Reducing workers compensation costs for a food processing firm
Worker's Compensation issues had spiraled out of control at a large food production firm. Insurance premiums had skyrocketed; litigated cases were common; worker moral was suffering; and production was down.
Initially, Occupational Health Solutions was called in to assist with medical case management issues. After a thorough review of the situation, our consultants recommended that the plant consider revisiting their policies and procedures in regard to safety and worker's compensation. A comprehensive plan was developed that included aggressive medical case management of all injuries and development of a new transitional work program. Protocols were established for case management intervention. OHS nurses were assigned to cases to help the injured employee understand their treatment and to coordinate safe return to work strategies.
Even at this stage, dramatic improvements were noted. Employees began to exhibit better attitudes, they reported that they felt safer and, most importantly, valued by the company. OHS nurses became familiar sites to the employees. They began to feel comfortable in talking to OHS nurses thus they would share problems and concerns with them. Often this would allow us to make recommendations that on multiple occasions prevented early symptoms from evolving into more serious medical issues.
Staff Development and Training commenced. Supervisors were taught to effectively deal with injured workers. Compliance with recommended restrictions was stressed and procedures were implemented to help them understand the issues involved with injury management.
New safety programs were introduced. Primary Prevention Plus services were initiated. Employees were given instruction in caring for their bodies and recognizing early signs of musculoskeletal disorders as well as methodologies for working safely and effectively. Ergonomic studies were completed which led to simple, inexpensive yet effective improvements. Workers began to feel they, too were making essential contributions. This helped the company realize new productions goals.
Worker's Compensation premium costs were significantly reduced and the company was able to secure coverage outside risk pool. Injury rates were reduced by nearly 75%. The number of litigated cases was down 85%; associated legal costs were reduced. Employee moral was up; production was up, thus profits rose.