Why Timely Reporting of Work Related Injuries is Important
Work-related injuries are an unfortunate but common circumstance in conducting business. While sometimes the action or cause of the injury can be outside of your control, proper reporting and management of the injury is something you can take control of. Whether it is a simple muscle strain or a paper cut, employees can delay or avoid reporting of the injury for several reasons. The importance of timely reporting can be as involved as workplace education and evaluations, to something as simple a poster. The continuing education of employees on safety in the workplace helps to create the inclusive and all-for-one employee sentiment that every business needs to succeed.
Consequences of Non-Compliance
A report published in May of 2015 by the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) cited that delays in reporting of injuries can increase the cost of the claim by up to 51%. Attorney involvement in those injuries can jump from a low 12.8% at the time of injury, to an astonishing 31.7% in injuries reported four to five weeks following initial injury. Lawsuits are not the only issue employers face with late reporting of injuries. The United States Chamber of Commerce issued a report in 2016 showing that states can issue financial penalties for late reporting ranging from as little as $25 to as much as $10,000 per day that the report is not filed.
Delays in reporting injuries can result in a variety of unintended negative consequences. These consequences can be, but not limited to:
- Delays in treatment of the injured employee
- Increases in workers’ compensation insurance
- Delay in removal or correction to harmful or injury causing environments or objects
- Delays in proper training to correct future, and potential injury causing, activities
- Delays in payments to the medical provider of the injured employee
- Lost efficiency of injured employees
- Negative feelings of employees and their peers
Along with the above complications, information crucial to the investigation of the injury can degrade over time. Early detection and notification of a work-related injury help the adjuster in the resulting investigation to the claim, the employee is receiving proper care, and the business in compliance and maintaining a fully functional and happy staff.
Steps to help address injury reporting
Establishing a structured reporting chain can be extremely helpful in the reporting process. Often, lack of training or direction can lead to an employee, team lead, or supervisor failing to report an injury in a timely manner. Remember, even the slightest of injuries should be reported as an infection can turn something short-term into a long-term problem.
Creating an inclusive environment with a focus on employee and worker safety will not only promote safety but also help to stress the importance each employee holds for your company. The creation of onsite safety committees, where employees and members of the management staff work in tandem to ensure a safe working environment, will not only promote safety but help to create a teamwork atmosphere.
In conclusion, late reporting of injuries effects, not just the employee but the business itself. As the workers’ compensation industry moves forward and insurance premiums increase, the need for a safe work environment becomes paramount. By reporting work-related injuries in a timely and consistent manner, great strides are made in the creation of an efficient and safety minded work culture.
How does your organization handle their safety requirements?