Lower Your Workers' Comp Premium by Doing This One Thing, First

Workers' compensation premiums can quickly grow to be a burden on your business finances. Many industries have a higher-than-average rate of injury due to the nature of the work. Freight, heavy machinery, outdoor conditions, heights, and other factors contribute to injury frequency and severity when injuries occur, which can send your worker's compensation costs through the roof with each new claim.

Of course, it's important to take good care of your workers when they are injured, but you also need to control your workers' compensation premium costs to maintain your balance sheet. Fortunately, there is one tactic that can help you achieve both goals in equal measure.

Doing this one thing can lower your worker's comp premiums and prioritize employee well-being: Focusing on worksite safety and injury prevention.

Why Worksite Safety is the Most Important Strategy

Workers' compensation claims come from on-site injuries. The more frequent and severe the injuries, the more your workers need to cover medical costs, missed work, and recovery. These high claim costs increase the cost of your workers' comp premiums over time.  But if workers are injured less often, fewer claims need to be filed. If each injury is less severe, requiring less medical care and a shorter recovery time, the size of each claim is reduced in the best possible way. With fewer and less costly claims, your workers' compensation premiums will drop over time, instead.

Increasing worksite safety can decrease the chance that a worker will be injured. Proper safety measures can also reduce the severity of each injury by ensuring that your workers are protected from the most dangerous elements of the work site, even when accidents happen.

By focusing first on improving worksite safety and taking injury prevention measures, you can quickly reduce the need and, therefore, the cost of workers' compensation for your company.

Strategies to Improve Safety and Prevent Injuries

With safety as your top priority, there are several strategies you can pursue to create a safer workplace and prevent injuries based on known risk factors. Using a combination of best practices and site-specific solutions, it becomes possible to protect your team from both the risk of injury and the most harmful elements of 

1. Frequent Safety Training

Employees who understand safety can identify risks so they can protect themselves and others. Following best practices for safe behaviors, routines, and maintenance of the workplace drastically increases the safety level of safety for everyone involved. Make frequent safety training an integral part of your employee experience.

All employees should go through safety training at least once a year, and introduction to new equipment or tasks should be paired with safety training to ensure employees fully understand how to complete their duties in the safest way possible. Training also helps employees understand their part in a safe work environment, such as properly stacking inventory, shutting down equipment, and putting away tools.

2. Implementing Robust Safety Protocols

Your site-wide standard of safety must be robust. Any laxity can lead to accidents in the future, which means both comprehensive safety protocols and regular inspections to ensure that those safety protocols are being followed. 

Look into safety best practices and examine workplace injuries in the past to determine preventative measures that can be built directly into the protocols that every team learns and maintains.

3. Employee Involvement

Get your employees involved. Safety isn't something that is secured for them, it is something that everyone does. In safety training, impress upon your employees that each person is responsible for contributing to workplace safety. This includes both safely conducting their work and behavior and helping to maintain a safe environment for others.

Appoint safety officers on each team who are responsible for spotting safety risks and resolving or reporting them depending on the fastest route to removing the hazard. Then rotate safety officers so that each person has a chance to take responsibility for the safety of their team and workspace. Employee engagement in safety helps your teams to feel in control and to personally take charge of protecting themselves and others in the work environment.

4. Safety Incentives

Reward team members for safety. Provide a small reward for teams with the least safety incidents and/or the most passed safety inspections every year or every quarter. Recognize safety officers who go above and beyond in their pursuit to identify and resolve safety hazards. Provide a financial incentive for those who flawlessly fulfill their safety-related duties, such as checking safety gear, inspecting and shutting down machinery, and looking out for others.

Your safety incentive program should give every single team member a reason to prioritize safety for the chance of a reward. Rotating safety officers, safety record recognition, and celebrating safe teams can provide important motivation for your teams to always make an effort to maintain your safety protocols.

5. Regular Equipment Maintenance

Equipment failure is a tragic and avoidable cause of workplace injuries. Regular inspections and maintenance of equipment can catch potentially dangerous problems long before they hurt someone. A wobbling belt, a rusty valve, or a loose wire can be identified and repaired early to prevent the risk of equipment failing or malfunctioning at the worst possible time.

From fall protection gear to large warehouse machinery, schedule routine maintenance for all of your company equipment to ensure that your teams are safer when using this equipment, and not put at risk by undetected flaws.

6. Invest in Appropriate PPE

PPE is Personal Protection Equipment. Gloves, eye-protective goggles, aprons, fall protection, and other gear can help prevent predictable injuries and drastically reduce the severity of an injury when accidents occur.

For example, an employee wearing gloves may fumble when working with a sharp material, but will not get cut.  An employee who falls from a height in the correct fall protection may be bruised by their harness, but will not break bones because they will be caught instead of hitting the ground. Appropriate PPE for each task can save lives, limbs, and medical bills.

7. Create a Culture of Safety and Wellness

The values held by a company permeate through the entire workforce. If your leadership prioritizes safety and wellness, your teams will also make a greater effort to maintain workplace safety and look out for one another. In a company culture of safety, everyone works together to identify and minimize safety risks. Safety officers take their roles seriously and coworkers remind each other to wear their PPE and follow protocols to stay safe.

A culture of wellness, however, also prioritizes an employee's physical and mental health. A healthy employee is strong, alert, and focused on performing their tasks with a high degree of quality and safety.

A company culture of wellness may involve light work and sick days for employees who are ill, building shifts that provide plenty of time to rest and restore energy between work hours, providing plenty of water during work hours and healthy lunches for the mid-shift meals, and sourcing wellness-focused benefits like gym memberships and personalized healthcare options.

Employees who care about safety and wellness - especially when that care permeates from leadership to new hires - employees are more likely to be at their best physically and mentally while watching out for each other's safety on the job. 

Taking Care of Your Team and Your Finances

If you are experiencing growing financial concern about the cost of workers' compensation premiums, you're not alone. However, the answer does not lie in financial solutions. Instead, the best way to reduce your premiums is to reduce your company's overall risk of injuries. By focusing on injury prevention and creating a safer workplace, you can reduce the frequency and severity of injuries, thus the need for workers' compensation claims and large settlements.

When your company poses a smaller risk of expense to the workers' comp insurance providers, your premiums will automatically begin to drop. Focusing on safety is the best way to take good care of your team and improve company finances at the same time. Discover how to build a comprehensive safety plan with Alloy Employer Services.


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