All posts in Workers’ Compensation

Workers’ Comp Building a Solid OSHA Program


        A Fresh Approach to Controlling WC Costs

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There are five entry-level steps you can take to have a well-rounded safety program that produces a safe work environment, achieves OSHA compliance, reduces accidents and ultimately reduces workers’ compensation costs.

     • Develop the various programs required by the OSHA standards.

     • Integrate those programs into daily operations.

     • Investigate all injuries and illnesses.

     • Provide training to develop safety competence in all employees.

     • Audit your programs and your work areas on a regular basis to
     stimulate continuous improvement.

Aside from being a requirement for manufacturers, OSHA standards provide a good pathway to incident reductions. Many accidents stem from poorly developed d or implemented OSHA programs: slips or trips may come from not keeping walking and working surfaces clear, tampering with machine guarding may result in excessive lacerations and not following proper lockout/tagout procedures can result in serious injury or death.

Many of the OSHA standards require that a written program be developed and communicated to employees. Experience shows that companies with thoroughly developed, OSHA-compliant programs have fewer accidents, more productive employees and lower workers’ compensation costs.

If your business is dealing with rising workers’ compensation costs as a result of workplace accidents, it’s time to take a new approach to safety. The key to spending fewer dollars is more than just stopping a few accidents on the manufacturing floor; it requires a comprehensive safety program designed to continuously improve. A safety program that is compliant with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards can yield significant savings for by reducing injuries and illnesses, saving workers’ compensation dollars over the long run.

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Workers’ Comp Integrate Programs into Daily Operations


        A Fresh Approach to Controlling WC Costs

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Policies alone won’t get results; your safety program must move from paper to practice to succeed. Putting a policy into practice requires a strategic plan clearly communicated to key participants, good execution of that plan based on developed competencies, and a culture that inspires and rewards people to do their best.

As with any business initiative, the success of your safety program depends on putting supervisors in the best position to succeed. If your frontline supervisors understand the program and are motivated to make it work, the program succeeds; if not, the program is an endless drain on resources and energies. Providing supervisors with knowledge and skills through training is critical to the success of any program.

A solid OSHA program, integrated into the daily operation and led by competent supervisors, is just the beginning. Successful safety programs focus on being proactive instead of reactive. Accident investigations provide an excellent source of information on real or potential issues present in the workplace.

If your business is dealing with rising workers’ compensation costs as a result of workplace accidents, it’s time to take a new approach to safety. The key to spending fewer dollars is more than just stopping a few accidents on the manufacturing floor; it requires a comprehensive safety program designed to continuously improve. A safety program that is compliant with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards can yield significant savings for by reducing injuries and illnesses, saving workers’ compensation dollars over the long run.

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Workers’ Comp Investigate All Injuries and Illnesses


        A Fresh Approach to Controlling WC Costs

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Workers’ compensation is designed to recompense employees for injuries or illnesses that arise from or out of the course of employment. This should not come as a surprise, but increasing claims drive up workers’ compensation costs. To reduce those costs, you must reduce your accidents. And the ability to reduce accidents is significantly enhanced when accidents are fully investigated instead of simply being reported.

Accident reports cite facts; accident investigations go deeper to uncover the root cause of an accident and make improvements to prevent its reoccurrence. To stop your workers’ compensation costs from rising unnecessarily, you must have an effective accident investigation process. Unless you can determine the root cause of an accident, recommendations for improvement will remain fruitless. Again, training proves beneficial because a supervisor skilled in incident analysis is a better problem solver for all types of production-related issues, not just safety.

All accidents should be investigated to find out what went wrong and why. Some may suggest investigating every accident is a bit over the top and that only those that incur significant costs are worthy of scrutiny. But ask yourself this question: If you only investigated serious quality concerns instead of every little deviation, would your quality program still be effective? Companies with solid quality programs investigate and resolve every deviation from quality standards.

If your emphasis is only on those incidents that have to be recorded on the OSHA 300 log, you ignore the single largest accident category: first aid-only incidents. Many companies get upset about recordables or lost-time accidents because of the significant costs involved, but they don’t realize that the small costs and high numbers of first aid-only incidents really add up.

If your business is dealing with rising workers’ compensation costs as a result of workplace accidents, it’s time to take a new approach to safety. The key to spending fewer dollars is more than just stopping a few accidents on the manufacturing floor; it requires a comprehensive safety program designed to continuously improve. A safety program that is compliant with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards can yield significant savings for by reducing injuries and illnesses, saving workers’ compensation dollars over the long run.

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Training and Auditing for Continuous Workers’ Comp Improvement


        A Fresh Approach to Controlling WC Costs

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The final steps focus on training and auditing your program for continuous improvement. Training plays a significant role in safety and in reducing workers’ compensation costs. The goal of training is to develop competent people who have the knowledge, skill and understanding to perform assigned job responsibilities. Competence, more than anything else, will improve all aspects of your business and drive down costs. Supervisors must have the knowledge and ability to integrate the safety program into their specific areas of responsibility. All employees must know what is expected of them when it comes to implementing safe work procedures. Once the program is developed and implemented, it must be reviewed on a regular basis to make sure they are still relevant and effective.

This might require a significant change in how you manage your safety program, but if your workers’ compensation rates are high, it may be time to make this leap.

If your business is dealing with rising workers’ compensation costs as a result of workplace accidents, it’s time to take a new approach to safety. The key to spending fewer dollars is more than just stopping a few accidents on the manufacturing floor; it requires a comprehensive safety program designed to continuously improve. A safety program that is compliant with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards can yield significant savings for by reducing injuries and illnesses, saving workers’ compensation dollars over the long run.

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Tangible Benefits to Controlling Workers Comp Costs


        A Fresh Approach to Controlling WC Costs

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Studies indicate there is a return on investment and that companies see direct bottom-line benefits with a properly designed, implemented and integrated safety program.

     • A competency-based safety program is compliant with OSHA
     requirements and therefore reduces the threat of OSHA fines.

     • A competency-based safety program lowers accidents, which reduces
     workers’ compensation costs. When incidents do occur, a competency-based
      safety program fully evaluates the issue and finds the root cause to prevent
      reoccurrence and provides a workplace that is free from recognized hazards.

     • A safer workplace creates better morale and improves employee retention.
     Auditing keeps your programs fresh and effective and drives continuous
     improvement.

     • A competency-based program produces people who are fully engaged
     in every aspect of their job, which results in high-quality goods and services.

If your business is dealing with rising workers’ compensation costs as a result of workplace accidents, it’s time to take a new approach to safety. The key to spending fewer dollars is more than just stopping a few accidents on the manufacturing floor; it requires a comprehensive safety program designed to continuously improve. A safety program that is compliant with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards can yield significant savings for by reducing injuries and illnesses, saving workers’ compensation dollars over the long run.

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Workers’ Comp. and the Aging Workforce Controlling Costs


Workers’ Compensation and the Aging Workforce

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While many states’ fair employment acts prohibit employers from questioning potential candidates about disabilities or previous injuries, you can help control your workers’ compensation costs by determining if potential employees can safely perform job duties needed for the position. Assess candidates’ abilities by:

Having a local medical clinic provide pre-employment physical examinations and pre-employment physical abilities testing to candidates.

Inviting the clinic’s medical director and those conducting pre-employment testing to your facility so they can better understand the nature and exertion level needed to perform the duties of each position.

Creating clear, specific and accurate job descriptions to help potential candidates determine if the physical strain of the position would be too much.

Provide these job descriptions to the physician who performs the fit-for-duty exams to help them better assess candidates’ physical limitations and their ability to perform the duties necessary to be successful in the position.

To minimize the potential impact of workers’ compensation claims, executing pre-employment physical exams and physical ability testing can significantly reduce your risk exposure.

Although some workers’ compensation claims are unavoidable, executing pre-employment physical examinations and ability testing can significantly reduce your risk exposure. Older Americans continue to delay their retirement or reenter the workforce to supplement their income and combat the effects of a down economy. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of workers between the ages of 55 and 64 is estimated to climb to 29.3 million by 2020 and make up almost 18 percent of the labor force. This increase in older workers introduces the need to understand the risks associated with this age group, and as a result, effectively manage their potentially costly workers’ compensation claims.

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The Future of Workers’ Compensation and the ACA


The Impact of the Affordable Care Act on Workers’ Compensation

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It is still too soon to determine the true effects of the ACA on workers’ compensation. However, some things can be predicted.

The shift to electronic health records (EHRs) from paper records is a key feature of the ACA. There are benefits, such as reduced paperwork and paperwork errors, but also risks, such as the ever-present threat of a data breach and loss of patient information. But overall, the use of EHRs is expected to improve health care and help keep track of a patient’s health history.

The ACA also provides employers with incentives to implement a workplace wellness program. Employers can pay a reduced rate for health insurance by introducing a wellness program. An increased focus on wellness would help employees improve their health and lifestyles and avoid workplace injuries.

Greater access to health care helps keep your employees healthy and could reduce the number of workers’ compensation claims.The Affordable Care Act does not directly address workers’ compensation issues, but some aspects of the health care reform law will most likely have an impact on workers’ compensation costs and practices.

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Effects of a Potential Physician Shortage


The Impact of the Affordable Care Act on Workers’ Compensation

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The ACA has the potential to increase the costs of some aspects of workers’ compensation. Perhaps the biggest potential aspect is the increased demand for physicians.

Because more people will have health insurance, more people will be going to the doctor, straining the current supply of physicians. This could delay initial treatment for an injured employee, cause more time for the employee to be away from work and result in your company paying more in lost wages.

To avoid delayed treatment, your company should enroll in a quality care network and keep those relationships strong. Your medical providers should be carefully selected to ensure that your employees receive quality care in a timely manner.

Greater access to health care helps keep your employees healthy and could reduce the number of workers’ compensation claims.The Affordable Care Act does not directly address workers’ compensation issues, but some aspects of the health care reform law will most likely have an impact on workers’ compensation costs and practices.

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The Challenges of Workers’ Comp. and the Aging Workforce


Workers’ Compensation and the Aging Workforce

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One of the main challenges associated with older employees is the impact that they can potentially have on your organization’s workers’ compensation costs. These costs come largely from the growth of employees with pre-existing and age-related medical conditions, as well as chronic illness. This is resulting in a much more difficult and time-consuming process to prevent and treat work-related injuries.

For many employers, workers’ compensation claims are growing at a rate faster than most other costs. Claims for back injuries, knee injuries, stress and cumulative trauma disorder continue to increase as the proportion of aging workers grows. Addressing the challenge of meeting the needs of aging workers will not only decrease workers’ compensation claims, it can have a positive effect on both workplace safety and health care costs.

It’s true that accidents can always occur in the workplace, but the majority of workers’ compensation claims are not accidental. Rather, they are preventable. And many of these claims simply occur because the employee is not physically capable of performing the duties associated with the position in a safe manner. This is especially common with aging workers due to many of them having pre-existing injuries or chronic conditions.

Although some workers’ compensation claims are unavoidable, executing pre-employment physical examinations and ability testing can significantly reduce your risk exposure. Older Americans continue to delay their retirement or reenter the workforce to supplement their income and combat the effects of a down economy. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of workers between the ages of 55 and 64 is estimated to climb to 29.3 million by 2020 and make up almost 18 percent of the labor force. This increase in older workers introduces the need to understand the risks associated with this age group, and as a result, effectively manage their potentially costly workers’ compensation claims.

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Benefits for Workers’ Compensation


The Impact of the Affordable Care Act on Workers’ Compensation

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One of the main goals of the ACA is to provide citizens greater access to health care. Greater access for more people potentially creates two benefits for workers’ compensation.

One benefit of greater access to health care is that overall, employees will be healthier, likely leading to a reduction in workers’ compensation claims. And if employees are healthier, they will be less likely to remain reliant on workers’ compensation with a combination of work-related and other medical conditions, allowing claims to be closed sooner.

Greater access to health care will allow diseases or conditions, such as high blood pressure, to be diagnosed at an appointment with a primary physician rather than in the emergency room after a workplace accident. Diagnosing existing conditions before a workplace accident will help a physician treat injuries more thoroughly, since he or she will know that the patient has it earlier on.

Another benefit of the ACA on workers’ compensation is that increased access to health care will help injured employees recover more quickly from workplace injuries, since employees will be healthier from the start. The sooner an injured employee recovers and is back to work, the less you will have to pay for workers’ compensation costs.

Greater access to health care helps keep your employees healthy and could reduce the number of workers’ compensation claims.The Affordable Care Act does not directly address workers’ compensation issues, but some aspects of the health care reform law will most likely have an impact on workers’ compensation costs and practices.

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