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How Fast Do Workers Compensation Claims Need to be Reported?


Is the timely reporting of workers compensation claims really that important? Absolutely! The smallest claim can turn into a 6 figure nightmare merely by not being reported promptly. A delay of just a few days can alter the outcome of a claim and raise the associated claim dollars through the roof!

Having trouble believing this? Well, here are some reasons:

First and foremost is treatment for the injury. We have seen many "sore shoulders" go unattended only to end up with the employee seeking treatment in the middle of the night at the local Emergency Department. The charges for Emergency Room visits are easily 3 times those of an Occupational Health Clinic, so the medical costs of this incident just tripled. Emergency room providers are great at what they handle - emergencies! But they tend to handle the work related injury by automatically keeping the employee out of work an average of 3-5 days .....another increase to the cost of the claim!

Those same shoulder and soft tissue injuries that went untreated for several days, can eventually become major surgery issues, lost time claims with substantial permanency ratings, and in many cases full and final settlements. By reporting the claim immediately, the employer can and should direct the injured worker to the local occupational health clinic thus hopefully mitigating the overall cost of the claim.

An employer should never delay reporting a claim or directing the injured worker for treatment. Either of these can result in a disgruntled employee who ultimately hires an attorney. Attorney involvement on Workers' Comp claims slows down the progress of the claim resulting in increased dollars.

Insurance carriers have specific time lines in which to make payment to a claimant and meet other standards. If these are missed due to a claim being reported late, the carrier can still incur fines for not meeting required deadlines. These fines become an expense on your Workers' Comp claim!

Hopefully these are reasons enough for you to encourage your employees to report all incidents immediately and for you to report the incident to the carrier the same day. This quick response can help contain your claim dollars as well as keep your experience mod and premium lower that your competitors!

If one of your construction laborers or foremen were injured on the job, does your construction firm already have an established relationship with an Occupational Health Clinic?  Did your insurance agent help you with this and provide job descriptions for the clinic to keep on file?  Construction Risk Advisors has relationships with many of the occupational health clinics that treat injured Connecticut contractors every day.   We can help facilitate this for your company as well as work together to prevent the claim in the first place!

Do Employers Really Need Job Descriptions?


Developing job descriptions can be one of the most daunting tasks for a construction company. Where do you start? What needs to be included? Are they really that important anyway?
Read on and you will find the answers to these questions and more.

Start with a few simple lines of the basic job, special licenses required, computer program knowledge, and management skill necessities. Enlist the employee themselves and/or their supervisor to help with a brief outline of the job. Now on to the most important area, the essential functions of the job.

The essential functions of the job section is the most important, and the real nuts and bolts of the job will be included here. You need to address everything from length of time each day the individual will sit, stand, bend, stoop, kneel; to how often they will need to climb a ladder and how high the highest ladder would be. An important item to include, especially in the Construction industry, but really in any industry is lifting requirements.

How heavy are items they need to move or carry, and how often do they perform this function? Do they operate manufacturing or heavy equipment machines? Any duties that are usually done by the employee in that position or that can only be performed by the employee in that position are essential!

So, why is this important? First of all job descriptions greatly assist the physicians and claim adjusters with returning an injured construction worker to the job. If the employer does not provide the physician with a list of the essential functions of the job, all the physician can go by is what the injured worker is telling them!

In addition to assisting with returning an injured worker to the job, there are ADA(Americans w/Disabilities Act) regulations to deal with. Employers with 20 or more employees are subject to ADA.

Under the ADA regulations employers must provide "reasonable accommodation" to those individuals who qualify under ADA. Amending an essential function of the job may not be a reasonable accommodation - unless of course it can be modified. But how will you be able to make the decision about a "reasonable accommodation" if you don't have the job description with the essential functions listed?

The final statement on any job description should be a disclaimer clause. It should read something like this: "This job description is intended to describe the general nature and level of the work being performed by people assigned to this job. This is not an exhaustive list of all duties and responsibilities. Management reserves the right to amend and change responsibilities to meet business and organizational needs as necessary."

Hopefully now you realize the importance of having job descriptions, how they can actually assist the employer and have some idea of where to start!

Are you a Connecticut Construction Company Owner that would like some more guidance on developing job descriptions for your employees?  The pros at Construction Risk Advisors would be happy to help.  Please give us a call or drop us an email.  Don't let the workers in that picture be yours!

Getting Injured Workers Back to Work….even Contractors


You have heard about the benefits and cost savings if you bring an injured contractor back to modified duty. But, how can an injured worker bring any value to a construction site?

Before we examine ideas on return to work, first we need to recognize that "RTW" is beneficial for both the employee and employer. Statistics show that workers who remain in their regular routine recover quicker then those that don't! In fact, the majority of injured workers who are out of work for 12 weeks or more never return to their original jobs. The benefit to the employer? Why reduced workers comp claim costs of course and therefore, a positive impact on your experience mod and the morale of your work force!

Your employee handbook should include your "RTW" policy. This policy should clearly state that modified duty will be provided when possible, for a limited time period. The limited time period is important as you most likely do not have a modified duty position that can be a permanent position.

So, now that we have covered the benefits of returning injured workers and the importance of having a statement in your employee handbook, you are still saying "but we don't have anything for him/her to do". When it comes to modified duty you should first look at what can be temporarily changed in the worker's usual job - can someone else do the heavier lifting? But if there is absolutely no way to modify the current job, you may need to be a bit creative in providing meaningful and productive work. Is it time for an inventory review? Can the person (within their restrictions) be a safety or traffic person at the Construction Site? Do you have paperwork to be done in the jobsite trailer? Did you know that you can even pay your employee while they work at the local soup kitchen, library, or retirement home? As long as the employer is providing modified work within the medical restrictions and the employee gives their consent, the employee and the employer are both benefiting!

The next time you have an injured worker released to modified duty don't immediately say "We're a Construction Company, what can they possibly be thinking". Instead, think outside the box and help the injured worker recover quicker and help you to save workers compensation claim dollars.

Connecticut Employers: Workers Compensation & Modified Duty --Worthwhile or a Waste of Time?


We've all heard of it - light duty, modified duty, restricted duty, and transitional duty. Regardless of what you call it, you have an injured worker who can't do their regular job and the claim adjuster is asking you to bring them back to work!

Employers and HR personnel struggle with this daily, and it seems construction companies usually have the most difficulty in developing jobs within the worker's restrictions. So should you even bother to try? The answer is absolutely Yes!

First and foremost it has been proven that keeping an injured construction worker in their normal routine (getting up, going to work, etc) helps in the recovery process. Next is the fact that by providing modified duty work you are sending the message to employees that having a work related injury does not automatically result in time off from the job. Finally, by bringing the injured worker back it is helping to reduce the claim costs and thus have a more positive effect on your experience mod.

It's a good idea to have pre-developed modified duties or jobs. We all have things we would like to accomplish, if we only had some extra time. Start keeping a running list of these and you have started your modified duty list!

So the next time the adjuster asks if you have modified duty available, don't sigh and roll your eyes - pull out your list, say yes and get that employee back to work!


Need help developing a Return to Work program for your construction firm?  We can help!  There are other options than just having your injured worker counting paperclips and shredding paper. Get in touch with one of the Construction Risk Advisors and we can guide you as well as help prevent the injury in the first place!

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