You have an injured employee that is off work on doctor’s orders. Many companies accept this situation and wait until the doctor says the employee is 100% and ready to return to work. What they don’t know is that while the employee is off work, the cost of the claim is steadily increasing, which directly impacts the experience modification rate (EMR) of the company. This number is extremely important, as a high EMR can have a great deal of influence when dealing with customers or general contractors. In some cases, you can lose jobs due to a high EMR.

They will see a high EMR as an indicator of a company which does not have an effective safety and health program, which they see as an unacceptable risk. But all you did was wait until the doctor said it was ok for the injured employee to come back to work. How could that be wrong?

Many companies have a policy that workers must remain at home until the doctor releases them to come back to work. This policy ends up costing the company and the employee money, time and frustration. It is important to return employees back to work as soon as it is medically safe to do so, not when they are 100%. This is called a return to work policy. The company should have made this clear to employees upon hire that, if injured, they would be expected to return to a job within their medical capabilities as soon as it was safe to do so. Then, the company should develop a bank of jobs that have been thoroughly evaluated to determine the components and what motions, weights and work is being performed so that they can compare it to the restrictions placed on the worker by the doctor and find a job that the employee can do safely.

We can help you develop a good return to work policy and identify the jobs that might be suitable for injured workers to return to. Through good job safety analysis, ergonomic evaluation and working with medical professionals, we can assist you in determining when and where to place employees to return them to the workplace. This allows the company, in conjunction with the medical professional, to assist the injured worker in redeveloping their job capabilities in the workplace, maintaining a schedule and their social support at work. It can also aid in supporting the worker, as workers compensation only pays a percentage of the usual wage, causing financial hardship to the injured employee and his/her family.

We will be your partner in helping you to get those injured workers back into a job they can perform safely while recovering. Once they return to work, it can reduce or stop the payments being made by workers compensation insurance, reducing the reserves and overall cost of the claim. This, in turn, reduces you expected losses and can directly reduce your EMR. You want that low EMR to get in special discount programs, present a good company picture to clients and general contractors and to keep your worker compensation insurance payments as low as possible. Let us help you build this program and benefit both your company and its employees.