- Workers and taxpayers bear the brunt of work injury costs (63 percent and 16 percent, respectively).
- State legislation has made it more difficult for injured workers to receive lost wage and medical expense benefits.
- Only a fraction of injured workers receive any Workers' Comp benefits through state compensation insurance funds.
- Employers aren't recording all work-related injuries (especially exposure-related illnesses that crop up years later).
Perhaps the most disheartening insight to come out of these reports is that injured employees really struggle to move on after an occupational accident. In fact, the reports show that these employees' earn $31,000 less than they would over 10 years if they had never been injured.
The good news is that you can potentially keep your employees from facing a similar fate if you help manage your business's Workers' Compensation Insurance benefits.
Communication: The Key to Injury Prevention and Quick Recovery
Of course, every small-business owner wants their employees to be safe and healthy. As an employer, you play a role in your employees' safety, and it all comes down to communication.
Let's explore how you can communicate with employees to reduce workplace injuries and ensure their speedy recovery when occupational accidents happen.
- Create safety manuals and distribute them to workers. This manual should explain possible work hazards and describe best practices for mitigating those dangers. Regularly review this material with employees. More on that here: "What Not to Do: Workers' Compensation Edition."
- Make a Workers' Compensation Insurance brochure for new hires. This should explain the insurance program, including your insurer, policy number, benefits, covered injuries, etc. It should also outline the claims process (e.g., report the injury to you as soon as possible, seek medical attention from an approved medical professional, and fill out a claims form.). Read more about that in "How Does Workers' Comp Insurance Work?"
- Ensure your employees know they won't be fired for filing a Workers' Comp claim. The reports we discussed above cite that many employees don't file claims because of fear that they will lose their jobs. Reassure employees that this is not the case and that in most states that practice is illegal.
- When employees have an occupational accident, follow up with them. Contact employees within a week or two after the injury to see how they are doing. Be sure to keep in touch with employees throughout their recovery (it's good for employee morale). Ask them about their claims experience and if there were any complications. Remember that poor treatment from medical providers and claims adjustors may cause delays in recovery and encourage employees to seek legal action.
- Help employees navigate the claims process. You may need to follow up with the claims adjustor if problems arise. Read more about your responsibilities in "How Do I File a Workers' Comp Claim?"
- Check with your legal counsel to see if there are any other steps you should take. Your attorney can advise you on what to do if your employee reports that they didn't receive adequate treatment.
Workers' Comp is a hot topic right now, so stay on top of new developments by following our Workers' Compensation Insurance blog series. Wondering what Workers' Compensation Insurance costs for the nation's smallest businesses? Check out our new Workers' Comp Insurance Quote Analysis.