Article

Safety First

Five Things You May Not Know About Workers’ Compensation

Alex Springer

July 9, 2013


Accidents can happen in even the most sedentary of environments. As a result, sorting out workers’ compensation insurance is a step that all businesses should take. To those new to this process, selecting a workers’ compensation program can be tricky to negotiate. Here are a few useful insider tips.    

1. Employers can help control costs. Though a workers’ compensation policy is a necessary expense, a proactive business owner has more control over these costs than they might think. “An established safety program makes a huge difference, as does the speed at which claims are reported,” says Rachel Lewis, communications director for Workers Compensation Fund of Utah (WCF).

If employers take time to ensure that their workplace is safe, it’s possible to save money on their compensation policy. Greg Summerhays, PR director with WCF, says many companies don’t pay attention to their compensation fund until their premiums get out of control, which is something that can be easily avoided. For example, WCF is able to evaluate a single business and compare its safety records to other businesses within that industry. When companies show that their employees have fewer accidents, it can end up saving them money.

2. Coverage isn’t limited to the job site. Employers often think that their employees are only entitled to workers compensation if they sustain an injury on company property. This perception can be a source of anxiety for companies that require employees to travel between job sites. However, Lewis says that as long as the injury happens within the scope of the job, employees are eligible for coverage.

3. Employers can designate a company physician or clinic. “Employers have the right to designate where an employee goes to receive treatment for a workplace injury,” Summerhays says. When an employee visits a physician or clinic within a preferred-provider network, they’re dealing with doctors and nurses who are familiar with workplace compensation policies, which can help treat employees quickly and effectively.

“Designating a clinic and letting your employees know about it can be very helpful in the long run,” Summerhays says.

4. You can offer temporary or modified work to an injured worker at a modified rate of pay. Your injured employee may not be able to perform his or her regular duties, but you don’t have to pay them their regular salary if you offer temporary work to them.

“We encourage businesses to get their employees back to work as soon as possible, and we do what we can to aid in that process,” Summerhays says. WCF provides a voluntary return-to-work program, which gives employees the opportunity to continue working in any capacity that is possible for them.

“Research shows that getting people back to work increases morale, which has a positive impact on recovery,” Summerhays says.

5. There are many options. Workers Compensation Fund is not the only company that can provide employees with coverage.

“Companies should look for a provider that will approach their needs like a partner,” Summerhays says. Though WCF offers many benefits to its customers, employers should thoughtfully consider the options that will work best with their particular situation. 

 

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