By Joseph Evangelist
Executive Vice President, Transervice
As originally appeared in FleetOwner Magazine’s IdeaXchange
No one wants to see an employee get hurt on the job. While accidents can and do happen despite all your best efforts, you still need to focus on taking every precaution and implementing every safety initiative possible. And those initiatives need to be backed by proper procedures that are consistently followed to help ensure fewer accidents and Workers Compensation claims.
Having safety procedures in place is just the beginning; it’s imperative that everyone in your employ is then trained on proper safety procedures, whether that is showing them the correct way to lift a box or the proper way to complete a pre-trip inspection.
Beyond training, rewarding people for good habits is an effective way to ensure safety compliance. Here at Transervice, we have Driver and Technician of the Year awards that recognize an individual’s ability to work safely and to do their job without lost workdays or accidents for miles traveled.
We try to keep safety top-of-mind every day. Yearly, we share cumulative safety information with our staff so that they can see how our safety efforts are paying off, and we benchmark ourselves against other businesses.
Having these safety programs in place can help you with experience rating modifications that are part of every company’s Workers Comp insurance review. When you have a credit experience modifier the insurance company will apply a credit against your premium. The reverse is true, too. If you have a debit modifier you will experience an up charge against your premium. The experience modifiers are based on the costs the insurance carriers pay for claims you have submitted. The higher their costs, the higher your premium and the lower their costs, the lower your premium.
A key factor to remember when it comes to Workers Comp claims is that in most states it the costs associated with an injury are unlimited. There are Workers Comp claims that can remain open for eight or nine years…or even longer. The loss experience will follow you too for years.
There are some jurisdictions, however, that allow a business to reach a final settlement on a Workers Comp claim but others that only allow you to settle the indemnity portion, requiring you to keep the medical piece open indefinitely allowing the injured worker to be treated open-endedly.
In essence Workers Comp is “forever” so the best course of action is to do what you can to grow a safety culture at your fleet that will help to prevent accidents from occurring in the first place. And make sure you’re doing it not just to avoid a claim, but because it is the right thing to do.