Lowering WC Claims
Containing the cost of workers’ compensation claims isn’t something that starts the moment a claim occurs. It’s an ongoing process that begins with every new hire. A successful cost containment program involves well-established and known employment practices, safety programs, training and a written workers’ compensation and injury program.
The establishment of a strong safety program, regardless of trade or risk level, is the first step in achieving long-term savings. An effective safety program should adhere to OSHA standards and be easily understood by all employees. Employers should conduct routine inspections to ensure employees are compliant and all safety measures are in place. Plans should also outline the accident reporting and investigation process, including the contact information for the person in the company who handles incidents.
In addition, implementing routine training will help to keep employees up-to-date on the best practices for positions and prevent complacency. When employees have been in the same position for long periods of time, they’re likely to skip steps or listen to their gut rather than operate step-by-step. New employees need to learn the process and procedures of a job rather than just assuming the proper procedures. When employees have continuous risk awareness, they’re less likely to have incidents. When incidents occur, refresher training through memos or hands-on sessions should be conducted.
Companies should have a strong written workers’ compensation and injury program. When employees have the knowledge of the workers’ compensation and injury process, they’re more comfortable with the situation and approaching their employer. This can be a basic policy that outlines the steps needed to be taken for first response to the injury and claim filing. Worksites should have emergency contact information posted for first responders, medical centers and the closest emergency room. Strong programs should also list the procedures for returning to work and light duty.
Operating with full knowledge of claims management and anticipation of a claim from the day an employee starts will save you money in the long run. Cost containment in workers’ compensation truly needs to follow the old adage, “It's better to be proactive than reactive.”
For more on this topic, I presented a webinar with Lauren Gizzi, Safety Director at Assurance, on the 'Top 5 Ways to Reduce Costly Claims.' The webinar was hosted through BLR. The on-demand version can be purchased on the BLR website.
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