GRIP RETRO | November 2020 News

Return to Work

Managing Performance Issues for Light-duty Workers

We know that providing return-to-work (RTW) options help claims close faster and maintain control of your workers’ comp program. The benefits on your bottom line are well worth the process of identifying appropriate work, obtaining physician approval, and getting buy-in from supervisors. 

There are times, though, when an employee will have performance issues while on light duty, and that undue stress could shadow the benefits of RTW. For example, what if an employee consistently shows up to work late, causes problems with other employees, or defies your job site rules? Should you continue to manage this situation, or should you let the worker go?

To help you answer this question, consider some potentially unwanted effects. Do you want your premiums to increase in the future? Do you want to lose control of an already difficult claim? Do you want to reward an employee with L&I benefits? If you answered no to any of these questions, then do not move too quickly to terminate a difficult worker.

First, call your ERNwest claims manager to help you understand the cost and consequences of termination and to help assure that you have all the proper claim documentation in place to avoid time-loss benefits. Secondly, pull out your employee handbook. Injured employees are subject to the same rules and policies as all other employees. You do not have to wear “kid gloves” when you manage a worker on light duty; however, you need to apply your policies consistently between injured and uninjured employees.

If you have a complex claim situation or are dealing with difficult performance issues, call your claims or group manager right away so they can guide you through best practices for your company and help you save costs and alleviate stress.

Ashlee Day, GRIP Group Manager, (253) 237-0809 |

GRIP Safety

Do’s and Don’ts When Working at Heights

Falls are among the most common causes of serious injury and even death in the workplace. When working at heights, one small mistake could turn a routine task into a casualty. Keep the following do’s and don’ts in mind when working. Download the Working Safe at Heights.pdf

GRIP Safety Resources

Access Toolbox Tips and general safety resources. Learn more.

OSHA Recordkeeping

Time to get up-close and personal with those OSHA logs. December is usually the month business owners clean up Worker Injury and Illness records, in preparation for the recordkeeping scramble in January. Remember that if you are a “covered employer,” you have two obligations:

  • You are required to post your OSHA Form 300A Summary in an area available to employees and employee representatives, February 1 – April 30.
  • You are required to provide your OSHA Form 300A Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses during 2020 in electronic format to Federal OSHA by March 2, 2020.

ERNwest offers webinars to help you complete your OSHA Recordkeeping responsibilities. OSHA Recordkeeping – Nuts & Bolts and OSHA 300 Recordkeeping Electronic Reporting are offered in both Decembers 2020 and January 2021 and will get you up to speed on all your recordkeeping requirements. Go to a list of ERNwest Training online to register for the webinars that work on your schedule. Download the OSHA Fact Sheet to understand full requirements under the rule. 

Helpful Safety Topics

Driving Drowsy Prevention Week: Nov 1-8

Distracted driving can come in all forms. Everything from other drivers to our GPS can keep us from paying 100% attention to the road. The week of November 1-8 is a great time to remember that drowsy driving is distracted driving. About 20% of all drivers admit falling asleep at the wheel and bringing attention to this dangerous impairment can help prevent accidents and save lives. Get more information and tips to avoid driving drowsy.

Winter Weather Preparedness

Cold weather is upon us, and it’s time to start preparing. For many, working outdoors in winter can bring new factors into the workplace, and education and awareness can help prevent winter weather from causing incidents and injuries. The National Weather Service identifies October and November as months for Washingtonians to start preparing for the months ahead. Follow the link for ways to raise awareness and help keep employees safe during the winter months.

Businesses Can Face Fines for Mask Violations

L&I can cite employers who refuse to follow masking and other requirements. Businesses must ensure customers and visitors wear masks. They are also required, among other things, to post signs at entrances reminding customers to wear a mask, and to create a policy for what workers should do if customers refuse. These rules are in addition to earlier requirements. Read the full article.

Fall Protection Product Recall

Follow the link to review a list of products that have been recalled, replaced, removed, or issued an advisory by the manufacture company.

National Handwashing Awareness Week: Dec 1-7

What better time to focus on hand washing than right now! The CDC says it is one of the most important steps we can take to avoid becoming sick. Scrub those hands for 20 seconds (while singing a little ditty) and keep yourself and others safe. For more information, please check out the CDC website.

Upcoming Training

GRIP Webinar Training

These GRIP-specific trainings benefit new members or serve as a great refresher for established GRIP participants. Click on the dates below for more information about the training and to register.

November 3, 10:30am | Getting your GRIP on Claims, Comp & Safety
November 3, 12:30am | Get Your First Look at Your 2021 EMR & Premium Rates

ERNwest Webinar Training

Select the dates below for more information about ERNwest-specific trainings and to register.

November   3 | 10:00am | Understanding Industrial Insurance Rates
November   5 |   2:00pm | What is Retro*
November 17 | 10:00am | Fundamentals of Claims Management*
November 19 | 10:00am | Incident Analysis: A Systems Approach

View a list of all ERNwest training

COVID-19 Resources

MBA King/Snohomish

MBA Pierce

Remember to report all incidents on the ERNwest website so that your claims manager is aware and can help guide you through the process. |

For precautionary reasons related to COVID-19, MBAKS offices are closed until King County enters Phase 3. Staff is working remotely and can be reached via phone or email. Events and class cancellations are noted on the MBAKS Events Calendar. Refer to the MBAKS COVID-19/Updates for up-to-date information.

GRIP Retro Questions?
Ashlee Day, GRIP Group Manager, (253) 237-0809 |

GRIP Safety Questions? 
John Sevier, GRIP Safety Manager | (253) 300-6399 |

GRIP Stay-At-Work Questions?
Tom Nelson, GRIP Stay-At-Work Coordinator | (253) 372-2357 |

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