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4 Tips to Handle an Angry Workers’ Compensation Claimant

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Aug 11, 2019

best-workers-comp-rates-300Sometimes when an employee is injured on the job and files a Workers’ Compensation Insurance claim, they can become frustrated and take it out on their employer. It isn’t right, but it happens. Sometimes no matter how hard you work to keep things civil, you’ll find yourself facing an angry employee.

 

 

Here are four tips to help diffuse a tense situation (many can be helpful in other situations, not just WC claims):

Do Not Take it Personally

If you do your best to do a good job for your injured employee and he or she still lashes out at you, it’s important to remember that not everything is about you. You need to understand that when an injured employee becomes angry, there are often mitigating circumstances that you will never know. They may be in pain; they may be confused; they may even be scared. Do not take their anger as a personal attack on you and how you are handling their claim.

Stay Calm, Listen, and Be Patient

Staying calm and patient is easier said than done when an employee is blasting you about their WC claim, but it’s essential if you want to diffuse the situation. Before you can resolve any issues with them, you need to try to get them calmed down.

You do that by staying calm, not raising your voice or using a sarcastic tone, and remaining objective. Otherwise, you will irritate the worker even more, and nothing will be resolved.

Let them know you are listening to them by using phrases such as “I hear what you’re saying.” It may sound corny, but it can help calm an angry employee. Don’t interrupt them. Sometimes they just need to vent or want to know that they’re being heard.

Once they calm down, you can focus on answering questions and coming up with solutions.

Empathize

Remember, this can be a scary time for an injured worker. They probably aren’t familiar with the process of filing a Workers’ Compensation claim, and they may be worried about how they’re going to take care of their family or if their injury will ever heal. Try to put yourself in their shoes and not only sympathize but empathize.

WC claimants want to know that you understand what they are saying and what they are going through and that you are willing and able to help them resolve their issues.

Some people have a hard time apologizing even when they know they’re wrong. Imagine how difficult it would be to apologize to someone when you know you are right, and they are wrong! If that sounds like you, swallow your pride and realize that your goal is to diffuse the situation. If an apology will get that done, do it! You can genuinely say you’re sorry for the confusion, or you’re sorry for what they are going through.

Offer Solutions

Most injured employees do not have experience handling Workers’ Compensation claims, but you do, so instead of arguing with them about how wrong they are, try to explain what is going on calmly. Let them know what is being done to resolve their issue or how they may be able to help resolve it.

Don’t talk so fast they can’t catch what you’re saying and don’t use a lot of jargon they may not be familiar with. This will only frustrate an angry employee further.

If you don’t know the answer to a question, find someone who does and get back to the injured worker promptly.

People can be irrational at the best of times. Throw in a little uncertainty and a little fear, and you have the potential for a nasty situation. If you find yourself dealing with an injured worker who is angry, use these tips to help diffuse the situation and resolve the issue more quickly.

Get the Best Price for Workers’ Compensation Insurance

American Insuring Group specializes in Workers’ Compensation Insurance, and we can make sure that you get the best price by comparing the cost of coverage with several insurance companies that meet your needs. Give us a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online.

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, workers comp, PA Workers Compensation Insurance

Save on Workers Comp Insurance by Complying with OSHA

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Jun 02, 2019

lower-WC-insurance-costs-300.jpgAlthough it often seems as if the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) has a ridiculous number of rules and regulations for business owners, complying with those rules can help lower your workers compensation insurance premiums. 

OSHA’s intention is to protect employees from workplace injuries; therefore, following OSHA’s rules can help create a safer work environment for your employees, which results in fewer injuries and lower WC costs. Plus, not complying with OSHA’s regulations, can result in hefty fines. 

We’re here to help you better understand OSHA and its rules and regulations and to help your business comply with those rules and save on workers’ comp costs

About OSHA 

OSHA, established in 1971, is a government agency that is part of the US Department of Labor. Its primary purpose is “to assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance.” OSHA’s rules and regulations cover most private sector employers and their workers, along with some public sector workers. 

Since OSHA was established, workplace injuries, illnesses, and deaths have decreased significantly. “Although accurate statistics were not kept at the time, it is estimated that in 1970, around 14,000 workers were killed on the job. That number fell to approximately 4,340 in 2009,” according to OSHA. “At the same time, U.S. employment has almost doubled and now includes over 130 million workers at more than 7.2 million worksites. Since the passage of the OSH Act, the rate of reported serious workplace injuries and illnesses has declined from 11 per 100 workers in 1972 to 3.6 per 100 workers in 2009.” 

Fewer workplace injuries and illnesses not only lower commercial insurance premiums, but they also create healthier workplaces and happier employees. 

OSHA Employer Responsibilities

As an employer, it is your responsibility to provide a safe workplace that is free from OSHA-recognized hazards. Here are three ways to do that:

  • Use color codes, posters, labels, or signs to warn employees of potential hazards.
  • Establish and update operating procedures and safety training, and make sure your employees understand them.
  • Ensure that employees have safe tools and equipment that is properly maintained.

It is also your responsibility to follow OSHA requirements, which include the following:

  • Post the OSHA poster that informs employees of their rights and responsibilities in a prominent location.
  • Report all work-related injuries to the nearest OSHA office within eight hours.
  • Keep records of all work-related injuries and illnesses and ensure that employees and their representatives can easily obtain employee medical records.
  • Post and correct cited OSHA violations.

OSHA also encourages all employers to adopt an Injury and Illness Prevention Program. Click here to learn more about your OSHA responsibilities. 

Honoring your OSHA responsibilities and instituting safety programs will create a safer work environment, minimize injuries, and help lower your WC Insurance. 

Employee Complaints

There are two main types of complaints employees can file with OSHA against your company as his or her employer:

  • Safety and health complaint

    If an employee believes their work environment is unsafe or detrimental to their health, they can file a confidential report with OSHA requesting an inspection of their workplace.
  • Protection from retaliation complaint

    If an employee who submits a complaint to OSHA feels they have been retaliated against, they can file this type of complaint with OSHA. 

Your best defense against both of these complaints is to do your best to create a safe work environment, follow OSHA’s rules and regulations, and keep an open line of communication with your employees. 

OSHA Inspections 

OSHA can inspect your worksite for any number of reasons including a complaint from an employee; after a severe injury or illness; a referral of a hazard from another federal, state, or local agency, or individual; or if you’re in a high-hazard industry or have experienced a high rate of injuries. 

Typically, employers are not notified of an impending inspection in advance; however, understanding the process can take some of the stress out of the experience. 

  • Preparation

    Before conducting an inspection, OSHA compliance officers research the inspection history of the worksite.
  • Opening Conference

    The compliance officer will explain why OSHA selected the workplace for inspection and describe the scope of the review, walkaround procedures, employee representation, and employee interviews. Both the employer and employee can have a representative accompany the officer during the inspection.
  • Walkaround

    The compliance officer and the representatives will then walk through the portions of the workplace covered by the inspection, inspecting for OSHA violations and hazards that could lead to employee injury or illness.
  • Closing Conference

    After the walkaround, the compliance officer holds a closing conference with the employer and the employee representatives to discuss their findings.

Understanding OSHA’s rules and regulations can help keep your employees safer, reduce the chance of an inspection and potential fines, and reduce workers’ comp insurance costs. 

Start Saving on Workers Compensation Insurance Today

To learn how your business can save on workers’ compensation and all other commercial insurance costs, call our experienced independent agents at American Insuring Group a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online. 

Our independence allows us to compare coverage from competing insurance carriers, so you can be confident of receiving the best deal on the right protection for your business in Philadelphia, Reading, Allentown, and far beyond!

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, workers comp, workers comp costs, Commercial Insurance

Workers Comp Insurance Fraud? Try This

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Sep 03, 2017

Tips for Investigating PA Workers Compensation Insurance FraudThe majority of workers’ compensation insurance claims are legitimate, and if an employee is injured on the job, they are entitled to the medical care and indemnity benefits stated in the workers’ compensation statutes. Unfortunately, there are also a number of fraudulent workers’ compensation claims every year.

Workers Compensation Insurance Fraud Statistics

The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) estimates that workers’ compensation insurance fraud costs the insurance industry $7.5 billion every year, which in turn drives up the cost of workers’ compensation premiums. This doesn’t even take into account the cost of replacing the “injured” employee, training a new employee, overtime, and even a decrease in employee morale and productivity.

“Workers’ comp fraud is a large crime in America today,” according to the Coalition Against Fraud Insurance. “Scams are forcing premiums higher — draining business profits and costing honest workers their pay and jobs.”

Tips for Investigating Workers Comp Insurance Claims

Yet, many employers don’t investigate workers’ compensation claims properly. There is one simple thing every employer can and should do immediately following an accident or injury: collect written incident reports from the injured employee and any witnesses.

The injured employee should provide a written description of the incident including details of the accident, what caused the injury, the nature and scope of the injury, and what the employee thinks could be done to prevent the accident from happening again because.

Here’s why:

  1. Immediately following an incident, the employee should be able to recall the accident or injury more accurately than they could months or years later.

  2. Having the details of the accident in writing will discourage the employee from embellishing the details later, and having documentation of exactly which body parts were injured, limits the employee’s ability to add additional body parts to the claim at a later time. Tales do tend to grow taller on down the line.

  3. Often, if a claim is questionable, the adjuster will take a recorded statement from the employee. A written report allows them to compare the two reports to look for deviations. In this interview, the adjuster may also ask if the employee has any prior claims, accidents, and any prior injuries to the same body part.

Keeping the WC Claims Process Honest

The bottom line is that knowing that an employer has the details of the incident written in the employees’ own words goes a long way to help keep an injured employee honest.

Obtaining a written report from every witness immediately following the incident will help provide additional information about the accident and the extent of the injuries. Employers should be cautious of any accidents that have no witnesses or that the only witnesses are friends of the injured employee.

The employee’s supervisor or someone familiar with the work process should review the reports to confirm the accuracy of the information, and those reports should be given to the workers’ compensation adjuster. The employer should also provide information to the adjuster about any previous workers’ compensation claims, any other accidents or injuries the employee has incurred in the past, and any strenuous activities, sports, or hobbies the employee participates in.  

Create a Standard Protocol for Investigating Workers Comp Accidents

Having an established protocol for investigating accidents can help ensure that the proper steps are taken each time. It’s important that you react quickly to an accident or injury, capture the details quickly, and take the right actions to investigate the claim. Doing this will help limit the ability of dishonest employees to exploit legitimate workers’ compensation claims and help you keep workers’ compensation costs down.

How to Get the Best PA Workers Comp Insurance Coverage

Contact us for tips in preventing WC insurance fraud and for the best WC insurance protection in PA.To learn more about protecting your company against WC insurance fraud or your workers compensation insurance coverage options, you can reach us via our Contact Page or call American Insuring Group at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848.

Our independent agents are ready to help you get affordable insurance protection. We'll drive down your cost by comparing prices and coverages among lots of competing WC insurance carriers. Don't delay - contact us today and start saving!

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, workers comp, workers comp insurance, PA Workers Compensation Insurance, workers comp costs, WC Insurance

INFOGRAPHIC: Opioid Epidemic & Workers Comp Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Jul 23, 2017

You’ve probably heard that the United States is in the middle of an opioid overdose epidemic. Opioids - a class of drugs that include both heroin and prescription pain relievers such as oxycodone, codeine, and fentanyl - are being prescribed at an alarming rate and too often those prescriptions are leading to opioid addiction and even death. Workers compensation insurance costs are, of course, impacted by the epidemic.

INFOGRAPHIC:
The Opioid Overdose Epidemic And Workers Compensation Insurance

INFOGRAPHIC- The Opioid Overdose Epidemic And Workers Compensation Insurance. Contact American Insuring Group, Ltd for all your Workers' Compensation Insurance needs.

 

259 Million Opiod Prescriptions in the US?

The American Society of Addiction Medicine reported that in 2012, 259 million prescriptions were written for opioids, which is more than enough to give every American adult their own bottle of pills!

Opioid abuse impacts workers compensation insurance costs. Contact us for affordable PA workers compensation insurance.The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reported that every day, over 1,000 people are treated in emergency departments for misusing prescription opioids, and in 2014, almost 2 million Americans abused or were dependent on prescription opioids.

“Opioids were involved in the overdose deaths of more than 33,000 Americans in 2015, nearly quadruple the number from the year 2000 and more than any year on record,” according to the CDC.

The Impact on Your Workers Compensation Insurance

There is no denying that the human costs of this epidemic are tragic, but have you ever considered what this epidemic is costing your business? The CDC reports that the side effects of opioids – drowsiness, mental confusion, depression, nausea, etc. - can increase the risk of workplace incidents, errors and injury. In 2013, the estimated lost productivity for people in the United States with opioid use disorder totaled $20.4 billion and a cost of $29 billion in increased health care and substance abuse treatment.

60% of Injured Workers May be Addicted to Opiods

According to the International Risk Management Institute, Inc. (IRMI), 5,000 employees a week are injured and disabled for at least a week and pain management is often part of their treatment. The CDC reported that in 2011 approximately 25 percent of workers compensation prescription drug claim costs were for opioids. IRMI says, “While reliable data showing the proportion of injured workers that may be addicted to opioids is hard to find, it is estimated around 60 percent of all those prescribed.“

Reducing the Human and Financial Impact of Opiod Abuse

At the 2017 Workers Compensation Research Institute Conference earlier this year, experts provided two recommendations to reduce the human and financial impact of this epidemic.

  1. Mandate for Physicians to check Prescription Drug Monitoring Data

Kentucky, which was has been at the epicenter of the opioid drug problem and opioid overdose deaths, became the first state (2012) to require physicians to search patients’ prescription drug histories on an electronic database - Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) - before prescribing opioid painkillers, sedatives or other potentially harmful and addictive drugs. According to a former employee at the Kentucky Department of Workers Compensation Claims, this one step had the biggest impact. Since then, fifteen more states – including Pennsylvania – have instituted the same mandate.

  1. Alternative Pain Treatment

The current medical model for the treatment of pain isn’t working because it doesn’t consider the biopsychosocial factors of pain management. This includes “biological factors (genetic, biochemical, etc.), psychological factors (mood, personality, behavior, etc.), and social factors (cultural, familial, socioeconomic, medical, etc.),” according to John W. Santrock, Ph.D. Some popular options for pain management include mindfulness and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).

When it comes to Workers’ Compensation claims taking a collaborative approach that includes a variety of experts, different pain management approaches, and the injured worker has shown to be more effective in reducing medical costs and in getting employees back to work more quickly.

 

Don't Overpay for Worker's Compensation Insurance - Contact Us

To learn how we can help you save on workers compensation insurance, contact American Insuring Group online or call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848. Our independent insurance agents will check for the best rates among many competing insurance carriers. You'll get a quality policy at a geat rate.

Contact us today to start saving!

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, workers comp, workers comp insurance, PA Workers Compensation Insurance, workers comp costs, Insurance Infographics, Workers Compensation Insurance Infographics

5 Common Workers Compensation Questions

Posted by David Ross on Thu, Jun 22, 2017

Recently, I learned of a book called Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die. It refers to a phenomenon called “the curse of knowledge,” which states that “when we know something, it becomes hard for us to imagine not knowing it.

As a result, we become lousy communicators.”

Tips for proper communications during the Worker Comp Insurance claims process in Philadelphia, Lancaster, Reading, Allentown, Harriburg, Pittsburgh, PA and beyond.This “curse” often affects individuals who work with the workers’ compensation insurance claim process, which can be quite complicated – especially to an injured worker who has never filed a claim.

Here are 5 Common Questions an Injured Worker May Have When Filing a Workers Comp Claim

  1. How and when will I get paid, and how much 
    will I get paid?

If the case is determined to be compensable (which usually takes a week or two to a month or so), the injured employee will receive a check (which is typically about 66-80% of their net pay) either by mail or direct deposit every week or two. A payment from Workers Comp is not taxable income, so the employee will not receive a W2 for this payment.

  1. What physician can I go to?

This can vary by jurisdiction, but generally after a certain period of time, the injured employee can go to his or her primary care physician, and usually, the first appointment will be paid for by the insurance company handling the claim. Whether or not they can continue with their primary care physician will be determined by two things: 1) if the adjuster authorizes it and 2) if the doctor accepts workers compensation patients.

  1. Why isn’t my adjuster more attentive?

Just because the adjuster doesn’t return a call immediately, it doesn’t mean that the injured worker isn’t important to them. Most adjusters handle hundreds of workers compensation cases at the same time – all at different stages in the process and all of varying complexity. Advise your employee to try to be patient and give the adjuster a day or two to return the call; however, if they’ve left several messages and a few days go by, suggest that they call and ask for a supervisor. Every adjuster is obligated to return calls from the cases they are handling and can incur penalties or fines if they fail to return calls within a reasonable amount of time.

  1. Can a light duty job pay less than my regular job?

Yes, it can, but the insurance carrier will take the reduced wages the injured employee earns and issue a supplemental check for the difference. That amount can vary depending on the jurisdiction the claim is made in.

  1. Should I contact an attorney?

Only the injured employee can answer this question. They can speak with a lawyer without filing a lawsuit against their employer, and if talking with a legal professional helps put them at ease, then they should do so.

Don't Assume - Think Before You Communicate About Workers Compensation Claims

Don’t fall prey to “the curse of knowledge.” Remember that this may be the first and only time an employee files a workers compensation insurance claim, and they may have questions. Do your best to answer their questions, and when in doubt, reach out to his or her adjuster for clarification.

 

Are You Paying Too Much for PA Workers Compensation Insurance? We Can Help!

To learn more about saving on workers compensation insurance, contact American Insuring Group online or call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848. Our independent agents will compare policies from competing insurers to find the best insurance at the best price. Call or click today to start saving.

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, workers comp, workers comp insurance, PA Workers Compensation Insurance, workers comp costs

Reduce Workers Comp Costs with the Right Attorney

Posted by David Ross on Thu, May 25, 2017

Choosing the right attorney can help lower your workers compensation insurance costs. Call us for workers compensation insurance in Reading, Philadelphia, Lehigh Valley, Allentown, Lancaster, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, PA and beyond.Reviewing defense attorneys and panels should be done on an ongoing basis because choosing the wrong workers compensation defense attorney for your business can cause missed opportunities, unnecessary litigation costs, and time. Just because you’ve built a relationship with one attorney doesn’t make him or her the best choice to defend your workers compensation insurance claim.

You can start by looking at an attorney’s reputation, but you also need to find someone with workers compensation experience and a familiarity with your industry and someone who meets the objectives of your program.

So what should you look for in a good workers compensation defense attorney?

1. Outside-the-box Thinker
There are a lot of different ways to handle a workers comp claim, so first you need to look for someone who can think outside the box. Yes, they need to understand the basics and be able to evaluate the situation based on criteria related to the statute and be able to interpret the case law. But they also need to be able to look at the claim from different angles to develop the right strategies to resolve your case. You want someone who will consider all potential defenses, analyze how each of those defenses may play out, and develop creative solutions to complex problems.

2. Honest Assessments
It’s important to understand that the workers compensation system is inherently biased toward the employee, which means that most cases that go to court will end in an award to the employee. A good WC attorney will understand that and only recommend taking cases to court that you have a chance of winning. Otherwise, they should recommend settling on those cases that there is little chance of winning and make sure that those settlements are fair. You want your case to be resolved as quickly and fairly as possible.

3. Excellent Communication
This may seem obvious, but it is often overlooked. First, you’ll want an attorney that asks you lots of questions and takes the time to understand your industry, your business (including what your employees do), and your goals. You’ll want an attorney who responds quickly to your inquiries and provides regular updates that include an honest analysis of the claim, detailed information about their “plan of attack,” and status reports.

Here are 9 questions to ask before hiring a workers compensation defense attorney:


1. Do they also handle claims for employees?

2. Are they open to an in-depth interview before hiring?

3. Can they provide references from other clients who you can contact – preferably in your industry?

4. Do they have experience in hearings before the Board/Commission?

5. Do they have a thorough understanding of workers compensation laws and administrative regulations in Pennsylvania?

6. Do they have an in-depth understanding of statutes that can affect workers compensation claims such as social security disability and vocational rehabilitation?

7. What is their fee structure?

8. How will they bill you – monthly, quarterly, yearly?

9. Are they willing to provide you with copies of deposition transcripts, expert reports, Board/Commission decisions, and medical reports?


Contact Us to Lower Your Workers Compensation Insurance Costs

Contact us for help in lowering your workers compensation insurance costs.Having the right defense attorney for your workers comp claims will save you time and frustration and help you save money on your workers compensation insurance.

To find the right workers comp insurance for your business at the right price, contact American Insuring Group online, or call us at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 to get started.

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, workers comp, workers comp insurance, PA Workers Compensation Insurance, workers comp costs

Workers Comp Tips: Getting Employees Back to Work

Posted by David Ross on Thu, Apr 27, 2017

Tips for getting employees back to work to help reduce workers compensation insurance claim costs in Philadelphia, Reading, Lancaster, York, Harrisburg, Allentown, Lehigh Valley, Pittsburgh, PA and beyond.Getting people back to work on time can help reduce the cost of workers compensation insurance claims. But how is this achieved?

People are different. We are not robots. We are not cookie cutters of each other. We are all unique. And good managers understand that every employee is different. What one employee may respond to, another may not (and may cause the opposite effect). You need to “read” your employees to determine the best way to motivate and communicate with each one individually. 

The same applies when it comes to an injured employee’s return to work. If you want to get them back to work as quickly and safely as possible after a workers’ compensation claim, you need to understand a little about their personality type and determine the best way to communicate with them.

Workers Compensation Return-to-Work Strategies

Fortunately, there are many different return-to-work programs, and it’s up to you to match the right strategy and the right communication style with each employee. Most employees fall under one of these four different employee personality types:

  1. Satisfied-Active
    These employees are happy and ready to return to work. This employee has probably missed few if any days of work, is committed to the company, and is considered a go-getter. This type of employee may even look at his or her injury and workers’ comp insurance claim as a weakness or setback. With this kind of employee, you’ll want to send them a get well card and work with them to create a strategy – whether that means a transitional duty position (if appropriate) or just getting them back to work. Repeated phone calls aren’t necessary and could be considered intrusive.

  2. Satisfied-Passive
    These employees are generally happy with their jobs, but aren’t necessarily chomping at the bit to get back to work. This type of employee needs a little more prodding than the Satisfied-Active employee. It’s okay to call this employee a few times to keep up with their progress, and you’ll probably need to come up with a return-to-work strategy for them.

  3. Dissatisfied-Passive
    These employees are unhappy. While they may not actively create schemes, they will take advantage of any opportunity to stay out of work. This type of employee definitely needs more communication to help keep them on the straight and narrow. Regular communication with them and their physicians to monitor their progress is needed.
  4. Dissatisfied-Active
    These employees are unhappy with their situation and actively do their best to take advantage of the system. You will need a more aggressive approach with this type of employee including fraud prevention measures, hiring investigators, and having constant communication with them.

An Important Workers Compensation Cost Control Goal

Your goal should be to get workers who have filed a workers’ compensation insurance claim back to work as quickly and safely as possible. Using different approaches based on their personalities will help make that happen.

We Can Help with Workers Comp Insurance

For help in lowering your workers compensation insurance costs contact American Insuring Group  online, or give us a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848. Our independent agents will be sure to find you the right policy at a great price. Contact us today to get started!

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, workers comp, workers comp insurance, PA Workers Compensation Insurance, workers comp costs

Eliminate a Frequent Cause of Seasonal Workers Comp Claims

Posted by David Ross on Tue, Mar 21, 2017

Many workers compensation insurance accidents and the resulting claims are avoidable. Follow these tips to reduct costs in Philadelphia, Reading, Harrisburg, Allentown, Lehigh Valley, Lancaster, York, Lebanon, Pittsburgh, PA and beyond.Cold weather is here, and as the temperature dips, workers compensation insurance claims often rise. Needless to say, most of these claims are related to the slippery conditions that accompany inclement weather, but other hazards are waiting to wreak havoc on your employees and your bottom line.

Think about all that dangerous snow-removal equipment and the possibility of frost-bitten fingers and toes from over-exposure to frigid temps and low wind chill factors.

No, you can’t control the weather, but you have complete control over the cold-weather risks that your employees may face. Most accidents are preventable and slipping, tripping, and falling accidents are no exception. Here’s how to keep your employees and your bottom line safe:

Keep your workplace safe with these tips

  • Monitor the weather conditions
  • Keep adequate supplies of snow and ice removal tools in accessible areas
  • Shovel and apply ice melt to keep walking areas clear and dry
  • Pay particular attention to areas where ice tends to form
  • Remove ice accumulations promptly, and use additional ice melt to prevent buildup
  • Provide good lighting and clear path markings in parking lots and walkways
  • Identify steps and ramps that might not be visible in snowy conditions
  • Contract with a snow removal company to clear your lots after a snow or ice storm
  • Place high quality, beveled edge track-off mats in entrance areas
  • Change mats regularly to ensure those in place are dry

Reduce workers comp claims - instruct your workers on winter safety

Workers who will be going outdoors must be given or told to wear the proper footwear. Shoes and boots should have slip-resistant soles for the best traction, and employees need to be reminded to take shorter steps and walk more slowly on slippery surfaces.

Ladders are always dangerous but become more so in winter conditions. They should only be placed on surfaces that are free of snow and ice. And workers who are working on rooftops must take extra care and be trained in fall protection methods.

Additional training to keep your workers safe

  • As mentioned, stick to footwear that is insulated, waterproof, and has a non-slip sole with a flat heel
  • Ice grippers can also help your workers walk more safely on ice and snow
  • Only use walkways that have been shoveled and salted--stay away from snow piles or areas where snow and ice removal is not possible
  • Test any surface for slickness by sliding one shoe or boot on it before proceeding
  • Walk with your head up, and don’t lean forward
  • Never run on slippery surfaces
  • To avoid wet and slippery conditions indoors, remove as much snow as possible as you enter
  • Use your vehicle for support when you enter or exit it

Establish a fall prevention program in your company

Here's an effective way to reduce workers comp insurance claims: set standards for your parking lot and all sidewalks when snow or ice arrives, and train the employees who will have the responsibility for clearing them. Then, define everyone else’s role in preventing falls. Whatever standards are set, monitor them to ensure that they are being met. Acknowledge the program’s successes and make changes to it when necessary.

The best fall prevention method is for employers to keep their workers indoors on cold days or when ice and snow are a problem. When that isn’t possible, appropriate training on fall prevention and the proper use of snow removal equipment, such as snow blowers and plows, are the next best things.

We're Ready to Help with Workers Compensation Insurance

Contact us for workers comp insurance cost reduction tips and to save on workers compensation insurance.Getting the right workers compensation insurance is also a key to lowering your costs while protecting your business. Let our professionals help you do both. We shop among competing insurance providers to make sure you get the right policy for your business at the right price.

To learn more, contact American Insuring Group online or call us at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848.

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, workers comp, PA Workers Compensation Insurance, workers comp costs

5 Steps to Control Workers’ Compensation Costs

Posted by David Ross on Thu, Feb 09, 2017

Follow these steps to control workers compensation insurance costs in Reading, Philadelphia, Harrisburg, York, Allentown, Lancaster, PA and beyond.As an employer, you want to make sure that you have adequate workers’ compensation insurance; however, you also want to make sure that you aren’t paying too much for it.

If you aren’t properly managing your workers compensation program, there’s a good chance that you are indeed paying too much.

If you want to change that, here are 5 workers’ compensation cost control systems to implement.

1. A Return to Work Program

While an injured employee may not be capable of returning to his regular job and performing all of his regular duties, he may be able to come back to work on “modified duty,” “transitional duty,” or “light duty.” For example, a worker with an injured back may not be able to return to a job that requires frequent lifting, but he may be able to perform modified duties such as answering phones or counting inventory. Modified duty reuces disability costs, which in turn lowers your cost of the workers’ compensation claim. Plus, several studies have shown that injured employees who come back to work for modified duty recover more quickly.


2. A Safety Program

Frequency and severity of claims are two of the biggest causes of higher workers’ compensation insurance premiums. A good safety program can decrease both the frequency and the severity of injuries. A good safety program identifies all of the potential job hazards and teaches employees how to work more safely and avoid injuries. An effective safety program requires a concerted effort to eliminate or reduce all job hazards that are identified and should include a safety specialist or committee that keeps on top of those (and new) hazards.


3. Medical Management Cost Control

In 2017, health care costs are expected to grow 6.5%. This means that controlling the cost of medical care provided to an injured employee is necessary to help control the cost of workers’ compensation premiums. Employers can do this by 1) having a worksite nurse who is available to evaluate and ensure that injured employees receive the proper level of medical care, 2) involving a nurse case manager in the claim, so she can coordinate and facilitate the medical care and assist the employer and employee in compliance and return to work options, and 3) having cost control services in place for medical fee schedule reviews, utilization reviews, and peer reviews.


4. Fraud Prevention Program

According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, up to 25 percent of all workers’ compensation claims contain some element of fraud, and this fraud can add 10 to 20 percent to your overall cost of workers’ compensation. If you turn a blind eye to fraud, you’re encouraging other employees to commit fraud. You should have a fraud prevention program in place and make sure that every employee understands that fraud is a serious crime and that the cost of fraud could directly affect them in lower raises or bonuses.


5. Control Medical Provider Selection

You may be surprised by how much this can affect the cost of medical care, but research has shown a strong correlation between the states with the highest cost of workers’ compensation and the states that allow injured employees to select their medical provider. First, you should understand how much you can and can’t control this selection. In Pennsylvania, employers can (and should) provide a list of acceptable medical providers that employees can use in a workers’ compensation claim. Employees are required to use one of those medical providers for 90 days. If you don’t provide a list, the injured employee can select his own medical provider during those first 90 days and many employees will find a doctor who will keep them off work longer. 

 

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Contact us to lower your Workers Comp costs.Subscribe to our blog to learn additional ways to control your workers’ compensation and other business and personal insurance costs. And be sure to Contact American Insuring Group online or call us at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848. Our independent agents will compare policies from competing carriers to find the right coverage at the right price for your business.

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, workers comp, workers comp insurance, PA Workers Compensation Insurance, workers comp costs

12 Forklift Safety Tips to Reduce Workers Comp Injuries

Posted by David Ross on Tue, Dec 06, 2016

Workers Compensation Insurance forklift safety tips for Philadelphia, Allentown, Reading, Lancaster, Harrisburg, York, Pittsburgh, Erie, PA and beyond.The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates that power industrial trucks (PIT), often called forklifts or lift trucks, cause approximately 85 fatal accidents each year, almost 35,000 accidents that result in a serious injury, and about 62,000 non-serious accidents.  Accidents can be trajic for employees and can affect workers compensation insurance rates.

Drilling down to the details behind the statistics, 42% of PIT-related fatalities involve being crushed by a forklift that tipped over, while another 25% come from someone being crushed between the vehicle and a surface. Manufacturing (42%) and construction (24%) lead the fatality list. Sadly, most of these accidents could have been prevented, according to OSHA.

 

Here are twelve rules for the safe operation of a forklift that are easy to follow:

  1. Qualified operators

This should go without saying, but anyone who uses a forklift must be trained and licensed to do so.

  1. Appropriate clothing

Loose-fitting clothing can get caught in machinery. Operators should be wearing a hard hat, safety glasses, steel-tipped shoes, earplugs, and a high-visibility shirt or jacket.

  1. Do an equipment check before driving

Before driving, the operator should do a routine check of the lift truck, paying particular attention to brakes, steering, controls, warning devices, and tires. Any problems must be reported immediately and the vehicle parked until repairs are completed.

  1. Pay attention to your surroundings

Follow worksite rules and guidelines. Drive only in designated aisles near machinery, and observe all signs, particularly those that refer to load capacities and clearance limits.

Be careful near the edge of a loading dock or ramp; you don’t want to go over the edge. And be aware of your load height and mast when entering or exiting a building.

  1. Operate your lift at a safe speed

Obey posted speed limits. Make changes in direction slowly and gradually. And avoid tipping by slowing down before taking corners and turns.

  1. Check your load
  • Don’t lift anything that’s not stable and secure
  • Check overhead before lifting or stacking your load
  • Tilt the forks back and keep them low to increase stability
  • Position the load so that it’s balanced across the forks
  • Stack the load correctly on a skid or pallet
  • Secure your load with ropes or cords if required

  1. Steer clear of hazards

Avoid uneven or loose ground and slippery conditions. Use your horn near a corner, at entryways, and to warn pedestrians. Always keep a safe distance from other trucks, and make sure you have plenty of space to stop safely.

  1. Forklifts are not passenger vehicles

You’re not doing anyone a favor by giving them a ride on your forks. It’s dangerous.

If you must lift someone, attach a work platform and cage to your forks, and carefully follow the operating instructions.

  1. Make sure you can see clearly

Operate the forklift in reverse if it improves your visibility. Make sure you can clearly see the racks on which you will position your load. If visibility is poor, either stop driving or get someone to act as a ground guide for you.

  1. Stay away from the mast

Don’t allow anyone to walk under your raised load. And keep your hands and feet clear of the mast’s cross members to prevent a serious injury as you lower the mast.

  1. Be careful on ramps

Drive up a ramp in forward come down in reverse. And never load and unload or make turns while you’re on a ramp.

  1. At the end of your shift

Park your lift truck in an authorized area. Lower the forks and apply the parking brake. Turn it off and remove the key. You should never leave the engine running on an unattended forklift.

Get Help in Selecting the Best Workers Comp Insurance for Your Business 

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Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, workers comp, workers comp insurance, PA Workers Compensation Insurance, workers comp costs, Commercial Insurance, Business Insurance