2012 - 4th Quarter

Workplace Injuries & Supervisors

By Leigh Hollinger, Administrative Associate Risk & Insurance Management

Supervisors are essential in managing the workplace environment and the process of injuries in the workplace.  Your involvement greatly impacts your staff and the outcome of the injury. It’s important to understand the process of handling and directing employees that may experience workplace injuries.

Here are a few best practices supervisors can apply in managing a workplace injury and improving their involvement in the management process.

Report All Injuries Immediately.   Upon notice of an injury by the employee complete the First Report of Injury and submit it to your campus contact. If you have any questions about the report or process contact your campus contacts. Don’t worry about evaluating compensability.  The form for reporting an injury can be obtained through your campus contact or found on the Risk Insurance Management (RIM) website.

Provide timely and appropriate medical treatment to an injured employee.  Missouri statue designates the employer to direct medical treatment of a work injury. Each campus has a list of authorized providers and facilities for treatment. You can find this list on the 2nd page of the Report of Injury, at the RIM website or again by contacting your campus contact. It is advantageous to provide your entire staff with a list of authorized medical providers and facilities. Employee directed medical treatment is not covered.

Contact the claim adjuster or campus contact when there are questions. Be attentive to patterns or trends producing a delay in employees return to work. You should also ensure the injured individual adheres to any modified duties or restrictions as a result of the workplace injury.   If you notice a problem, make contact with your campus contact or CCMI adjuster immediately.  If you hesitate to recognize issues surrounding the claim or ignore the employee’s behaviors, their return to work could be delayed or increase the chance of a poor outcome. If you find yourself avoiding confrontation or not involving yourself in the management of the injury contact the claim adjuster or the campus contact for a solution to handling the circumstances.

Assist the adjuster/campus contact in managing the return to work process.   This may be as easy as ensuring the individual works within the job description limits. Failure to support the injured worker in the workplace can cause the worker to feel they are not a productive member of the team and delay their full return to work. Keeping a positive attitude about the return to work program will not only show support of the injured individual in the workplace but create a culture of value and respect for the employee and their job.

Maintain confidentiality about the injury. Do not discuss the injury or circumstances surrounding the incident with anyone other than those individuals directly involved in the management of the claim.  If confidentiality is not maintained it may adversely affect the claim outcome.

Provide meaningful work assignments. Understand the work restrictions. If you or the injured worker doesn’t understand them contact the CCMI adjuster. By respecting the work restrictions and emphasizing the importance their transitional work has on the department, you can improve the chance the individual has a full recovery and favorable return to the workplace.

Keep an updated job description on all employee duties. Not knowing the physical responsibilities, requirements and scope of the injured worker’s job can negatively impact their release to duty, claim costs, and increase litigation. If you do not have a job description, contact Human Resources to obtain one.  For workers’ compensation you need the actual and transitional job descriptions. The descriptions become a valuable tool for the treating physician to evaluate return to work timetables and reasonable accommodations.  The job descriptions provide important information when providing work accommodations or restrictions as indicated by the treating physician.

Treat all employees with work injuries consistently.  By managing the work environment, following best practices for being involved in the management of the work injury and the University’s workers’ compensation program, you will increase the chances of a positive outcome for the employee, reduce lost time away from work and possibly limit losses occurring in the workplace.

By following these best practices, you can impact the outcome for your staff that experience workplace injuries. It’s important to be proactive and understand the process of handling and directing employees when they experience workplace injuries.  If you have questions about workers’ compensation, the reporting process or handling of claims please contact your campus coordinator or take a look at our website.

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This entry was posted in 2012 - 4th Quarter.

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