Monday, March 30, 2009

SPRING 2009



FIVE Ways to Control Workers Compensation Costs

Workers compensation is essential to protect your employees and your company. To sharpen your company’s competitive edge, it’s important to control costs. By taking a fresh look at your company’s approach to safety, hiring, classification, and claims management, you may find new ways to keep costs under control. Here are some tips:

1. Thoroughly train new employees:
Nearly a third of workers compensation claims result from accidents with new employees. Evaluate your orientation program for ways to improve new employee training.

2. Make safety a top priority:
The best way to keep costs down is to not incur claims. Create a safety culture throughout the company, and engage employees directly in the effort. Solicit ideas from employees on how to create a safer workplace.

3. Pre-screen employees:
An investment in pre-employment drug screening can save a significant amount in claims down the road. Statistics show that workers who are substance abusers are far more likely to have an on-the-job accident.

4. Manage claims proactively:
Monitor an injured worker’s condition so they can return to work as quickly as possible. If an injured employee rejoins your workforce on light duty, you can reduce the claim amount.

5. Make sure employees are classified properly:
If employees are misclassified, you may not have the coverage you need, which can result in large audits.





Lower Workers Compensation Claims by Reducing Work-Related Stress

Proactive steps which employers can take to reduce stress in their work force include:

Improve employee communications - Make your workers feel involved by getting their feedback on management plans or decisions.

Give employees a sense of control – Give your employees as much independence in the operation of their jobs as is reasonable and responsible.

Keep employees in the loop – Eliminate the stress of uncertainty by telling your employees what changes are going on and how they may be affected.

Don’t label employees – It’s healthy for employees to vent their concerns and frustrations as opposed to bottling up the stress because they fear retaliation, so let them express themselves freely.

Don’t overload your employees – Do whatever possible to reduce excessive workloads that exceed an employee’s abilities. Spread the load.

Create realistic work schedules – Try to be flexible with your work schedules by considering the demands imposed on employees outside the job. Be as creative as possible and show you care. Be approachable.

Define their roles – Ensure employees clearly understand their responsibilities and what roles they play.

Give meaning to your employees’ skills – Try to design jobs so they stimulate and give meaning to your employees. Treat each employee as an asset and offer opportunities for advancement and cross-training. Try to incorporate all the skills they have to offer.

Socialize – Give your employees a venue in which they can interact socially, such as company picnics, sports or other activities.

Work-related stress affects the morale of your company. Stressed employees file more work-related claims resulting from physical injuries, health and mental conditions. You can reduce workers compensation claims simply by taking action and implementing positive stress-relieving measures.