The role of safety manager is changing. The future workforce will not work for an unsafe company. Choosing the right strategy has created new challenges for workplace safety with the ever-changing technology and emphasis on culture.
To keep pace with innovation and remain adaptable, you need cutting edge knowledge and the training to match.
Here are the important aspects to help safety managers develop a winning strategy to reduce workers’ comp cost:
1. Prevention through Design (PTD). Create a team of stake holder to align business objectives in an effort to design and redesign processes to identify occupational hazards and risks. Consider using a standard like ANSI/ASSP Z590.3-2011, ISO45001, ISO31000.
2. Train your supervisors well. This means taking them from safety cop to safety coach. Make sure your supervisors are well trained in providing feedback, frequently with coaching conversations that drive performance. The feedback provided must be designed to help employees do their job better, safely, without being micromanaged. Making safety part of their performance review will help you track KPIs.
3. Engage your frontline workers using neuroscience. Studies show that engaging your workers activates the reward system in the brain. When the system is triggered with the right actions, it releases feelings of safety, belonging and trust.
When safety culture is important, employees feel like their contributions matter. When organizations provide access to the right information to frontline workers in a timely manner within the context of their daily work environment, employees are equipped with the information they need and empowered to be authentic and provide the data the organization needs to prevent accidents from happening.
4. Hold regular safety meetings and make sure they are effective. Track this activity to make sure all meetings are held, attended and action items are closed out. Keep your meetings small with a shorter duration.
Make sure one person owns the meeting, drives responsibility for action items, sets the agenda and be sure it’s clear so everyone understands what decisions need to be made. Celebrate your wins and leave plenty of time for Q&A.
5. Develop a relationship with an occupational medical clinic that participates in your insurance company’s Medical Provider Network (MPN).
The wrong workers’ comp doctor can increase the cost of an injury claim. Building trust and sharing ideas will help you accomplish your goals. Make sure your entire staff knows where to go in the event of a non-emergency accident. Automate this if you can. Provide Give the provider your protocols to ensure drug tests and Return to Work practices are executed. You can even invite the medical providers to tour your facility so they understand what you do.
6. Consider paying for any claims that qualify as “first aid” if allowable by your WC insurance provider. Find out if you can participate in a medical only deductible program.
7. Develop a post-accident response protocol to care for your injured worker. Make sure the right people know what to do if there is an injury.
Also, be sure to include an injured worker care team to check up on the employee. Employers can encourage a volunteer committee made up of your frontline workers to help for approved claims. Employees sometimes create meal trains or check-ins to let the injured worker know that they are cared for and missed while away from work.
8. Actively participate in the recovery and return to work of your employees. Implement a transitional duty Return to Work Program. With minimal time off, Injured employees can resume their work functions. When any medical or physical restrictions are in place, employers are better prepared to place an injured employee in a job or given work tasks consistent with the doctor’s orders.
There are cost benefits to this—like reducing compensation payments and lowering claims reserves. Be sure all employees have been trained on the program so that everyone knows why this is important. Create a positive mission and vision around the program.
9. Never rely on your insurance broker to just manage the claim on your behalf. Actively manage any open claims to make sure the treatment is proceeding as it should. Be sure the reserves are fair and not excessive. Set up regular review meetings to get status updates from your provider. Create a red-flag list to ensure you are able to anticipate issues.
10. Understand and manage your Experience Modification Rate and premium payments on a regular basis.
Many safety people historically have not been involved in the business side of operations. Today’s safety professional understands how the Experience Modification Rate is calculated and where it’s headed—up or down. They know the levers drive the rate and how much the employer is paying in workers’ comp premiums.
11. Choose the right broker. Employ a broker that educates you on the process and keeps you up to date. Also, find one that shares in your company values. If you are not happy with your rep work with the broker, get someone that meets your needs or change brokers.
12. Consider implementing a Safety Management System to manage everything all in one place. Software helps create rhythms and frequencies to measure and improve actions and behaviors. With cloud-based software, SaaS companies have made it easy to own and implement safety software.
Employers need continuous improvement processes and user-friendly apps. They can assist employers to proactively, find and fix safety hazards in the workplace with ease.
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