THURSDAY, JANUARY 23, 2020
Your workers compensation insurance rates usually depend on how many injury claims you've had. To keep your insurance rates low and your employees healthy, take these preventive measures.
Train Your Employees On Safety
One of your most important tasks is training your employees on how to do the job safely. Even if they're experienced, you likely still have some processes and equipment that are either unique to your company or that the employees may not have encountered before.
To make sure that they get all the information that they need, have a standardized training process rather than assuming they'll learn on the job. By making this training a focal point — rather than something done in passing — you're also emphasizing that safety is part of your culture.
Give Your Employees The Tools They Need
Many injuries result from old equipment or employees trying to make do with something that isn't quite right for the job at hand. If you require them to buy their own personal protective equipment, there's a chance that they either won't get it — or that they won't maintain it properly when they want to spend their money on other things.
Whenever tools or equipment are important to safety, your company should take on the responsibility of providing them.
Document All Incidents
Document all potential injuries, no matter how minor. This does a few things. First, it allows you to identify safety problems that you can fix with new procedures, training, or equipment before someone is seriously hurt.
Second, when you make it normal to report all injuries, workers won’t get the impression that doing so is bad. This makes them less likely to tough out injuries.
Finally, if you record that an employee reported a minor injury and immediately went back to work, it can protect you from an embellished or fraudulent workers compensation claim.
Take Disciplinary Action For Unsafe Incidents
If employees fail to follow your safety procedures, take the level of disciplinary action you feel will prevent a repeat of the same problem. Pay particular attention to supervisors who may be pressuring employees to cut corners to make the supervisor look like they're getting more out of their team. If you don't enforce safety and prevent accidents, associated workers compensation insurance rate increases could be far more than any cost savings.
TUESDAY, AUGUST 6, 2019
Workers’ compensation insurance protects your employees from financial loss due to injuries occurring at work. You know the value of having this coverage. Yet, there can be some gray areas to consider when it comes to defining who has coverage. State laws differ in some areas, so it is important to verify information with your agent. These guidelines can give you a place to start, though.
Who is Your Employee?
An employee is a person who works for your business. It seems like a straightforward question, but there are some areas that can be confusing.
Generally speaking, your state’s laws determine who an employee is. Most of the time, they will include:
• Those who work for you daily
• Leased employees
• Part-time employees
• Unpaid volunteers
• Borrowed employees
• Any type of day labor
In some situations, subcontractors may fall in this area, too. This is less common.
If you have an employee with a unique situation, be sure to talk to your workers’ compensation insurance agent about this employee, including what he or she does and how they work for you.
There Are Some Exceptions
Some states have exceptions in place for covering employees for workers’ compensation. For example, most states will state that independent contractors – those that you do not file taxes for—have no coverage under this policy.
Some states also limit some categories of workers from eligibility. This may include seasonal employees or domestic employees, for example. In some areas, agricultural workers may have less protection. This is only possible when the state’s laws allow for it. Other states only require businesses with certain numbers of employees (say five or more) to buy coverage.
Why It Is Best to Cover Them
If you have someone working for you, but you are not sure if they qualify for workers’ compensation insurance, talk to your agent about it. Discuss what your needs and concerns are. If the employee could have coverage, and has a claim to file, doing so may be a good thing. By providing your employees with access to coverage, you ensure they get the care they need. This may help you avoid a lawsuit. It can also help you reduce risks associated with losing the employee to a company with more protections.
There are limits in every situation. And, the terms of your workers’ compensation policy can play a role in this, too. It’s important to speak to your business insurance agent about any concerns you have about proper coverage for your team.
FRIDAY, MARCH 15, 2019
Workers' compensation provides financial protection to businesses. If an employee suffers an injury resulting from the work they do, this policy covers some or all of their losses. This minimizes the financial loss your business may suffer. Some states require businesses to maintain this insurance. If so, it is important to have proper protection. Here is where to start.
What Factors Apply to Your Requirements?
States have different laws regarding workers' compensation insurance. In some states, the requirement is clear - all employers need to maintain a policy. In others, there are limitations. Your first step should be to determine the requirements in your state. Your business insurance company can provide very specific information here.
Keep in mind that even if not required, workers' comp can still be a valuable asset for you. It offers protection from financial loss that can amount to thousands of dollars.
What Some States Require
The rules to remain in compliance vary from one state to the next. If you fail to maintain coverage, you may face a fine. Here are a few things to think about:
As you can see, maintaining proper workers' compensation insurance is critical. It safeguards your company financially and ensures you meet compliance requirements.
- Some states require workers' comp if the company has more than five, 10, or another set number of employees. Failure to maintain this insurance results in fines. For example, in New York, all companies with at least five employees must maintain coverage.
- In some states, such as Pennsylvania, if you don't carry coverage, it can result in a felony charge. This includes if you fail to disclose the true number of employees you have.
- In California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, failure to carry proper workers' compensation insurance can result in criminal charges. This may mean fines and jail time.
- Texas is one of the only states that does not require employers to maintain this coverage. However, it does still hold employers liable for employee injuries in most circumstances. Employers therefore should carry coverage.
How to Ensure You Don't Make a Mistake
If you are unsure if you need workers' comp, call your business insurance agent. Discuss the type of business you run. Talk about the number of employees you have.
Think about the risks. Can employees suffer injuries? Could someone get sick? Chances are, the can at any time. Proper insurance is not just about compliance.
It is also about keeping your company safe.
It does not have to be hard to get this coverage. Most states offer competitive insurance policies. You can find affordable policies that fit your needs. Then, you do not have to worry about an employee injury on the job.
If you need workers' compensation insurance coverage, contact Insurance Planning Service today at 734-421-9900.
Also Read: Reducing Worker Falls on Icy Outside Surfaces
MONDAY, OCTOBER 8, 2018
We don’t think of small amounts of water as particularly threatening. However, in the right situations, even puddles might prove dangerous. What if you slip in one at work and fall? Qualifying injuries might qualify you for workers’ compensation coverage. How do water risks fall into this coverage? What can you do to prevent water-borne threats in the business?
Why Water Poses a Workers’ Compensation Risk
Workers’ comp helps employees who have suffered injuries or illnesses during their duties. They can get money to aid them in their recovery and supplement lost income.
If an injury comes about because of standing water or water damage, then the affected party often has recourse. Workers' comp claims from water risks might include slip-and-falls and mold exposure.
Why do Slip and Fall Risks Exist?
Anywhere water puddles, there’s a fall risk. Even a small puddle could cause someone to slip. The resulting injuries might range from a bruised shin to a severe head injury. Standing water and fall risks might originate from:
- Leaking pipes and ceiling leaks
- Spills from coffee pots, sinks or water fountains
- Wet floors following cleaning
- Puddles in entryways or on sidewalks on rainy days
In most of these cases, if a fall occurs, you can qualify for a workers’ compensation claim. For example, if you slip while in the bathroom, you’ll often have protection. Nevertheless, not all falls will equal a claim. If you fall while out of the office to eat lunch, you might not be able to file.
Mold Risks and Coverage?
Anytime you have standing water, you have a mold risk. If mold develops, it might cause breathing problems and other extensive injuries.
Let's look at an example. Mold might grow undiscovered behind a business’s walls. Over the years, you might become ill because of this exposure. As a result, you might be able to file a successful workers’ compensation claim.
Nevertheless, mold is a tricky subject. It’s sometimes hard to pinpoint if your particular illness came from the mold in your workplace. Even so, if you can prove this fact, then your employer’s workers’ comp policy could cover you.
Employers have an obligation to provide a safe workplace and prevent mold growth. If you are in charge of this, consider a few different precautions. These might include:
- Keeping humidity and temperature low and dry
- Having regular mold tests as needed.
- Looking out for any leaks, including hidden leaks. Have these fixed immediately.
- Cleaning up any standing water immediately. Use cleaning supplies that will combat mold risks.
If you have questions about slip-and-fall or mold coverage, contact your workers’ comp insurer. Ask what your policy will cover, and how they cover it. In the meantime, do what you can to prevent workplace accidents.
Also Read: Expanding Your Employee Benefits Package
TUESDAY, MARCH 13, 2018
Your employees do a lot for your business. You want to show them that you have their best interests at heart. Offering benefits is one way to do so.
Not only do you recognize the importance of protecting employees, so does the law. Some benefits are not options, but requirements. Businesses often have to provide certain perks to their employees. These particular benefits often act as valuable personal protection for your workforce.
Required Employee Benefits
Employee benefits usually involve various forms of insurance. Therefore, multiple laws cover whether certain businesses must offer certain benefits. As a business owner, always make sure you provide the benefits required of you. These might include
- Health Insurance: Many employers have to offer some or all employees health packages. The employer usually shares the cost of the policy with the employee. These packages usually must meet standards set forth in health insurance law. Whether the employee takes this coverage is up to them. However, the employer usually must at least offer it.
- Workers’ Compensation: If an employee gets hurt on the job, they might have to miss work to recover. This means they might not be able to receive income because they cannot work. Most businesses have to provide workers’ comp as a result. It serves as a way to help an employee receive income while recovering from an injury.
- Overtime Pay: When certain employees work past their required time, they qualify for more pay.
- Minimum Wage: Federal and state law require some or all employees to receive pay at a minimum level. The minimum wage is one way of making sure that employees can pay their own bills.
A variety of laws might govern how businesses must compensate their employees. Check your local statutes for more information on the benefits you must offer.
Optional, Additional Benefits
Good perks often provide incentives for your employees to stay with your company. So, most businesses provide a wide range of benefits. Beyond required benefits, additional perks you might offer include
- Dental insurance for adults (many health insurance plans come with pediatric dental insurance)
- Paid maternity or paternity leave
- Paid holidays
- Club memberships such as gyms or health spas
- Life insurance and retirement accounts (some states might require this coverage)
And everything from pay raises to severance pay.
When it comes time to setting up your company's benefits plan, talk to your commercial insurance agent at 734-421-9900. They can help you enroll in benefits in compliance with the law. You can then work on offering extra benefits that provide workers with more comfort.
Also Read: Reducing Worker Falls on Icy Outside Surfaces and What to Consider When Launching a New Business