Workers’ compensation is an essential facet of risk management in the workplace. Having the adequate insurance in place ensures that your employees will receive proper medical care and a compensatory portion of their paid income for time unable to work, and will help to protect your businesses from expensive lawsuits.
Getting Workers’ Compensation Coverage
The requirements to obtain coverage widely vary across the nation. For instance, while many states require employers to purchase an insurance policy from an insurance company, there are some that require employers to get coverage exclusively through state-operated funds. There are similar discrepancies among states over whether to use state-funds or private insurance, along with which, if any, employers qualify to self-insure for workers’ compensation. Understanding all of these specific requirements is difficult and so the best way to assure that your workers’ compensation is satisfactory is to seek professional advice.
Avoid Using Workers’ Compensation
While having workers’ compensation coverage is crucial to your business, there are steps you can take to protect your business from having to use it, and minimize the risks associated with it.
The first step is to carefully evaluate your hiring process. Hiring responsibly is key. Consider requiring background and reference checks for all hires. If a potential employee has driving duties, require an MVR. Understand and abide by the EEOC rules, which enforce measures such as the Equal Pay Act of 1963, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, and Title I and Title V of the American with Disabilities Act of 1990. Most recently, they have implemented the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of genetic information, such as genetic tests or a family medical history, by employers.
In the workplace, it is similarly crucial to develop a culture that focuses on safety. Below are several easy ways to reduce the risk of injury:
- Encourage employee participation in safety activities through education, awareness, and hazard and symptom recognition. Document all training.
- Enforce safe work methods such as regularly using personal protective equipment including gloves, helmets, and goggles when appropriate.
- Enforce safe work conditions such as ensuring all walking surfaces are smooth, walkways are free of obstruction, and that anti-slip pads and absorbent mats are used when necessary.
- Reduce repetitive tasks that use fine motor skills and avoid prolonged sitting or standing.
- Discourage improper posture that can lead to musculoskeletal disorders.
Prepare for the Unexpected
Unfortunately, even with proper attention, incidents can still occur, and so you should always be prepared. The first 24-48 hours after an injury can have a significant influence on claims outcomes and associated costs, which means that it is imperative to have an incident response process already developed. This process should include educating the injured worker on expectations, promptly reporting claims and facilitating effective communications with all parties, and using return to work programs as part of the treatment and rehabilitation process
While workers’ compensation is a difficult type of insurance to understand, it is a crucial part of risk management in any company and should be taken seriously. Contact us to further discuss your options.