Throughout the year we have discussed several ways to try and cut costs and exposure. There is no better time to implement these cost savings techniques than at the start of a new year. People almost expect change when early January arrives, starting off with the often-failed New Year’s resolutions. In case you didn’t heed to our advice throughout the year, here is yet another reminder of some ways you can make a difference in attempting to reduce your work comp costs:
1. Healthy employees are less likely to get hurt
Employers are taking a vested interest in the overall health of their employees. Discounts on insurance can be applied for employees that undergo a yearly physical, which can provide early detection of a potential medical issue that may have gone unnoticed without the proper testing. Employers also implement wellness programs, exercise facilities, discounts for local gym memberships, good-natured weight loss competitions, and so on. Anything can make a difference, so give it a shot.
2. Review your loss runs to review for injury trends
Companies with several locations may overlook the fact that 60-70% of their claims may come from one of their larger locations. The same could be said about a particular class of employees that are doing the same type of job are the ones mainly getting injured. So review your loss runs and see if you can pick up on some injury trends, then implement ways to reduce exposure within that particular job class.
3. Happy employees like working
There is a correlation between work comp injuries and work environments where there is a lot of labor-management tension. If this can be diffused, you could see a decrease in claims. Although risk is present at all times, it seems to be less prevalent in locations where the employees are satisfied, rewarded for good work, and locations that promote overall job safety as a whole.
4. Promote early claim reporting
Since you cannot avoid risk of injury all the time, at least try and promote early claim reporting. The earlier a claim is sent to the carrier, the sooner they can get involved. Oftentimes employees wait until the pain is unbearable before reporting a claim. It is at this stage that conservative treatment is no longer effective, depending on the injury. Early intervention can cut down on time away from work due to injury because conservative, non-invasive treatment will be successful.
5. Establish a return to work program
One of the biggest ways to cut down on wage loss exposure is to keep employees working, even if they have medical restrictions. The more flexible you are with accommodating work, the more employees know that even though they are injured they will still be reporting to work, and if they fail to report for light duty work then they should know that they will not be getting paid at all.
Feel free to take this list in to your peers and see what they have to say. Even if you choose to only implement a few of the above listed items, it is better than implementing none of them. Change will take time–this is not a process that can take place overnight. But stick with it, track your progress, and see what can happen. Chances are you will see some success at some point down the road.
Author Michael B. Stack, CPA, Director of Operations, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is an expert in employer communication systems and part of the Amaxx team helping companies reduce their workers compensation costs by 20% to 50%. He is a writer, speaker, and website publisher. www.reduceyourworkerscomp.com.
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