January 2023 – The Lurking Workplace Issue

The Lurking Workplace Issue …


In our last few blogs, we have focused on some practical business issues that claims organizations need to deal with to be successful (and we hope you found them of value). This month, we will get back to our roots a bit.

The reason for our very existence is to show our clients how to recognize the risk factors that may impact an employee’s’ timely return to the job after an illness. That awareness can drive actions to make better claims decisions.

Extra factors that appear unrelated to the diagnosis itself such as mental health, depression, anxiety, financial situation, home and family situation, and work situation, can make a seemingly routine claim turn into “The Claim That Wouldn’t Die”. For the next few blogs, we will focus on a few of these impactful categories.

Failure to recognize and address these lurking issues may have profoundly negative impacts-subpar claims results, increased claims inventories, increased claims costs, and an employee in a nonproductive situation for far too long. 

For the purposes of this discussion, we will focus on a few examples of the claimant’s job situation.  Some commonly cited risk factors in this category (validated by The Claim Lab’s research) include:

  • Job stress. A job that is perceived to be overly stressful by the injured worker can feed anxieties and erode the motivation to get back.
  • Overall job satisfaction. An important ingredient in a satisfactory RTW recipe is a healthy dose of motivation. If a worker doesn’t like their role, work conditions, company culture, etc., motivation is greatly compromised.
  • Relationship with supervisor. This one is self-explanatory. “Why should I rush back to work only to be picked on by my mean and abusive boss?”
  • Relationship with coworkers. People want to be surrounded by people they enjoy being around.  If not, this may be just another reason someone is subconsciously less than eager to return.
  • And more….

There are a lot of potential moving parts underneath the heading of the job situation. To effectively address these challenges, there must first be a mechanism to obtain and understand the underlying data.

For more detail on this topic, other categories relating to psychosocial factors and return-to-work, and how to address them we would enjoy the opportunity to discuss the topic with you. For more information, please contact us at info@claimlab.org.
Thank you


Ian Bridgman
Executive Director

Here are some related links to research that you may find interesting.
1. US Surgeon General – “Workplace mental health is not a nice to have, it’s a MUST have!”
2. Monach University. Melbourne Australia – “A culture that supports recovery at work is likely to speed RTW and return to usual duties”
3. NCCI – “The relationship between the employer and employee is the biggest factor impacting RTW”

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