Hiring to Reduce Work Comp Risk

We welcome the news that in February employers hired workers at the fastest pace in nine months. The jobless rate is at a nearly 2 year low of 8.9% and employment rose across almost all sectors including factory, construction and service jobs. This is a sign that the economic recovery is finally on its way. 

Finding new employees will be the trend for many employers. We want encourage them to focus on finding the right people for their open positions and to avoid the hiring mistakes that can lead to injuries, claims and increased workers compensation costs. The process that we would recommend is:

·         Resume/applicant screening

·         Interview

·         Background check

·         Conditional Offer of Employment

·         Post-offer pre-employment exam

When a candidate successfully completes the initial hiring process (screening, interview, background check) and is deemed to be a good fit for the position, the job offer is made. The offer should be made in the form of a Conditional Offer of Employment. Employment is conditioned upon the candidate being physically able to perform substantially all of the essential job duties of the position with reasonable accommodations for any mental or physical disability. The use of a Conditional Offer of Employment can help employers hire the best person for the job instead of hiring the next workers compensation claim!

Post-offer pre-employment exams allow medical professionals to screen a hire before they start the job and verify that they are able to perform the physical demands of the job for which they are hired. The timing of the exam and the manner in which it is performed is critical. 

An effective hiring process will include a relationship with an occupational clinic or other medical resource that can efficiently schedule and complete the exam so that there is minimal delay. The employee will have been supplied a medical questionnaire to complete before the exam so that the medical personnel will know any pertinent history. This is where prior injuries can be flushed out. 

The medical examiner will need a detailed job description in order to know the job requirements. (See blog on job descriptions.)  The exam should be tailored to the job for which the employee is hired.   The exam may also include an initial drug screen if the employer has a drug policy in place. Once the exam is complete, the medical professional will advise the employer as to the employee’s ability to perform the job and any accommodations that the employee may need. 

Following a clear and consistent hiring process that includes a post-offer pre-employment exam will help to reduce work comp claim potential and decrease work comp premiums in the long run. Follow the link below for guidance from the EEOC for employers on what questions can be asked and how exams can be performed.

http://www.eeoc.gov/policy/docs/guidance-inquiries.html

Here’s to a healthier economy, a healthier workforce and contolling work comp premiums!

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