Workers’ compensation sounds like a fairly straightforward concept: if someone gets hurt at work, insurance entitles them to wage replacement and pays for appropriate medical treatment. That’s true on the surface, but reality is a bit more complex for every business.
Workers’ compensation entails detailed documentation and adherence to a multi-step process -- and the business setting it up properly in the first place. Do you have the time and expertise to do that properly, or is it best to outsource it to a professional employer organization who can do it efficiently and effectively?
The truth is that every business is at risk. Serious risk.
One might think that workers’ compensation is only a critical issue for firms that trade in physically-demanding work -- and that’s flat-out wrong. Consider just four of the most common types of workers’ compensation claims:
Overexertion. That entails placing too high a physical burden on an employee. That can happen in a warehouse… or it can happen just as easily (and perhaps even more easily) in a traditional office hauling around crates of office supplies. If the prospect of any type of physical work exists, risk of overexertion exists.
Slips and falls. No business is immune to the danger of a slippery floor or an accident on a stairwell -- and businesses located in regions with four full seasons know just how common these accidents can be. Even young, strong, healthy employees fall victim to the usually-hidden dangers that result in workers’ compensation claims for slips and falls.
Being struck by an object. Virtually anyone can be subject to this sort of injury. If you have shelving, your employees are at risk of being struck by a falling object. Storage closets? Risk. Any material, including common technology, that’s positioned above a sitting employee? Risk. You don’t need to be on a construction site with heavy machinery to have your body damaged by an object -- though the risk on those types of job sites are even higher.
Workplace violence. This may sound extreme, but not all workplace violence incidents are the newsworthy events we think of when we hear the phrase. The overwhelming majority of workplace violence includes disputes between employees (which can happen in any business, even family businesses), conflicts with unhappy (or unhinged) customers or clients, and difficult situations involving guests. No business is immune to human nature.
This is just a sampling of the most common categories of workers’ compensation claims -- and it’s obvious to any business owner that they’re relevant to everyone. Workers’ compensation claims will happen at some point for every successful business, so you’d better be prepared.
When claims arise, what will you do? Will you be able to fully support an employee who needs to file a legitimate claim and who depends on the resulting wage replacement and treatment coverage? Will the paperwork be filed correctly, on time, and in the right sequence?
If an employee files a claim that you need to dispute -- either because of fraud or sincere misapplication -- will you be able to stand up for your business and get the appropriate result efficiently?
Are you able to process a claim and guide your employee step by step, or will you risk harming morale among the company’s other employees when they see that management is having a tough time delivering for their co-worker?
PEO clients love to extol the virtues of access to great benefits, consistent payroll, and more. They’re right to do that. But many clients take a PEO’s workers’ compensation support for granted… until they need it. When any of the above situations arise, or when any step in the process becomes confusing or overwhelming, being able to turn to a partner who can handle it all properly can make all the difference.