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Five Strategies for Reducing Workers’ Compensation Costs

By Business Insurance, Safety Services

When a company experiences significant increases in workers’ compensation costs, it usually triggers internal activities aimed at reducing insurance costs and spending. The key to spending fewer dollars is more than just stopping a few accidents; it is having a sound safety program designed to continuously improve. This is where a safety program that, at a minimum, is compliant with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards can yield significant savings for  by reducing injuries and illnesses, saving workers’ compensation dollars.

 

Building a Solid OSHA Program

There are five elementary steps  can take to have a well-rounded safety program that produces a safe work environment, achieves OSHA compliance, reduces accidents and ultimately reduces workers’ compensation costs.

  1. Develop the various programs required by the OSHA standards.
  2. Integrate those programs into the daily operations.
  3. Investigate all injuries and illnesses.
  4. Provide training to develop safety competence in all employees.
  5. Audit your programs and your work areas on a regular basis to stimulate continuous improvement.

 

Develop Programs Required by OSHA Standards

Aside from being a requirement for general industry, the OSHA standards provide a good pathway to incident reductions. A good number of accidents stem from poorly developed or poorly implemented OSHA programs: failure to keep walking and working surfaces clear may result in slips or trips, not using personal protective equipment may result in excessive lacerations, and poor lifting techniques can result in strains.

 

Many of the OSHA standards require some type of written program be developed and then communicated to employees. Experience shows that companies with thoroughly developed OSHA-compliant programs have fewer accidents, more productive employees and lower workers’ compensation costs.

 

Integrate Programs into Daily Operations

Policies alone won’t get results; the program must move from paper to practice in order to succeed. Putting a policy into practice requires a strategic plan clearly communicated to key participants, good execution of that plan based on developed competencies and a culture that inspires and rewards people to do their best.

 

When developing any business initiative, there must be an emphasis on frontline supervisors and helping them succeed. Every good business person knows that any new program—safety, quality or anything else—lives and dies with the frontline supervisor. If the frontline supervisor knows the program and wants to make it happen, the program succeeds; if not, the program is a source of constant struggle and an endless drain on resources and energies. Providing supervisors with knowledge and skills through training is critical to the success of any program. 

 

A solid OSHA program integrated into the daily operation and led by competent supervisors is just the beginning. Successful safety programs focus on being proactive instead of always reacting to issues. Accident investigations provide an excellent source of information on real or potential issues present in the workplace.

 

Investigate All Injuries and Illnesses

Workers’ compensation is designed to recompense employees for injuries or illnesses they suffer in the course of their employment. This should not come as a surprise, but increasing numbers of claims drive up workers’ compensation costs. To reduce those costs, you must simply reduce your accidents, and the ability to reduce accidents is significantly enhanced when those accidents are fully investigated instead of simply being reported.

 

Accident reports are historical records only citing facts, while accident investigations go deeper to find the root cause and make improvements. Businesses that stop rising workers’ compensation costs have an effective accident investigation process that discovers the root cause of the problem. Unless the root cause is discovered, recommendations for improvement will remain fruitless. Again, training proves beneficial because a supervisor skilled in incident analysis is a better problem solver for all types of production-related issues, not just safety.

 

All accidents should be investigated to find out what went wrong and why. Some may suggest investigating every accident is a bit over the top and only those that incur significant costs are worthy of scrutiny. But ask yourself this question: If you only investigated serious quality concerns instead of every little deviation, would your quality program still be effective? Companies with solid quality programs investigate and resolve every deviation from quality standards.

 

If your emphasis is only on those incidents that have to be recorded on the OSHA 300 log, you close your eyes to the biggest accident category: first aid-only incidents. Many companies get upset about recordables or lost time accidents because of the significant costs involved, but they don’t realize that the small costs and high numbers of first aid-only incidents really add up.

 

Statistics show that for every 100 accidents, 10 will be recordable and one a lost-time incident. If you investigate only recordables or lost time accidents, 89 go unnoticed. Would you consider a quality program that allows an 89% failure rate successful? Reducing serious accidents means you must reduce your overall rate of all accidents – including first aid-only incidents. That only happens when every incident is fully investigated to find the root cause, and remedial actions are identified and integrated into the daily operation.

 

Training and Auditing for Continuous Improvement

The final steps focus on training and auditing your program for continuous improvement. Training plays a significant role in safety and in reducing workers’ compensation costs. The goal of training is to develop competent people who have the knowledge, skill and understanding to perform assigned job responsibilities. Competence, more than anything else, will improve all aspects of your business and drive down costs. Supervisors must have the knowledge and ability to integrate every safety program into their specific areas of responsibility. Every employee must know what is expected of them when it comes to implementing safe work procedures. Once the programs are developed and implemented, they must be reviewed on a regular basis to make sure they are still relevant and effective.

 

This might require a significant change in how you manage your safety program, but if your workers’ compensation rates are high, it may be time to make this leap.

 

Tangible Benefits

  1. Studies indicate there is a return on investment and that companies see direct bottom-line benefits with a properly designed, implemented and integrated safety program.
  2. A competency-based safety program is compliant with OSHA requirements and therefore reduces the threat of OSHA fines.
  3. A competency-based safety program lowers accidents, and fewer accidents lower workers’ compensation costs. When incidents do occur, a competency-based safety program fully evaluates the issue and finds the root cause to prevent reoccurrence and provides a workplace that is free from recognized hazards.
  4. A safer workplace creates better morale and improves employee retention. Auditing keeps your programs fresh and effective and drives continuous improvement.
  5. A competency-based program produces people who are fully engaged in every aspect of their job and are satisfied and fulfilled producing high-quality goods and services.

The Volunteer Protection Act

By Business Insurance

To promote volunteerism, the Volunteer Protection Act (VPA) was signed into law in 1997. This act pre-empts existing, looser state laws protecting nonprofit volunteers, encouraging the public to participate in social service.

Overview of the Volunteer Protection Act

The VPA protects volunteers against civil liability under the following conditions:

  • The volunteer was acting within the guidelines of his or her job description
  • The volunteer had the proper licenses, certifications or was authorized to act, and those acts were within his or her job description
  • The volunteer did not cause harm that was caused by willful or criminal misconduct, gross negligence, reckless misconduct, or a conscious, flagrant indifference to the rights or safety of the individual harmed
  • The volunteer did not inflict harm while using a motor vehicle, aircraft or other vehicle

The VPA provides consistent protection for all nonprofit personnel since state laws vary. More specifically, many states only provide protection to the organization’s director or board members, while others protect everyone associated with the organization.

The VPA does not, however, protect a volunteer from litigation brought by the organization onto the volunteer for violating one of previously mentioned criteria.

Most importantly, the VPA does not protect the nonprofit organization from litigation; it only protects the volunteer. In other words, the organization may be liable for the negligent actions of the volunteer, even when the volunteer is immune from litigation under the VPA. Therefore, the burden of responsibility is on the organization to assure that its volunteers are acting in a lawful manner while carrying out the duties assigned to them by the nonprofit.
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Coronavirus and the Workplace

By Business Insurance, Group Benefits, HR Services, Safety Services

Compliance Issues for Employers

 

As the number of reported cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to rise, employers are increasingly confronted with the possibility of an outbreak in the workplace.

Employers are obligated to maintain a safe and healthy work environment for their employees, but are also subject to a number of legal requirements protecting workers. For example, employers must comply with the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act), Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) in their approach to dealing with COVID-19.

There are a number of steps that employers can take to address the impact of COVID-19 in the workplace. In addition to reviewing the compliance concerns outlined in this Compliance Bulletin, employers should:

• Closely monitor the CDC, WHO and state and local public health department websites for information on the status of the coronavirus.
• Proactively educate their employees on what is known about the virus, including its transmission and prevention.
• Establish a written communicable illness policy and response plan that covers communicable diseases readily transmitted in the workplace.
• Consider measures that can help prevent the spread of illness, such as allowing employees flexible work options like working from home. are enforced.
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Control Your Mod

By Business Insurance, Insurance, Safety Services

Top 10 Ways To Control Your Mod

Your experience modification factor, or mod, is an important component used in calculating your workers’ compensation premium. If you can control your mod, you can lower your price — so we’ve gathered top tips to help you impact your bottom line.

 

  1. Investigate accidents immediately and thoroughly; take corrective action to eliminate hazards, and be aware of fraud.
  2. Report all claims to your carrier immediately. Alert the carrier to any serious, potentially serious or suspect claims. Frequently monitor the status of the claim, and communicate with the adjuster to resolve them as quickly as possible.
  3. Take an aggressive approach to providing light duty to all injured employees upon their release from treatment. Supervise light duty employees to ensure their conformance with restrictions.
  4. In serious cases that involve lost time, communicate with the claims adjuster to demonstrate your interest in returning the injured employee back to gainful employment.
  5. Set safety performance goals for those with supervisory responsibility. Success in achieving safety goals should be used as one measure during performance appraisals.
  6. Develop a written safety program, and train employees in their responsibilities for safety. Incorporate a disciplinary policy into the program that holds employees accountable for breaking rules or rewards them for correctly following safety procedures.
  7. Frequently communicate with employees, both formally and informally, regarding the importance of safety.
  8. Make safety a priority – senior management must be visible in the safety effort and must support improvement.
  9. Evaluate accident history and near-misses at least monthly. Look for trends in experience, and take corrective action on the worst problems first.
  10. Talk to your BHI Advisor, Account Manager, or Director of Risk Control to ensure success.

BHI is Insurance. Done Differently.

By Business Insurance, Group Benefits, HR Services, Insurance, Personal Insurance, Safety Services


John Boykin
President & CEO
BHI

Business owners have so much on their plate these days, and many times the last thing on their mind is insurance. As a business owner, what do you think about when someone says the word “insurance”? Does it bore you? Do you roll your eyes? When was the last time you reviewed your insurance portfolio? Even the word itself has a bit of an outdated and traditional undertone. We get it, and we’re doing everything we can to change the market and our client and prospects’ antiquated outlook on “insurance.” We believe it’s one of the most important pieces to put in place for business continuity and not worthless paper stacked on a shelf that you hope you never have to use!

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Benefits Of Business Interruption Insurance

By Business Insurance, Insurance, Specialty Insurance

Continuity is critical in business, and there are few things more important than continuous revenue and cash flow, particularly for small to medium-sized organizations. In fact, just one brief business interruption can be incredibly costly for an organization, often leading to serious reputational damages or long-term closures.

That’s where business interruption insurance can help. This form of coverage provides protection against a variety of common interruptions, including natural disasters, equipment damage, and vandalism. The following are some other major benefits of business interruption insurance.

Revenue

In the event of a disruption, business interruption insurance provides coverage for income your business would have earned during a closure period if it had been operating normally.

Rent or Lease Payments

Even if your premises are unusable following a disaster or other event, many leases still require that you make payments. Business interruption insurance allows you to continue making rent or lease payments, even while your business is not operating.

Relocation

In the event that your primary location is unusable following a disaster or other event, you will likely have to relocate in order to remain open and continue generating revenue. Business interruption insurance can cover the expenses of moving your business to a temporary location and may include both moving and rent costs.

Employee Wages

If you are unable to operate, it is likely you will not be able  to continue paying employees. Business interruption insurance can help you avoid losing staff while you’re closed by ensuring that you make payroll. This is especially important, as finding new employees is often more expensive than keeping them.

Loan Payments

If you have an outstanding loan, you will need to continue to make payments even if your business isn’t fully operational. Business interruption insurance will ensure you never miss a payment until you are fully operational again.

Want to Learn More?

Business interruption insurance is designed to give businesses access to the assets they need when they need it most. However, these policies can be complex, and it’s important to work with your insurance broker closely when seeking coverage. To learn more contact us today.

The Importance of Cyber Liability

By Business Insurance

 
 

As technology becomes increasingly important for successful business operations, the value of a strong cyber liability insurance policy will only continue to grow. The continued rise in the amount of information stored and transferred electronically has resulted in a remarkable increase in the potential exposures facing businesses. In an age where a stolen laptop or hacked account can instantly compromise the personal data of thousands of customers, or an ill-advised post on a social media site can be read by hundreds in a matter of minutes, protecting yourself from cyber liability is just as important as some of the more traditional exposures businesses account for in their general commercial liability policies.
 
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Seven Insurance Policies for Businesses

By Business Insurance

With so many different types of insurance to choose from, it can be overwhelming to determine what type is best for your business. B+H Insurance, LLC is here to help explain the types of insurance policies available and how they can help protect you, your employees and your business’s bottom line.

Commercial Property Insurance

In the case of a catastrophic event such as a fire, explosion, burst pipe, storm or theft, commercial property insurance compensates you for losses or damage to your building, leased or owned equipment, and other property on the premises. In fact, commercial property insurance can cover items such as furniture, inventory, computers and anything that would be considered necessary for performing normal business operations.

Commercial property insurance is typically purchased as a stand-alone policy or as part of a comprehensive business owner’s policy that includes property and general liability coverage. Commercial property insurance is offered on either a replacement cost or actual cash value basis.

General Liability Insurance

General liability insurance policies typically cover an organization for claims involving bodily injuries and property damage resulting from its products, services or operations. What’s more, this form of insurance can help cover medical expenses and attorney fees resulting from bodily injury or property damage claims for which your organization may be legally responsible.
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How Can You Be Better Prepared for an Audit?

By Business Insurance, Business Tools, Insurance

Audits Don’t Have to Be Scary

Take a look at this video that was designed to help you understand General Liability and Workers Compensation Audits. Understanding the Audit Process can help you be better prepared for future Audits to come.

Click the link below for a helpful checklist to make sure you have everything you need!

Audit Checklist

 

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