Issue 104 - October 2020
Workers’ Compensation Root Cause Program Update
By Alex Mellor, Senior Risk Manager
For several years, the Authority has collected root cause information for every workers’ compensation claim. The goal of this program is to identify the most frequent types of root causes that lead to injuries. For example, did the injury occur because the employee was not appropriately trained? Or was there a missing policy or procedure, which, if in place, may have prevented the injury? Uncovering answers to these questions allows the Authority to more efficiently use its resources to help member agencies prevent similar injuries in the future.
Historically, root cause information has been collected from box 10 of the Supervisor’s Injury & Illness Event Report. The report provides a number of different root causes and asks the individual completing the report (typically the injured employee’s supervisor) to identify the root cause most appropriate for that particular injury.
To improve the reliability of root cause data, the Supervisor’s Report has been modified to facilitate collecting more accurate and complete information regarding why the injury occurred. These modifications encourage the supervisor to think critically about the conditions, events, and controls that allowed the injury to occur. The Authority risk management team can then use this information to assign an appropriate root cause or causes.
Authority Senior Risk Manager Tim Karcz led the effort to modify the report: “Up to this point, our members have been the primary source for identifying workers’ compensation root cause data for the Authority. Our new process involves shifting the member’s responsibility to simply provide more information about what happened.”
The modified report is currently being piloted with a handful of members, and, depending upon feedback and effectiveness, may ultimately be rolled out to all member agencies.
In the meantime, members are encouraged to utilize root cause analysis (RCA) as part of their risk management efforts. RCA is most effective when a collaborative, repeatable procedure is used. This makes RCA a perfect activity for member safety committees.
The Authority recommends utilizing a specific RCA procedure known as The Five Whys. This procedure requires beginning with a problem statement (i.e. An employee was injured by slipping on the floor) and asking “why” multiple times until a root cause or causes are identified. More information on how to conduct RCA utilizing The Five Whys can be found in the Root Cause Tools document on the Authority’s website.
In addition, this year’s virtual Risk Management Educational Forum featured a session entitled Understanding Pool Wide Losses & Root Cause Analysis. A recording of this session can be accessed through the event website at the following link: https://event.on24.com/wcc/r/2747607/C51D4F70D1F29D93B523A041CDF863BF. The session educates member agencies on the types of losses that drive costs in the Authority’s Workers’ Compensation and Liability programs, and the value of utilizing RCA to prevent future losses.
If you have questions or would like additional information, please contact your assigned regional Risk Manager.
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