There are many things interested stakeholders can do to reduce workers’ compensation costs. In doing so, they can make their programs more effective and efficient. This requires engagement by all interested stakeholders and a willingness to review the workplace and beyond for safety hazards. Once they are identified, changes need to be made to reduce or eliminate the chance of injury.
Regular Safety Review of Workplaces
Most people are accustomed to an annual “spring cleaning” and regular chores around their home. The same should apply to the workplace. Interested stakeholders should make a regular walk-through of their workplaces and make sure everything is in order. Additional steps and emphasis should occur when spills happen in the work place. In other instances, employers should engage their employee’s to clean up their workstations and make sure it is clean at all times.
Addressing Common Safety Concerns
Additional steps must be taken to ensure a safe and secure workplace. Some easy to implement suggestions include:
- Fire extinguishers: State laws and local ordinances typically provide guidance on what types of fire extinguishers should be in a work place and their quantity. They should be visible and in proper working order at all times. They also require regular servicing;
- First Aid Kits: Every workplace should have a First Aid kit that meets basic emergency needs. In addition to Band-Aids, tape and gauze, it is also important to include ice packs and other essentials. What is stocked in a kit should be consistent with the type of work performed in your workplace. Always be ready to dial 9-1-1 if a severe injury occurs;
- Emergency evacuation plan: Having an effective plan that is understood by all employees is important. Evacuation plans should also be posted around the workplace and pointed out to new employees when they first start. Reminders should occur that involves all employees and contractors on an annual basis;
- Fire and severe weather drills: Planning for a fire or severe weather is often overlooked in workplaces. Planning for the unexpected is critical and can pay dividends in moments of danger. It is also important to remind all employees what they are to do in these instances on an annual basis;
- Workplace violence: It is a sad reality of modern society that violence takes place in the workplace. Proactive stakeholders can implement several strategies to prevent this from occurring and mitigate their risk. Identifying potential violence issues is the first step to successfully addressing this issue. It is also important that employers effectively deal with it when it occurs, which can include termination of an employee. Having an “active shooter” protocol is also something to consider.
- Other Workplace Safety: Employers can also be proactive on issues of workplace safety by reviewing their policies and procedures related to safety. Important steps one can take include making sure all employees wear proper identification while in the work environment. Badges can also be used to unlock/lock critical access points. Keep in mind that certain entrances must remain unlocked during normal business hours.
- Safety Requires Everyone: Workplace safety requires the engagement of all employees—from upper management to the newest employee. When leadership within an organization takes the lead, others will take notice and follow.
Reducing workers’ compensation costs starts with a safe work environment. Some of these program-enhancing steps are simple, yet require everyone to be fully engaged.
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Author Michael Stack, Principal, COMPClub, Amaxx LLC. He is an expert in workers compensation cost containment systems and helps employers reduce their work comp costs by 20% to 50%. He works as a consultant to large and mid-market clients, is co-author of Your Ultimate Guide To Mastering Workers Comp Costs, a comprehensive step-by-step manual of cost containment strategies based on hands-on field experience, and is founder of COMPClub, an exclusive member training program on workers compensation cost containment best practices.
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