A workers’ compensation claim filed by one of your employees can cause significant harm to you and your business. You must figure out how to keep your business running smoothly while being down an employee, while worrying about the potential cost to your business because of the claim.
You may also face increased scrutiny from government or state agencies if they receive notice about the claim, and your insurance rates are likely to increase. The snowball effect from one workers’ compensation claim could end up destroying your entire business.
Understanding workers’ compensation
Workers’ compensation serves an important purpose, allowing employees who are injured while working to receive compensation. The most common forms of compensation are for lost wages and medical expenses.
While sometimes a workplace accident is completely unavoidable, there are many things you can do as an employer to reduce the chance of a workers’ compensation claim by an employee.
Taking the time and effort to do these things now can save you the additional cost, time and stress if a worker’s compensation claim is filed against you in the future.
Invest in training programs
Proper training is one of the best things you can do to reduce the chance of an accident. Take the time to thoroughly train all new employees on each of their daily tasks, emphasizing the safe and proper way to do things.
Remember that some employees may need more or different types of training than others. Some may start already trained on things such as the proper way to lift heavy objects, while some may have no idea. Tailor the training to each employee.
Have regular, ongoing training sessions for all employees. Use these sessions to remind employees of the proper ways to do things and safety protocol.
Have a written safety plan
Create a safety team, ideally a mix of employees and management. The safety team should thoroughly inspect each worksite and take note of any risks of safety hazards.
You may even want to consider using a professional risk manager for this task. Once you have properly assessed all safety risks, put together a written safety plan.
Your safety plan should be detailed and can include information on exactly which safety protocols should be followed and how to report an accident if one occurs.
Include the Occupational Safety and Health Administration requirements in your safety plan. Do this assessment regularly and update your safety plan as necessary.
Create a culture focused on safety
Finally, cultivate and maintain a culture that focuses on safety first. A good way to do this is to encourage employees to speak up if they believe something they are doing is unsafe.
If they do come to you expressing concerns over safety issues, do not dismiss them or minimize their issues. Listen to them and take appropriate action.
Defending against a workers’ compensation claim can cost you a high amount of time and money, as well as potentially ruin your reputation as an employer.
No matter how much you try to create a safe workplace environment, you could find yourself having to litigate a workers’ compensation claim. Fortunately, there are experienced employment attorneys who can help.