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Avoid Hiring Your Next Workers’ Compensation Claim

Thursday, May 14, 2020
Avoid Hiring Your Next Workers’ Compensation Claim
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Have you ever hired an employee, to see them injure their knee weeks after being hired? Or tear a shoulder? Or throw out a back? Did you get the feeling that this may not be the first time they’ve injured themselves this way? Too often, the answer is yes.

The Issue: Hiring a Workers’ Compensation Claim

A major expense to manufacturing employers is the direct costs of Workers’ Compensation insurance. Workers’ Compensation claims result in higher rates, higher experience mods, higher premiums, and decreased availability of coverage. Often overlooked, are indirect costs, which negatively affect the employer in the form of decreased employee productivity, retraining, and new hiring costs. According to the National Council on Compensation Insurance, Inc. (NCCI), the indirect cost of a Workers’ Compensation claim can be a multiple as high as 4.5 times the direct cost.

It’s no secret the manufacturing industry is a tough industry to work in. This industry is highly susceptible to expensive Workers’ Compensation claims, which often are sprains and strains to the back, shoulders, or knees. These types of injuries require extensive surgery, rehabilitation, and paid time away from work. Many of the injuries in the moving & storage industry are the result of employees simply not fit to perform the physical requirements of the job.

Employers today are very limited in the questions they can ask a potential hire. Due to privacy and ADA laws, an employer can’t ask if there have ever been past Workers’ Compensation claims. One question that employers can and should ask is, “are you capable of doing this job?” However, in the current job market, how many honest answers do you think you’ll get? … So what is the solution?

The Answer: Pre-Employment Strength Testing (Isokinetic Testing)

Implementing Isokinetic testing on a pre-employment basis is an effective screening tool designed to disqualify an incapable applicant. Isokinetic testing measures the degree to which candidates have the physical ability to exert joint torques, which can then be compared to the minimum torques required in a job. Testing the critical joints (shoulders, knees, and back) provides sufficient information to indicate whether a candidate is strong enough to perform the tasks required for a mover.

Have you ever paid for a claim that was the result of a pre-existing injury? 

Not only does the Isokinetic testing screen out those not strong enough to do the job, but it can also detect pre-existing injuries that could be easily aggravated through the normal course of work. Pre-existing injuries can be very costly because oftentimes they become more severe and require a significant amount of time away from work.

Can an employee get injured while taking the test?

Isokinetic tests are favored by medical practitioners, including physical therapists because of the principle of “Accommodating Resistance.” Accommodating Resistance ensures that the muscle load can’t exceed the applicant’s ability or tolerance during the test. It is not possible to incur or aggravate a sprain or strain injury while undertaking an Isokinetic test.

My employees go through other tests, so aren’t they already being screened?

The rejection rate of other applicant testing is less than 1%. The average rejection rate for Isokinetic testing is 16%. This means that 15 out of 100 employees hired, are unfit for the job. As this type of testing gains popularity, the employers not utilizing it will be left with a larger pool of rejected candidates screened out of other companies.

Besides pre-hire, how else can the testing be used?
  • Determine Claim Legitimacy – If a pre-hire test has been completed, post-injury tests can be compared against a baseline to determine the actual extent, if any, of the injury. Additionally, the technology can identify when an employee is exaggerating the extent of the injury.
  • Transition the Aging Workforce to Less Labor Intensive Positions – Employees can be moved to jobs that are less labor-intensive, such as a transition from Household Goods to Office Moves. However, you cannot reduce an employee’s pay as a result of the testing.
How much does it cost and is it really worth it?

Tests cost $150 each and only take about 15 minutes. Analyzing your break-even or profit point is simple. It is a comparison of Total Testing Cost (# of potential hires x $150) Vs.# of Claims Avoided by Screening Out Unfit Hires x Average Cost of Strain Claims. To include indirect costs in the analysis, multiply the “Average Cost of Strain Claims” by 4.5. Contact us for (a free financial evaluation) and (testing sites in your area.)

Conclusion

Employers can have all the right safety training and claim handling in place and still have claims. Hiring an unfit employee is an often overlooked part of the process. “Avoidance” has always been one of the best loss prevention techniques available to employers. Through the implementation of Isokinetic Strength Testing, companies can avoid hiring that costly Workers’ Compensation claim, saving the company thousands of dollars. For more information on Pre-Employment Strength Testing, visit our website www.thehortongroup.com/pre-employment-strength-testing or contact us.

Material posted on this website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute a legal opinion or medical advice. Contact your legal representative or medical professional for information specific to your legal or medical needs.

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