Original Date: 08/26/1996
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Information : Workers’ Compensation Program
Workers’ compensation benefits, paid to workers injured on the job, directly affect a company’s cost of doing business. Because it adds no value to the product, it is in the best interest of the Corporation and its employees to aggressively pursue the reduction of workers’ compensation payouts through safety awareness and an effective workers’ compensation program. Weirton Steel Corporation (WSC) established a workers’ compensation program to review, contain, and reduce the costs of workers’ compensation. Through innovative improvements made in 1996, injury claims are now thoroughly reviewed, payout periods are monitored, and recovery is assisted.
Prior to 1996, reductions in workers’ compensation cases were primarily attributed to the established efforts of the safety program. Workers’ compensation processing remained unchanged and unchallenged. The process for reporting injuries was modified to allow a more thorough review of the injuries by inclusion of independent medical examiners and third-party administrators. Accident reports are now submitted for a claims ruling within 24 hours of filing, or within three days if questioned. Weekly management meetings are conducted to review each case. In cooperation with the Operations Department, an aggressive Modified Duty program was established to return employees to the workplace in an area that is amenable to their injuries. Unique to the program is the Options Rehab program where the patient agrees to follow rehabilitation treatment. Rehab protocol decrees that if surgery is required, it should be performed as soon as possible, followed by prescribed rehabilitation, and a proper transition back to work. The program is developing a treatment protocol for high occurrence injuries such as back strain, knee injuries, and shoulder injuries. The protocol is the standard of care for such injuries. Additionally, there is increased follow-up of patients off work through biweekly physician visits and calls from case managers.
WSC’s workers’ compensation program provides an aggressive, proactive approach toward case reduction, which has reduced the number of cases and produced substantial cost savings. Since implementing these changes into the process, the number of workers’ compensation cases have dropped from 140 in July 1995 to 77 in July 1996. Payouts have reduced from $153 thousand per month in 1991 to $101 thousand per month in 1996.
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