What are the major reputational risk facing employers in today’s environment? At the 2022 WCR Conference, a group of expert panelists discussed the interplay of managing OSHA compliance risk and workers’ compensation. The speakers included:
- Jordan Hetherington – ARM – Workers’ Compensation Manager, Tesla
- Roy Park – Park | Guenthart
- Amir Sharifi – Sr. Manager, Workplace Risk, Tesla
A prompt and thorough investigation after a workplace accident is a necessity in developing a better outcome for the claim. Engaging with the employee and their supervisor throughout a review can build a clearer understanding of the accident’s cause and how it could have been prevented. Investigation of the claim requires a neutral approach, focusing solely on the facts.
OSHA Compliance and Workers’ Compensation Claims
Compliance with OSHA regulations and workers’ compensation claims are closely tied, but there is a difference between a claim being reportable to OSHA versus compensable through workers’ compensation. Not every compensable claim can be reported to OSHA, and not every reportable OSHA incident is a compensable claim. Silos between those managing claims and those maintaining OSHA logs can further complicate issues within an organization.
Avoiding the Reputational Risk of a Claim
Employees are the greatest asset of any organization, so anything that can damage the ability to attract and retain staff can be particularly harmful. Any employee that feels as though they were not treated fairly throughout their workers’ compensation claim process may express their feelings to other employees. Complaints can become a distraction within the company, undermining morale and eventually leading to reputation risk. If an employee’s injury or medical condition is determined to be non-work related, it is critical to assist them in how to utilize group benefits to cover medical treatment costs and lost time. Denials should be treated with care to reduce litigation risk and further complications.
Developing Management Buy-In
Allocating claim costs to business units is key for supervisors to fully understand the role they play in the company’s overall risk management goals. If all claim costs are charged back to the organization versus the business units, there is less incentive for supervisors to prevent incidents and assist in managing claims through modified work when needed.