Small Business Spoonfuls Podcast

SBS 221: Workers’ Comp Hot Tips!

Hey Compliance Warriors!

On today’s episode we talk Workers’ Comp! We give some tips on how to lower your premiums and best practices in using it.

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Enjoy and until next time, Be Audit Secure!


Lisa: Today we’re talking about some hot tips for reducing your worker’s comp premiums.


Mason: Yup, that’s right. So, what exactly is workers’ comp? Just to clear that up.


Lisa: Worker’s comp is that no fault insurance, right That we carry on all our workers. People think no fault. What does that mean? What it basically says is that workers’ comp is, created so that the worker who was injured on the job can collect benefits and be considered free from fault or that if the employer’s at fault, the employee is at fault, it doesn’t matter who’s at fault. We don’t really look into that. What we look at is the employee was injured at work.


Mason: So basically, it’s an exclusive remedy system that basically the employee can’t Sue you for getting hurt at work as the employer. So, it’s a, costly thing. We’re going to talk about this, how we can reduce our premium.


Lisa: Yeah, one of the first things that we can do is make sure we have a good accident prevention program. So, there are a lot of States that offer free workshops for employers to make sure that you know how to devise your safety and health program. This goes right along hand in hand with OSHA.  And so if you’ve got that going on, you’re making OSHA happy, but then you’re also, guarding yourself in a worker’s comp situation because maybe people won’t get hurt.


Mason: Yeah. We can’t stress training, training, training, training, training enough.


Lisa: I know there’s so many training’s that must go on. And even if you work in an office and nobody is climbing scaffolding, the most difficult thing they’re doing is operating your copy machine. You still need to have a health and safety program.


Mason: Yep. So, this will save you some money on your premium. So, the next tip is investigate all accidents.


Lisa: Right So you can’t really have a good accident prevention program and unless you know what’s causing accidents, right? So you want to make sure that you not only do the pre investigation of what could cause an accident, but when someone is injured, get to the bottom of it and don’t do it where you’re blaming and wagging a finger at someone. But just figure it out.


Mason: Yeah. Come in with an attitude of I don’t want to happen again, or I don’t want this to happen Period. Like you see a scaffolding or something that maybe you have a painting company or you’re a painter and you see a scaffolding that looks kind of raggedy. Think about that. Like what can I do to fix that, So I don’t cause a future accident.


Lisa: Yeah, absolutely. And like I worked in a place one time and it was a school and so there was, like no scaffolding around. It was just office work, classroom work. Right. And I noticed that there was a floor mat that was fraying at the edges and people were like kicking it and tripping over it as they were walking. Well, no one had been hurt yet but, and I was on the safety committee. And I took that to big boss and said, we need to replace this because is going to get hurt or fix it or something. Right. And you know, big boss said to me, I’m not spending $100 right now out of my budget to fix a floor mat. And I’m like, seriously So I documented that and sent it in an email saying, I’m just confirming our conversation today where you said this, please respond back letting me know that this is indeed your response to my request as part of the safety committee member. And big boss wrote me back and said, just kidding. We’re getting it fixed right away. So, we have got to take initiative and make sure that people don’t get in our way of these problems too.


Mason: Yeah, exactly. And this kind of calls back to an episode we had a couple of weeks ago about the 10 secrets CEOs won’t tell you the thing, they view you as a cost type thing. So when you bring something to them, you’re not always going to be met with the right response. But if you go through the right process like you did in this situation, their hands are tied. They got to fix it. And hopefully like this boss that you worked for, they’ll see the benefits there and what you’re trying to do. You’re trying to help him out more than anything. So, our next, point is report or all accidents promptly.


Lisa: Yeah, the sooner an accident report is filed after it happens, the better evaluation you can have of the entire situation, the employee can be evaluated properly, cared for properly. And if we don’t act on things, then our employee could be like, I’m calling an attorney.


Mason: Yeah, you don’t want it disgruntled employee because you’re delaying their treatment or care, the worker spot comp is supposed to cover in this situation. Okay, number four is stay in touch with injured employees and their doctors.


Lisa: Make sure that we know what the recovery process is looking like. We follow all the guidelines, we fill out appropriate paperwork, we ask for appropriate paperwork from doctors. We just need to really follow up to show first and foremost that we care about the employee. Cause we’re protecting the company here. No doubt. But we’ve got to make sure that employee knows it’s not just all about business.


Mason: You can text them and say, Hey, hope you’re feeling better. That’ll make your employee keep from getting disgruntled. Keep them happy and it just, you’re doing the right thing and just keeping in touch with the situation and the more you know, the better you can be prepared. This little thing with their doctors staying in touch with their doctors. Where is crossing the line with the treatment and the care here?


Lisa: Well, except for what is allowed through worker’s comp specifically. Like we just can’t call up the doctor and start talking Turkey about the employee’s situation. But there are chains to follow and there are guidelines and we just need to stay within those.


Mason: Yeah, exactly. So, the next point is used return to work light duty programs.


Lisa: Maybe someone needs to get back to work, you want them back at work and but maybe they can’t be lifting 50 pound bags of concrete anymore, or at least not for maybe three more months, so what can they do let’s make sure that’s evaluated. The employer is, like again in contact with the physician on making sure those certifications are coming through and the restrictions are clearly spelled out. Maybe it’s helpful for the, doctor to have a job description and you send that over and then they can say, okay, can’t do this, can’t do that, can’t do this. They can really help you determine what that looks like.


Mason: Yeah. Where the employees add in the recovery process. It’s almost like hiring a new employee when somebody comes back to work hurt because you’re not just going to pile on the new employee a bunch of tasks that overwhelmed them. They can’t do it that time. So, you just want to be careful with that. Our sixth and final point is know your insurance system.


Lisa: The worker’s comp premiums, the system is based on, classifications of how risky your business is, right and so like construction of course, extremely risky business.


Mason: You wouldn’t want a construction insurance plan for a, six-person office.


Lisa: Right And then like a six-person office where nobody does anything except sit at the computer and answer phones and type.


Mason: Like in your situation, the floor mat was the problem not the scaffolding.


Lisa: Exactly! So we want to know like what our classification is and we want to make sure that we do get the best rates and that’s where an agent who may be can look around for us and is not just locked into one company is a better option. We’re actually out there looking.


Mason: Yeah, you can almost outsource this to, where you’re not the one signing up and doing the research and things like that. There’s people who have jobs to do this for you, this is almost a task that you can kind of outsource and have an agent set up for you. Just like you would with Car insurance, your home insurance, things like that.


Lisa: Exactly. Just make sure you don’t like, just let them tell you anything, just make sure you’re really understanding the process. Be informed. That’s all we’re saying. So those are really, six really cool hot tips. Again, I read this out of an article in business management daily and I just thought, so great. We’ve put our own spin on some of these tips, obviously. but bottom line is this is just great advice, no matter who it comes from, that we need to be aware, be informed, be interested, be concerned and follow all the rules.


Mason: A little knowledge there about worker’s comp and what you can do to help yourself and your organization in this situation. Okay. Well then, until next time.

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