Workers’ compensation claims can be costly and time-consuming, especially for small and midsize businesses. Oftentimes, it can be difficult to accommodate all the workforce changes and requirements that accompany organizational growth. Employers who focus only on their product or service risk making serious managerial errors, especially in the realm of workers’ compensation. To avoid overpaying for these claims, business owners can keep these common mistakes in mind.
1. Absence of a safety program
The best way to limit the costs of workers’ comp claims is to reduce the risk of injury and illness in the workplace. It’s important to invest in safety training and education, and to create an official program that addresses all potential hazardous situations, including natural disaster emergencies, common injuries and personal protection against exposure. While these initiatives may seem expensive at first, the money they save when it comes to reducing compensation claims ends up reducing total health and safety costs for employers, states Michael Stacks, director of operations at a risk management solutions provider.
2. Lack of formal workers’ comp processes
While some business owners believe the purpose of having workers’ compensation policies and processes is just to pay claims, these employers are missing out on the potential to limit future cases and costs. It’s important to formalize a multi-step policy to handle all injury and illness reports.
Employees should report incidents to managers immediately after they occur, and business owners should send the information promptly to their insurance provider. It’s important to communicate frequently with injured or ill employees and to explain each part of the filing process to ensure they do not feel as though they’re being ignored or taken advantage of. It’s also good idea to refer workers to occupational medical professionals and to check in frequently to ensure employees are accepting treatment.
3. Not following up
One of the worst mistakes employers can make when it comes to workers’ compensation is not staying involved in a case once the claim is filed. By forgetting about an injured employee, businesses expose themselves to the risk of overpaying on medical costs and hurting their relationship with the worker. It’s therefore important to communicate with the employee frequently and provide a return to work program for him or her. These initiatives help workers stay engaged and regain normal tasks progressively.