Supervisors play an essential role in ensuring a company’s efficiency and success. Further, supervisors are also an integral part of workplace safety programs.
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 and subsequent workers’ compensation claims from occurring by promoting workplace safety programs, as well as support claims in action by assisting employees upon their return to work following an injury.
This guidance outlines ways that supervisors can help proactively limit workers’ compensation claims and keep the claim process running smoothly when an employee comes back to work after getting injured.
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 an injured employee’s experience when they return to work.
Employers should use supervisors to help in the investigation of a workers’ compensation claim. 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 or should not have been 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 more issues moving forward.
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 help employers or HR leaders determine adequate transitional tasks for an employee to get them back to work after an injury. In particular, supervisors can be an excellent resource for finding light-duty work for a returning employee.
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 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.
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. If supervisors are regularly checking in on their recovering employees to confirm that things are going well, these employees will feel as though 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, having supervisors be involved with company safety programs and supporting employees 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.
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