Workers compensation (WC) coverage isn’t something small businesses can take for granted — and not just because it’s a required coverage if you have employees. Private employers in the United States reported nearly 3 million nonfatal worker injuries in 2015. Even with the best preventive measures, injuries will sometimes happen — and they will happen to workers employed by small businesses.
Having a WC policy is the critical first step to managing employee injury and recovery, but many small businesses are stretched for resources and expertise when it comes to areas such as insurance and risk management. Where can you go for help? Luckily, there are organizations and individuals who are ready to share their experiences, expertise, and insights to help you navigate WC policy purchases, claims, legal issues, and more.
Here are six resources that will get you ready to handle whatever claim-incurring accidents might come your way.
1. National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI).
NCCI has a large repository of resources. This organization provides research on WC topics and trends, as well as tools, presentations, and an online learning center. NCCI also gathers data, breaks down industry trends, and even offers objective recommendations about rates and costs associated with WC. Its website provides data, reports, publications, and information on upcoming industry events.
2. The Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.).
The I.I.I. has robust knowledge about all things insurance — including workers compensation. Its website provides a wealth of advice, along with FAQs about premiums, benefits, obligations, providers, and the many factors and risks that impact coverage and costs. The site also discusses the legal ramifications of WC, as well as safety and preparedness, disaster readiness, and other ways to reduce risk and lower premiums.
3. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
OSHA, a part of the United States Department of Labor, is well-known for providing standards, regulations, and employee and employer resources for making worker health and safety a priority. OSHA’s mission goes hand in hand with workers compensation, as active compliance with OSHA standards can help reduce accidents, injuries, and your WC premiums. The OSHA site details employer responsibilities and guidelines such as how to report an employee injury.
4. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
NIOSH, a part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, conducts research and makes recommendations to prevent worker injury and illness. The NIOSH website offers safety information on different industries and hazards as well as on prevention and emergency preparedness.
5. State government resources.
WC is required in most states and managed at the state level. Because there are a number of differences from state to state, it’s important to check your state’s department of labor or workforce development to see what specifics apply to your business, industry, or workforce.
6. Your insurance agent or WC provider.
Last, but certainly not least, your independent insurance agent and your WC provider should both be experts in the field—some even specializing in small business needs, WC claims management, and workplace safety. Liberty Mutual Insurance, for example, has provided workers compensation coverage to businesses for more than 100 years. The company’s risk control solutions and safety recommendations cover areas such as ergonomics; driving; and slips, trips, and falls.
By connecting with these and other resources, you can reduce the risk of injury, learn to manage claims better, help workers get the financial and medical support they need to get back to work—and keep your business safe, staffed, and thriving.
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