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:
- Provide Medical Care – Address minor injuries with a first aid kit. For more serious accidents, call 911 immediately.
- Secure the Scene – Keep the scene as intact as possible to ensure an accurate investigation.
- Collect Evidence – Collect physical evidence, record or photograph the scene, study conditions and environment, and take notes.
- 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?”
- Identify the Root Cause – Remember that an accident may have multiple causes.
- Prepare an Investigation Report to communicate the findings to management.
- Implement a Corrective and Preventive Action (CAPA) Plan to prevent future accidents. The plan should include corrective and preventative actions
- 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.