Tips to Lower Your Workers’ Compensation Costs

By Kimberly Daise

You have control over your workers’ compensation premiums.
Since premiums are based in part on loss history reports you must take steps to prevent injuries and manage claims. This would reduce the chance of cost hikes and maybe result in a reduction in cost.
Tips for controlling your losses, and thus your workers’ compensation premiums:
1. Have transitional jobs ready.
Have a list or positions for light-duty already set aside. Devise transitional jobs that fit within a variety of work restrictions. Thus, when employees are injured, you can easily identify jobs that fit within their restrictions and get them back to work quickly. Don’t delay.
2. Consider options to bring the employee back to work quickly.
Bringing an employee back to work when they’re still recovering can sometimes requires a little creativity. Your options include:
• Reducing the employee’s work hours or work days
• Bringing the employee back in a different position at a reduced wage
• Altering the employee’s equipment or work area
• Swapping tasks with other employees or reorganizing work within the injured employee’s group
• Arranging for temporary work in a different area of the company
• Create a new lighter-duty job that will be transitional and temporary
If an injured employee returns to work at less than their full, pre-injury wage, their workers’ compensation insurance may make up most of the difference.
3. Relationship with an occupational health clinic.
The quality of treatment counts a lot in medical costs and outcomes. To find a good clinic, ask whether they have experience treating injured employees and accommodate return to work programs. This will supplement the back-to-work program. The employee can heal while on the job. Ask and provide the information they’ll need from you regarding the injured worker’s job description.
4. Have a point person for return to work.
It helps to have a person who is accountable for getting injured employees back to work as soon as medically possible. This includes staying in contact with the employee, working with the treating doctor and involving the employee’s supervisor.
5. Make sure employees understand and follow work restrictions.
If an injured employee doesn’t follow their doctors’ restrictions, it can result in costly claim complications. Take the time to go through employees’ restrictions with them and talk about any aspects of the job. Make sure they know they should follow their restrictions both at work and outside of work.
6. Contact with your injured employees.
Let injured employees who are off work know that you are concerned about their injuries and recovery. Call them and talk to them. Let the employee know they are valued and that you are looking forward to their return. Keep up on the status, expectations and return-to-work date for each injured employee. This requires planning and consent contact. It’s important to keep recovery on track.
7. Report injuries immediately.
As soon as you learn of an injury, the clock starts ticking toward state deadlines. Reporting the injury as soon as it occurs ensures that injured workers get the best and most appropriate treatment right away.
It keeps you in compliance with the state deadlines and allows your claims representative to be responsive to your employees. Delayed reporting can result in longer-duration claims and higher costs. Communications is crucial. Employees and supervisors need to know who to contact when an injury occurs, and your organization’s point person for reporting claims needs to act with a sense of urgency.
8. Analyze past injuries.
Anytime an injury occurs, review the incident and identify what caused it and how similar accidents can be prevented in the future. Take the time and spot problem areas and identify opportunities to improve safety.
9. Develop a wellness program.
There is a connection between health issues (such as obesity, diabetes and hypertension) and higher workers’ compensation costs. That’s why it is beneficial of finding ways to encourage wellness among your workforce. Encouraging healthy lifestyles for your employees.