A recent chat with a client about aging employees having injuries on the job caused us to have an in depth review of the aging employees in workforce for this client and its affects upon employer’s costs of doing business.
Here are some of the topics we reviewed with our client that may help you with a similar employee population:
Older workers seem to have fewer workers’ comp claims: In the experience of this client, and other employers, the employees ran a variety of machines, different jobs, and cared for their equipment and machinery. Rarely did they get injured, because safety was engrained in their minds and they followed procedures. When they had an injury, they were motivated to return to work.
Injured older workers took longer to heal and seemed to have more severe claims: Older workers often had higher earnings so the loss of wage portion of a claim became much higher. The workers older body’s took longer to heal and were more expensive to repair, because many of their parts were worn out.
Identify issues & reduce risk: Treatment is more costly and took longer compared to younger workers. This employer was taking the time to identify potential areas where employees could be injured, and then adjusted the work areas to prevent injuries. In this review, we confirmed that the employer was identifying the hazards and was taking positive actions before an injury could occur. It is less expensive to avoid an incident than to have one and then react to it. Besides, who wants some one injured?
New technology can increase claims: When new equipment or a new process was introduced into the work place, training was taking place to prevent frustration and disruption of an employee’s routine. The employer felt this was appropriate training to avoid injuries from occurring. The employer agreed that this training needed to be ongoing to reinforce good and proper work habits. Also, continuous communications with older workers was important and to ask for their input. It becomes a team effort to make changes and to be productive.
From our review we were able to discover that the process this employer was following to prevent injuries was effective and so was the oversight of how claims are being handled by the insurance company. We found that this dialogue was reassuring to the employer and helpful to keep the employer’s focus on the appropriate ways to help employees prevent injuries. It is an Insurance Advisor’s responsibility to proactively perform this function as well as provide appropriate claims management oversight with their clients and to be their coach.
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