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Reduce Employee Stress During the Holidays

It is a pretty well known fact that the time period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s can be crazy and hectic, especially in this time of a failing economy. People are often not thinking about work and their surroundings as they normally do. Many are thinking of the holidays to come and what to do. There could even be some that show up to work in an altered state due to drugs or alcohol because of all the holiday parties and/or the stress that the holidays bring.

During the holidays, more accidents and mishaps seem to occur. We are all anxious to have fun over the holidays and sometimes that takes our minds off our work. Also, there tends to be more ‘accidents’ during this time for people who want to have time off during the holidays while still being paid. Injured employees add to the stress of a company trying to function during the holidays. Deadlines need to be met, money needs to be saved, and maintaining a full staff may be hard during the holidays.

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A Stressed Employee Can Be An Expensive Employee

Studies show that Americans today are more stressed than ever. Experiencing and coping with high levels of stress for an extended period of time can factor into many different negative health-related outcomes such as; depression, anxiety, coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, and increased risk of injury.

High levels of stress are also related to workplace violence and absenteeism. The United States has the highest violent crime rate of any industrialized nation with 18,000 non-fatal violent crimes and 20 people murdered while on the job every week. The number of employees calling in sick because of stress increases every year and in very large companies, this could add up to costs of millions of dollars annually.

Stress also differs between men and women. Studies have shown that women reported a higher level of overall job stress than men. Stress had the highest level of association with migraines and psychological distress in men and with work-related injuries in women. Also, blue-collar workers experienced the highest amount of stress induced work injuries.

You may be asking how you can protect your employees from the dangers associated with stress. A few examples of things that employers can do to help reduce the stress levels of their employees are:

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Economy Down…Workers’ Compensation Claims Down…Time to Catch Up

A large staffing firm has watched workers’ compensation claims plummet in lock-step with the stock market. Has your claim frequency decreased? Maybe the decrease in claims has occurred because production has slowed. Or, maybe folks with minor strains are afraid to rock the boat by filing a claim. This particular staffing firm has seen a much greater decrease in the number of minor claims, which might support the latter hypothesis.

Whatever the cause, employers have a good opportunity to review their safety programs. Instead of running down information for a claim adjuster, we can add value by making sure the programs are up-to-date with current regulations and current operations.

Safety programs are more than binders. They must be living documents that continuously support production activities in a proactive organization.

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Have the Advantage Over Work Comp Claims

In tennis, the first point after deuce that puts you ahead of your opponent is called having the “advantage.” The dictionary defines the term advantage as “a beneficial factor or combination of factors.” When looking at worker’s compensation claims, you need to have the “advantage” over malingering or false claims that could cost your business a substantial amount of money.

Start by being on top of your hiring policy and standards. Look for quality employees that suit your business and keep a close watch on potential hiring risks. It is crucial for businesses to protect their “advantage” and be proactive about worker’s compensation fraud. Well developed hiring processes can help protect your “advantage” by being one step ahead of the employee. For instance, develop a firm policy when it comes to drug testing. Pre-employment and post-injury drug screening can make your workplace safer and avoid unnecessary costs related to accidents and injuries.

As the dictionary states, create a beneficial combination of factors to help keep you on the “advantage” side of work comp claims. A combination of factors would include having the right tools for the job, a strong ergonomic assessment of your business environment, an understanding of Worker’s Compensation, a plan for when injuries occur, and the support and dedication from your safety team to create a safe environment before and after an injury occurs.

The beneficial factor comes from the savings you will see by reducing your claims. Workers compensation claims are part of the reality of doing business. Proof:Positive can significantly cut your costs when handling that inevitable incident. A proper and timely reaction to temporary disability claims is critical in reducing costs. Let us help you develop a business that has the “advantage” over costly and sometimes fraudulent claims.

Leading Your Company Tribe Back to Productivity

I recently read Tribes, by Seth Godin and I found many of his insights relevant to workplace wellness. Here’s how I see the company tribe impacted by an injury.

Humans have a desire to belong. We crave membership in a group and we’ll go out of our way to find it. Groups easily come together around a common goal and if the goal is ambiguous, financial incentives will keep us engaged. With some basic leadership skills a manager can turn this scenario into a success.

On the other hand, it takes effort to break tribal bonds. The cohesion among a group requires force and persistence to break. Dehumanization, de-individuation, and direct threats to a member’s livelihood are tools that have been used to destroy tribes since human history began. Unfortunately, this gauntlet is what many employees must face when confronting a workplace injury.

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Preparing for Future Work Comp Expenses

We have all thought about and planned for the future at one point in our lives, with the hope of being financially stable, in good health, and happy. Well, businesses should be doing the same planning. Having a solid return to work plan for injured workers will help your business thrive in the future.

Does your business have a solid IIPP Program (Injury and Illness Prevention Program), a safety program, and an effective implementation of those policies? Being prepared means having something in place prior to a problem occurring. Take the time to map out the steps so your business does not get lost in the world of workers compensation. Utilizing an early return to work program can help you get injured employees back on the job, save money, and protect that dream of a successful business that cares about its employees and their health.

According to the California Division of Worker’s Compensation the state average weekly wage (SAWW) has increased nearly 4% in 2008. The new maximum for 2009 temporary total disability will be increased to $958.01 a week. With these increases your business needs to have a plan on educating, rehabilitation, injury prevention, safety, ergonomics and return to work programs. This plan will help you save valuable dollars being spent on claims that you did not plan for.

Eliminate the headaches involved with building IIPP programs or Return to Work Programs and Safety Concerns! Let Proof:Positive tailor a plan for your company that will help keep your workers’ compensation costs out of the red and keep you and your employees smiling!

Get on the Ball and Stay on the Job

Want a quick and easy tip that can help your employees stay flexible and injury free? There are many exercises that can be done during breaks at work that will complete a routine daily workout – and a number of them can be done with this simple tool called an exercise ball (aka: swiss ball).

Employees can do activities such as sit ups, pushups, or placing the ball on the wall, in the small of their backs, and doing rolling squats! There are countless ways to get a full workout in just a few extra minutes throughout the day. These few extra minutes taken by the active employee, instead of getting up an extra hour before work or trying to squeeze the gym in after work, can bring about a reduced stress level and reduced potential for injury. Plus those precious extra minutes are valuable to an employee, and that could mean a happier worker. And we all know a happier worker means a more productive worker. And the long term benefit of having healthy imployees is increased productivity, and more time at the job – so it’s a win/win.

Here’s to getting on the ball and promoting the health of all your employees!

Get on the Ball

Source: Gaiam.com

Are You on Top of Your Injured Worker’s Progress?

The old saying “out of sight, out of mind” seems to be the perfect phrase to sum up most workers’ compensation claims. Malingering claims seem to develop when you lose contact with an injured employee. Not following up or tracking their progress can cost companies considerable amounts of money.

Health and Wellness Rooms can help keep you in the loop with that injured employee. Constant tracking of their restrictions allows you to see if your injured employee is improving or worsening. When they are at home, they are most likely not following their plan for rehabilitation. Utilizing the Health and Wellness Room allows you to get firsthand knowledge on their restrictions and any changes that may occur. The Health and Wellness Room can help motivate your injured worker to follow through with their therapy and exercise. Keeping structure for the employee helps them stay on track with their recovery.

Another benefit of keeping in touch and following each case is that it allows you to track the progress from the doctor or clinic that you have chosen for your work comp clinic. Let’s face it, some doctors are just not on the same page as you. Getting the injured worker back to work, or referred out to a specialist, may not be a priority for that doctor.

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E-Mod: Know it. Understand it. Reduce it.

Workers’ compensation insurance is a little complex, at times. Finding ways to save on workers’ compensation costs requires innovation on the prevention side, and a little savvy on the financial side.

A key factor for determining the amount of premium you will pay is the Experience Modifier (E-Mod). This is the multiplier applied to your manual premium rate, which determines how much premium you will be charged. If you are self-insured or have a high-deductible plan, your equivalent of the E-Mod is the Loss Development Factor (LDF).

Your injury prevention programs are the first line of defense. Decreasing the frequency of claims has a big impact on the E-Mod. Proof:Positive can help your organization drive claim frequency down through their Injury Prevention Programs, Ergonomics Evaluations and Safety Training. Investing a small amount in prevention can pay big dividends each year at policy renewal time.

It is also important to work with the right professionals once a claim has occurred. By utilizing health care professionals that understand the concepts of early return-to-work and streamlining the claim process, you can greatly reduce the severity of the claim. By delivering appropriate care and re-introducing the employee to the workplace in a timely manner, Proof:Positive helps “cut the tail off” of workers’ compensation claims. This will help drive your E-Mod down, as well.

By viewing just the workers’ compensation finance costs, the ROI on the prevention/claim management investment is compelling. If productivity increases are considered, these investments become imperative. Contact Proof:Positive to capture these savings, today!

Positive Environment Helps Foster Healing!

Do your employees view their glass as half-empty or half-full? Your answer may reflect their outlook on life. Does their attitude show them to be optimistic or pessimistic? Positive thinking helps with stress management and can improve their health. There have even been studies done that show the power of positive thinking and how it can affect how long, and how well, they live.

An injured worker is the best candidate to get started down the path of positive thinking. It all begins with how a workplace injury is handled. Do you show concern for your employee’s health and well being after an accident? Do you evaluate the area where the employee was injured? Do you send them off to see the doctor in a timely matter? These areas set the tone for an injured employee to start developing a positive attitude. Dealing with an injury is hard enough! Help the employee understand the process, and what will be happening over the period of healing. This also confirms other employees’ perception of your company to be one that is concerned about their health.

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