Investigating every single injury
“Every single employee injury is investigated by the employee’s supervisor,” says Halvorson. “A written report is created and it has to include a written interview with the employee as to what caused their injury. HR sits down with the executive team quarterly, and we review every single injury. By using that review we were able to quickly identify (problem areas) and start having our safety officer focus on those areas.
Spending money to save money
“We started purchasing lifts so our employees weren’t doing heavy lifting. We put superusers on each unit who would train and support each employee on using the lifting equipment and support and encourage each other to use that. And with the savings we started having, we kept reinvesting a lot of that into more equipment. This is all expensive, and we had to take small steps. We couldn’t just start out one day and equip every unit of the hospital with overhead lifts overnight.”
Actively managing claims
“The minute someone files a report of injury HR immediately reaches out and says ‘I’m sorry you were hurt. What happened and what do we need to do differently?’ So again affirming to the employees that we really want to use these opportunities to look at prevention and not blame.
“We have a workers’ comp carrier, but we are really involved in the final disposition of those cases. We know those employees; we know what their positive motivators are, and (how to use) those motivators to encourage people to see the value in getting better and not staying injured.
Everybody gets light duty
“For their emotional health, they need to stay in a routine, and so we work really hard to make sure that our employees, whenever they are capable of working, that they have a light duty assignment that’s appropriate. We don’t want employees to think they don’t have any value to the organization anymore. We are really active in making sure that we are taking the individual into account when we’re providing light duty. Some physicians will take them off work, and we contact them and ask what would be safe.”
If workers’ compensation claims seem out of control at your company, take on board these tips from St Luke’s hospital in Duluth, Minnesota. The company’s records show that between 2006 and 2013, the number of employees increased 14%, while claims decreased 29%. And per $100 of payroll, the cost of claims has dropped from $1.36 to $0.41. We found out from its HR director Marla Halvorson how they created such a good workplace.