How to Avoid Costly Workers' Comp Claims

Businessman slipping and falling on a wet floor

Being proactive and minimizing the risks before something goes wrong can improve workplace conditions, foster greater productivity, and help eliminate costly setbacks for your business.

Coming back to work

As the business world enters a post-pandemic phase, more employees are returning to their place of work. In fact, about half of all employers want their employees to return to the office, even in a hybrid manner. While this has positive effects on things like business production, it also creates more opportunities for accidents to happen on-site.

To that effect, the most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reporting shows that the number of workplace injury cases increased year-over-year. Private industry, in particular, saw a rebound to pre-pandemic levels – especially in retail, manufacturing, transportation and warehousing.

Tips on how to avoid likely workers' comp claims

No matter the size of your business, accidents are bound to happen. While workers' compensation insurance is available to provide for the needs of your injured employees, it's much preferable to avoid the injury in the first place.

The good news is that many of the most common workers' compensation claims can be prevented by simply being proactive and taking necessary safety precautions.

"You never want your employees to feel like they're unsafe at work," says Matt Krause, vice president of sales and licensed agent at Automatic Data Processing Insurance Agency, Inc. (ADPIA®), an affiliate of ADP®. "If your business takes safety precautions seriously and does a good job of educating your employees about how to stay safe in the workspace, everyone benefits."

Here are a few ways to help achieve success:

1. Keep workspaces clear, clean and dry. Federal and state laws (for example, OSHA requirements) are clear that employers are responsible for providing a safe work environment. So, on a regular basis, clean and maintain all workspaces, including bathrooms and common areas, such as entryways. Provide personal protective equipment (PPE) and change air filters or adjust lighting when necessary.

2. Provide safety training programs for employees. By creating and updating your safety policies and training programs, you can ensure that all parties are on the same page. Any time an employee starts a new job or works with new equipment, make sure to train them on how to properly do the job. For experienced employees, offer refresher courses periodically to keep them aware of any new changes or regulations.

3. Remain adequately staffed at all times. In a tough economy, many businesses tend to downsize overhead and staff. Stretching your employees too thin can lead to careless mistakes and even injury.

4. Inspect and repair facilities on a regular basis. Just like a vehicle, the original parts of a building may become old and worn out. It is important to do a thorough facility and equipment check regularly to identify any potential issues. For instance, a handrail in a stairwell may need to be replaced due to rust. Identifying this before someone gets hurt will save time and money later.

5. Encourage employees to take regular breaks. Recent studies show that employees who receive occasional breaks during the workday benefit from it in multiple ways. These employees had increased energy and a greater likelihood of achieving professional goals.

Additionally, partnering with a professional employer organization (PEO) may help some companies as well. They can assist your business in assessing risk and finding ways to mitigate potential problems.

"A workers' comp policy and/or continued safety training can also serve as an indirect employee retention tool. If you put their safety first, your employees will recognize it, appreciate it, and together, you'll achieve more," concludes Krause.

To learn more about protecting your employees and your business, check out ADP® affiliate, Automatic Data Processing Insurance Agency, Inc. (ADPIA®), as your licensed agent for Workers' Compensation Insurance.

Automatic Data Processing Insurance Agency, Inc. (ADPIA) is an affiliate of ADP, Inc. All insurance products will be offered and sold only through ADPIA, its licensed agents or its licensed insurance partners; One ADP Blvd. Roseland, NJ 07068. CA license #0D04044. Licensed in 50 states. Certain services may not be available in all states with all carriers. Some carriers may charge an additional fee for services. This information is not intended as tax or legal advice. If you have any questions, contact a tax or legal professional. ADP, the ADP logo and ADPIA are registered trademarks of ADP, Inc. Copyright © 2023 ADP, Inc. All rights reserved.