Controlling Your Workers’ Compensation Costs

Workers’ Compensation insurance is required for most employers in most states (all but Texas). While it’s a necessary cost of having employees, it’s one cost that can be controlled.

Many employers pay high premiums for workers’ compensation because they have too many claims open for long periods of time or because the company is not effectively controlling their workers’ compensation process. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

There are several ways an employer can work to control these workers’ compensation costs including creating and enforcing a safety program, properly managing any injuries that do occur on the job, and implementing a “Return to Work” program to get employees back to work as soon as possible following an injury. Continue reading

West Virginia Safer Workplace Act

Effective July 7,2017, employers in West Virginia will have significantly expanded rights to implement mandatory drug testing policies for applicants and employees. Under current law, West Virginia employers are not permitted to require drug testing as a condition of hiring or of continued employment except under very limited circumstances.

Employers who decide to implement drug test must create a written policy and distribute the policy to all employees for which the policy applies (generally this is all employees).  All job applicants must also have an opportunity to review the written policy.  Continue reading

OSHA Final Rule: Electronic Reporting and the End of Blanket Post-Injury Drug Testing

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently published a final rule to “Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses.”  The full text of the rule can be found here.  The rule requires electronic submission of work related injury data for some employers. In addition, the rule serves to prevent employers from illegally discriminating and/or retaliating against employees for reporting work related injuries and illnesses.  This means employers may no longer be able to use post-injury drug testing for all work related injuries. The new rule will be enforced beginning November 1, 2016.

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What if an Employee is Injured Too Often?

I have a fairly good 48-year old employee who has a chronic problem with Workers’ Comp claims. This individual is constantly getting injured and missing a lot of work because of these injuries. I am afraid he is building up to a permanent disability claim.  Can I legally terminate him?aide-161214_1280

Dismissing an employee for filing Workers’ Comp claims is a violation of public policy.

Courts have established and upheld state statutes protecting employees from being dismissed from their jobs for filing Workers’ Comp claims. In addition, your employee may very well be protected from discrimination by the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and similar state laws.

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Can an Employer Discipline Safety Violators?

I have employees who are literally accidents waiting to happen because they neverquestion-685060_1280 seem to think before they take action. We have way too many Workers’ Comp claims. However, our foremen and supervisors don’t seem to be able to solve this problem. Can we discipline – or even terminate – employees for
“no brainer” injuries? 

The answer to your question is “Yes” and “No.”

We’ll explain what we mean and elaborate on some points which may be helpful to you.

Disciplinary action should not result from an employee filing a Workers’ Comp claim or reporting a possible safety hazard. But disciplinary action typically may result when an employee knowingly and repeatedly ignores or violates a known company policy. The key word here is “known.”

How can you prove (if necessary) that your employee “knew” the policy, rule or procedure? Put your company policies and procedures in writing and have your employees sign an acknowledgement form that they received and read them.

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Employees Are Stressed? Here’s What to Do!

ache-19005_1280You have employees under stress at work. Maybe they aren’t handling their jobs satisfactorily.  Here’s what you can do:

First step: Don’t overreact.  Don’t make accusations and don’t threaten.

Second step:  If the employee’s stress is severe, get help for him or her from a professional counselor or a psychologist.

Third step: If the stress, and the resulting poor job performance, is caused by the employee’s personal (non-work) life, then back off.  Don’t try to be a father, mother, brother, sister, priest, minister, or psychiatrist to your employees.

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Workers’ Comp Fraud: Tips to Clip It

scissors-235211_1280Legitimate Workers’ Comp claims can cost your business big money.  Fraudulent claims can drive up your costs even more and for  years ahead.  What are the most likely ways employees can claim bogus Workers’ Comp?  Following are claims to give special attention to:

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