The value in reporting minor work injuries

Bumps and bruises can happen on the job. Injuries like these are often so incidental they don’t require any medical treatment, and are usually forgotten.

But what if an injury that appeared to be only a bump turned into something more severe?

Most likely, you wouldn’t still have information about the injury on hand. You’d probably also be past state deadlines for injury reporting.

Only about 10 percent of these minor incidents later turn into claims. However, those few could become problem claims if they were not reported early on.

That’s why it’s important to report all injuries, no matter how minor. If an injury requires no medical treatment or lost time from work, it will be categorized as an incident-only report, and have no effect on your injury frequency numbers or experience modification factor (e-mod).

By reporting an incident, you are preserving the necessary information you will need if the injury does later require medical attention or lost time from work. At the same time, SFM does not set aside any reserves for the incident, so the claim is opened and closed in the same day.

How incident-only reporting works

Say an employee bumped his knee. It probably doesn’t seem like a big deal to you or the employee. He told you it hurt a little at first, and that he is now fine. But, as a precautionary measure, if you are an SFM policyholder, you call the SFM Work Injury Hotline, and the nurse recommends self-care.

You’ll then get a confirmation letter in the mail from SFM’s claims department, stating that SFM received the report, and to contact SFM if the employee needs medical treatment or loses time from work.

Your claims representative may call you to discuss the incident, depending on the nature of the injury. For example, if the incident involved the back, your claims representative would likely follow up, since these injuries can be more involved than they seem.

Tip: If the employee needs medical treatment later or starts missing work, call your SFM claims representative right away. He or she will be able to act more quickly, because the appropriate information is set up. The case can be managed effectively from the very beginning, ultimately reducing the total claim cost.

This is not intended to serve as legal advice for individual fact-specific legal cases or as a legal basis for your employment practices.

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