Organizations Can Dramatically Reduce Workers Comp Costs by Helping Employees Become Fit for Work

Introduction

Data from the National Council on Compensation Insurance shows the high cost of allowing or even requiring employees to attempt work for which they are woefully unprepared, physically and mentally. Physically unprepared because their bodies are not trained for the performance requirements of jobs they’re asked to perform; mentally unprepared because don’t know that they are unprepared or, if they do, fail to train for the tasks demanded of them.

In America, workers comp costs are highest in California at $3.48 per $100 in payroll; Connecticut is next at $2.87, followed by New Jersey ($2.82), New York ($2.75) and Alaska $2.68). The state with the lowest costs is North Dakota — 88 cents. The medium figure – $1.85 per $100 of payroll.

Traditional Approaches

These costs are a major burden on business, a drag on productivity, profits, job satisfaction and quality of life of the work force – and that’s but a partial list of problems.

What are companies doing about workers compensation problems, besides bemoaning the fact that they pay so much for on-the-job injuries? Here is a list of thirteen steps companies take or are advised to take by consultants and other experts.

1. Return disabled employees to work as quickly as possible.

2. Report only regular wages, if possible, when employees work time-and-a-half.

3. Establish a joint committee of labor and management to identify and correct health or safety problems in the workplace.

4. Educate and train employees on safe use of equipment, safe working behavior and safety procedures.

5. Provide medical attention quickly if an employee is injured.

6. Determine if there is a pattern to such claims.

7. Instruct employees not to take risks.

8. Distribute safety instruction manuals to employees.

9. Hold managers and supervisors accountable for the safety record of their departments and crews.

10. Take care when hiring.

11. Offer better health insurance to reduce worker’s compensation premiums.

12. Classify employee job descriptions and titles correctly, as some classifications carry more risk, resulting in higher premiums.

13. Eliminate workplace hazards that have caused an employee to get sick or injured.

Another Strategy

Why not take responsibility to ensure that employees are fit for work? Most are not fit for work, in fact, very few are. It is rare to find literature that suggests employers ever implement “upstream” or prevention strategies; as in the above list of thirteen steps, almost all efforts are “downstream.” Downstream strategies are those focused on saving bodies in the water, not keeping workers out of danger in the first place, protected from the turbulent waters of weak bodies and unprepared minds.

There is another way that organizations can reduce medical spending, lower the incidence of accidents, improve productivity and better return-to-work outcomes. How? By engaging employees with REAL wellness programs that transcend chronic disease management offerings and that go beyond preaching about exercise, diet and stress management.

Companies can insist on fit workers, hire fit workers, train and support fit workers and reward the outcomes tied to fit workers.

The number one risk of accidents and injuries is not random bad fortune, malicious acts of God or hazardous worksite conditions, though the latter is an unforgivable problem that must also be addressed on a priority basis. The number one risk for high worker comp costs is that people are not fit for their jobs. Specifically, they are not trained to realize and maintain musculo-skeletal functioning that most 8 to 5 or other job schedules require.

Workers should be given extensive training in the nature of genuine, wellness-worthy musculo-skeletal fitness, how to achieve, maintain and build such fitness and how to understand risks to such fitness. Different kinds of jobs, of course, require different physical fitness levels, and these variances need to be understood and applied to specific work settings. Every work station should be assessed for levels of required musculo-skeletal fitness.

A thorough program might include musculo-skeletal screens and work station assessments depending upon the extent that jobs entail:

* manual handling.

* dealing with existing conditions.

* strength and flexibility.

* skeletal alignment.

* percent body fat and aerobic fitness.

Summary

Australian fitness and wellness expert John Miller describes a system for the prevention and treatment of what he calls “personally-generated body system dysfunctions.” His work has shown that a high proportion of employees with back pain have a fitness problem – their weak and tight muscles have allowed the bones of their pelvis and then their vertebrae to move out of alignment. To quote coach Miller, whom I have watched in action in Canberra, “only on the rarest of occasions is back pain caused by a lack of rubbing, crunching, heating, vibrating, strapping, doping or surgery.” Or, expressed in the coach’s inimitable Aussie talk, “It’s a big ask expecting to stay in good musculo-skeletal heath without keeping yourself fit. It’s also a big ask expecting to get better by having someone do something to you. Sooner or later you have to do something to yourself.”

Small Business Insurance Basics: 10 Things You Need to Know Now

When you hear the words “business insurance,” you might think this only applies to large, established businesses. But in fact, this is an important topic for any sized business – from the largest corporations to the smallest, one-person operation and everything in between.

Whether you’re simply in the beginning stages of getting a business idea up and running, or already own an established business, it’s important to know a few basic things about how business insurance works, and what kinds you might need. Here are a few tips to get you started – or to provide you with a quick review.

1. Property Insurance – understand what it covers

Property insurance covers not only the physical structure which houses your business, but also the contents inside the structure. This could include equipment, office furniture and even inventory.

2. Liability Insurance is a must

No one likes to think about it, but getting sued is always a possibility for a business, regardless of its size. Having the proper amount of liability insurance is of the utmost importance. Liability insurance can help with expenses if your business is sued, but it can also help pay for expenses if anyone is injured due to a faulty product or service.

3. Worker’s Comp – check your state’s requirements

If your business has employees, it’s very possible that you’ll need worker’s compensation insurance. If anyone is injured on the job while working for you, worker’s compensation insurance will help pay for medical expenses. Most states require worker’s comp for all sized businesses, but be sure to check your state’s requirements to be sure that you get the proper type – and amount – of coverage.

4. Errors & Omissions

E&O Insurance is similar to Liability Insurance, but it is specifically for professional services businesses. This type of insurance can cover expenses that may be incurred due to accusations of negligence, or the failure to perform your professional services. Even if you haven’t.

5. Got employees? Consider EPLI

Employment Practices Liability Insurance applies to situations where businesses are sued for things such as discrimination, sexual harassment, or wrongful termination. At one time, these topics were only of concern to larger companies, but in today’s environment, businesses of all sizes can be subject to these types of suits. If your business has employees, it’s wise to consider adding EPLI coverage to your Business Owner’s Policy (BOP, described below).

6. Is Key Employee Insurance worth your while?

Many times, the success of a business relies on the involvement of specific employees. If one of those employees were to pass away unexpectedly, their absence could affect the profitability of the business. The beneficiary of a key employee policy is the business itself. Key Employee policies can often be requested by lenders, to meet certain credit requirements.

7. Cyber Liability Insurance is gaining in popularity

More and more business is being transacted online. And more and more data are being stored in “the cloud,” allowing for ease of access and reducing the need for companies to invest in storage or storage facilities. However, as more business is transacted electronically, the more that information is opened up to theft and hacking. Cyber Liability Insurance will help protect businesses if they experience a data breach; it will help cover costs ranging from legal expenses to public relations expenses.

8. Directors & Officers Liability Insurance is NOT the same as E&O

As the name implies, D&O insurance specifically protects the directors and officers of a company. D&O insurance protects the business, and sometimes the directors and officers themselves, in the event of legal action brought for alleged wrongful acts. While lawsuits such as these are less common in the United States, if your business operates outside the U.S. this type of coverage is definitely worth investigating further.

9. Don’t forget about the car!

If you have vehicles that are owned by your business, and are used exclusively for running your business, they won’t be covered by personal car insurance; a separate business auto insurance policy is needed. There are many types of coverage available, and auto insurance can sometimes be bundled into your Business Owner’s Policy. However, individual plans can be more easily customized.

10. Consider a BOP

A Business Owner’s Policy can be a great way to bundle common types of business insurance into one handy policy. BOPs are customizable, and can save you money since there are multiple types of coverage combined into one policy. Purchasing a BOP can also simplify the insurance process, since you’ll have just one policy, one renewal date, and one premium payment to deal with. While combining policies can be extremely convenient, it should only be done if you can truly have all of your insurance needs met by one product.

How To Limit Liability In Your Early Education Company

There is always risk and opportunity for liability in an early education company, but there are a number of ways you can limit your liability and manage risk in your business. Here are 11 things you may want to consider. (** Always talk with the proper professionals before taking action.)

1. The Heart Stopper: Make sure you never lose track of a child. This terrifying event is most likely to happen when moving back and forth to the playground or when children are transported via busses or vans. Sometimes it is not enough to count the number of children. Make sure you perform a sweep after “all” of the children have left an area. This is especially important for busses and vans as children are easily overlooked when they are in the back of a bus or van.

2. Observe Good Business Practices: This act is incredibly important. While it doesn’t guarantee that you will be safe in your business environment, it certainly reduces the risk of getting sued.

3. Business Component Incorporation: Incorporate your business to limit your personal liability.

4. Real Estate: If you own real estate for your early education company, own it in a corporation or LLC that is different than the corporation that owns your business component. By holding your real estate in a different entity, it can be protected from litigation against the childcare business. Remember, you don’t have to be wrong to be sued. Over the years, we have seen childcare company owners sued frivolously for little more than a parent that just needed a source of income.

5. Transportation: While some companies don’t go this far, owning your company vehicles in a separate transportation company helps to limit liability in the event of a traffic accident. Some people and their attorneys view litigation like a lottery. Fighting a lawsuit with someone who is trying to make a “corporation” pay is time consuming at best. It’s also likely to increase your insurance rates.

6. Insurance: Make sure you have the proper insurance coverage, including but not limited to, liability, property, flood and business interruption coverages.

7. Teachers: Train your teachers so they instinctively guard against any threat to the children, themselves or your center(s).

8. Playgrounds: Sectionalize playgrounds to make sure older children don’t accidentally collide with the little ones when playing outside.

9. Security: Install proper security doors and surveillance cameras so unwanted visitors don’t gain access to your center or the people in it.

10. Licensing Compliance: While licensing is always part of the daily childcare business, keep in mind that the regulations are there with good purpose. Sometimes it is the smallest act of prevention that stops a catastrophe.

11. Professionals: Make sure you have at least one good attorney and one good CPA on your team. Having the right professional to show you the correct path is much easier than learning things the hard way.