If left unchecked, work site injuries and associated workers’ compensation costs can spiral out of control and severely damage a company’s financial health. While almost all states require companies to maintain workers’ compensation insurance, there are proven ways to reduce your workers’ compensation costs.
Most employers dread unexpected OSHA inspectors showing up at their company. However, OSHA proactively supports companies by developing and maintaining comprehensive safety programs. Once established, safety programs will reduce injuries, increase productivity and reduce workers’ compensation costs. OSHA offers free sample safety and health programs for companies to borrow from and incorporate into their company safety program. This includes three of the most important safety policies: fall protection, lockout/tagout and hazard communication (HAZCOM).
A safety program is only words and policies without engaged employees and management to support and enforce. Still, it is highly recommended that the safety committee predominately be made up of employees. This is because management-driven safety committees tend to reduce employee buy-in because employees negatively associate them with controlling management. However, safety committees that are comprised of enthusiastic and experienced employees will result in increased participation from co-workers. Be sure to host monthly meetings, take actionable notes and invite all employees to attend.
Modified Duty Program
Some work accidents are simply unavoidable. However, many companies make the mistake of blindly sending injured employees to a doctor without proper modified duty paperwork. A modified duty means that injured employees can quickly return to work with certain duty restrictions.
For example, a worker that injures their left hand may immediately return to work, but only be allowed to sit and use their right hand. Therefore, employees can quickly return to work and maintain their dignity. Most important, companies can avoid accumulating disastrous ‘time loss’ numbers. To be most successful, companies should consider forming a collaborative relationship with an emergency clinic and a workers’ comp attorney, such as Idaho Falls workers’ compensation attorneys at Racine Olsen.
In addition to engaged safety committee employees, companies should regularly provide safety training. Most manufacturing facilities will have a morning safety topic and mandatory monthly OSHA training. However, hands-on training is highly recommended for companies that need to reduce their workers’ compensation rates. For example, instead of discussing fire extinguishers, provide a live demonstration of how to put out a mechanical fire. Next, be sure to practice live emergency drills to prepare employees how to quickly respond to and properly handle a medical emergency. Finally, be sure to offer free basic first aid classes to employees every year.
In the end, workers’ compensation rates can be reduced through a comprehensive safety program that includes training, a safety committee and modified duty program.