company with a sense of worth as they see the employer helping the
worker as they recover. This approach is also a financial win for the
company as they will not have significant lost time injury days that
adversely affect their WCB premiums and can reduce their ability to
bid or keep current contracts if they are dealing with second party
contract management firms.
How do employers deal with psychological issues and claims at
their businesses? This issue is difficult because both employers and
workers, as well as some health care providers, are afraid, scared or
embarrassed to even talk about it.
The days of just sending the psychologically injured worker home
to deal with their issues are, or should be, over. That goes for the
health care providers who are all too ready to just take the psychologically
injured worker out of the workplace, send them to any
councillor and hope that will solve the issue.
Employers are mandated by both federal and provincial legislation
with a duty to accommodate any and all injured workers. This
includes all kinds of injuries, both physical and psychological. This
is very doable if you have the right information and processes in
your workplace. A solid, documented and active workplace Return
To Work (RTW) program at your workplace, that every employee is
aware of and understands, will go a long way to improve the ability
to deal with any kind of injury that is in both the injured worker and
employers best interests.
An RTW program should be all inclusive – injuries of all kinds, no
matter if they occur at home, work or elsewhere. First, ensure all employees
are trained on the RTW program and processes that everyone
needs to follow as part of their employment contract. Update
this training at least annually and it should also be reinforced during
daily safety meetings.
If an incident of a psychological claim occurs, treat this injury like
any other. The employee needs to report it to the employer/supervisor,
go to a licenced care provider to seek help; as with any injury.
The employee will know that their workplace can and will accommodate
any and all restrictions supplied by the care provider; in this
case a board-certified psychologist or councillor.
During this process, as in any injury, the employer does not need
to know what the actual injury is, they just need to know how they
can accommodate the restrictions that must be provided by the
care provider (all care providers are mandated through their respective
associations to provide RTW restrictions). The employer also
needs to investigate the incident as in the case of any other injury,
take statements from witnesses, photographs, measurements, etc.,
so they have a complete detailed account of what occurred that led
to the injury claim.
Due to the sensitive nature of some psychological claims, the
employer should meet with the injured worker at a location that is
comfortable and reasonable for the worker to discuss the RTW plan
that they will implement to accommodate all of the restrictions provided
by the health care provider.
As in all cases, report the injury to WCB including your investigation
or preliminary investigation and your company’s ability to
accommodate any restrictions. Stay in regular contact with the injured
worker, the care provider and the WCB case manager to ensure
a smooth reintegration for the injured worker back to work
The worst thing that can happen for both parties is if the worker
is sent home and not accommodated. It is not healthy for the injured
worker and it is not good for the workplace or the employer.
Get to know who the licenced board-certified providers are in
your area so that in the event a psychological claim occurs, you can
provide the information to your worker so there is no unnecessary
delay to find a trusted source of help.
In conclusion, psychological claims should be dealt with in the
same way as physical injuries. Just because you cannot see the
injury, does not make it any less real.
If you are not sure of what you should do, there are second party
providers, such as Injury Solutions Canada Inc., that can help you
prepare and lead you through the process to ensure you are protected
and your employees gets the assistance they need. This can be a
win-win if done right.
44 Think BIG | Quarter 2 2019 | saskheavy.ca