A Supervisor’s Role in the Workers’ Compensation Claim Process
When it comes to workplace safety, there are few roles more influential than that of the supervisor. While handling the everyday situations that help ensure a company’s efficiency and success, supervisors are an integral part of workplace safety programs. Such programs utilize risk management techniques to keep employees safe on the job, thus reducing workers’ compensation costs.
Employers who are not incorporating their supervisors within their workers’ compensation programs are missing out on a valuable opportunity. After all, supervisors can help prevent employee injuries by promoting workplace safety programs, as well as supporting claims in action by assisting employees upon their return to work following an injury.
This blog outlines ways that supervisors can help proactively limit the need for workers’ compensation claims and keep the claim process running smoothly when an employee comes back to work after getting injured.
Proactive Claim Prevention Methods
Supervisors spend a significant amount of time with employees and should always have their safety in mind. Supervisors are, in fact, among the most influential people within a company when it comes to promoting a positive safety culture.
Most employees will follow the example set by their supervisors. That is, if a supervisor is showing a disregard for safety in the workplace, then there’s a high likelihood that other employees will start displaying those same behaviors. As such, it’s important that supervisors set a good example, and show their employees how important safety is by incorporating safety initiatives within their everyday routines.
In addition, supervisors should take note of any unsafe behaviors that employees are exhibiting and use these instances as training opportunities. Supervisors can discuss these behaviors with employees right as they occur, or use them as topics for daily toolbox talks.
A positive safety culture in the workplace has been proven to reduce the risk of employee injuries. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, studies have shown that company engagement in safety programs reduces injury and illness rates significantly.
With that said, it’s important for employers to hire supervisors who believe in and promote a safe work environment. In addition, employers should train their supervisors in safety management and make it a part of every employee’s performance evaluation.
Supervisors who participate in and encourage employees to practice safe work habits will help limit instances of injury and illness, leading to a reduction in workers’ compensation claims and related costs.
Supporting Claims in Action
Although employees typically consult their employer or the HR department for a workers’ compensation claim (depending on how large the company is), supervisors can play an important role in the investigation of a claim and in improving an injured employee’s experience when they return to work.
Employers should ask supervisors to help in the investigation of a workers’ compensation claim. That’s because supervisors understand each employee’s job task and are able to break down the sequence of events enough to understand what the employee was doing when the injury occurred. Supervisors can be vital to understanding how an injury occurred, what the cause of the injury was, and how to mitigate any issues moving forward.
Supervisors can also help employers or HR leaders determine adequate light-duty transitional tasks for an employee to get them back to work after an injury. Supervisors understand the ins and outs of which tasks need to be completed and usually have a good gauge of the abilities required for different job roles.
Supervisors can also help with monitoring employees when they return to work. A supervisor should have daily communication with the returning employee in order to identify any issues that may arise (e.g., instances of pain or discomfort while performing job tasks). From there, these issues can be rectified, preventing the returning employee from stepping backward in their recovery process or experiencing new injuries. Having supervisors engage in such monitoring protocols can ensure injured employees properly recover and successfully transition back into their roles, keeping workers’ compensation claims from becoming more severe and—subsequently—expensive.
Let Workers Know You Care
Another benefit of having supervisors work closely with employees who are returning to work post-injury is that doing so provides such employees with a sense of care from their employer. When supervisors are regularly checking in on their recovering employees to confirm that things are going well, these employees know that their employer is genuinely concerned about their recovery. Happy, supported employees tend to enjoy work and resume their original job roles quicker than those who have negative experiences with workers’ compensation claims.
Overall, involving supervisors with company safety programs and with employee support throughout the return-to-work process are cost-effective ways to reduce workers’ compensation claims and related costs. Supervisors are the eyes and ears of a company and involving them in these areas can only benefit the company—promoting efficient operations, a positive work culture, and a successful workers’ compensation program.
Get Help from a Workers’ Compensation Leader
To learn more about the impact a supervisor has on the workers’ compensation claim process, talk with the workers’ compensation experts at VTC Insurance Group. We have the resources, policies and guidance you need to help keep your costs in check. Give us a call at 248.828.3377 or visit vtcins.com.
This blog is for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice.