Most of you know that workers compensation insurance covers the cost of medical care and rehabilitation for workers injured on the job. It also compensates them for lost wages and provides death benefits for their dependents if they are killed in work-related accidents, including terrorist attacks.
The workers compensation system is the "exclusive remedy" for on-the-job injuries suffered by employees. As part of the social contract embedded in each state's law, the employee gives up the right to sue the employer for injuries caused by the employer's negligence and in return receives workers compensation benefits regardless of who or what caused the accident, as long as it happened in the workplace as a result of and in the course of workplace activities.
"Help Me Understand Workers' Compensation Insurance"
Please see the "WC e-Learning Guide for an interactive tour of Workers Compensation information for business owners including a checklist for buying WC Insurance.
Provided by The Hartford.
Top 5 Workplace Injuries and How to Prevent Them
Every year thousands of employees are injured in the course and scope of their employment. The goal of our blog is to help find ways to reduce those numbers. The majority of these injuries are preventable. There are a lot of resources your carrier can provide to help you reduce your claims dollars spent on workers compensation medical expenses and lost time wages from work due to occupational injuries.
- Slip/Fall Injuries
- Twenty-five thousand slip-and-fall accidents occur daily in the U.S., accounting for 15 percent of all workplace injuries. It is also the leading injury to people on company premises. (WCxKit)
- These types of injuries can result in fractures, dislocations, and head injuries. These types of injuries are also the most expensive to resolve, some of them resulting in the need for future medical expense and permanent occupational restrictions. Slip/fall prevention can span a variety of areas. Anti-slip coatings on floors can help, as well as strips on stairs, proper handrails on staircases, and well-placed carpets or mats by doorways.
- Depending on the climate in which you are located, there are several inexpensive ways to help curb your exposure for slip/fall injuries. Make your staff wear antislip footwear or proper boots if they work in an outside environment. Also solicit employee feedback to find out where the problem areas are and ways to fix them. Like we always say, you would be amazed at what your employees can tell you about your workplace hazards, and the cost of obtaining that information is free.
- Back Injuries
- Back injuries account for more lost work time than any other workplace injury. Often, the source is improper lifting.
- Have your employees take a course in proper lifting mechanics and proper body posturing. Look at your loss runs to see which departments have the highest injury occurrence to see what corrections need to be made. Try to palletize your inventory at floor level or just above floor level. Get workstation ergonomic specialists in to see if they are properly fitted for your employees.
- Get your incoming materials to come in smaller quantities so unloading inventory is not as hazardous to your staff. See if rigid plastic tubs can be used instead of cardboard to reduce the risk of handle breaks while in the course of lifting. Again, ask your employees where the problems are and ask their ideas for making their day to day work easier to perform with less risk involved.
- Ergonomic/repetitive motion injuries
- Musculoskeletal disorders result in over $45 billion in loss wages and productivity costs. Disorganized office workstations and poor ergonomic practices are common contributors.
- You can prevent these hazards by updating your workstations. Get adjustable desks and chairs. Use ergonomic computer stations and proper computer techniques. Remember your workers are utilizing your office stations hour after hour and day after day. What starts out as a small issue can compound into a big problem, for which the only repair is surgical intervention. Your carrier will have resources to provide in how you can get your workplace evaluated for proper ergonomics and workflow.
- Take the time and invest in your own company by seeing where your problem areas are and taking the time to fix them now. If you choose to ignore it, the injuries will come. Reduced productivity and lost time away from work with added medical expense will cost far more than the costs associated with having a proper ergonomic work environment for your employees.
- Adverse weather’s contribution to occupational injuries
- It is no surprise in the winter months that injury claims increase, especially for those in the Midwest and Northeast portions of the U.S. Snow, ice, and freezing rain contribute to a lot of these injuries, and the results are falls that lead to broken bones, contusions, and potential closed head injuries. When you ask what happened, the common answer is “I couldn’t see any ice there but as soon as I stepped in the area I fell right down to the ground hard.” Black ice is becoming a major contender for the main cause of falls in early winter and early spring.
- Employees coming into the building from the parking lot often drag in snow with them, which melts and becomes water on the floor, which another employee may not see and then falls in. Make sure your parking lots are properly plowed and salted at all times. Check your entrances and make sure the mats are clean and dry and in good working order. Be sure to open communication with your workers so they can report a problem in a stairwell or doorway. This can prevent a serious injury from happening.
- Falls from ladders or scaffolding
- Falls from ladders injure of 20,000 American workers annually. Some injuries result in permanent disability and even fatalities. Safety starts before the ladder is even mounted. Teach your employees what they can do to avoid becoming injured.
- Make sure your ladders are in proper working order, and that employees know how to lock them in place properly and mount them correctly to prevent the ladder from falling over. Be sure your employees know how to operate while using scaffoldings and be sure to have someone inspect them for repair before someone falls
- Since height is involved with ladders and scaffoldings, the injuries sustained are often more severe than others. Have an outside vendor come in to inspect and maintain your equipment to make sure it is in proper working order. Ask your carrier if they have resources at their disposal to recommend better, more functional ladders for the type of work you do at your facility. Stop these injuries from even happening by being proactive and safety-conscious when working at heights.(WCxKit)
In conclusion, these are the top five mechanisms of injury often seen in the workplace. Be addressing them properly and following up with ways to correct the problems, you not only make your workplace safer for your employees, but you could stop a potential severe injury from occurring in the first place.
For more information, try: http://www.travelers.com/business-insurance/risk-control/risk-management-resources
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