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Avoid Slip and Falls

Bookmark and Share The bad news: slips, trips, and falls are one of the nation's leading causes of workplace injuries. The good news: working with safety professionals can help prevent these accidents - and keep your Workers Compensation costs under control.

Falls on the same level (in which workers slip and fall on the surface on which they're standing) cost Workers Comp insurance companies a hefty $8.61 billion in 2010, accounting for 16.9% of their total claims. That's the word from Wayne Maynard, Manager of Technical Services and Product Development for the Loss Control Advisory Services unit of Liberty Mutual, the largest Comp carrier in the nation.

According to the Liberty Mutual 2012 Workplace Safety Index, "bodily reaction" injuries - which includes those caused by slipping or tripping without falling - represented $5.78 billion of Comp costs in 2010, or 11.4% of the overall burden,. Falls to a lower level in that year accounted for another $5.12 billion, or 10% of claims.

These costs are rising, due in part to an aging workforce (older worker tend to have more balance problems). Falls on the same level increased 42.3% from 1998 to 2010, while bodily reaction injuries increased 17.6% during this period.

You can help reduce the frequency of slips, trips, and falls by taking such ergonomic enhancements in the workplace as 1) adding slip-resistant flooring; 2) eliminating raised surfaces that might cause tripping; and 3) installing handrails on stairs. Also make sure that your employees take immediate steps to clean up spills that could create slippery floors.

Our agency's professionals would be happy to provide a complimentary "slip, trip, and fall" safety review of your premises - just give us a call.
 

Understanding Conditions on Your Workers Compensation Policy

Bookmark and Share The conditions enumerated in a workers' compensation policy define rights and obligations to the parties. They outline governance of the day to day relationship between a carrier and an insured.

Typical conditions include:
  1. The first named insured is solely responsible for all insured parties concerning premium payment, communications such as cancellations, refunds, or additional audits.

  2. The insured cannot transfer rights or duties to a third party without written consent from the insurance provider. For example, in the case of a merger of two companies, the selling company cannot assign coverage to the buying company, or transfer a favorable experience modification.

  3. Policies are considered as one year terms for administrative purposes. Premium rates, modifications or any administrative concern is handled as though the term were one year. Three year policies are fairly rare in the modern era of workers' compensation. Fixed rate three-year policies have a modifying clause to eliminate this condition. Three-year retrospective plans are calculated on an annual basis, and as such, have lost their appeal to potential buyers.

  4. Inspections. The insured must allow inspections of premises and operations so the insurance company can assess safety and loss control concerns.

  5. Cancellation. Policies can be cancelled, for example non-payment of premium, under conditions outlined by the state authority. Usually, the cancellation condition includes a front end period, like two months, for the insurance company to decline the risk. The carrier usually must cancel at least some minimum time prior to renewal or the policy automatically renews. Of course, non-payment has a statutory warning and time to correct.
These conditions are important to understand and honor. They protect the insured and the carrier so the governance of the policy is smooth. Typically, conditions establish a mutual respect between the insured and carrier. The right to inspect but the obligation to report back, and offer advice. Mutually beneficial management.
 

DOES AGE MATTER?

Bookmark and Share As people retire later, the workforce keeps aging. This trend has been a concern for businesses because the conventional wisdom holds that older workers are more vulnerable to costly injuries, driving up Workers Comp rates.

However, new research from the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) casts doubt on this conclusion, changing the definition of “older workers.”

After studying injury rates for different age groups, NCCI found that, while workers under 35 had substantially more cuts on their fingers and those over 35 suffered more cases of carpal tunnel and cervical injuries, the numbers are startlingly similar.

What about expense? NCCI concluded that although workers between 20 and 34 create much lower costs (and fewer days lost), once they reach 35 these costs are similar. This redefines an “older worker” as someone who grew up listening to Nirvana instead of Elvis.

Injury prevention for employees – regardless of age –should begin during the hiring process. Once you have a written job description, offer the candidate the job based on his or her ability to do the work with reasonable accommodation. Then have the candidate complete a medical questionnaire to determine if he or she “fits” position. If so, it’s time to get started. If not, to find someone else.

If you haven’t already done so, set up and monitor a comprehensive safety-training program for new hires, Make sure that they remain mindful of how they’re doing their job. Far more injuries result from unsafe acts by employees than unsafe workplace conditions Employees who feel rushed are more likely to ignore safety aside so they can meet deadlines – leading to preventable accidents.

To learn more about keeping your workers safe on the job, feel free to get in touch with us.
 

Monitor to Reduce Workers Compensation Fraud

Bookmark and Share 3Security cameras in the workplace can help employers stave off fraudulent Workers Compensation claims - as long as the companies using them are careful not to violate employees' privacy.

CEC Entertainment Inc. (Irving, TX), which operates Chuck E. Cheese's restaurants, reduced fraudulent Comp and Liability claims significantly after installing surveillance cameras in 2009 and 2010. Says CEC Director of Sales Management Jeff Strege, "We've made a number of claims literally vanish once we produce the video footage to show that what the claimant said didn't really happen."

Commercial insurance broker Marsh Inc. recommends that such businesses as retailers, manufacturers, transportation companies, and financial institution use cameras to monitor workplace safety and evaluate potential injuries as a way to monitor and validate incidents that could generate costly claims. What's more, adds Paul Braun of Aon Risk Consulting, employees who know that they're being taped will be less likely to try claims scams.

Using surveillance video can run afoul of privacy laws that prohibit companies from filming employees inside of restrooms, and require them to post signs informing workers that they're under video surveillance. In general, says Thomas Martin, CEO of Martin Investigations & Security Services (Lima, OH), "Where your eyes are allowed to see, the cameras are allowed to see."

Although cameras can't film all areas of a company, employers should look closely at Workers Comp claims that happen outside the cameras' view. Notes Martin, "If you have pretty much 75% coverage, and they happen to fall and claim an injury in the other 25%, it becomes very suspicious that (the injury) wasn't recorded."

Insurance and security experts generally agree that the cost of installing and maintaining video monitoring systems in the workplace is well worth the investment in discouraging or preventing phony - and costly - Comp claims.

We'd be happy to offer our recommendations on video surveillance security firms that can help meet your needs.