Are you looking for ways to reduce your Workers’ Compensation costs? Establishing and managing safety programs allows you to control your premiums by minimizing losses. Here are 7 ways you can take control of your Workers' Compensation program.1. Leadership must be behind it 100%
There is a reason your EMOD rate follows ownership and not the company. Studies have shown that the level of safety commitment by a company’s owner is the #1 driver of a successful workers’ compensation program. Ownership and management must be thought leaders and be example setters as well. If employees don’t see safety as a culture and buy into the program, it will not be successful long term.
2. Have a Return to Work Program in place
Believe it or not, the quickest way to get injured workers back to work is by putting them back to work as soon as possible. A return to work program provides alternative job functions for workers who are injured and have only been cleared for limited or modified duty by the doctor. Studies have shown that injured employees given modified job responsibilities recover and return to their normal job functions quicker than those that are left to sit on the couch and recover fully be returning. For a successful return to work program, consider the most common medical restrictions for injured workers and build modified duties that allow the employee to work around the injury.
You can be creative, from office duties and cleaning to local volunteer opportunities that allow you to send an injured employee to your favorite charitable organization while they recover.
3. Know your coverage and what pushes the cost to rise
Your workers’ compensation premium is built around your company’s payroll and specifically the job classifications within it. Ask your agent or investigate it yourself to see which job classifications are rated the highest. You may even realize you are attributing too much payroll to a high-cost class code.
4. Develop a training program and build a safety culture
Building a rock-solid safety culture begins as soon as a new employee is hired or better yet, during the hiring process. Don’t be afraid to let potential hires know that safety is paramount in your organization and unsafe work habits will be grounds for termination without question.
After they are hired, make sure you have an easy-to-follow training program to bring them up to speed quickly and safely. Assign safety leaders and mentors who have bought into the culture to work directly with new hires. Teach them that the safety of themselves and their co-workers is their primary duty.
Lastly, safety training and culture development is not a race with a finish line. In other words, the process never ends whether it’s a new employee or a 20-year veteran.
Most claims occur with either new employees or long-time veterans who have lost sight of the basics. Safety is never mastered and must be consciously promoted at all times to be most effective,
5. Make safety an actual living, breathing company program or policy
It is of utmost importance to have a written program in place. It may not seem important, but as humans, we have trouble buying into anything we can’t put our hands on. Write a policy, update the policy, and actively promote the policy.
Most importantly though, you must follow through with your policy. It’s one thing for employees to know the company has a policy, but it’s a completely different world when they know it is enforced without exception.
Also, verify the program is working. Do employees know and regularly follow it? Are they participating in training, meetings, etc.? Are the same employees getting injured repeatedly? Use the data you have available to determine if any changes need to be made.
6. Do not wait to file claims or try to see if they’ll go away.
Your safety program must include procedures for filing claims and this decision must be made efficiently. Carriers keep track of the correlation between the date a claim occurred versus when it was filed and can tell you clearly that claims filed within 2 days have a much greater opportunity to be resolved quickly. Claims that are not filed, not known about, or just ignored tend to be the claims that drag on for months or even years.
7. Don’t be afraid to dig into your claims when they occur.
Don’t leave the investigation up to the adjuster. Try to verify what the cause of the claim was as soon as possible. Ask the injured employee how the incident could have been avoided or prevented altogether. Check to see if a safety procedure was ignored or whether you need to make a change to current practices. Don’t be afraid to build a safety committee to investigate common injuries and ways to prevent them. The insurance carrier is there to help you, but they won’t know your business as well as you and your team.
I hope these tips will help get your safety culture up and running. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your carriers and or each out to Dean and Draper for help building a rock-solid risk management program for your company.
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