Controlling the costs of workers’ compensation is often critical to the health and well being of a company’s finances. Getting started is sometimes overwhelming but focusing on the following areas will provide the employer with the biggest impact on the organization’s workers’ compensation premiums.
Make Safety a Priority
Preventing on the job injuries by promoting safe work habits is the first step to controlling workers’ compensation costs. Making employees aware of the company safety policy and giving periodic reminders or posting information in common areas will ensure the employee is up to date and always has access to proper procedures. Provide required training and information about hazards to all employees annually. Incentive programs awarding employees who demonstrate outstanding safety records get every one involved.
Don’t know where to start? The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation has safety and hygiene professionals that can visit your workplace at no charge to the employer. Visit the Safety and Hygiene page on the BWC website for more information.
Implement a Drug Free Workplace
Some studies suggest that substance abuse is involved in as many as 47% of workplace accidents that result in serious injury and 40% of workplace accidents that result in death. In Ohio, House Bill 223 allows employers to ask for a disallowance of a claim when an injured worker tests positive on a post accident drug and/or alcohol test. Employers that have a consistent substance abuse policy that includes drug and alcohol awareness as well as testing reduce the risk of injury in the workplace.
The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation offers a Drug Free Safety Program that provides up to a 7% discount for eligible employers. The DFSP focuses on not only a comprehensive drug free program but also has some safety requirements as well.
Don’t know where to start? Employers should visit our Drug Free Safety Program page for more information on the program and contact their HMS account manager for guidance in finding a provider.
Develop a Transitional Work Program
Allowing injured workers to return to work in a modified duty capacity while rehabilitating will have the most significant impact on controlling the costs of workers’ compensation. A Transitional Work Program is developed before an injury occurs and has clear written policies and procedures, job analysis and other components focused on returning the injured worker to duty as quickly and safely as possible.
Don’t know where to start? The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation makes a grant available to eligible employers that will pay a portion of the costs of hiring a certified transitional work developer. The developer will work with the employer to implement a written program, complete job analysis and identify medical providers. Eligible employers using a transitional work program to return an injured worker to full duty are also eligible for the Transitional Work Bonus program which allows for up to a 10% discount on an employer’s workers’ compensation premium. For more information, visit our Transitional Work Grant and Bonus program information page.
Identify Injury Trends and Access the Ohio BWC Safety Grant
Develop an injury tracking log that includes the location, description and contributing factors of each injury . Regular review of the log will help identify safety concerns, patterns, staffing problems or structural issues which may need to be corrected. Including preventive action in the log will help to identify limitations in the safety program or equipment that could reduce the risk of injury. The Ohio BWC offers employers a Safety Grant which provides up to $40,000 to the employer in a $3 to $1 match to purchase equipment.
Don’t know where to start? Contact the Safety and Hygiene division and visit the Ohio BWC Safety Grant information page.
Have a Clear Reporting Process
Fast injury reporting is a critical step in controlling costs. The earlier an injury is reported, the sooner claims management begins. Designating a point person, making injury packets available to employees and training supervisors and employees as to their responsibilities should all be included in the reporting process.
Don’t know where to start? Employers that participate in the Transitional Work Grant program will develop a reporting process with the certified developer. Employers not participating in the Transitional Work Grant program should contact their HMS account manager for injury packets and assistance.
Identify Medical Providers
When an injury occurs, it’s important the employee seek medical treatment as soon as possible. Using an emergency room for minor injuries may result in long waits for the employee and increased costs for the employer. Locating an occupational medicine provider in your area and establishing a relationship prior to an injury occurrence ensures that an injured worker receives treatment as soon as possible. Occupational medicine providers can also complete the drug and alcohol test, if required. Communicating the organization’s policy on transitional work, drug and alcohol testing and employer contact information ensures the medical provider understands the needs and ability of the organization.
Don’t know where to start? Call other employers in your area for recommendations of occupational medicine providers. Your HMS account manager can also help you locate a provider.