By Paul Binsfeld, president and founder of Company Nurse LLC
This is the second article in a two-part series. You can read Workers’ Compensation Trends of 2021: Part 1, here.
This year has brought challenges for every industry and organization, and opportunities for some. The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted business, creating new needs driving innovation, which I expect will continue into 2021.
Here are my predictions for 2021’s workers’ compensation trends and employee health trends and how my team and I are addressing them at Company Nurse.
Health Screenings are Here to Stay
The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced the need to screen employees before they enter the workplace for symptoms of and exposure to COVID-19. In many states, screening is recommended or even required.
screen by Company Nurse, the contact-free COVID-19 screening solution addresses this need. It has helped clients maintain a healthy work environment and provide their employees with confidence in entering the workplace.
I foresee health screenings to continue even after the COVID-19 pandemic. They are important for screening employees for other contagious diseases such as the cold or flu. Because organizations have seen how quickly diseases can spread, they will become more cautious of keeping sick employees home. The growth of remote work makes working from home more feasible, without loss of productivity.
Health screenings can prove useful for absence management. If an employee needs to isolate due to having a contagious disease (or symptoms of and/or exposure to a contagious disease), a screening tool can keep track of how long an employee will be out. Stakeholders then have the documentation and reporting they need to manage their workforce and remain in compliance with OSHA regulations. The tool can also notify employees with contact information and benefits/resources to help them navigate the process.
Evolving Regulations for Reporting and Alerting
California has released a temporary COVID-19 workplace safety standard with requirements for employers to help protect their employees from COVID-19. Requirements include screening employees for COVID-19 symptoms and exposures, contact tracing, and notifying employees of potential exposures.
I predict that other states will follow California’s lead now and into 2021 to help protect employees. It is better to be prepared for these regulations now, so your organization is not left scrambling to find a process.
Company Nurse understands that these requirements can be overwhelming for employers. That is why screen by Company Nurse, the COVID-19 screening tool, provides a simple and efficient reporting and alerting process. This makes contact tracing possible, helping your organization to adhere to such regulations.
Testing and Vaccination Requirements and Reporting
As COVID-19 testing becomes more accessible and with the availability of COVID-19 vaccines on the horizon, many organizations are asking the same question: Can COVID-19 testing and vaccinations be mandatory for employees?
Employers need to be cautious when they “mandate” and/or incentivize health decisions for employees.
When it comes to COVID-19 testing, mandatory testing active COVID-19 (PCR) illness (not an antibody test) is in alignment with EEOC guidance.
Regarding the COVID-19 vaccines, AP News reports that employers can mandate the COVID-19 vaccine as a “safety measure.” However, this comes with exceptions for medical and religious reasons, as well as other caveats. Your organization will need to take into consideration state and local guidelines, as well as other applicable regulations. Learn more in this statement from the EEOC.
Whether or not your organization requests COVID-19 testing and vaccines of its employees, it is and will continue to be important to track testing and vaccinations. This can help your organization with contact tracing, maintaining a healthy workplace, and more.
Company Nurse understands this need of its clients and makes it easy for organizations to report and manage testing and exposures in its screen by Company Nurse Admin Portal.
Workforce Technology and More in 2021
This year has shown every organization the need to quickly adapt its technology. In 2021, Company Nurse will continue to take an agile approach to its processes and technology.
When the pandemic drove many organizations from offices to working from home, Company Nurse was ready. With most of its staff already working remotely part-time or full-time, the organization had access to the necessary technology to make it an easy transition.
Looking toward 2021 and beyond, Company Nurse will continue to keep most of its workforce remote, while allowing team members who do not want to work from home to come into the office, when it is safe to do so.
With the rise of remote work, comes an increase in remote work technology. If your organization is considering shifting to a more permanent work-from-home, it will only become easier. Learn more about how you can use technology to create and maintain a great culture (even a remote culture!) for your employees, here.
With its background in nurse triage for workplace injuries, the Company Nurse team used its expertise to create the COVID-19 screening tool, screen by Company Nurse. This quick and easy screening tool has helped to identify ways to make its triage service more efficient.
Company Nurse foresees more self-service technologies, which it will integrate into its service to improve its intake process and provide its clients and their workers with a more streamlined workplace injury process.
In addition, Company Nurse sees blockchain for holding and sharing private health information to become more prevalent. One way this can be put in practice is with a “health passport,” or proof of a vaccine. Company Nurse foresees this “passport” being required to enter large gatherings: sporting events, theatres, places of worship, and more.
With blockchain, vaccine records can be sent to a tool such as screen by Company Nurse and prompt the creation of such a pass.
Want to learn how screen by Company Nurse can further help your organization address COVID-19 and prepare for 2021? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note: You should keep screening records separate from employee files and consult with legal counsel when implementing screening, testing, and/or vaccination management.
You can read Workers’ Compensation Trends of 2021: Part 1, here.