Controlling Workers Compensation Costs

Controlling-Workers-Compensation-CostControlling Workers Compensation Costs

Many companies are encountering rising insurance costs.  There are only so many ways to control and/or decrease those costs.  The best approach to control workers compensation costs is to have a proactive safety management system.  Don’t wait until your experience modification rate (EMR) is above 1.0 to decide it is time to focus on safety.   The EMR is a relatively straightforward calculation that compares a company’s annual losses in insurance claims against its policy premiums over a three-year period, excluding the most current year.

Pre-screen Employees

Cost containment starts before you hire an employee. If you do not have progressive hiring practices that are thorough, this is a red flag.  Take the time to research the previous employment history.  Develop pre-employment physical and testing to ensure that a prospective employee is fit to perform the job.  Have a detailed job description that outlines the tasks that must be performed.

Once you have the Best Person for the Job 

After choosing the correct hire, having an extensive safety orientation is critical.  Take the time to make certain the employee knows how to do the job, he/she understands job safety, job risks and the tasks involved.  Include reporting procedures and what happens after an incident occurs in the safety orientation and ongoing safety training.  Be sure that employees report all incidents.  Make sure employees do not feel that reporting an incident is an issue and encourage them to report incidents to help improve every function.  An incident is not necessarily an employee getting hurt, rather an incident is something out of the ordinary that happens to the process, property and/or employee.

Employees need to be involved and “own” the safety processes and programs. They should participate in meetings, training, audits, and investigations. Supervisors should have thorough training on investigation protocols and root cause analysis.  This will allow for a true understanding of the cause of the incident as well as follow up protocols and corrective actions.

Some new hire safety training may be half day while others take several days to several weeks.  Ongoing training is vital to stay focused and alert.  An analysis of training requirements for all positions is necessary to ensure employees are properly trained according to company and OSHA requirements.

The company should have a well communicated safety policy.  All employees should know and understand the company’s core values. Management’s visible commitment is important for employees. When management is visible, the employee better understands the importance. Developing goals and objectives on a periodic basis is essential and needs to be visible.

When Injury Occurs

A return to work program and policy is necessary to allow employees to work if injured and employees need to understand company rules.

Return to work policies should include the following:

  • pay for time off
  • accommodations for time off for appointments related to the injury
  • an outline of supervisor, management, and employee responsibilities
  • modified duty accommodations
  • consequences for not complying with the safety program

Having a proactive approach to claims includes but is not limited to the following:

  • getting appropriate medical attention immediately
  • ensuring root cause analysis is completed with the first 24 hours after an incident or injury
  • keeping in constant contact with injured employees whether they are at work or at home
  • getting a quick resolution on a claim

It’s a good idea to build a strong relationship with local occupational health providers.  This will allow them to understand the hazards in your facility.  They may also be able to help with analysis of positions to assist with ergonomics and alert you to other hazards.

The factors above have separate development and training challenges, and by following these principles, you will be able to control costs and claims.  This is not an all-inclusive list, each facility has unique issues.  These are some of the best ideas for helping control workers compensation cost.


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