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Workers’ compensation costs and the rights of injured workers, P.1

According to a recent study, the state of Pennsylvania has been successful in reducing its overall workers’ compensation insurance costs. Whereas the state ranked as having the 17th highest workers’ compensation costs in 2014, the state was recently ranked as 26th, which is a significant improvement.

The finding has been celebrated as good for business, and it surely is, but it is also worth bearing in mind the rights of injured workers’ as well, and the impact workers’ compensation cost-reduction strategies can have of them. 

For businesses, controlling the costs of workers’ compensation is an ongoing concern. Workers’ compensation insurance is a necessary cost of doing business, and it can get costly if employers are not proactive in containing costs. There are various ways to keep workers’ compensation costs down. Some of them are perfectly acceptable, even laudable, and some of them are illegal.

Employers can keep workers’ compensation costs down, first and foremost, by properly training and supervising their employees. Employees are more likely to get into accidents when they don’t know how to use equipment, how to follow workplace procedures, or when they are unsure about their job duties. Employers can also keep workers’ compensation costs down by maintaining a safe work environment, abiding by OSHA workplace safety rules and regulations, and by ensuring that employees have proper supervision.

There are other ways employers can cut workers’ compensation costs, such as establishing policies that promote efficient resolution of workers’ compensation claims, management relations with injured workers, targeting fraud, and setting up a return-to-work program.

Although employers have the right to keep their workers’ compensation costs to a minimum, there are limits to what they can do based on the rights of injured workers. We’ll continue looking at this issue in our next post. 

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