This presentation will outline the importance of solid case management for the health and safety professional. The basis for this presentation is an 8- hour Seminar, entitled "Case Management, Searching for the Truth." In order for any OSHA Recordability Determination to be done, a thorough incident investigation must be completed in a timely manner.

Typical incident investigations historically are not completed on every incident, whether it is a first aid case, simply an OSHA recordable, or lost work day case or a new miss. This is a serious flaw in the existing system. It has become almost systematic spend the majority of our efforts on preventing incidents and a very small part of our time investigating the incident.

Traditional incident investigations include a quick determination of the following items:

  1. "WHAT HAPPENED",

  2. And probably "WHY IT HAPPENED", and

  3. WHAT CORRECTIVE MEASURES CAN BE TAKEN TO PREVENT SIMILAR INCIDENTS IN THE FUTURE"

  4. We may even search for the "ROOT CAUSE" too.

However, few, if any employers and safety/health professionals are asking the question "DID IT REALLY HAPPEN?" This line of questioning has resulting in a fundamental difference in the philosophy of safety today.

The basis for this additional question is founded on the combination of the following items:

  1. High unemployment and significant number of layoffs since 9–11. February, 2002 report by the Department of Labor shows 308,000 new unemployment claims.

  2. Many people from all walks of life are without work and cannot find work, despite what they are doing.

  3. Many of these unemployed either have no health care benefits for themselves, or their families, or by virtue of their unemployment cannot afford it.

  4. Current unemployment benefits are a fraction of their previous income, that are only available for 13–14 weeks in most states, despite efforts to briefly extend these benefits.

  5. Many people that are employed are required to work longer than necessary when their bodies are wearing out in combination with significant losses in investments and retirement funds.

  6. According to the NSC Injury Facts* for year 2000, high accident rates off the job are far grater than accidents and injuries on-the-job. 65% of all injuries (approximately 2 our of 3) are off the job injuries. 88% (8 of 9) deaths occur away from work.

  7. Secondly*, 54% of all falls occur at home and 88% (8 out of 9) occur off the job. That means that if you have 20 falls on the job, how many must have occurred off the job were 167 nationwide.

  8. The temptation to turn in a non-work related injury into a work related is tremendous. Not to mention, the savings in wages, insurance deductibles (usually 10%) and time required to heal is significantly longer.

  9. There also is the temptation to ask for potentially high settlement costs to settle early through media advertisement and media sensationalism.

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