May 4, 2015

How Matt Harvey’s Pitching Comeback Can Help Your Glass Business

By Paul Bieber

Yes, this is a cheap shot way to mention that the star NY METS pitcher is 5-0 this season, after being out for a year following surgery on his pitching arm. Or that the METS are in first place in their division. But, what good is a blog without an occasional cheap shot? OK, let’s get back to the glass story. How can this tale help you in the glass business? Follow on.

Matt hurt his elbow at work—that is, by throwing a baseball. He had his surgery, which was successful, and then spent time recuperating, then worked light duty while he was rehabbing. He started out with gentle exercises, then tossing a ball, and then throwing a ball. All this time he was with his team, supporting the players and the goals of the team. 

When you have an employee who is injured, you want to get him back to your team as quickly as possible, with a positive frame of mind. Keep in contact with an injured worker, saying “hello,” telling him what is going on at work and letting him know you want him back to work, ASAP. Schedule, along with your workers’ comp carrier, a program for light-duty work. It can be stuffing envelopes or sweeping the floor. You want this to start as soon as possible. Don’t let him sit in front of the TV, seeing the lawyer ads to sue his employer. Light duty can include handling patterns from customers, or taking faxes off your machine. Anything in your company is better than an employee sitting home collecting. Let an employee learn a new career, like how to be an estimator, or to learn a customer service position. If this training is good, he will want to come back to work rather than stay home.

Let him learn a new skill, or become more proficient in your company software. Ask him to write a short training manual for a common practice at your company. Ask him to teach new employees the history of the company or to orient them to their new job. Even if you are a small company, let him paint the office or clean the trucks. Anything you can give him to do will help his return to work.

Keep his mind on returning to work and give him incentive to return. It is cheaper to pay his salary than to let workers’ comp pay him for the same time. Generally, when comp pays out on a claim, your rates go up for three years following the accident. So you are paying three times his salary in your insurance rates! Even if he can only work 30 hours per week, pay him in full. This is still better than his filing a partial comp claim for the balance 10 hours.

The best thing of all, though, is to prevent the accident in the first place and not have the comp claim. More on that in the future.