A common focus for most workers compensation claims and employers is to focus on the physical injury that an employee has sustained. More often what is overlooked are the side effects that an injured worker can have such as mental health disorders that are secondary to the actual physical injury. It’s important for any employer to have systems in place to help recognize when an injured worker may be suffering from a mental health disorder or workplace stress.
Why Managing Work Related Stress Needs to be a Focus.
According to stress.org 83% of US workers suffer from work-related stress and businesses lose up to $300 billion yearly as a result of workplace stress. To compound this matter even further, LexisNexis performed a study that found that “the likelihood of injured workers suffering from depression within the study period was 43% higher than that of non-injured workers.”
Imagine an injured worker who received a shoulder injury and who is a single parent with two children at home. The surgeries have left this person tired and unable to deal with all of the family responsibilities and perhaps the employer does not have any formal program to bring this person back into work. Furthermore, this individual isn’t sure if the surgery has worked or if they’ll be able to return to their employment. They are struggling with reduced income which creates additional stress and anxiety around their current situation. In an example like this, it’s easy to see how a workers compensation claim can cause significant mental health injuries not only adding to the financial cost of the claim but also the duration. This is a powerful example of explaining how work-related stress not only impacts your business but the livelihood of your employees.
So what can your business do to help employees?
1. Create a work comp claim quarterback.
Our recommendation on all workers compensation claims is to assign a dedicated team member to be the quarterback of the injured worker. Find an employee in your organization who is compassionate, a great communicator, and can act as a go-between for the injured worker, business, and claims adjuster. This individual can keep in regular contact with your individual worker, help remind them of upcoming medical appointments, and potentially recognize the mental illness signs early on. They can also make sure that if you have a return to work program that the person can accommodate the work and his integrating back into your business well. The injured worker may also feel comfortable talking with a friendly coworker rather than a direct supervisor. If this happens, you’ll get better feedback and create a better experience for the injured worker.
2. Promote Mental Health awareness within your organization.
It’s great if you can help educate and train your staff to recognize the side effects of mental health and work related stress to know what to look for in daily operations. This becomes even more important on a work comp injury in which the employee may require ongoing treatment of 30 days or more. Many times, adjusters are overworked and have a huge claim workload. They are offsite and rely on phone statements from the claimant and physician notes. By creating a culture in your organization to keep in contact with that worker and look for early warning signs of mental illness such as confusion, depression, fear, guilt, and tiredness you may help avert further problems.
3. Watch for signs of drug abuse.
According to the CDC In 2016, 44% of all workers’ compensation claims with prescriptions had at least one prescription for opioids based on data from 40 states. While still high, this figure has declined from 55% since 2012. Some employees may use street drugs to help mitigate any pain thus prolonging their recovery and further putting at risk for mental illness.
Direct Work Comp Services
At Direct Work Comp LLC, we believe that businesses shouldn’t have to struggle to purchase insurance based on their individual needs. A simple, fast process that gives a great experience should be available. At Direct Work Comp we do just that with our expert service and online quote system.
We are headquartered in Des Moines, IA and operate in several states in the Midwest. Our list of states we serve can be found here. We provide a personal touch and a local feel to the solutions and services we provide our clients.
Please feel free to contact us at 888.399.1190 or drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org for your comprehensive insurance quote!