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Effective Accident Investigations Can Lower Workers Comp Costs

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Jan 06, 2024

Contact us to learn more about saving on Workers Comp Insurance in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Erie, Reading, Lancaster, Allentown, and throughout Pennsylvania.When a workplace accident occurs, it’s in the employer's best interest to investigate the accident. Investigations provide many benefits, including lower Workers’ Compensation Insurance costs.

What is Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Insurance?

“Workers’ Compensation (WC) is mandatory, employer-financed, no-fault insurance which ensures that employees disabled due to a work-related injury or disease will be compensated for lost wages and provides necessary medical treatment to return them to the workforce,” the PA Department of Labor & Industry (DLI) explains.

If an employer does not have WC Insurance and an employee files a WC claim, the employer will be required to reimburse the Uninsured Employers Guaranty Fund in relation to the claim, including costs, interests, penalties, attorney fees, and fees under section 440 of the Worker’s Compensation Act. Failure to carry WC coverage can also result in “grave civil and criminal risks.”

What is an Accident Investigation?”

The PA DLI defines an accident (incident) Investigation as “An organized process using written procedures that are applied every time an accident occurs regardless of its severity.” According to the PA DLI, “The purpose of the accident investigation is to determine the direct cause of the incident and to prevent similar occurrences by documenting facts, providing cost data, and reinforcing the joint labor-management commitment to safety in the workplace. Identifying the causal or contributing factors in a workplace accident provides the opportunity for these facts to be evaluated in order that corrective actions may be taken.”

Benefits of an Accident Investigation

Yes, an accident investigation will take time and resources, but the benefits it provides far outweigh the costs. And remember, the sole purpose of the investigation is not to lay blame but to determine the root cause of the accident.

Here are some benefits of an accident investigation:

  • Detects and prevents any violations or misconduct, including WC fraud
  • Ensures compliance with applicable laws and regulations
  • Helps identify hazards and shortcomings in a business’s safety and health programs and allows for corrective measures to avoid future accidents.
  • If an insurance company questions a Workers’ Compensation Insurance claim, they will launch an investigation. A thorough accident investigation performed immediately following the accident can help expedite the insurance company’s investigation and get the claim closed more quickly, which is in everyone’s best interest.

Accident Investigation Procedures

“The amount of action will depend on the severity of the accident. Follow established company procedure. Begin your investigation as soon as possible,” according to the PA DLI.

Experts recommend the following steps immediately after a workplace accident:

  1. Provide Medical Care – Address minor injuries with a first aid kit. For more serious accidents, call 911 immediately.

  2. Secure the Scene – Keep the scene as intact as possible to ensure an accurate investigation.

  3. Collect Evidence – Collect physical evidence, record or photograph the scene, study conditions and environment, and take notes.

  4. Interview Involved Parties – Interview the injured employee and any witnesses. Ask questions such as, what did you witness? Do you know the cause of the accident? Who else witnessed the accident? Is any PPE required for this task, and was the employee wearing it?”

  5. Identify the Root Cause – Remember that an accident may have multiple causes.

  6. Prepare an Investigation Report to communicate the findings to management.

  7. Implement a Corrective and Preventive Action (CAPA) Plan to prevent future accidents. The plan should include corrective and preventative actions

  8. Follow Up to ensure the CAPA Plan is being implemented.

Lower Your Workers’ Compensation Insurance Costs

At American Insuring Group, Ltd., we offer cost-effective Workers’ Compensation Insurance from multiple competing insurance companies. It's our mission to get you the best price on quality insurance to protect your employees and your business!

Call us today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online.

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

Mental Health in the Workplace and Workers' Comp Costs

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Dec 02, 2023

Mental health can impact workers comp costs. Contact us to save on Workers Comp Insurance in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Erie, Harrisburg, Allentown, Lancaster, Reading, and throughout PA.Many businesses focus on physical health and overlook the impact mental health can have on their employees, the success of their business, and Workers' Compensation Insurance costs. However, one in five U.S. adults (22.8%) experience mental illness each year, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).

The Cost of Mental Illness in the Workplace

In the workplace, mental illness can negatively impact employee morale, performance, communication, productivity, and physical capabilities. It can also increase absenteeism and employee turnover. Untreated mental health concerns cost businesses $60,000 annually and $105 billion nationwide, according to Modern Health.

Mental illness also impacts our physical health and can cost businesses even more. "People with depression have a 40% higher risk of developing cardiovascular and metabolic diseases than the general population. People with serious mental illness are nearly twice as likely to develop these conditions," NAMI reports.

Work and Mental Health

As of October 2023, 134.82 million Americans worked full-time, spending about one-third of their lives at work. An employee's work environment can have a positive or a negative effect on their mental health.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reports. "All workers have the right to a safe and healthy environment at work. Decent work supports good mental health by providing:

  • a livelihood;
  • a sense of confidence, purpose, and achievement;
  • an opportunity for positive relationships and inclusion in a community and
  • a platform for structured routines, among many other benefits."

Satisfaction at work can also improve recovery, confidence, and social functioning.

On the other hand, "Poor working environments – including discrimination and inequality, excessive workloads, low job control, and job insecurity – pose a risk to mental health," WHO reports.

Workplace mental health risks include the following:

  • Excessive workloads
  • Understaffing
  • Long or inflexible hours
  • Being over or under-qualified for a job
  • Unclear job role
  • Lack of control related to job
  • Unsafe physical working conditions
  • Negative organizational culture
  • Limited support
  • Violence, harassment, or bullying
  • Discrimination or exclusion
  • Job insecurity
  • Inadequate pay
  • Lack of investment in career development
  • Conflicting home and work demands

Tips to Improve Employee Mental Health

If you want to improve employee morale and production and lower absenteeism, employee turnover, and Workers' Comp Insurance costs, there are steps you can take to improve employee mental health.

  • Properly train both managers and workers in mental health literacy and awareness
  • Increase employees' options regarding when, where, and how they work
  • Ensure health insurance that focuses on employee mental health and provides low out-of-pocket costs for depression medication and counseling
  • Include employees' input in decisions
  • Look at your business culture, including diversity and inclusion policies
  • Make mental health tools – brochures, self-assessments, clinical screening, counseling, etc. - available to employees
  • Host seminars that cover depression and stress management

Are You Paying Too Much for Worker's Compensation Insurance?

Worker's Compensation Insurance is a type of small business insurance that is mandatory in most states, including Pennsylvania. It covers employees for work-related injuries. A typical "workers comp" insurance policy pays lost wages and medical expenses incurred due to a work-related accident while protecting the employer against accident-related lawsuits. 

At American Insuring Group, Ltd., we offer cost-effective Worker's Compensation Insurance from various competing insurance companies, so we can get you the best price on quality insurance to protect your employees and your business!

Call us today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online.

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, workers comp costs

Save on Workers' Compensation Costs With Transitional Work

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Oct 07, 2023

Contact us for ways to save on Workers Compensation Insurance in Philadelphia, Reading, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, Allentown, Erie, Lancaster, and throughout Pennsylvania.Transitional work – part of a return-to-work program - can help lower Worker Compensation Insurance rates and provide many additional benefits.

What is Transitional Work?

Transitional work allows employees injured on the job to get back to work more quickly and safely. Transitional work is a temporary situation that acts as a "transition" until they can return to their full work duties. The transitional work must always be within the injured employee's physician's restrictions, or you risk aggravating the injury.

3 types of transitional work

  1. Alternate or Light Duty – With this type of work, the injured employee does less physically demanding work than their regular job.
  2. Modified Duty – With this type of work, the injured employee continues to do his regular job but with engineering modifications to the employee's workstation.
  3. Work Hardening – With this type of work, the injured employee performs their regular job but slowly increases the difficulty level until they reach their pre-injury work level. This may mean working reduced hours.

What Are the Benefits of Transitional Work?

Studies show that getting an injured employee back to work as quickly and safely as possible benefits the employer, the employee, and even co-workers.

Benefits of getting an employee back to work for the employer:

  • Claims are resolved more quickly
  • Reduced WC claim costs
  • Increased productivity
  • Retention of experienced employees
  • Reduced accidents
  • Reduced absenteeism
  • Reduced staff turnover
  • Lower training costs
  • Reduced overtime pay
  • Reduced administrative costs
  • Decreased number of grievances and arbitrations
  • Improved employee morale and employee relations
  • Shows employees that the employer cares about the well-being of its employees

 Benefits of getting an employee back to work for the employee:

  • Maintained employment relationship
  • Minimizes loss of physical fitness
  • Maintained skills
  • Maintained pension plans, medical benefits, and group life insurance
  • Maintained vacation and sick day benefits
  • Maintained social connections and a sense of purpose
  • Focuses on abilities rather than disabilities
  • Quicker recovery time

How to Develop a Transitional Work Program

"Unfortunately, too many employers see a transitional duty program, also known as a return-to-work program, as a 'make work' situation for both the employer and the injured employee," Michael Stack from the Workers Comp Resource Center explains. "This approach to a return-to-work program often frustrates both employer and employee."

While transitional work needs to be tailored to each individual's work tasks and physical abilities, it should not be quickly thrown together to respond to a crisis. Employers should develop a transitional duty program before it is needed.

Transitional Work Program Tips:

  • Create a written return-to-work (RTW) program
  • Communicate the RTW program to all supervisors, managers, and employees
  • Develop detailed job descriptions for every employee - A detailed job description is an essential tool for a physician to determine whether an injured worker can return to work in either a full or modified capacity.
  • Create a list of less demanding tasks that need to be done, such as filing, answering phones, training, or inventory.
  • Keep the transitional work as close to the employee's original job duties as possible
  • Review the transitional work with the injured employee and address any concerns or issues
  • Consult with the treating physician as needed
  • Let your insurance agent know when the employee returns to work

Lower Your Workers' Compensation Insurance Costs!

At American Insuring Group, Ltd., we offer cost-effective worker's compensation insurance from various competing insurance companies. We'll work hard to get you the best price on quality insurance to protect your employees and business.

Call us today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online.

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, workers comp costs, Return-To-Work Programs

How Does a WC Claim Affect My Business?

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Sep 09, 2023

Contact us to buy Workers Compensation Insurance in Pittsburgh, Erie, Philadelphia, Lancaster, Harrisburg, Allentown, Reading, York, and throughout Pennsylvania.Most states, including Pennsylvania, require employers to provide Workers' Compensation Insurance for their employees. "Failure to comply with these laws subjects employers to lawsuits by employees and criminal prosecution which could result in substantial fines, imprisonment or both," according to the PA Department of Labor & Industry.

What is Workers' Compensation Insurance?

If an employee is injured in the workplace or becomes ill due to their work environment, Workers' Compensation (WC) Insurance helps cover medical costs and lost wages. In Pennsylvania, WC covers health care expenses, ongoing care, illnesses, repetitive injuries, partial or total disability payments, permanent injury payments, and death benefits. It doesn't matter who or what caused the injury – a faulty machine, the employee, a co-worker, etc.

WC also benefits the employer by limiting an injured employee's right to sue an employer directly for damages that injury or illness causes.

How Workers' Comp Claims Affect Your Business

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) $afety Pays Program, the following are both direct and indirect costs of Workers' Compensation claims:

  • Any wages paid to injured workers for absences not covered by workers' compensation
  • The wage costs related to time lost through work stoppage associated with the worker injury
  • The overtime costs necessitated by the injury
  • Administrative time spent by supervisors, safety personnel, and clerical workers after an injury
  • Training costs for a replacement worker
  • Lost productivity related to work rescheduling, new employee learning curves, and accommodation of injured employees
  • Clean-up, repair, and replacement costs of damaged material, machinery, and property
  • The costs of OSHA fines and any associated legal action
  • Third-party liability and legal costs
  • Worker pain and suffering
  • Loss of goodwill from bad publicity

 Cost of Not Filing a WC Claim When an Employee is Injured on the Job

We want to clarify that we are NOT suggesting that you not file a claim when an employee is injured on the job. We understand that filing a claim takes time and may increase your WC costs, but failing to report a WC claim promptly can hurt your business, your injured employee, and your worker's comp insurance costs. It can result in legal action against your business, a minor injury morphing into a more severe injury, bad relationships with all employees, bad publicity, and more.

On the other hand, there are many benefits of reporting a WC claim promptly – preservation of evidence, lower cost of claims, quicker return to work, decreased litigation, fraud prevention, and more. There are better ways to lower the cost of WC claims.

15 Tips to Lower the Costs of WC Claims

Are You Paying Too Much for Worker's Compensation Insurance?

American Insuring Group offers cost-effective Worker's Compensation Insurance from many competing insurance companies. We'll work hard to get you the best price on quality insurance to protect your employees and your business.

Don't wait! Call our independent agents today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online.

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

How Do Small Workers Comp Claims Morph Into Big Workers Comp Claims?

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Aug 05, 2023

Avoid Workers Comp Insurance Claims. We Offer the Best Workers Comp Insurance in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, Allentown, Reading, Lancaster, Erie, and throughout Pennsylvania. Call today.One way to lower Workers’ Compensation (WC) Insurance is to close claims quickly. Unfortunately, some claims seem to take on a life of their own, and what starts out as a small medical claim morphs into a lost time claim. Proactively and carefully managing WC claims is key to minimizing the risk of that happening and affecting your bottom line (higher WC costs, lower productivity, unnecessary use of resources, lower employee morale, and lost time). The first step is to recognize what causes small claims to morph into big ones.

6 Things that Cause Small Workers Comp Claims To Morph Into Big Workers Comp Claims

  1. Lack of Communication With Injured Employees

As with any relationship, communication is vital. Unfortunately, many business owners are under the false impression that communicating with injured employees can cause WC claims and increase the cost of those claims. Nothing could be further from the truth. 

An injury can be frightening for an employee. They may worry about their injury, recovery, or how they’ll continue to support their family. They may be in pain or facing unfamiliar medical treatments. Furthermore, WC claims can be complicated. Regular communication helps employees understand your policies related to injuries and return-to-work programs, helps ease their minds, and creates a more collaborative relationship to bring claims to a close quickly.

Furthermore, one study found that “46% [of injured employees] said they hired attorneys because they felt the claim had been denied when, in fact, it had not yet been accepted into the process.” And the truth is that WC cases that involve attorneys often cost more. 

  1. Lack of Medical Care

Continuing to work with the injury may cause a minor injury to turn into a more severe injury. But sometimes injured employees are not aware that their medical expenses will be paid in full by WC if the injury occurs in the workplace, or they may be concerned about losing time from work, so they don’t go to a physician.

Furthermore, it may seem easier for the supervisor/manager to make an incident-only record instead of a WC claim when the injury occurs. That can lead to many headaches and cost more down the road, so injured employees must be encouraged to seek medical attention if injured on the job immediately.

  1. Lack of Proper Medical Triage

Some bigger businesses and insurers have triage nurses who can evaluate an injured employee and recommend appropriate medical treatment. Many small to medium-sized businesses do not have this luxury and rely on a physician in an emergency room or urgent care.

As an employer, you need to ensure that employees understand your Return-to-Work program and encourage them to describe their regular work duties to the physician who treats them, so the physician can make an informed decision about whether an injured employee can go back to their regular work duties or perhaps lighter duties.

  1. Improper Medical Care

Primary care physicians are great at handling routine sickness but may not be the best choice for workplace injuries. However, there are medical care providers who specialize in work-related injuries and realize that many employers offer RTW programs and the benefits of these programs to both employer and employee.

The PA Workers’ Compensation Act allows employers to establish a list of designated healthcare providers and states that injured employees “must seek treatment for the work injury or illness with one of the designated providers for 90 days from the date of the first visit.” Without this list, injured employees can seek medical treatment from any provider. Creating a list of good healthcare providers for your injured employees not only helps you manage healthcare costs and lower WC insurance; it also helps ensure that your injured employees receive the best care possible. 

  1. Fraud

Fortunately, most employees are honest and hardworking; however, a few will try to take advantage of the system by committing WC Fraud. Examples of fraud include faking an injury, inflating an injury, and reporting an injury that happened off the job. Employers and medical providers can also engage in fraudulent WC activities. There are steps you can take to recognize and prevent WC fraud.

  1. Not Having a Return-to-Work (RTW) Program

We’ve mentioned RTWs several times, so it may be obvious how crucial they are to prevent small claims from morphing into big claims and, of course, lowering WC costs. An RTW program is designed to get injured employees back to work as soon as possible (based on their doctor’s recommendation). That could mean the injured employee returns to modified duties or a temporary position to accommodate any limitations caused by the injury.

Lower Your Workers’ Compensation Costs

Doing what you can to ensure that small WC claims don’t morph into big WC claims is one way to lower your Workers’ Comp costs. Buying the right WC Insurance is another. Our experienced independent agents at American Insuring Group can help you save on the insurance that's right for you.

Call us today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online!

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

Reduce WC Costs With Better Job Descriptions

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Jul 08, 2023

Write better job descriptions and save on Worker's Comp Insurance in Philadelphia, Allentown, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, Lancaster, Reading, and throughout PAWorkers' Compensation (WC) Insurance is required for almost every employer in nearly every state, including Pennsylvania. WC provides wage-loss and medical benefits to employees injured on the job and reduces employer litigation costs. However, no employer wants to pay more for WC insurance than necessary, so savvy businesses are always on the lookout for ways to lower WC costs.

Good job descriptions can lower Workers' Comp and other operating costs, but sadly, many businesses have inadequate or no written job descriptions.

What is a Good Job Description?

"A job description is a tool that explains the tasks, duties, function, and responsibilities of a position," according to Strategic Human Resource Management (SHRM). "It details who performs a specific type of work, how that work is to be completed, and the frequency and the purpose of the work as it relates to the organization's mission and goals."

HR experts suggest that all job descriptions include the following elements:

  • Heading Information – job title, pay range, reporting relationship, hours, and likelihood of overtime or weekend work
  • Summary of Objectives of the Job – general responsibilities, essential tasks, expected results
  • Qualifications – education, experience, training, technical skills
  • Physical Requirements (essential for lowering WC costs) – Is heavy lifting required? Are there long periods of standing? Does the job require climbing? Is driving a part of the job? Are specific body parts taxed more than others?
  • Job Duties and Responsibilities – what tasks need to be performed and accomplished

SHRM recommends the following steps to create a good job description:

  1. Perform a Job Analysis
  2. Establish the Essential Functions
  3. Organize the Data Concisely
  4. Add the Disclaimer
  5. Add the Signature Lines
  6. Finalize

Why Are Good Job Descriptions Helpful?

No law requires employers to create job descriptions, but they can be extremely useful for the following:

  • Recruiting and hiring purposes – A detailed job description will attract candidates with the right qualifications to perform the job, limiting the number of applicants and saving you time.

  • Determining salaries – When job requirements are laid out – education, training, certification, physical requirements, etc., it's easier to determine appropriate compensation.

  • Conducting performance reviews – A detailed job description provides a gauge managers can use to evaluate an employee's performance.

  • Mitigating risk and limiting liability – An accurate and updated job description can become a helpful legal document if an employee files a lawsuit against you.

  • Exempt vs. non-exempt – A job description can help justify an employee's exemption status under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

  • Lowering Workers' Compensation costs – Correctly matching a worker's physical abilities to the physical demands of a job can decrease the risk of an injury and a resulting WC claim. Fewer claims mean lower WC premiums. Also, a detailed job description is an essential tool for a physician who is determining whether an injured worker is capable of returning to work in either a full or modified capacity. Studies have shown that getting an injured employee back to work as quickly and safely as possible is the best approach for both the employee and the company because claims are resolved more quickly; administrative costs, overtime pay, absenteeism, lawsuits, and staff turnover are reduced; productivity, employee morale, and employee relations are improved.

Do You Want to Lower Your Workers' Compensation Costs?

At American Insuring Group, we offer cost-effective Workers' Comp insurance from various competing insurance companies. We work diligently to ensure you receive the best price on quality insurance that protects your employees and your business.

Ready to save? Call us today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online!

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, workers comp, workers comp costs, Return-To-Work Programs

How do Job Classification Codes Affect Workers’ Comp Premiums?

Posted by David Ross on Wed, Jun 07, 2023

Contact us for the right workers comp classification codes for workers comp insurance in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Erie, Lancaster, Allentown, Reading, and throughout PANo employer wants to pay more for Workers’ Compensation Insurance than necessary. Still, they also don’t want to be caught being underinsured, which is why assigning the correct job classification codes is crucial.

What are Job Classification Codes?

A job classification code is a three- or four-digit code that is assigned to every employee based on the type of duties they perform. Most states use the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) classification system. However, other states use their own classification system. As of this writing, those states include:

  • Pennsylvania
  • Delaware
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Indiana
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Wisconsin
  • California

In Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Compensation Rating Bureau (PCRB) is the Workers’ Compensation rating authority.

How do Job Classification Codes Affect WC Premiums?

Whatever classification system is used, these codes are based on the amount of risk a job or work environment may pose. Each code is assigned a specific value based on these risks, which then helps insurance companies determine the cost of WC premiums. The higher the risk, the higher the value assigned.

This is the basic (oversimplified) formula used to calculate your premiums:


RATE is determined by an employee’s classification code value based on the likelihood of that employee being injured on the job. An employee performing a more dangerous job, such as a construction worker, will have a classification code with a higher value than someone in a less risky position, such as an office worker.

If you were to accidentally assign the code for a construction worker to an office worker, you’d end up paying more for WC insurance than necessary. On the other hand, if you accidentally (or purposely) assign the code for an office worker to a construction worker, you could face fines and potential lapses in coverage.

Employee vs. Independent Contractor

In most states, any business with one or more employees is required to carry Workers’ Compensation Insurance for its employees. As we said, EVERY employee is assigned a classification code. If you higher an independent contractor, you are not required to carry Workers’ Compensation for that individual, which is why many business owners are tempted to classify an employee as an independent contractor. This is not a good idea for many reasons.

“In the event, an employer is uninsured at the time an employee suffers a compensable work-related injury, the department will pursue reimbursement from the employer of monies paid from the Uninsured Employers Guaranty Fund in relation to the claim. Reimbursement will include costs, interest, penalties, fees under section 440 of the Worker’s Compensation Act and attorney fees,” according to the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry. “The department will also pursue prosecution against the uninsured employer under section 305 of the Act.”

Misdemeanor convictions can result in a $2,500 fine and up to one year in prison for each day the employer is in violation. Felony convictions can result in a $15,000 fine and up to seven days in jail for each day the employer intentionally violated the requirement.

The injured employee can also sue the employer for work-related injuries or diseases.

Get The Right Worker's Comp Insurance

Ensuring that the correct job classification code is assigned to each employee can be overwhelming, especially if you have thousands of employees or locations in multiple states.

The agents at American Insuring Group specialize in Workers’ Comp insurance and can help ensure that the correct job classification codes are assigned to each employee. And, remember that job duties can change, so a regular review of job codes can help ensure that your employees have the right Workers’ Comp coverage.

Don't overpay for WC Insurance! Contact one of our agents specializing in Workers Compensation Insurance today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online.

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

How OSHA Compliance Helps Lower Workers’ Comp Costs

Posted by David Ross on Sat, May 06, 2023

Contact us to learn more about OSHA and how to save on Workers Compensation Insurance in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Reading, Harrisburg, Lancaster and throughout Pennsylvania.Workers’ Compensation (WC) Insurance and OSHA standards may seem interconnected, but they are two separate entities. 

What is OSHA?

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was created in 1971 as a result of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. Its purpose is to “assure safe and healthful conditions for workers.” 

Based on extensive research, OSHA sets and enforces requirements and standards that employers are required to follow to help keep employees safe. The organization also provides training, outreach, education, and compliance assistance. 

OSHA states, “Under the OSHA law, employers have a responsibility to provide a safe workplace.’ Those responsibilities include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Keep records of work-related injuries and illnesses. (Note: Employers with ten or fewer employees and employers in specific low-hazard industries are exempt from this requirement).
  • Ensure employees have and use safe tools and equipment and properly maintain this equipment.
  • Use color codes, posters, labels, or signs to warn employees of potential hazards.
  • Establish or update operating procedures and communicate them so employees follow safety and health requirements.
  • Provide safety training in a language and vocabulary workers can understand.

Failure to comply with OSHA’s requirements and standards can lead to fines and even criminal prosecution referrals. The maximum penalty for violations is $15,625 per violation, and the maximum penalty for willful or repeated violations is $156,259 per violation. 

What is Workers’ Compensation Insurance?

In Pennsylvania (and many states), Workers’ Compensation Insurance is mandatory, employer-financed, no-fault insurance. It typically covers lost wages, medical expenses, disability payments, and death benefits related to work-related injuries or illness and protects employers from accident-related lawsuits. 

If an employer is uninsured when an employee suffers a compensable work-related injury, the employer will be required to reimburse any money paid from the Uninsured Employers Guaranty Fund in relation to the WC claim, including interest, penalties, and fees. Failure to comply can also lead to jail time. If the violation is deemed intentional, the employer could be charged with a felony offense with up to seven years of prison time. Furthermore, employers who fail to provide WC insurance can be sued by the injured employee for injuries related to the job. 

Bottom line: OSHA is focused on providing a safe work environment and minimizing the risk of injury, and WC Insurance is focused on providing medical care for employees injured in the workplace. 

How Can OSHA Compliance Help Lower Workers’ Comp Costs?

According to OSHA, “In 1970 [when the act was instated], an estimated 14,000 workers were killed on the job – about 38 every day. For 2021, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports this number fell to about 5,190 or about 14 workers per day. At the same time, U.S. employment has more than doubled to over 143 million workers at more than 10 million worksites. The rate of reported serious workplace injuries and illnesses has also dropped markedly, from 10.9 per 100 workers in 1972 to 2.7 per 100 workers in 2021.” 

Because OSHA’s standards and regulations help lower the number of workplace injuries, complying with them helps lower WC costs. 

Creating a safer workplace is good business sense. Here are a few of the benefits:

  • Happier employees
  • Lower employee turnover
  • Lower absenteeism
  • Fewer lost workdays
  • Better company reputation
  • Fewer lawsuits
  • Increased productivity
  • Lower administrative costs
  • Lower Workers’ Compensation Insurance costs 

Experts have found that businesses see an average return of $4-$6 for every dollar invested into workplace safety programs. 

5 Tips to Become OSHA Compliant

  1. Understand OSHA’s Standards and Regulations
  2. Utilize OSHA’s Resources
  3. Develop, Implement, and Enforce a Workplace Safety Program
  4. Create a Safety Culture

How to Save Even More on Workers’ Compensation Costs

Creating a safer work environment helps reduce the number of WC claims, thereby reducing WC costs. In addition, working with one of the experienced independent agents at American Insuring Group can help you save even more. For a free quote on any of your insurance needs, give us a call today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online.

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

12 Workers' Comp Tips Every Employer Should Know

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Apr 08, 2023

12 Tips to Save on Workers Comp Insurance in Philadelphia, Reading, Allentown, Pittsburgh, Erie, Harrisburg, and throughout the state of PA

Most states – including Pennsylvania – require employers to provide Workers' Compensation Insurance for their employees. Workers Comp (WC) is designed to ensure employees injured on the job receive proper medical care and protect employers from direct lawsuits resulting from those injuries. 

While WC insurance is mandatory and even a good investment for most employers, it can be complicated and costly if not managed properly. 

12 WC Tips Every Employer Should Know:

1. Understand How Your WC premiums are Calculated

Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation premiums are based on the following formula: WC Premium = Classification Code Rate X Experience Modifier X payroll/$100. Understanding this calculation reveals how you can lower your WC costs. 

2. Train Employees

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) states, "Training in the safe way for workers to do their jobs well is an investment that will pay back over and over again in fewer injuries and illnesses, better morale, lower insurance premiums, and more." OSHA also reports, "Over 60 percent of chief financial officers in one survey reported that each $1 invested in injury prevention returns $2 or more." 

3. Develop an Ergonomic Program

According to ErgoPlus, Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs) account for almost 400,000 injuries every year and one-third of all WC costs, resulting in 38% more lost time than the average injury or illness. Whether your industry is highly dangerous or relatively safe, musculoskeletal disorders can affect your workers. An ergonomic program can help minimize MSDs. 

4. Provide Proper PPE

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is equipment employees wear to minimize exposure to chemical, electrical, physical, and other workplace hazards. Providing proper PPE can reduce injuries and illnesses, thereby lowering WC Insurance costs. 

5. Develop Clear Job Descriptions and Assign the Right Classification Codes

Every employee is given a classification code based on the likelihood of being injured on the job: the more dangerous the job, the higher the classification code, and the higher the WC premium. Assigning the correct classification code to each employee is crucial because if you accidentally classify an accountant as a driver, you'll pay more than necessary for WC coverage. Conversely, if you classify a driver as an accountant and you're caught, you may be required to pay the outstanding amount owed and/or severe penalties. Developing clear job descriptions can make classification easier. 

6. Accurately project and monitor payroll

When purchasing WC coverage, your annual payroll will be estimated based on your current circumstances, which of course, can change. When your insurance carrier conducts its annual audit, you may receive a credit or a bill based on the actual payroll. Monitoring and reporting your payroll throughout the year can help improve your cash flow. 

7. Always Investigate an Accident

Every Workers' Compensation Insurance claim should be investigated because it's imperative to making accurate and legal assessments related to primary liability.

8. Communicate

Did you know injured employees typically hire a lawyer because of inadequate communication with their employees - not to get more money? So communication – with new employees, injured employees, physicians, etc. - is the key to lowering WC costs. 

9. Prevent Insurance Fraud

Most employees and employers are honest; however, a small group of people costs companies billions of dollars annually by committing WC Insurance fraud. Preventing this fraud can help lower your insurance costs. 

10. Learn How to Read a Loss Run Report 

 Loss Run Reports show your company's claim activity for the policy period. You can use the information from this report – the date of each loss and claim, a brief description of each claim, the amount paid to the insured, and whether or not the claim is closed – to lower your insurance costs and improve other areas of your business.

11. Review annually

With all of your time-consuming responsibilities, it may be tempting to simply renew your WC Insurance policy as is, but that could cost you money. Reviewing your policy offers an excellent opportunity to check for errors and provide any updates to ensure that there aren't any gaps in your insurance and that you aren't paying more than you need to.

12. Find the Right Insurance Agent

The right insurance agent can help save you money, avoid insurance gaps, and help protect your business. The independent agents at American Insuring Group are trusted Workers Comp Insurance experts who compare policies and cost among lots of competing carriers to help get you the best deal on quality insurance protection.

So start saving by calling us today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online.

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

10 Tips to Prevent Repetitive Stress Injuries and Lower WC Costs

Posted by David Ross on Wed, Mar 22, 2023


Musculoskeletal disorders - one of the fastest growing threats to workplace safety and health – are costing $20 billion a year in Workers' Compensation Insurance costs and an additional $100 billion in lost productivity, employee turnover, and other indirect expenses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In 2019, musculoskeletal disorders accounted for nearly one-third of all worker injury and illness cases, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. 

Any employee can experience this type of injury, but they are becoming more prevalent with the aging American workforce. A repetitive stress injury (Aka, repetitive strain injury, repetitive motion injury, repetitive use injury, and RSI) is a musculoskeletal disorder. 

The industries most at risk for RSI include the following:

  • Manufacturing
  • Retail
  • Health Care
  • Office
  • Construction
  • Food Preparation
  • Transportation

What is a Repetitive Stress injury?

Repetitive stress injuries are defined as painful musculoskeletal disorders "caused by cumulative damage to muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, or joints (as of the hand or shoulder) from highly repetitive movements." RSIs commonly affect wrists, elbows, arms, shoulders, fingers, and knees. Any motion or movement can cause an RSI if repeated too often – even typing on a computer. 

  • RSIs can lead to several conditions:
  • Tendinitis – Inflammation of the tendons
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – Excessive pressure on the median nerve, which runs from the forearm into the palm of a hand
  • Muscle strains and low back injuries
  • Rotator cuff injuries
  • Epicondylitis (Aka Tennis Elbow)
  • Trigger Finger – affects tendons that flex the fingers and thumb
  • Tenosynovitis – Inflammation to the tendon and the sheath around a tendon

Common causes of RSIs include poor posture, working in the cold, working with a vibrating tool, performing a high-intensity activity for a long time without resting, or holding an awkward position. 

Repetitive stress injuries occur over time. Symptoms include pain, tingling, throbbing, numbness, stiffness, weakness, swelling, and sensitivity to cold or heat. Employees who experience any of these symptoms should not ignore them, which can lead to more severe RSI injuries. 

Treatment of RSIs depends on the severity of the symptoms and what is causing them. Typically, the best treatment is to reduce or modify the activity that caused the injury. 

10 Tips to Prevent Repetitive Stress Injuries

Federal laws require that employers accommodate employees to help prevent repetitive stress injuries. Plus, minimizing the risk of a repetitive stress injury can help lower employee absenteeism, improve productivity, and lower WC costs, making it a win-win situation.

  1. Provide ergonomic training that includes the principles and applications of ergonomics; proper use of equipment, tools, and machine controls; good work practices, including proper lifting techniques; recognition of RSI symptoms; the importance of reporting RSIs before they become more serious; etc.

  2. Provide appropriate ergonomic tools, such as chairs that support the back, headsets for long phone calls, and adjustable desks and computer monitors.

  3. Establish a culture of safety

  4. Limit repetitive motions and exposure to vibration

  5. Maintain good posture

  6. Avoid prolonged sitting at a desk or computer

  7. Adjust your workstation

  8. Take regular breaks from repetitive tasks

  9. Stretch throughout the day

  10. Use tools correctly

Lower Your Workers' Compensation Insurance Costs the Easy Way!

Most states – including Pennsylvania – require that all employers carry Workers' Compensation Insurance for all employees; however, there are many ways to lower the cost of WC insurance. Preventing repetitive stress injuries is just one way. Working with the independent agents at American Insuring Group – who offer cost-effective worker's compensation insurance from various competing insurance companies – is another way, and it's easy!

Call us at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online.

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