How can leaders implement workers’ compensation cost reduction strategies?

Australia has a strong economy by any standards, making it the ideal place to do business. However, with work comes the possibilities of injuries. These can impact workers quality of life, as well as their families’ emotional state and psychological well-being. For businesses, workplace injuries can cause a number of problems – sick pay and a loss of productivity are the most visible. However, one of the most forgotten are the increasing costs of workers’ compensation.

Health and safety training is just one way to reduce your premiums.

Like all forms of insurance, the more times you claim the more expensive your premium will become. Luckily, premiums are a two-way street and reductions in injuries can have a major impact on the total premiums you pay. By signing up to one of IPM Consulting’s effective work health and safety training, employers can reduce the number of injuries and thus claims they have to make, with the end result a serious reduction in the costs associated with workers’ compensation.

So the million dollar question is, what can be done to ensure that your work is in a better health and safety position?

Prompt reporting is a leadership imperative

The latest data from SafeWork Australia shows that there were 106,565 serious workers’ compensation claims between 2013 and 2014. While the rate of injuries decreased by 31 per cent from 2001, this still represented 5.9 serious claims per million hours worked.

While the numbers sound alarming, it’s also an indication that many businesses are successfully reporting injuries. Prompt reporting is important for two reasons: It shows that businesses are putting the health and safety of their workers first, ensuring employees have the best chance of healing and returning to work. Secondly, that they’re facing up to any problems or challenges they may have in their working environment.

A health and safety culture that encourages workplace reporting starts at the top. It’s symbolic of a leadership’s drive to remedy problems, overcome challenges and manage risks of health and safety.

Early intervention, early remedies

One of the most successful strategies for reducing the costs of workers’ compensation is by responding to risks and hazards before they affect workers. Early intervention involves identifying and responding to warning signs, employee complainants and reports of incidents in the workplace.

Proactive approaches to signs of ill health or injury can prevent a worker becoming ill, taking extended sick leave or submitting a compensation claim. However, this demands a health and safety culture that encourages communication and collaboration.

Take for instance a construction company with a large cohort of labourers. SafeWork Australia reported that labourers had the highest level of claims in 2013-15, with 16.8 per million hours worked. To reduce the cost of workers’ compensation, the construction company could intervene earlier when reports arise of injury or the potential of injury.

To do this, it would need to ensure that there were clear policies and guidelines that support workers regardless of submitting a claim. Line managers can be better trained in health and safety to identify early warning signs, while spaces for communication and support such as safety communities, can make a real difference.

Employers looking to reduce the cost of workers’ compensation claims have a variety of options at their disposal. However, making changes can be complex without the help of specialists in the field of health and safety. If you are looking to improve your health and safety system or build a better culture, make sure you sign up to one of IPM Consulting’s training programs today. By doing so you can work towards reducing the costs of workers’ compensation at your business.

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