Fine For Employee Deaths Amounts To Slap On The Wrist

 

As the Alberta (Canada) Federation of Labor (AFL) sees it, the recent fine given to oil company Sinopec amounts to nothing more than a slap on the wrist.
 
According to the AFL, the $1.5 million fine will have little or no impact on halting the company from continuing to have in place reported practices that endanger their employees.
 
During a recent court hearing, the Canadian subsidiary of Chinese oil corporation Sinopec was fined $1.5 million for an incident that led to the deaths of a pair of their employees their lives.
 
As AFL President Gil McGowan put it, “One and a half million dollars doesn’t even amount to a rounding error in the annual budget of a monstrous global corporation like Sinopec. This fine does nothing to dissuade them from playing fast and loose with the safety of their workforce.”
 
 
Imported Third World Health and Safety Standards
 
The story unfolded when Sinopec and a pair of other companies were charged after a 2007 container collapse resulted in the deaths of two temporary foreign workers at an oil sands project near Fort McKay, Alberta. In all, 53 charges were handed down against the companies, of which Sinopec pled guilty to three charges of failing to oversee the health and safety of its employees.
 
McGowan noted that “Sinopec didn’t just import workers from the third world, they also imported third-world health and safety standards. Alberta missed its chance to send a message that Chinese companies working in the oil sands need to play by Canadian rules.”
 
While McGowan added that it might be the largest safety fine in Alberta history, it further demonstrates that Alberta has a long history in failing to aggressively enforce its own workplace safety rules.
 
The two victims, Ge Genbao, 28, and Lui Hongliang, 33, were just two of the more than 130 Cantonese-speaking workers who were transported from China for the Sinopec oil sands project.
 
 
Complete Abdication of Safety Responsibility
 
“We shouldn’t forget the circumstances that led to the deaths of Genbao and Hongliang,” McGowan went on to say. “The company did not get the construction plans certified by an engineer. The wires weren’t strong enough to hold up against the wind. It was a complete abdication of responsibility on the part of the employer.”
 
China Petrochemical Corporation (Sinopec Group) is a super-large petroleum and petrochemical enterprise group established in July 1998 on the basis of the former China Petrochemical Corp.
 
 
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.  Contact: mstack@reduceyourworkerscomp.com.
 
©2013 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law.

Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker, attorney, or qualified professional about workers comp issues.

Death of Washington Scuba Diver Leads to Safety Citations

 

The death of diver in Washington State last summer while on the job has led to repercussions for one department.
 
State officials with The Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) recently cited the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for 15 worker-safety violations as part of their investigation into a drowning fatality involving a DNR diver last summer. The citation represents a potential penalty of $172,900.
 
 
Deceased Diver Part of 4 Person Dive Team
 
The deceased diver, David Scheinost, 24, was part of a four-person dive team from the DNR Aquatic Resources Division that was collecting geoduck samples to test for paralytic shellfish poisoning from the Manzanita and Restoration Point geoduck harvest tracts off Bainbridge Island on July 24.
 
As the day unfolded, a pair of SCUBA (self-contained underwater breathing apparatus) divers had deployed on their third dive of the day when Scheinost came to the surface in distress, calling out that he couldn’t breathe. The others were unable to reach him before he went beneath the surface and was gone. His body was found three days later.
 
 
L&I Investigation Points Out Problems
 
The L&I investigation involving the dive-safety policies and practices at DNR discovered:
 
             370 occurrences over a six-month period in which divers were deployed without carrying a reserve breathing-gas supply.
             DNR did not ensure a designated person was in charge at the dive location to supervise all aspects of the diving operation affecting the health and safety of the divers.
 
L&I Says ‘Willful’ Violations Took Place
 
As L&I concluded, these were “willful” violations, which means they were committed with intentional disregard or plain indifference to worker safety and health regulations.
 
“Commercial diving involves risks that unfortunately lead too often to tragedies like this incident,” stated Anne Soiza, assistant director of L&I’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health. “These significant risk factors require advance planning, properly maintained equipment and strict adherence to procedures to ensure the protection of workers’ lives on each and every dive.”
 
Along with the pair of willful violations, L&I cited DNR for eight “serious” and five “general” violations for not complying with standard safe-diving practices and procedures, including failure to:
 
             Have effective accident prevention and training programs.
             Ensure that divers maintained continual visual contact with each other.
             Inspect and maintain equipment.
             Have a stand-by diver available while divers are in the water.
 
L&I is responsible for workplace safety and health and investigating workplace deaths for all private, state and local government worksites.
 
 
Provided With 15 Working Days to Appeal Citation.
 
As with any citation, penalty money paid is put in the workers compensation supplemental pension fund, assisting workers and loved ones of those who have died while working.
 
 
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.  Contact: mstack@reduceyourworkerscomp.com.
 
©2013 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law.

Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker, attorney, or qualified professional about workers comp issues.

Safety Efforts Pay Off For Record Safest Year in 2012

 

It appears that the efforts to make Victoria (Australia) workplaces safer has paid off.
 
According to information from WorkCover, 2012 witnessed 18 people pass away while on the job in Victorian workplaces, that being seven less than the 25 who were killed in 2011. That figure for 2012 also equals the prior record low of 18 workplace fatalities in 2005.
 
 
7.77 People Injured for Every Million Hours Worked
 
The number of Victorians who were injured at work also dipped to a new low. Last year, 7.77 people were injured for every million hours worked, that in comparison to 7.9 people per million hours worked in 2011.
 
WorkCover Assistant Treasurer Gordon Rich-Phillips remarked that the improvement was a major achievement, maintaining the state’s track record of leading Australia in terms of workplace safety.
 
“In 2012 national data confirmed Victoria’s position as having the safest workplaces of any state or territory in Australia, and that’s a credit to employers, workers and the efforts of the WorkSafe team,” Rich-Phillips remarked. “Many things need to come together to achieve these sorts of outcomes – active engagement and support from employers and workers, practical assistance combined with inspection and enforcement activity by the VWA and a commitment to improved workplace safety.”
 
 
Victorian Workplace Deaths Nearly Halve in Last Decade
 
According to Rich-Phillips, fatalities in Victorian workplaces had almost halved over the past decade.
 
“However, it is clear that more can be done, as many of the fatalities and injuries resulted from known hazards, with known safety solutions,” Rich-Phillips said. “Eighteen families had a sad and distressing 2012 because a family member failed to return home safely. The impact of a workplace death is also enormous on colleagues and employers, which is why we ask everyone returning to work to make safety their number one priority this year.”
 
Of the 18 deaths in 2012, 12 were in Melbourne and six were in regional Victoria. Sixteen of the fatalities were turned out to be males, one was an elderly woman and one was a four-year-old. Half of the deaths involved men aged 50 and over.
 
“Employers can improve safety and reduce injuries by making sure people are trained and supervised, that they have the right equipment to safely carry out a job and that machines are properly guarded,” Rich-Phillips said. “Workers can also improve safety in the workplace by taking responsibility for their actions. A shortcut might seem like a good idea but it’s often a shortcut to a serious injury.”
 
 
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.  Contact: mstack@reduceyourworkerscomp.com.
 
©2013 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law.

Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker, attorney, or qualified professional about workers comp issues.

Convenience Store Deaths Spark New Safety Regulations

 

Convenience Store and Gas Station Workers Have High Risk of Violence
 
Following a number of high-profile convenience store and gas station deaths across Canada, Saskatchewan is making moves to strengthen its labor laws to better protect late-night workers against such violence, according to a report from the Canadian OH&S News.
 
At the recent Saskatchewan Federation of Labor (SFL) convention in Regina, labour minister Don Morgan unveiled new rules that he said will better protect late-night retail workers, including those who work in convenience stores and gas stations, and those who face an especially high risk of assaults.
 
 
Safety Updates to be Required
 
According to Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Labor Relations and Workplace Safety updates would include safe cash handling procedures, use of video cameras and the provision of good visibility and signage for all late-night premises as part of the improvements. As well, the ministry went on to say, establishments will require a check-in system and personal emergency transmitters will be provided to all clerks working alone on the late shift.
 
Glennis Bihun, executive director of the province’s occupational health and safety department, added that those mandatory regulations are part of the overall workplace hazard assessment programs.
 
“The hazard assessment ensures that the employer takes a look at what the potential hazards are and what the risk of those hazards might be,” Bihun said. “It provides an opportunity for an employer to do an assessment to identify the kinds of things in addition to the mandatory security measures they might need to do to minimize or eliminate the risk of violence for workers.”
 
 
Jimmy’s Law
 
Such efforts come in response to the death of Jimmy Ray Wiebe in 2011. Weibe was shot by armed robbers while working the late shift at a Shell gas station in Yorkton, Sask., near the Manitoba border. That spawned Jimmy’s Law, an initiative calling on the government to improve protections in 24-hour workplaces.
 
The federation, which represents close to 100,000 workers, lauded the government’s efforts to move towards safer environments for late-shift staffers.
 
Late-night retail employees will begin to see the new regulations come into force as early as mid-January of this year.
 
 

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.comContact: mstack@reduceyourworkerscomp.com.

 

©2012 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law.


Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker, attorney, or qualified professional about workers comp issues.

Nova Scotia Giving More Control of Workers Comp Rates to Employers

 

Safety and Return to Work to Records Increased Impact on Rates

 

Improvements to the workplace insurance rate model mean employers’ safety and return-to-work records will have a bigger impact on rates, the Workers Compensation Board of Nova Scotia (WCB) announced recently.

 

The Board released its 2013 insurance rates and is introducing changes to make rates more responsive, to encourage positive change, and to ultimately reduce the human and financial cost of workplace injury in the province.

 

 

Bigger Impact For Fatalities, Financial Incentives for Safety

 

Among the rate model improvements are changes that make rates more responsive to an individual employer’s efforts to implement and maintain safety and return-to-work improvements. There will also be a bigger impact on rates when a fatality occurs.  The WCB will continue its practice of offering financial incentives to encourage safety improvements.

 

Each year the WCB issues surcharges to employers whose claims costs are significantly and consistently higher than their industry peers. In 2013,90 employers will receive a surcharge, down from 96 in 2012. Surcharged employers have claims costs that are at least three times their industry average for at least four consecutive years. Surcharges are cumulative and can add an additional 20 percent or more to a firm’s base rate each year. Employers can qualify for surcharge rebates if they make safety investments.

 

 

Rates Decreasing More Than 10% in Certain Industries

 

For the ninth consecutive year, the average rate for 2013 is holding steady at $2.65 per $100 of assessable payroll.  Rates are decreasing by more than 10 percent in a number of industries including printing, shipbuilding and boatbuilding, used goods moving and storage and dairy farms. Bakeries, site work (excavating, paving and landscaping), stevedoring, general freight trucking and building material sales, are among the industries whose rates are increasing.

 

While there has been significant progress in injury reduction over the past several years, 27 workers in Nova Scotia lost their lives in the workplace last year, and there were 6,616 injuries serious enough for the worker to require time away from work.

 

 

<pAuthor 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.  Contact:  mstack@reduceyourworkerscomp.com.

 
WORKERS COMP MANAGEMENT MANUAL:  www.WCManual.com

VIEW SAMPLES PAGES

MODIFIED DUTY CALCULATOR:  www.LowerWC.com/transitional-duty-cost-calculator.php

 

Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.

 

©2012 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact us at: Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

 

Clothing Retailer Commits to Groundbreaking Safety Program

Second Retailer Commits to Groundbreaking Safety Program

 
The Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC), International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF), IndustriALL Global Union, Worker Rights Consortium (WRC) and Maquila Solidarity Network (MSN), together with Bangladesh trade unions and labor rights groups, have reached an agreement with Tchibo to implement a fire and building safety program in Bangladeshi garment factories.
 
According to IndustriALL Global Union, the German-based company becomes the second retailer to commit to the groundbreaking safety program, which was first agreed with PVH (owner of Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger) in March. Since 2006, more than 600 garment workers died in Bangladesh due to unsafe buildings.
 
 
 
Garment Industry Notorious for Safety Hazards
 
According to Jyrki Raina, general secretary of IndustriALL Global Union, “The garment industry is notorious for its safety hazards. The requirements of this program are straightforward, commonsense measures which will have a significant impact on worker safety in many factories in Bangladesh. Tchibo and PVH have taken the lead, now it’s time for other brands to follow.”
 
Tchibo also commented on the new measures being installed, noting “We take fire risks very seriously and see the need to join forces at a multi-stakeholder level in order to achieve a sector-wide change in Bangladesh. We are looking forward to collaborating with unions, labor rights’ groups, other brands, Bangladeshi employers and the government. We believe this program has the potential to make a real difference and to be a benchmark for other Asian sourcing countries.”
 
 
 
Program Has Potential To Save Thousands of Lives
 
Fire incidents cost the lives of thousands of garment workers worldwide, which recently became world leading news with more than 300 workers deaths in two factory fires in Pakistan. CCC has been campaigning on safety issues in Bangladesh since the collapse of the Spectrum factory in 2005, which left 64 people dead and involved high street brand Zara. The program has the potential to save the lives of hundreds of thousands of workers currently at risk.
 
The program allows for independent building inspections, worker rights training, public disclosure and a long-overdue review of safety standards. It is transparent as well as practical, and unique in being supported by all key labor stakeholders in Bangladesh and internationally.
 
The labor signatories are now calling on all major brands sourcing in the industry to sign on to the initiative in order to ensure its rapid implementation.
 
 
 

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 Contact mstack@reduceyourworkerscomp.com

 

 


WORKERS COMP MANAGEMENT MANUAL:  www.WCManual.com

VIEW SAMPLES PAGES

MODIFIED DUTY CALCULATOR:  www.LowerWC.com/transitional-duty-cost-calculator.php

 

Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.

 

©2012 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact us at: Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

National Action Needed After Garment Factory Fire Kills Over 200 Workers

240 Workers Killed in Garment Factory

 
The International Labour Organization (ILO) is calling for national action to protect workers' health and safety, following the deaths of some 240 workers in a garment factory in Karachi, Pakistan.
 
Seiji Machida, Head of ILO’s SafeWork Program, underlined the need for concrete action to prevent such tragedies.
 
 
Shocking Tragedy Calls for National Action
 
“We were shocked by the news we heard that well over 200 workers were killed in a factory fire today,” Machida commented. “Protection of workers' safety and health is a fundamental human right. We need to reinforce measures to protect workers' lives from hazards in the workplace. We would like to call for national action to improve the protection of all workers," he added.
 
 
Victims Trapped in Basement, Behind Metal Bars
 
According to media reports, many victims were trapped in a basement with no fire exits and locked doors. The majority of workers died from suffocation when the basement filled with smoke. Other workers on higher floors rushed to windows to escape but struggled to get out because metal bars blocked their way. Hours earlier, at least 25 people died in a shoe factory fire in the Pakistani city of Lahore.
 
The ILO office in Pakistan added, “We have been highlighting the importance of Safe Work in Pakistan at forums organized with government, employers and workers and encouraging a Labour Inspection regime that protects the workers."
 
 

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 Contact mstack@reduceyourworkerscomp.com

 

 


WORKERS COMP MANAGEMENT MANUAL:  www.WCManual.com

VIEW SAMPLES PAGES

MODIFIED DUTY CALCULATOR:  www.LowerWC.com/transitional-duty-cost-calculator.php

 

Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.

 

©2012 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact us at: Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

Company Safety Stinks As Much As Garbage Truck That Caused Injury

 

Worker Sustained Head Injury From Garbage Bin Lifting Arm
 
Citywide Service Solutions, an Australian garbage collection company, was recently fined $42,000 after a worker sustained a head injury from a bin lifting arm.
 
According to Australia’s Safe to Work, the employee was hit in the head when the 92kg bin lifting arm, which was fitted to a garbage truck, suddenly fell. The worker sustained serious injuries to his scalp and required approximately 40 stitches. He was out of work for six weeks following the accident, according to hearings conducted by the Heidelberg Magistrates’ Court, Victoria.
 
 
Started with Oil Leak Close to Truck’s Bin
 
The incident happened when the worker, who was a truck driver, noticed and oil leak close to the garbage truck’s bin lifting arm. He called one of the company’s mechanics to come and fix the leak.
 
While the mechanic was repairing the leak on the side of the road, the hydraulic pressure holding up the bin lifting arm was released. This caused the arm to drop quickly, and it struck the driver on the head.
 
 
Pleaded Guilty
 
The company pleaded guilty to a couple of offenses; the first of which was failing to provide a safe working environment and proper training to an employee, as required under OSHA (the Occupational Health and Safety Act).
 
The second offense was for failing to report the accident to WorkSafe. The company’s defense to this charge was that it didn’t believe it was required to report it because the employee was released from the hospital the same day.
 
 
Fined $42,000
 
The company was fined $40,000 on the first charge and $2,000 on the second by the court.
 
 

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 Contact mstack@reduceyourworkerscomp.com

 

 


WORKERS COMP MANAGEMENT MANUAL:  www.WCManual.com

VIEW SAMPLES PAGES

MODIFIED DUTY CALCULATOR:  www.LowerWC.com/transitional-duty-cost-calculator.php

 

Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.

 

©2012 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact us at: Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

Get Your Team on Board with Safety, Save on Workers Comp

 

We all know that the best workers compensation claim is the claim that never happened. We have written various articles on what management can do to prevent claims, including creating and/or improving a safety program.  This top down approach is effective and leads to the prevention of accidents.  What the top down approach often misses is the importance of having the supervisors actively involved in the safety program.  The importance of safety training for the field supervisors or the floor supervisors cannot be overstated.
 
 
The safety responsibilities of the lower level management ( the supervisors ) need to be incorporated into the job descriptions just as much as production goals, financial goals or other performance measurements.  The safety objectives that should be a part of the job description of every supervisor are  (WCxKit)
 
 
  • Regular inspections of the work area to identify any safety issues
  • Responsibility for initiating work orders for safety related repairs
  • Responsibility for insuring all needed repairs are completed timely
  • Responsibility for identifying areas where improvements of the physical area would reduce risk
  • Knowing and complying with all OSHA requirements
  • Knowing and complying with all state safety laws
  • Enforcing compliance with all safety regulations
  • Responsibility for training all new employees on the safe completion of the work
  • Responsibility for having monthly safety meetings with the employees in her/her group
  • Responsibility for the safe completion of all work
  • Responsibility for recording all safety incidents
  • Responsibility for reporting all safety incidents to management
  • Responsibility for investigating all accidents
  • Responsibility for preventing the reoccurrence of similar accidents
  • Responsibility for reviewing with management how to improve safety
 
 
The supervisor’s performance review should include how well they met the safety goals.  Management should avoid the temptation to measure safety solely by the number of injury claims reported.  The completion of regular safety inspections, the timeliness of repair orders, the compliance with OSHA and other regulations, the safety training provided to the employees and the recommendations on how to improve safety should be given equal weight with the number of injury claims reported.  By placing the emphasis on the prevention of injuries as opposed to the number of injuries, you reduce the temptation of the supervisor to underreport the minor injuries that occur.
 
 
An importance safety function of the supervisor is to create a detailed accident report after each injury. A review of the quality of the accident investigations completed by the supervisor should be a part of the each performance review. The supervisor’s manager should check each accident report to determine if the injured employee and the co-workers/witnesses were properly interviewed.  The object/ machinery/ equipment involved in the injury should be a part of the accident investigation with a determination if the accident was the employee’s fault or caused by a defect in the object/equipment/ machinery being used.  A recommendation by the supervisor on how to prevent a similar accident from occurring in the future should be a part of the report.
 
 
Safety reporting is more than completing OSHA forms.  It should entail a review of injury accidents by categories determined by management.  Sample categories could include employee error, equipment/machinery malfunction and unforeseen.  The purpose should be to identify areas where further safety improvements can be made.
 
 
The review of the safety work orders for repairs or improvements should also be included in the supervisor’s performance review. The supervisor’s manager should verify the supervisor is identifying and seeking to correct legitimate safety hazards. The accuracy and the effectiveness of the safety work orders will impact the overall outcome of the safety program. (WCxKit)
 
 
By integrating safety into the job performance of the supervisors, the compliance level with all safety requirements will improve and the number of workers compensation claims will be reduced.
 
 
Author Rebecca Shafer, JD, President of Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is a national expert in the field of workers compensation. She is a writer, speaker, and publisher. Her expertise is working with employers to reduce workers compensation costs, and her clients include airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality, and manufacturing. She is the author of the #1 selling book on cost containment, Workers Compensation Management Program: Reduce Costs 20% to 50%. Contact: RShafer@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.
 
Editor 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% – 50%.  He is a writer, speaker, and website publisher.  ContactMstack@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com
 
WORKERS COMP MANAGEMENT GUIDEBOOK:  www.WCManual.com
 
WORK COMP CALCULATOR:  www.LowerWC.com/calculator.php
 
Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.
 
©2012 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact us at: Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

10 Easy Ways to Cut Workers Comp Cost

Regular readers of our website know we are about saving employers money through reducing the cost of workers compensation. In this day of sound bites and short summaries, we offer easy ways to reduce the cost of workers compensation.
 

 
1. Report All Injuries Immediately
One of the biggest mistakes an employer can make is to delay the reporting of a workers compensation claim. The employee, whether suffering a major or minor injury, is going to understand very quickly that the employer is unconcerned about his well being when the injury is ignored. Also, the sooner the claims adjuster is aware of the injury, the sooner the adjuster can start the claims handling process moving the claim forward. The sooner the employee is treated, the sooner the healing process can start, and the sooner the employee will be able to return to work. (WCxKit)
 
 
 
2. Document the Details of All Injuries
The memory of the injured employee, the supervisor, and any co-workers who witnessed the accident begins to fade with the passing of time. To have the most accurate record of the claim, all witnesses and the employee's supervisor must be promptly interviewed. Write down what is said. If there are any tools, equipment or machinery involved in the accident, inspect it and document any failure of the tools, equipment or machinery. Do not dispose of anything involved in the injury until the claims adjuster has had an opportunity to inspect it or to have it inspected by an expert.
 
 
3. Keep in Contact with the Employee
Following an injury the employee is going to be concerned about: 1) obtaining the needed future medical care 2) how they are going to replace the lost income 3) losing the job if they are unable to work 4) the prospect of possibly being disabled and unable to ever return to the job.
 
 
While the adjuster can explain the workers compensation claim benefits, the adjuster does not replace the employer in the claimant's mind. The claimant is feeling vulnerable after an injury.  Contact from the employer helps to reassure the claimant that the employer cares about their well being and returning them to work.
 
 
4. Keep in Contact with the Medical Provider
This is one area where most employers fall short. Even if the employer has kept in contact with the employee, the employer still needs to be in contact with the medical provider. Often the medical provider will be very cautious with the injured employee and will keep them off work the maximum time needed for full recovery if their only input is from the employee. For example, if the employee is asked by the doctor what is the maximum weight of lifting at work, the employee may honestly say 100 pounds, but that may happen only once per month. If the employer has advised the medical provider to modify the employee's position to not lift over 20 pounds, the employee will be returned to work much sooner.
 
 
5. Have an Established Return to Work Program
The easiest way to accommodate an injured employee's work restrictions is to have an established modified duty return to work program in place. If all employees know before an accident they are considered a valuable part of the company with an established return to work program, they will be more compliant with both the employer and the medical provider about working a light duty job until they are able to return to work full duty.
 
 
6. Have an Established Safety Program
This is a no-brainer. The accident that never happens does not incur any claim cost. Set up a safety program to identify those aspects of the work that potentially can cause an injury. Analyze what can be done to reduce or eliminate the risk of injury, and then do it. Establish the proper methods of doing the day-to-day task so that the potential for injuries is removed. Be sure the employees have everything they need to do their job in a safe manner. Arrange for on-going safety inspections to identify and correct any hazard.
 
 
7.Train the Employees to Work Safely
It is not enough for the employer to know the potential hazards of the job. The employees must know too. The employees must be trained to do the job correctly, including complying with all safety measures.   Whether it is the safe operation of machinery, or the proper lifting techniques, the employer can reduce workers comp cost by training the employees to work safely.
 
 
8. Reward Employees for Promoting Safety
When employees think safety is “management's thing”, they are not considering themselves in the safety quotient. Involve the employees in the safe operation of the company by providing small monetary rewards to employees of a department that avoid injuries over a given period of time. The cost of the 'reward' will be far cheaper than the cost of workers compensation claims and the resulting insurance premium increase.
 
 
9. Have Your Insurance Premium Audited
Underwriters make mistakes. They can have your business improperly classified. They may also have employees misclassified or they may have the payroll information wrong for one or more categories. If the workers compensation insurance premium has risen lately and you do not know why, arrange for an independent premium audit. As the premium auditor works for a percentage of the premium reduction, it makes good sense to have your premium audited every couple of years or when there has been an increase in premiums. (WCxKit)
 
 
10. Have Your Claim Files Audited
The last thing the insurance company is going to admit is that the workers comp claims were poorly handled. When work comp claims are poorly handled, they cost more. The carelessness or oversights in claims handling comes back to the employer in the form of higher insurance premiums. If the results on the claims are not expected, hire an independent claims file auditor to review the files for proper handling, proper reserving and proper settlement.
 

Author Rebecca Shafer
, JD, President of Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is a national expert in the field of workers compensation. She is a writer, speaker, and website publisher. Her expertise is working with employers to reduce workers compensation costs, and her clients include airlines, healthcare, printing, publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality, and manufacturing. See www.LowerWC.com for more information. Contact: RShafer@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.
 
 
Our WORKERS COMP BOOK:  www.WCManual.com

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Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.
 
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