Controlling Workers’ Compensation Costs

Fourth in a series of installments on workers’ compensation coverage

In previous posts on workers’ compensation, we’ve covered experience modification factors, what makes a claim compensable and signs of fraud. Now, let’s get to the bottom line – literally – and talk about controlling your workers’ compensation costs.

The first thing to understand about cost control is that there’s no quick fix … reining in workers’ compensation costs is a process and not an event, and it’s a process that requires the buy-in of your entire team.

Here are the essential steps to controlling costs:

Develop Programs Required by OSHA Standards. Many accidents result from poorly developed or poorly implemented safety programs. Research shows that following OSHA standards to develop your own safety program – and communicating it to employees – results in fewer accidents, more productive employees and lower workers’ compensation costs.

Integrate Programs Into Daily Operations. The best safety program in the world won’t help if it never leaves the pages it’s written on … your programs need to be communicated to key participants and integrated into daily operations in order to be effective. Experience shows that frontline supervisors are the key to actual implementation. Make sure they’re thoroughly informed and trained.

Investigate All Injuries and Illnesses. Fewer workplaces incidents means lower costs in the long run. But you can’t keep an accident from happening again unless the causes are carefully investigated. Don’t reserve this process for larger or more serious incidents … all accidents should be investigated to find out what went wrong, why it went wrong and how it can be prevented from recurring.

Train and Audit for Continuous Improvement. For better or worse, there’s no finish line in the improvement process. The companies with the best workers’ compensation profiles train employees continuously for competence, and they regularly audit their own programs to measure progress. It’s an ongoing cycle of improvement that requires a high degree of commitment.

If all that seems like too much effort, consider this: experience proves that companies who commit to ongoing improvement see a distinct return on investment. And the benefits come not only in the form of lower workers’ compensation costs, but in having a workforce with higher morale and better productivity.

Questions about workers’ compensation costs? Contact Consolidated Insurance.