3 Ways Your Workers' Comp May Increase

As a business owner, the money you pay toward workers' compensation comes directly out of your potential profit. Workers' compensation insurance is required by law. It is also an important method of protecting yourself from lawsuits. However, the added expense can be trying, particularly for a small business. If you want to keep your rates low, be aware of these costly issues and address them with sound employment practices.

#1 Routine Claims

The fastest way to raise your insurance premium is using your insurance too often. This happens when your employees are constantly filing claims due to at-work accidents. Loss control is a common policy implemented in wise businesses in order to avoid these routine claims. For example, loss control can involve ensuring your employees are in the correct postures and positions for their day-to-day work. In a factory or hard labor operation, providing steel-toed shoes, appropriate gloves and good eye wear can reduce claims. Implementing complete safety training for new employees and routine reminders for existing employees can also create a safer environment. This is important not only in factories. Do you supply wrist pads for employees working at a computer all day long to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome? Do you provide adequate seating to prevent back injury? Such items can help prevent days off for employees due to injuries or illnesses caused by the work environment. Loss control consultants may be supplied by your insurance company or broker to help you identify potential problems.

#2 Changes in State Policies

Workers' compensation is required by law in all 50 states, but each state does set its own requirements for the coverage. You do not have much control over your state policies. If the state implements stricter regulations on limits or deductibles, you will have to follow in line. While you cannot often influence policy, you can influence how well you respond to that policy. Stay abreast of workers' compensation laws in your state by attending small business conferences or taking part in a local board that discusses the topic. You will benefit from speaking to other business owners to learn how they deal with the new policies without incurring too much expense with the change.

#3 Failure to Maintain Standards

If you fail to maintain standards set by OSHA, you can be fined by the government. These standards may seem burdensome, and some employers will be tempted to let items slip. However, OSHA does carry out routine inspections. In addition to the potential fines or penalties imposed by the governing body, your insurance company will be alerted of your failure to meet proper safety standards. This can create a situation where your premium goes up for an extended period of time, even after you properly address the OSHA complaint. Local safety boards may set standards in your city or state that you also need to be aware of. It is best to stay abreast of the operations and safety policies of your office to head off this problem before it occurs. One violation can be a nagging problem for years to come.

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