Workers’ compensation insurance, or simply workers’ comp, is not just a legal requirement–it’s an investment in your staff’s security.
The precise rules vary from state to state, but the general rule is that your business must take out workers’ compensation insurance for employees that pays out if they are injured at work.
(You can check out this same information on one of our webpages in an interactive graphic!)
Education and Injury Reporting
Risk Factor: Often times employees don’t understand the workers’ compensation process. They may be afraid to report a claim for fear of losing their job or impacting a daily count of injury-free days that are tied to an incentive program.
Solution: Educate employees on the workers’ compensation system. During the hiring process, consider explaining how workers’ compensation coverage protects your employee when an injury occurs. Your employees should understand that it is their responsibility to report an injury immediately and follow the company’s guidelines for seeking medical attention. Explain your return to work policy and have your employees sign an agreement stating they understand the process.
Risk Factor: Many employers are concerned about their next OSHA visit. Worried about citations and fines, employers see OSHA as the enemy. Sound familiar?
Solution: OSHA’s On-site Consultation Program offers free and confidential safety and occupational health advice to small and medium-sized business in all states across the country, with priority given to high-hazard worksites. On-site Consultation services are separate from enforcement and do not result in penalties or citations. Consultants from state agencies or universities work with employers to identify workplace hazards provide advice on compliance with OSHA standards, and assist in establishing injury and illness prevention programs.
Return to Work Program
Risk Factor: When your employees become injured, they may need time to recover. As an employer, it may be tempting to rely solely on the workers’ compensation insurance company and/or your employee’s medical provider to communicate throughout the process. If you do, the process can become unnecessarily prolonged.
Solution: As the employer, let your insurance company and your employee’s medical provider know that you have a return to work program in place. In addition, ask the medical provider to refer to the job description that has been provided for the injured employee. As soon as the employee is medically cleared, offer a light duty position and ask them to report to work. If needed, your employee can continue to receive treatment while they continue to recover.
Risk Factor: Are you about to hire your next workers’ compensation claim? In an effort to fill a position quickly, you may take shortcuts that could cost you thousands of dollars.
Solution: Require prospective employees to complete a pre-hire physical. Then, give a copy of the intended job description to the medical provider with the physical requirements of the position. This helps ensure to hire only those capable of doing the job and keeps other employees safe.
Risk Factor: Sometimes employees are trained to do a job well, but are not trained to do their job safely. Effective training can help avoid many work-related injuries.
Solution: Your insurance broker should be able to organize monthly training classes. Many insurance carriers offer training tools at no charge. Your broker can help you utilize these tools to your advantage. For example, topics such as proper lifting techniques can be critical for many job junctions. Also, using tools like payroll stuffers can be very effective.
Medical Provider Communication
Risk Factor: Claims can remain open longer than needed due to poor communication between you and your employee’s medical provider. As a result, you may be unaware that your employee is well enough to return to work on a modified basis.
Solution: Get to know the doctors that are helping your employee heal. Your insurance broker should foster this relationship by assisting you in the selection of the medical provider prior to a claim. Meet with the medical provider, interview them, tour their facilities, ask them to tour your location, and explain your return to work program. Provide the job descriptions to the medical provider and an agreement of services can be achieved. Once a claim takes place, a clear line of communication should be established so you are kept aware of your employees’s status.
Risk Factor: Your employee may become injured and it might be tempting to rely on someone else to communicate with them. As a result, confusing your employee by the workers’ compensation process makes them unsure where to turn.
Solution: You and your supervisors need to stay in constant communication with your employees. Your insurance broker can provide some coaching and guidance throughout the process. Above all, your employees should feel that you care about their injuries and that you will be involved in helping them recover. Your direct supervisors play a key role in this process. They should be trained to effectively communicate with your employees through the injury.
Payroll Audits and EMR
Risk Factor: Statistically, your company’s Experience Modification Rate (EMR) has more than a 70% chance of being incorrect. Your EMR is a number used by insurance companies to gauge any past cost of injuries and future chances of risk. In addition, over 80% of payroll audits are done incorrectly. Both factors impact your workers’ compensation coverage.
Solution: Trust your insurance advisor. Have them assist and advocate during the annual payroll audit conducted by the insurance company. Your agent should also monitor all claims, but especially claims reserved over a $20,000 threshold. Larger claims should have a quarterly report prepared by your insurance agent to let you know the status of the claim. Additionally, your agent should work with your insurance company’s claims adjustor to close any claims as quickly as possible.
Our insurance experts are ready to help you determine the best method for obtaining proper workers’ compensation insurance for your business.
Do you need a quote? Click here! Also, you can call one of Risk Advisors at the location closest to you. We know you still have questions, and we are ready to answer them.
FOREST LAKE: 651-464-2168
Also, visit our website at www.noahinsurancegroup.com.