Workplace injuries are a reality that many small businesses face — especially those in higher-risk industries such as manufacturing, construction and transportation. Workplace accidents happen, regardless of the industry, so it’s important to understand the benefits of efficient reporting of workers’ comp claims. The amount of time it takes to report claims can have a real impact on employees and a small businesses’ bottom line.
By having a timely injury-reporting process, small business owners and their workers can benefit in several ways including:
- Maintaining employee trust and morale. Fewer than one in four U.S. employees feel strongly that their organization cares about their well-being — the lowest percentage in nearly a decade, as reported by Gallup in 2022. Gallup also shared that workers who strongly agree that their employer cares about their overall well-being are 69% less likely to actively search for a new job, and are three times more likely to be engaged at work. Companies that don’t take workers’ comp claims seriously or are late to file claims may notice employee morale start to sink as delayed reporting can send a message to workers that there’s little concern for their safety. Especially in today’s turbulent talent market, prioritizing employee health and care by quickly reporting workers’ comp claims can help contribute to an environment where workers feel protected and valued.
- Allowing for an in-depth accident investigation. In an effort to preserve key pieces of evidence and mitigate fraud, it’s imperative that an insurance carrier starts an investigation as soon as possible after a workplace accident occurs. Unfortunately, fraud does happen. Workers’ comp contributes to the estimated $30 billion in fraudulent insurance claims that are filed every single year in the U.S. With early claims reporting, small business owners can ensure accidents are thoroughly investigated, and employees who truly need workers’ compensation benefits will receive them.
- Reducing workers’ comp claim costs. Early reporting can also reduce the overall workers’ comp claim cost. If an employee is genuinely injured, allowing them to continue to work without the proper medical treatment can result in the injury getting worse or another injury occurring as a result of the first one. This could create additional expenses and staffing challenges for a small business owner. By reporting in a timely manner, an injured employee can get the care and benefits they need and get back to work as quickly as possible.
- Avoiding penalties and fees for late filing. Every small business is required to report injuries, illnesses, and deaths that happen in the workplace to OSHA and their respective state’s workers’ comp division. Failing to do so within its state’s allotted timeline can result in significant penalties and in some cases, thousands of dollars in fees. Under and improper reporting of workers’ comp claims is also a significant problem. In 2015, OSHA estimated that approximately half of serious work-related injuries and fatalities were not reported, and also estimated that many of those responsible for under-reporting were small and mid-sized businesses which likely didn’t understand their reporting requirements. Small business owners need to understand the laws and put an injury-reporting process in place prior to any workplace accidents. This will not only help keep the company within the claims reporting window and avoid fines, but will also help reduce the under-reporting gap.
Whether it’s the benefit of employee retention and boosted morale, or reducing costs, promptly reporting workers’ comp claims is imperative to the long-term success of a business. Small business owners should take note of the processes required by their insurance carrier before injuries occur so they are educated on how to quickly proceed in the case of a workplace accident.
If you’re a small business owner, learn more about workers’ comp insurance here and the important role it plays in protecting your workplace and employees. Every situation is different and state workers’ comp laws are subject to change, so please refer to your state’s individual legislation programs.
Source – PropertyCasualty360.com
CMR Workers’ Comp Services