If you have employees and reside within a state that requires worker’s compensation it’s important to understand your responsibilities as an employer. If a work-related illness or injury occurs, an employee can file for “workers’ compensation benefits regardless of who was at fault — the employee, the employer, a coworker, a customer, or some other third party.”
Workers’ compensation, also known as workmans’ comp, is a state-mandated insurance program that provides compensation to employees who suffer job-related injuries and illnesses.
According to Nolo.com, “state laws vary, but an employer’s responsibility to provide coverage usually depends on how many employees it has, what type of business it is, and what type of work the employees are doing.”
Understanding Workers Compensation
The best way to reduce injuries, illness, and associated costs is to be out in front of the issue. Workers’ compensation costs can certainly add up, however, by looking closely at the tools and resources you have at your disposal, you can reduce costs for you and your workers.
Let’s take a look at some ways you can build a great safety program that will reduce your costs associated with workers’ compensation.
1. Develop programs required by OSHA standards.
It is well known that companies with well-thought out OSHA programs have less accidents and more productive employees. It is not only a requirement for general industry, the OSHA standards allow you to give solid guidelines for incident reductions. Many incidents result from poorly developed, trained or implemented OSHA programs.
2. Investigate and document all claims.
Any company runs the risk of increasing claims driving up their insurance costs. Be sure to do your due diligence when investigating any illness or injuries. Stay in contact with the employee and medical provider or any other party involved. Keep records of everything and make sure the injured employee has a copy as well.
3. Educate and train employees .
Training plays a huge role in safety and in reducing workers’ compensation costs. The most effective way to reduce injury and illness in the workplace is to develop a detailed safety and health education training programs. The purpose of these programs should be to train you and your employees in the recognition, avoidance and prevention of dangerous and unhealthy working conditions.
4. Follow up with post loss objectives .
After an injury or illness, there are things you can do that will affect your workers’ compensation insurance costs. Be sure the affected employee received medical attention and is adjusting their duties upon returning to work. These are good ways to help the employee get back to normal as soon as possible and helps prevent future injuries.
5. Additionally, don’t wait.
File your workers’ compensation paperwork as soon as you can as there are fines for delaying. These laws, and fines vary depending on where you live. Dealing with an injured employee, running a business and navigating the workers’ compensation laws can be quite the task.
Don’t try to navigate the legal process on your own. Leave that to an attorney; especially when it comes to workers compensation.
Unfortunately employees get hurt and sick at work. It’s important to take care of them. After all, like you, they’re invested in growing your business. Having a solid plan and workers’ compensation policy in place will allow you to avoid headaches when it comes time for an employee to file a claim.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Paul Gilbert is a professional blogger sharing workers’ compensation tips of behalf of Zea Proukou, a workers’ compensation attorney that can help you and even injured employees through the difficult process. Paul loves to write on several niche including insurance, personal injury, workers’ compensation and social security disability. He is also a part-time consultant providing best solutions & support to injured workers for claiming workplace injury benefits under workers’ compensation.
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