Most businesses are required by law to provide workers’ compensation insurance. It protects employees, providing income and medical care if they’re injured on the job. It also protects employers; the liability portion provides coverage for lawsuits filed as a result of a work-related injury.
As an employer, the amount you pay for workers’ compensation coverage varies according to your industry and claim history. Workers’ compensation insurance for companies that engage in office-based work is generally much less expensive than insurance for industries like construction or trucking.
Regardless of your industry, there are proactive steps you can take to keep workers’ compensation costs under control. Here are some tips:
Thoroughly train new employees: Surveys show that nearly a third of workers’ compensation claims result from accidents involving newly hired employees. Take a look at your orientation program and see if you can improve overall safety by beefing up new employee training.
Make safety a top priority: The best way to keep costs down is to not incur claims in the first place. Create a safety culture throughout the company, and engage employees directly in the effort. For example, you could establish safety councils and solicit ideas from employees on how to create a safer workplace.
Pre-screen employees: Another preventive action you can take is to make sure you hire the right employees in the first place. Statistics show that workers who are substance abusers are far more likely to have an on-the-job accident. An investment in pre-employment drug screening can save a significant amount in claims down the road.
Manage claims proactively: When an employee is injured, make sure you keep tabs on the worker’s condition and plan for their return to work as quickly as possible. In some cases, injured employees can rejoin your workforce on light duty, which can reduce the amount of the claim.
Make sure employees are classified properly: There are hundreds of classification codes used to determine the appropriate level of workers’ compensation coverage. If employees are misclassified, you may not have the coverage you need, and misclassifications can result in fines.
Workers’ compensation is essential to protect your employees ― and your company. To sharpen your company’s competitive edge, it’s important to control costs. Take a fresh look at your company’s approach to safety, hiring, classification and claims management. You may find new ways to keep costs under control.