Employers can significantly reduce the cost of their workers’ compensation premiums by following a program of accident prevention, better claimsand prevention of fraud and abuse.
Specifically, you should:
- Investigate all accidents. You can’t design an accident prevention program unless you know the source of the accidents, what types of accidents most frequently occur and which ones are the most severe. Keep records on all accidents, not only the ones resulting in claims. (Your OSHA records are the place to start.)
- Have an accident prevention program. Many states offer free consultations with safety and health specialists who will come to your business to design specific accident prevention programs. Some states hold free workshops throughout the year to advise employers on how to avoid workplace injuries and occupational diseases. West Virginia alone conducts more than 1,000 workshops a year.
- Report accidents promptly. The sooner you file an accident report, the sooner your employee will be evaluated, treated and returned to work. Delays in employer reporting result in employees contacting lawyers and litigating claims. Employers usually have 10 days in which to file an accident report.
- Stay in touch with the injured worker and the doctor. Follow the progress of the worker’s recovery. This will help you design an appropriate return-to-work program.
- Follow the progress of a worker’s claim. Doing so will help you detect errors, fraud and abuse.
- Use return-to-work/light-duty programs. These are one of the most effective ways to reduce your workers’ compensation costs. If a worker is too severely injured to return to regular work, make sure you have transitional or light-duty alternatives available.
- Know your insurance system. Are you in the lowest rate classification for your type of business? The classification should be based on your principal line of business, not on a particularly hazardous job. Shop for the best rate; in Illinois, for example, more than 300 carriers compete for employers’ business.
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