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Avoiding worker’s compensation claims starts with smart hiring but continues with employee training and safety programs.

April 8, 2015
Adam Winters

Adam Winters

As I blogged about recently [read more here], companies can save major worker’s compensation headaches by implementing a series of smart hiring practices. Once those practices are in place and fully vetted, quality employees are entering your workforce, the worker’s comp avoidance job is done, right? Not so fast. In order to keep worker’s compensation claims in the category of rare occurrence, an organization must have a sustained commitment to keeping its employees safe and knowledgeable.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, every employer has an obligation to provide and maintain a safe, healthy workplace for employees. This protects employees of course, but also protects employers from dealing with a higher rate of worker’s compensation claims.

Implementing a comprehensive safety and health program will help employers of all sizes better manage their risk. Here are some best practices to consider:

Create a culture of safety and health — Make sure safety is a part of your workplace culture, with buy-in at all levels, from supervisors and managers to new employees. Establish a mentor program so new employees have a specific “safety” person they know they can consult with.

Provide training — Provide job specific, hands-on safety training to new (and existing!) employees, and make sure to involve supervisors and managers in both that process and follow-up and enforcement. If your employee population includes workers who are not native English speakers, provide training in other languages. Above all, encourage questions from your employees. The give and take will help instill confidence that the training is sinking in.

Make them stand out — Sometimes you just have to be a little different. During orientation, provide hard hats, eye protection, safety vests of a different color and name badges to help your employees identify and support new hires.

Focus on proper ergonomics — Whether they are desk jockeys or out in the field all day, make sure your employees have the right equipment for their job and that they are trained on how to use it properly. OSHA has found that $1 of every $3 in worker’s compensation claims are the result of ergonomic injury. Do not ignore this crucial area!

Guard those machines — Manufacturers and others who use heavy equipment in the workplace need to ensure the machines have proper safety mechanisms in place and that they are in tested working order. Train new employees in safety practices related to the equipment and the relevant safety mechanisms.

Drive safe — If you have company vehicles, make sure you are routinely checking motor vehicle registration information on all employees with driving responsibilities. To boost driver safety education, consider enrolling employees in a course offered by your insurance carrier. Regularly inspect your vehicles and maintain them in good condition.

Implement a return-to-work program — A comprehensive return-to-work program protects your employees AND your bottom line. It can include accommodations such as modified duties or schedules, new tools that can help an employee work with a disability or injury, or employee reassignment, either temporarily or permanently.

Still have questions?

Give Team Founders a call!  860-482-3506!

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