Managing Risk to Reduce Workers’ Compensation Costs
Workers’ compensation insurance rates were on the decline for years, but beginning in 2014, rates were on the way back up. Unfortunately, this comes at a time when businesses can’t easily afford the extra expense. The economy is nowhere near fully recovered, health insurance costs to employers are on the rise, and competition in most industries is stiff. Now, more than ever, it’s important to keep those rates under control. Lower workers’ compensation rates are directly related to the number of injuries at your workplace. Here’s how to manage the risks associated with rising workers’ compensation costs.
Low Rates Start With the Right Hiring Practices
Fully reading resumes is the first step. Look for workers without gaps in employment, which could be an indication of a worker who was previously injured or tries to avoid work. Background checks are also helpful, as are drug screening programs and psychological examinations. Also, look for workers who are fit enough to do the work without straining or injuring themselves.
Make Safety a Top Priority and an Ongoing Issue
It’s easy to put up signs and warnings about safety, and it’s just as easy for workers to completely ignore those signs. Safety needs to be an active discussion. Offer rewards for workers who avoid injury and use the proper safety precautions. Also, hold workers accountable when they do not follow procedures and do unsafe things on the job site.
Classify Jobs Correctly
There are over 600 different job codes and classifications, each associated with a known risk of injury. Make sure that you are classifying each job appropriately. Since these rules are tough to understand, a PEO can help you get workers coded properly, which helps you get the correct coverage for each worker and keep rates affordable.
Establish Drug and Alcohol Policies
Drug and alcohol abuse, even when it is done after hours, contributes to greater numbers of injuries on the job. Along with regular and random testing, employers should consider offering treatment programs and other means for employees to stay sober and safe. These programs can also contribute to greater employee morale and job satisfaction, which also leads to fewer workplace injuries and workers’ compensation claims.
Keep the Job Site Clean and Safe
A work environment that is free of debris, tripping hazards, unsafe equipment, and unnecessary clutter is safer. Workers that aren’t subject to rickety ladders, unmarked stairs, and other unsafe conditions are less likely to become injured. Fewer injuries translate directly into lower workers’ compensation claims.
Train Employees Well
Workers need to be adequately trained to do their jobs before they are allowed to do the jobs without assistance. Ongoing training, including the proper use of safety equipment and safety procedures, also reduces the risk of injuries. Make your workplace an open, honest environment where workers feel free to discuss safety issues, ask questions about proper procedures, and aren’t embarrassed to wear the safety equipment necessary to do the job.
Never Allow an Injury to Go Unreported
Even the smallest injury should be reported and treated. Studies have shown that a lack of reporting small injuries leads to greater claims in the long run. Keep the necessary claims forms handy at all work sites, and make sure your managers and supervisors are properly trained to fill out the forms.
Make Use of a PEO
A PEO can help lower your claims in several ways. In addition to advising you on ways to lower your claims, these professionals can also help you properly classify your employees. PEOs also manage your payroll, so that you are always buying the correct amount of workers’ compensation insurance according to your personnel and job classifications. Contact SourceOne Partners to find the ideal PEO to manage your payroll and workers’ compensation needs today. Call 561-674-0748 or fill out a form online.