can receive information on the treatment plan and hear about any pertinent updates on the progress of your employee's recovery. Knowing this information will help you properly transition your employee back into the workplace.
4. Consider transitional duties
Workers compensation injuries aren't always a black-and-white affair. Sometimes an employee is able to return to work right away but they have a limit place on their physical activity. Maybe a warehouse worker is cleared for work but can't lift anything over 50 pounds. In scenarios like these it pays to have a plan in place for giving injured employees transitional duties. This makes your employee's journey back to their full duties a bit less stressful and can actually aid in recovery in some cases.
5. Support your employee as they return to work
Once an employee is fully cleared to return to the workplace make sure you have a plan in place to reintegrate them successfully. Although most employees are able to return to normalcy fairly quickly the first few days can be quite a shock. This is especially true in cases where the employee has missed weeks or even months worth of work.
A workplace injury can happen even in the safest environment and that's why you need workers compensation. At Summerlin-Roberts we will work with you to implement a workers compensation policy that protects you and your employees from unnecessary litigation. Please contact us today to find out more about our workers compensation coverage.