• Workers’ Comp Insurance a MUST For Small Businesses

    Workers’ compensation insurance almost eliminates legal liability (with a few exceptions) on the employer’s part after following a work-related injury. The law allows employees to collect compensation from their employers after suffering an injury at work. This compensation is paid via worker’s compensation insurance.

    The whole compensation process is sometimes confusing for the business owner. But for the employer just remember that most of the time the courts tend to rule in favor of the employee. That usually translates to significant payouts for medical expenses and any other expenses related to the injury. For instance, if the court finds the injury was as a result of the employer’s negligence, the injured worker may get a huge compensation, one that can wipe out a small business without workers’ compensation insurance. Make sure you have coverage to minimize or eliminate such liability.

    Is it Mandatory?

    Workers comp, as it’s often called, is required by nearly every state. Most states, including Florida, require employers to make insurance contributions to compensate workers who might suffer injury or disability while working. To enjoy this service, it is good to check with your state to see what’s required of you as an employer in connection with workers comp.

    Note that workers’ compensation insurance only covers injuries resulting from employment. However, if it is discovered that the worker was intoxicated when the accident occurred, he or she may not be able to claim compensation. Some States impose a drug test on injured workers, and if the test comes out positive, the worker doesn’t get compensated. The same goes for self-inflicted accidents, or actions injuries occurring from an employee violating company policy.

    Benefits of Workers’ Compensation Insurance for Employers

    So far, it appears the workers’ compensation program only benefits employees, but there’s another side to workers’ comp insurance. Employers also stand to gain by paying workers’ compensation insurance.

    You Don’t Foot Medical Bills

    Workers’ compensation insurance shifts liability from employers to the insurance company. That means you won’t have to drain your bank account to pay for workplace injury compensation.

    The Insurance Picks Up All Responsibilities

    Secondly, the insurance cover also covers wage replacement. The law mandates employers to pay two-thirds (check the law in your state) of the worker’s average wage. That can amount to a lot of money for a small business. Large enough sums to make the business go belly up or even worse, drive the owner to bankruptcy.

    Long-term and Permanent Injuries

    The benefit of taking out workers’ compensation insurance is that it covers long-term and permanent injuries. Injuries leading to long-term or permanent disability attract hefty court settlements. The settlement might go as high as millions of dollars. With insurance, the insurance company absorbs all the fiscal liability.

    Those are not the only benefits you stand to gain by paying workers comp. There are many other benefits you and your workers enjoy with a worker’s comp cover including but not limited to training programs, safety programs, hiring and worker retention programs, technical and management programs. Worker’s compensation coverage can provide a small business with protection and tools for growth.

    Create A Safe Workplace

    Create a Safe Workplace  Creating a safe place to work is the best ways to keep your employee’s accident-free. Not only does it lower your workers compensation cost and premium, but all your employees go home unharmed.   This will create an environment where not only do they look out for themselves but they will look out for each other and therefor the organization benefits.

    A safe workplace all the employees working together to ensure that everyone on the site is following all safety procedures and wearing all safety gear.  This also includes examining the equipment to make sure it is functioning correctly and speaking up and reporting any known issues with equipment and anyone failure to follow safety procedures.

    1.  Look and Check for Hazards

    Regularly check the workplace site for hazards and examine those things you already consider safely done. Just because it was safe last week does not mean it is safe this week. This includes regularly checking machinery and tools, as well as regular employee training on how to use, maintain and examine the tools.   Examine old tools very carefully.  Maybe they have not broken yet or no injury has occurred yet but the tool maybe old and worn.  Look closely, the hazard maybe there still.

          2. Employee Training

    Train your employee to consider safety first and include them in regular training sessions even if they have been trained already. Try to focus the training on not just the use of the tool but also about identifying hazards, reducing the risk of accidents, near miss reporting.  By providing each employee with safety check reminders, you might even consider requiring  safety check reports to be done.  Whatever the employee job duties are make sue the employee knows that safely is as important as all the other duties.

    1. Get Employees Involved

    Employee must be actively involved in safety so it is important to create an environment where the employees are recognized for their active involvement in the safety program.  The practice of safety measure at the workplace and to recognized and rewarded.  Consider have a monthly safety meeting to discuss and share the safety practices, including missing incidents and any incidents that have occurred.  Talk about trouble shooting and safety issues.  This impute directly from the employees is invaluable.  They are the ones in the field and using the tools and seeing the physical situation that exist on job sites.  This will allow to employees to share and feel vested in the safety of the workplace and know that the business is concerned about their safety.

     

    The goal to a safe workplace is continually practice prevention

    FUNDAMENTALS OF THE RETURN TO WORK PROGRAM

    By Kimberly Daise
    One of the most frustrating aspects of managing a workers’ compensation program is getting injured workers back to work. Usually, the employer is faced with an injured worker who wants to stay at home forever or an employer who thinks he can lift 50 lb. bags ten days after surgery. The key is to develop a flexible yet effective return to work program.
    Almost every company has a slightly different Return to Work program. However, they have 3 points in common.
    1. Job task should fit the medical restrictions
    Here is an example: The employer request the worker to return to work in a light-duty job position. The job duties, however, exceed the claimant’s work restrictions and the worker refuses to complete the task. Employer doesn’t want to pay TTD because a light duty job was given to the claimant and he refused to do it. This is an issue because the Judge or Arbitrator, however, orders the employer to pay TTD because the light duty job exceeded the claimant’s work restrictions. This is not a good situation for either party.
    Every employer should have documentation that lists the specific job duties and task analysis for every job position. Review this documentation and make sure that the task to be performed is within those permitted. Make sure the light work job has enough details so that when it is reviewed it fits the medically permitted task. This will provide the employer with documentation that the job task was medically permitted. And did not exceed any restrictions. This will eliminate the he said she said position the employer may find himself at a hearing.
    Avoid this pitfall before it happens by making sure that the job does not exceed the claimant’s work restrictions and has the job description signed off by the employee.
    2. Return to work offers must be in writing
    Employers should always offer the employee the position in writing and in person. Phone calls and phone conversation commonly are said to have not occurred.
    This is EASY to avoid. Make sure that the return to work offer is always in writing, email or text messaging works just as well as a mailed letter. With this, the worker cannot later claim that he was never told to return to work. Problem solved.
    3. Light duty job must have a purpose
    What do you do in situations when you want to get the injured worker back to work, but he can’t perform any of the light duty task you have available? Often employers in these situations like to put the injured worker into a distasteful or detestable job, hoping that the worker will quit the job assigned and want to go back to his regular job. For example, the job is watching paint dry on the wall. The problem is this is a big risk. The light duty should meet a legitimate need and purpose within and for the company. The job can not appear to be meaningless or punitive.

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