Worker’s Compensation insurance is designed to provide for your employees in the event that they are injured on the job. A clean injury claims record and safe business practices can lead to lowered premiums for this state-required coverage. In order to minimize you and your employees’ exposure to workplace hazards there are several good practices that you should implement in your business as well as services that are provided by many insurance carriers. Some of the things you can do on your own are:
- Develop a set claim-reporting process for your office. Designate to whom they are reported and what the reporting process entails. Be sure that all incidents are properly documented with photographs, statements, and other supporting evidence.
- Hold periodic safety meetings. These can be relatively infrequent, but should educate the employees about your claim reporting process, stance on fraudulent claims, and what they are covered for if an incident occurs. You should also go over locations or activities with increased risk in the workplace and the practices that can best avoid injury.
- Find a reputable medical provider. This provider should be the one that all injured employees go to in the event of a workplace injury; this will simplify claim filing and ensure that a claim is paid fully. Exceptions would be for specialized care and emergency treatment.
- Stay in contact with injured employees. The key to retaining employees after a lengthy recovery is to show them that you value them as parts of your company. The retention rate for post-injury workers drops off steeply after they have missed several months of work, so be sure to encourage them to return to work, in some capacity, as soon as they are able.
- Develop a return to work program. This may be the best way to show your injured employee how much they are valued and also diminishes the impact of their absence from their normal job. A return to work program is a way to get the injured employee back into the work environment in a limited capacity, performing work that they are able to do while injured and healing. Any work program should be cleared by the attending physician beforehand and work can range from simple paperwork to part-time hours doing the same work as before the injury.
While these five practices can lead to a much safer workplace and diminish your risk exposure for worker’s compensation claims, many carriers offer loss control programs that can further reduce workplace risks. Some of these include:
- Risk analysis visits. These visits are generally performed by professionals with expertise in your field of business. They will go through your business practices and daily operations to help identify hotspots of increased exposure for employees.
- Development of safety programs. Insurance company representatives may help you to design or tweak any safety programs that your business needs and can also help you to implement new ones pertaining to your business.
- Fraud investigations. If you suspect a worker is filing a worker’s compensation claim under false pretenses or could be lying about some aspects of the incident, then contact the carrier’s fraud department and let them know of your concerns. They will investigate the occurrence and take the necessary actions to resolve the issue.
A good practice when looking at your insurance options is to ask your agent about the programs offered by the insurance carriers. Check their availability to companies of your size as some may only offer these services to very large businesses. For workers compensation, companies with extra programs, like these, may be worth paying a few extra dollars for on your policy.
For more reading on the limits of workers compensation insurance and how it is different from disability insurance, check out our blog post comparing and contrasting the two options.