5 Things You Can Do to Save Big With Early Return-to-Work Programs

Early return-to-work (RTW) programs do improve employee morale and can promote faster healing – but they also save workers’ comp dollars. Early RTW programs reduces medical and indemnity payments. Lower payments have a positive impace on the MOD factor, which reduces future premiums for several years in the future. They also save the cost of hiring and training new employees, reduce the cost of lost productivity and time for the employee and reduces the chances of malingering or fraudulent claims.

But not every RTW program is built equally. Here’s what you need to know to maximize the cost reductions. 

Implementation of an effective RTW program includes the following initiatives:

  1. Management Buy-in: Without management’s commitment and visible enthusiasm for early RTW programs, they’re likely to fall flat. Enthusiastically and consistently communicating about the need and benefits of the program will make it more likely that employees use the programs and understand that there is a supportive structure in place to help them transition back to work.
  2. Employee Training: Developing a strategy to train all employees about the importance of the RTW programs and how the employees can participate will help buy-in. The training can take place in a number of ways, including group discussions or seminars.
  3. Identify Alternate Duty Opportunities: Developing comprehensive job descriptions including important functions, the location where the work is performed and physical requirements such as lifting, twisting and bending will help in identifying existing positions that could accommodate anticipated injury types. The descriptions could also make it easier to develop new jobs for employees with restrictions. The new jobs should also have job descriptions that focus on the physical demands of the job to insure the right employees are placed in the right jobs.
  4. Develop RTW Policies and Procedures: To be successful, there must be consistent RTW policies and procedures to ensure they are applied equally across the workforce. It may help to appoint an administrator to oversee the program. That administrator will oversee how the program operates, who uses it and how it is used. They might also monitor how long alternate duty positions are used and report to management on effectiveness and areas of needed improvement.
  5. Measure and Evaluate Results: As in all safety programs, management must establish procedures for follow-up and evaluation of the RTW programs to make sure they are working as intended. Necessary changes must be made in a timely manner to maximize the benefits of the RTW program.

Have questions about RTW programs? We can help. Call us at 866.919.9578 to find out how you can start saving today.