Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Effective management can reduce work comp costs

The Louisiana Restaurant Association Self Insurer's Fund for Workers' Compensation offers competed rates, free loss prevention services, responsive members service and support and expert hospitality industry-specific claims handling.

Reducing workers’ compensation costs can not only be achieved by eliminating claims, but by implementing sound management programs once the inevitable workers’ compensation claim does arrive. For employers that fail to have these programs in place, workers’ compensation claims costs can skyrocket. Not only because of the cost of claims themselves, but also because of the indirect costs associated with workers’ compensation claims. 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that for every dollar spent on a workplace injury or illness, an additional $5 is spent by the employer themselves on indirect costs. These indirect costs include: reduced productivity, decreased employee morale, cost of rehiring and training, damage to equipment or work product and increase experience modification factor just to name a few.

In order to help reduce or eliminate the indirect costs of workers comp, employers should consider implementing these five successful programs:

Allocate Workers’ Compensation CostsYou cannot expect your management staff to adequately prevent and manage workers’ comp costs if they are not made aware of the costs and ultimately held responsible for them.  Educate your management staff to the importance of their participation in reducing the likelihood of workers’ comp claims by allocating the costs to the operation for which they are responsible.

Develop relationships with medical providers
Having medical providers that will provide quick, honest and effective medical treatment to your employees is critical. Educate them as to your expectations for post-accident drug testing and early return to work. They should work in partnership with the injured worker and yourself to get the injured worker back to work as soon as possible.

Investigate, report and communicate
All workers’ comp claims should be thoroughly investigated by management. This may include taking photographs, reviewing videos, interviewing witnesses, examining equipment and completing accident reports. All of this information should be documented. Following this, the information gathered should be immediately reported to your workers’ comp carrier for additional investigation and processing. Finally, make sure to maintain an open line of communication with the comp carrier. Your job handling a claim is not complete simply because you reported the claim.

Educate the injured worker
Most injured workers are unfamiliar with the workers’ comp process and as a result are fearful of the ultimate outcome. They fear they may not be paid while off work or that their medical bills will not be paid. Oftentimes, this fear causes them to seek legal representation and file lawsuits.  Make them aware of what they can expect during the process. Your workers’ comp carrier should be able to assist you with this part of the program.

Provide safety awards or incentives
Reward managers and employees for working safely and following company safety policies and procedures. Incentives can also help to promote a positive change among fellow employees who witness others working safely, which results in developing an effective safety culture in your workplace. 

For more information about the LRA Workers' Comp program, please call Debbie Cuccia at (504) 454-2277.

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