For employers, the issue of marijuana at work grows increasingly complicated. 28 states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana to some degree. 60% of the public supports such efforts, with the surprising majority in the 55+ age group. Growing in prevalence, the legalized use of this drug could have significant repercussions for your business.
How Can You Balance Workplace Safety with Off-Duty Conduct?
• With hiring that mitigates risk.
Consider job descriptions, duties and responsibilities of each position. Could hiring an employee that uses marijuana off-duty affect performance and safety in any aspect of this position? Some state laws do not require the accommodation of marijuana usage in positions in which an employee cannot fulfill any part of their job responsibilities.
However under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a medical marijuana user could argue for accommodation based on disability. The devil is in the jurisdictional details, with HR and legal counsel playing pivotal roles.
• With training to recognize impairment.
The ability to recognize an employee impaired by marijuana at work is essential to preventing accidents, and critical post-accident. Procedural training on recognizing and documenting impairment, and the timing of testing (if used) are key to compliance here.
• By considering drug testing or alternatives.
Concerns about marijuana at work? Let the experience of Minnesota Comp Advisor help you travel these previously uncharted waters. Contact us today
Consider legally-allowed drug testing for hiring and for cause (following a safety incident), subsequent to HR or legal counsel. Or consider psychomotor testing as an alternative, which measures reaction time and coordination that can directly impact job performance, and has been shown to improve safety 82%.
Work comp management is more challenging than ever. Changing state and federal legislative demands require higher levels of jurisdictional expertise than ever before. And emerging issues such as the aging workforce, chronic health issues, opioid use (and abuse), and the ever-evolving landscape of marijuana are making claims more frequent, more complicated, more drawn out and more expensive.
Is There Any Way to Stop the Insanity?
New and improved solutions could help you rise to the occasion, including:
Carefully matching the expertise of claims specialists with specific claims.
Involving the right professionals at the right time is key to successful work comp management. This includes…
• Using experienced professionals for high-exposure losses.
• Finding the right professional for unique claims.
• Utilizing clinical experts early and often for a fully-integrated program and successfully-managed costs.
• Monitoring workloads to enable higher-quality handling, responsiveness, and ultimately savings.
Building teams with jurisdictional expertise.
Jurisdictional knowledge is integral to determining the compensability of the claim, loss mitigation, and potential for savings. Each state’s varying rules, fee schedules, reporting requirements, panel/network utilization regulations, billing codes, rules, and more will vary drastically.
With laws changing daily on a myriad of minutia, it produces an environment rife with the potential for errors for those not in the know. It is this jurisdictional expertise that can help maximize savings.
Employ data analytics…
• To capture crucial data from reporting to return-to-work.
• Utilize it proactively to identify claims trends and opportunities for early intervention.
• Assign the right manager per case.
• To achieve and benchmark optimal results.
Struggling with today’s vast array of work comp management challenges? Minnesota Comp Advisor can help. Learn how today.
Before a 2016 ruling, the role the statute of limitations played in Georgia’s catastrophic work comp claims remained in question. Today, however, these limitations have been clearly-defined. How might case precedents regarding such claims impact your state’s pending legislation?
To receive income benefits beyond the typical 400 weeks, Georgia claimants must seek a status change to be designated catastrophic within 2-years. Most categories for designation are clear-cut: Brain injury, paralysis, major appendage amputation, severe burns, and blindness.
However the last, “any other injury of a nature and severity that prevents the employee from being able to perform his or her prior work or any work available in substantial numbers within the national economy for which such employee is otherwise qualified,” presented many interpretational challenges over-the-years, particularly in regard to time limits pertaining to catastrophic work comp claims.
How Long is Too Long?
In a 2016 Georgia Supreme Court decision, Roseburg Forest Products Co. v. Barnes, Barnes, whose left leg was amputated in a 1992 accident, returned to work in 1994. When laid-off in 2009, he requested reinstatement of Temporary Total Disability (TTD) benefits, adding a second claim of chronic knee pain, arguing the 2-year statute of limitations shouldn't apply because his injury was catastrophic.
However, the Court upheld the 2-year limitation, noting prior cases. They further prevented the claim from being revived after the initial period ran out, noting “rather than creating closure, it would instead allow an injured employee to simply revive a stale claim at any time by seeking remedial treatment…”
Confused about catastrophic work comp claims? Get the help you need in today’s ever-complicated worker’s comp environment. Contact MinnesotaCompAdvisor today.
Did you miss our latest, FREE, employee health management worker’s comp seminar: “Too Hot to Handle: Help Your Employees Avoid Heat Stress?” Luckily, it’s not too late to cool things down on your jobsite!
FREE Safety Resources for All Employers
Download the video recording of this informative employee health management presentation, boosting safety on-site as the summer heats up. Packed with useful information, this seminar is designed to help you and your employees better understand the dangers of working in hot environments, and ways to improve safety. Prefer print, or want to pass it on in your own safety seminar? A PowerPoint and PDF version are also available.
Many Employees Are Exposed to Heat-Related Risks
Thousands become sick year after year, and sadly, some die as a result of the complications of heat exposure. Are your workers at-risk?
• Workers exposed to direct sun and other forms of radiant heat, as well as those in high temperature, high humidity environments are directly at risk.
• Employees in contact with hot objects, and those requiring stifling protective gear or safety equipment can easily suffer heat stress.
• Jobs requiring physical exertion, and individuals working in areas with limited breeze or ventilation are also at-risk.
• Younger workers suffer a higher risk of heat stress, as do others with a low tolerance for heat, as well as individuals with health conditions that put them at increased risk of heat stress.
Take Advantage of this FREE Employee Health Management Seminar Today!
Boost the health and safety of your employees with the help of Minnesota Comp Advisor, putting this preventable risk on ice on your worksite. For more information, contact us today.
Catastrophic workman's comp claims, those involving debilitating, permanent disabilities, are prickly to manage. With care often fragmented among multiple providers, a long-term view of the medical needs of the injured is often overlooked, thwarting potential for optimal recovery, independence, and quality of life. Left unmanaged, these cases can deteriorate, and costs skyrocket.
What’s the Best Path to Managing Catastrophic Claims?
• Understand the Scope of Problems
Complex and costly, catastrophic injuries such as brain injury, vision loss, para/quadriplegia, amputations, and severe burns account for 1% of claims, but 20-30% of workcomp medical spending. Resuming normal life activities, including returning-to-work, are likely impossible.
• Look to Industry Experts
Enlisting the help of a catastrophic claims team to organize/coordinate medical services, ensures a proactive, collaborative approach between all providers, focusing on the well-being of the injured worker, while simultaneously working to control workman's comp claims costs.
• Stay on Top of Events
From prompt reporting before the injured is discharged to rehab, to when the time comes for wheelchairs and other equipment to be selected for the home, timely reporting of events to the catastrophic claims teams ensures services and products recommended will meet the long-term needs of injured workers. (Think: Wheelchairs that will fit through doorways, and seating compatible with bathing facilities.)
• Keep the ‘Big Picture’ in Mind
Compile a holistic assessment of the claim with the help of your team, looking to injury type, comorbidities, family situations, home environment, and worker frame-of-mind to understand how these might affect claims outcome.
A catastrophic workman's comp claim is profoundly life altering for workers and families. Learn how to better help employees in the next Minnesota Comp Advisor installment.
People often overlook the fact that proper footwear can prevent workplace injuries, however it is a vital part of injury prevention. National Safety Council estimates point to the occurrence of 120,000 foot injuries at work annually. Don’t let your employees be one of them.
Give Foot Injuries the Boot
Avoid the hidden costs of workplace injury by meeting simple employee footwear safety needs. There are a number of hazards proper footwear can protect employees against. What footwear features should be on your employees’ ‘must-have’ list?
Fallen Object/Roll Protection
The most common foot injuries occur from objects dropped or rolled onto the feet. For this, steel-toe or composite-toe shoes are a must. Metatarsal guards offer further protection for the top of the foot, extending protection to prevent midfoot injury, which can require extensive medical attention.
Slip & Fall Protection
Slips and falls on wet or oily surfaces are quite common, making non-slip soles key to safety. These can be built into employee footwear, or include slip-on, overshoe varieties.
Cut & Puncture Protection
Recommended for certain industries, thick-soled, protective footwear is ideal, with the added protection of metal foot guards or puncture-proof inserts.
Chemical exposure from spills, splashes and other accidents require rubber, vinyl, plastic, or other specialty protective footwear. MSDS consultation is recommended to ensure the right material to guarantee safety.
Prevent workplace injury with the right safety gear for the task. Get your workplace up
From heat and flame protection to water exposure, electrical and spark protection, there are many footwear solutions available to meet your company’s needs.
Investigating a workplace incident offers insight into job site hazards and identifying potential shortcomings in safety, health, and operational procedures. OSHA strongly encourages these investigations following any incident in which a worker is hurt, as well as ‘close calls’ or ‘near misses.’ Intelligence gathered from these investigations can help in devising and implementing corrective actions integral to preventing future incidents.
Who Should Conduct These Investigations?
Incident investigations are typically performed by a supervisor, but better results are gained when managers and employees work together as a team in dissecting the incident. Each brings a different knowledge and perspective, allowing for a clearer picture.
What Am I Looking For?
Focus on identifying and correcting root causes, rather than immediate causes or placing blame. Looking to simple carelessness or failure to follow procedures is shortsighted – and often misleading. Overlooking the root cause will simply lead to a repeat incident.
Finding the necessary systemic changes also helps maintain morale and productivity, showing your commitment to providing a safe and healthful workplace.
How Do I Make the Best Use of this Information?
Investigating a workplace incident shouldn't end at determining root cause. Start with identifying deficiencies in training, operational procedures, equipment use, or safety and health measures currently in-place. Then, action must be taken to implement effective corrective measures in a timely manner, and understanding why it wasn't previously addressed.
This is key to minimizing or eliminating the potential for similar future incidents, thwarting unnecessary employee injury, and the need for subsequent investigations.
Have the causes of workplace injury left you scratching your head? Minnesota Comp Advisor can help you forge a better path to safety. Learn how today.