Do you spend more than you should on workers’ compensation insurance? According to the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, for every $100 of payroll that companies across the nation pay out, the median cost of workers' comp is $1.85. But a median only says so much. In some states, the average workers’ compensation insurance cost runs much higher:
- $3.48 in California
- $2.87 in Connecticut
- $2.82 in New Jersey
- $2.75 in New York
- $2.68 in Alaska
- $2.55 in Oklahoma
No matter where you’re located, the effort to bring workers' compensation insurance costs down is an ongoing challenge for many businesses, if not a downright riddle. But it is an answerable one.
Here are five reliable ways to take control.
- Smart hiring, orientation and training. Carefully screen job candidates for red flags, including past complaints, sub-par performance or any inexcusable behavior. You may choose to do a background check or drug test, if applicable. Once your new hire is on board, don’t breeze through the training period. Establish a program to orient them to the hazards of your workplace, and make it a priority to communicate clear expectations about safety protocol from day one.
- Safety culture. Once you’ve set expectations, you need a way to follow through. A good safety program offers continuing instruction and fosters buy-in at every level of your hierarchy. Be proactive about addressing known hazards. Create a communication channel so employees can notify you to hazards you’re not aware of. Offer incentives to those who model the behavior you want to see. Hire a safety coordinator to observe where protocols aren’t followed, and strategize ways to address the underlying obstacles.
- Prompt investigation, thorough communication. When someone in your workforce gets hurt, respond immediately. Investigate the incident, take pictures or video of the injury site, get the story from the injured worker, and gather additional information from anyone else who may have witnessed what happened. Report the claim promptly and expedite treatment to speed your employee’s time to recovery.
- Proactive medical relationships. Actively cultivate relationships with network providers that focus on workers’ comp and offer systems for coordinating case management and controlling pharmaceutical costs. Have a nurse on-site, or available by phone to evaluate injuries as soon as they happen and identify the type of care your employees need. Partner with a nurse case manager to coordinate care during the employee’s time away from work.
- Focus on early-return-to-work. It may take a while for an injured employee to be physically able to return to pre-injury assignments. But there may be other productive work that can be done in the meantime. The sooner you bring workers back, the less you’ll pay for their workers’ compensation claims. Early-return-to-work is also essential for helping workers feel valued, part of the team and respected during their recoveries, heading off the litigation that often ensues when injured workers are home on the couch watching personal injury attorney commercials all day. Offer light duty or reduced hours to support your employee’s recovery and facilitate a smooth, proactive transition.
Now that you know that five fastest ways to take control of workers’ compensation insurance costs, take a moment to assess your company’s performance. Is there an area you’re missing? An opportunity for improvement? We’re here to help. For more information on designing a workers’ compensation insurance program that meets your business objectives, talk to us.