A question Safety Guys are asked frequently is “How can I control my workers’ comp costs?” A quick review of the client’s loss history and their safety program often reveals several missing items that would help to control this expense:
1. Write Safety Rules That Are Integrated into Your Organization’s Culture
An effective safety program contains written safety rules that must be followed by all workers. Not only that, but these safety rules must become part of the workplace culture. All employees must be held accountable for their actions, and everyone in the company must know and follow the rules.
2. Identify and Eliminate Workplace Hazards
If you can, find and eliminate whatever hazards exist within your work or your company. Where hazards are inherent, employers should train employees on the safest way of performing assigned tasks. It is especially important for employers to train employees on the proper use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Employers who are successful in lowering workers’ comp costs will also establish a constant review of workplace operations to improve productivity and safety.
3. Reduce Injury Claim Costs through an Employee’s Modified Work
Have an employee recovering from an injury? Employers should do their best to provide modified duty for injured workers released by their treating physician. This allows injured employees to perform some work while recovering from an injury. Returning an injured worker to some form of meaningful work as soon as he is allowed by his doctor to do so REDUCES the indemnity costs of an injury claim. Workers returned to modified duty heal more than 30% FASTER than those who sit at home until fully recovered.
4. Add Safety Performance to Your Employee Annual Review
By making safety performance part of the employee annual review process, you let your employees know that you care about company safety. Employees who consistently follow the safety rules and perform their duties in a safe manner should receive a better evaluation than those who don’t.
By far the BEST way to reduce workers’ comp costs is to prevent injuries from happening in the first place. Clients with effective employee safety programs have FEWER injury incidents over the course of a policy period. Fewer claims mean a better experience modifier, which results in lower premiums over time.
Next week’s safety topic is Accident Prevention. The fine folks at the Texas Department of Insurance have crafted some excellent hand-outs on this subject. Hold a safety meeting to discuss accident prevention and use the occasion to go over your company safety rules.