By Emma Greenwood
People spend a good deal of their time at work, so it’s not surprising that a large percentage of accidental injuries occur at work. However, even in jobs that require moving, lifting or carrying objects, the risk of injury can be significantly minimized. Through the years, safety standards have evolved in the workplace, creating safer environments. However, injury and accidents can happen in many settings.
“Workers’ Compensation is commonly only thought of when required by State statute or law, however like any business owner or individual, it is best practice to obtain and keep a Worker’s Compensation policy in force as it not only protects you but can also protect your business and assets from a large one-time loss involving an employee or un-insured subcontractor hired for a service,” notes Trustpoint Insurance Agent Bobbi Gellhaus.
Most Frequent Causes of Injury
Many people work at jobs with potential safety risks. Workers’ compensation insurance covers more than 140 million U.S. workers and over 94 percent of employees. It costs employers over 95 billion annually. There are a variety of ways an employee can potentially get injured at your job, including slipping or tripping, handling heavy objects, hazardous substances, overworked employees and misused tools.
The top five injuries in a workplace are caused by strains and sprains, cuts or punctures, contusions, inflammation and fractures. Injuries such as fractures and electric shock are those requiring the most compensation.
Whether these injuries occur from negligence or are accidental, all injuries have to be taken seriously. The consequences of these injuries are vast, including missed days of work, legal fees, loss of productivity, loss of morale among employees, equipment repair or replacement, training for new employees or even a loss of life.
How to Minimize Workers’ Comp
Even though workers’ comp is necessary, employers should work to minimize the need for it. How do employers increase safety and minimize workers’ comp claims? There are many ways to do this, including wearing protective gear and rotating employees working in hazardous areas (the longer they’re exposed, the higher the chance of an injury). Companies should also provide proper ventilation and disposal methods (especially around chemicals and poisonous substances). The most important tactic is to training employees and employers frequently and thoroughly.
Minimizing from a Business POV
Businesses should take action to prevent workers’ comp claims to the best of their abilities—some ways to do this include a special focus on educating and training. Put together a safety and health education program to teach employees different ways to avoid accidents, or simply form a safety committee. This is a good idea for a business that faces frequent accidents; it ensures a safe place for employees and management to have a safe space to talk about problems and safety concerns.
Always investigate near-misses; even if a near-miss accident doesn’t lead to a workers’ comp claim, it could the next time it happens. Another approach is to celebrate safety. Keep track of the days your workers have been accident-free and celebrate with milestones. When the goal is met, celebrate with something enticing to your workers.
Prevention of Injury
Do you know who at your job is responsible for worker safety? People are employed to prevent injury before workers’ compensation is needed. Their goal is to improve workplace safety and minimize the chance of an accident. How? By implementing new strategies to attack threats that appear daily.
Even though there are better safety standards and employee training, injuries can still happen. Be prepared for this by getting insured for worker’s comp claims.
Gellhaus also advises, “Many Workers’ Compensation carriers can assist and provide loss control and safety information for you as part of your policy benefits. Contact your agent to obtain more information about the services that might be available.”