Each state has its own workers’ compensation system, a mandated insurance program to compensate employees who are injured in a workplace accident or rendered ill because of the job. There is also a workers’ compensation program administered by the federal government for federal employees.
For most business owners, purchasing workers compensation insurance is not an option; it is mandated by state law for all employers with more than a certain number of employees. Understanding the workers compensation insurance system can be helpful in choosing the insurance coverage that is right for your company, and in responding to claims as they arise.
There are two general purposes of workers compensation insurance. First, it ensures that workers get both medical care and compensation for lost income for injuries or illnesses that they suffer while at work, regardless of who was at fault. Second, it protects employers from most lawsuits brought by employees who suffered a work-related illness or injury.
When it comes to the details of the workers compensation system, each state is different. Companies are governed by state law and regulations, which provide standards for the following aspects of workers compensation benefits:
- The type and amount of benefits employees can receive
- Which employees must be covered by the insurance
- Which injuries and illnesses are covered
- How impairments are assessed
- How medical treatment is provided
- How claims are handled
- How businesses obtain workers compensation insurance
- How disputes are resolved
Businesses that operate in multiple states may have to purchase different insurance and comply with different rules in each state. As a general rule, employers are required to purchase workers compensation insurance only for full and part-time employees, not for independent contractors and other non-employees.
Let Audax assist you with:
- Find an insurance vendor best suited to meet your needs.
- Become compliant and provide safety training.
- Support your organization with workers compensation-related issues.
Safety in the Workplace
While most conscientious senior managers really don’t want to see their employees harmed at work, there are unfortunately still some who view occupational health and safety (OSH) as a burden and just another piece of legislation that will cost the business time, money and resources. Let’s face it: In tough economic times, and when there is already so much new legislation impacting business, OHS is the last thing you want to hear about.
There is, however, a very strong and positive business case for OSH compliance. While most CEOs know their legal responsibilities, many still don’t know the significant benefits OSH has for business.
3 reasons why health and safety is good for business:
- Injuries and ill-health caused by poor working conditions can impose significant and often unrecognized financial and legal costs on business. Not to mention a company’s reputation in their industry, their community and it’s appeal to new hires.
- A happy and healthy employee is a more productive employee. In other words, disgruntled employees are far less willing to produce for a company that only cares only about profits and nothing for employee well-being.
- Health and safety compliance can have an extensive and highly positive impact on your organization. The costs involved in becoming OSH compliant and maintaining compliance are not at all high, when compared with the possible costs involved in an accident or fire. In short, health and safety compliance is a long-term investment in the well-being of a company, its staff and its reputation.
Workplace Safety Plans
Many companies are out of compliance with government regulations simply because they are not aware of the requirements. A well-documented safety program not only meets legal requirements, it also creates peace of mind for employers and employees. A comprehensive Safety Plan begins with an active safety committee that meets as required and keeps and files accurate minutes. Several states require companies to have a formal Safety and Accident Prevention Program, including procedures ensuring swift access to medical care which is covered under Workers Compensation Insurance. OSHA regulations, safety postings, first aid kit requirements, new employee safety training, and standardized forms, along with a comprehensive, detailed written Safety Policy comprise the key elements of an effective and compliant plan.
- Basic Safety and Health Policy
- Job Hazard Analysis Policy
- Accident Investigation Policy
- OSHA Record Keeping Policy
- Hazard Communication Policy
- Personal Protective Equipment Policy
- Fire Prevention Policy
- Walking and Working Surfaces Policy
- Emergency Action Plan Policy
Drug and Alcohol Programs can be an integral part of a Safety Plan. Drug testing is required by law in some workplaces and by company policy in others. Workers Compensation Insurance companies often provide discounts for those companies that implement a Drugfree Workplace Program. Knowing what type of program best suits your objectives is complicated. Issues such as how to handle negative test results, how and when to test, and who to test are tricky. Audax can help you develop and implement a Drug and Alcohol Program; we also assist you in communicating the new program to your employees.
Audax HR can assist with:
- Compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act. The Act is based on the principle that risks in the workplace must be addressed by communication and cooperation between the workers and the employer. The workers and the employer must share the responsibility for health and safety in the workplace. Both parties must proactively identify possible risks and develop control measures to make the workplace safe.
- Act as a liaison between your organization and a health and safety officer or an outsourced health and safety consultancy if needed.
- Communicating the importance of occupational health and safety to management not just from a legal, but business case perspective.
- Gathering employee information to ensure engagement, making sure their concerns are heard and addressed.
- Communicate the organization’s commitment to its employees and their health and safety, further boosting employee morale and commitment.
- Overseeing policies and procedures, and ensuring employees adhere to these, ensuring that every member of the organization, from the top down, understands that OSH is everyone’s responsibility.
- Administrating, communicating, facilitating and championing the safety and health compliance process.
Safety Programs or Drug and Alcohol Programs typically range from $2000 to $2500 depending on the size and complexity of the organization, number of employees, and number of locations. Call or email for a quote or for more information.