Workers’ Compensation can be a large cost center for a business. The extent depends on the type of business and the state where the business is located. The cost to insure a single employee making $30,000 per year can range from less than $100 (for a clerical worker) to around $1,400 (for a restaurant worker) to more than $10,000 (for a roofing worker). For employers in industries that require dangerous work, limiting Workers’ Compensation costs is vital. Here are some things you can do.

First, employers should prevent injuries from happening. There are as many ways to keep a safe workplace as there are workplaces. However, certain components of a safety strategy are universal:

• Keep workspaces clean and free from clutter. Slips and falls can happen in an office, a fitness center, a store or a construction site. Post warnings of slippery surfaces or floors littered with power cords and computer cables.
• Keep equipment in good condition. This is especially important on construction sites, where injuries can be especially severe. Ladders, tools, power equipment and other materials should be maintained so as to minimize the risk of injury.
• Provide appropriate protective equipment. This means gloves and hardhats on construction sites, burn protection at restaurants, masks and gloves in medical offices, and so on.
• Train workers on safety. Make sure they know the safe ways to perform all tasks. Do this during new employee orientation and hold periodic follow-up safety training sessions. These will be needed more often in hazardous work environments. All workplaces where frequent injuries are occurring should also have them.
• Create a safety-conscious culture. Model safe work practices and let employees know they are expected to do likewise. Recognize and reward safe practices. If the business can afford it, pass on a portion of Workers’ Compensation savings to employees in the form of bonuses.

Second, limit the costs of injuries that do occur. Ensure that the employee gets prompt medical attention. Work with the insurance company to monitor the worker’s recovery and the costs of treatments. Ask for second opinions on expensive surgeries or treatments. Permit injured workers to return to work in lighter duty roles until they are healthy enough to resume regular work.

Third, keep detailed and accurate records of the tasks that employees perform and how much they are being paid. Workers’ Compensation premiums are based on broad employee classifications. Suppose a business has 10 employees, with eight of them doing hazardous work and two of them performing customer service work. Without records segregating the payroll of the clerical workers from the others, the insurance company will assign the high-hazard classification to all 10 employees. The business will pay more than necessary. Make sure job classification accurately reflect what each employee does so there are no surprises at audit.

Other steps to consider:
-Becoming a certified Drug-Free Workplace. Companies can offer great discounts for having this and it makes for a safer work environment.
-Having a deductible. This will help keep small claims from impacting your Loss/Claim History and it allows you to make sure all work-related injuries are handled by Worker’s Compensation so they don’t come back to haunt you later. It’s never a good idea to handle work-related injuries out-of-pocket. Just let the deductible handle that for you.

Workers’ Compensation ensures that injured workers have a reliable and speedy source of funds for medical treatment and to replace lost income. However, employers who manage it wisely can keep it from becoming too burdensome. Work with a professional insurance agent to arrange an insurance program that makes sense for the business. The business can both take care of its workers and reward its owners.

Contact us for help getting started and then let us show you how we can help further with Loss Control assistance, training, and guidance.

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