How To Discuss Workers’ Compensation With Your Employees

By Rebecca Batisto

How To Discuss Workers’ Compensation With Your Employees

When you’re onboarding new hires, you’ve got a lot of information to disseminate: Policies and Procedures, Code of Conduct, Parking Passes, Vacation Policies, and the like. You could probably recite this information forward and backward in your sleep you’ve been through it so many times. But keep in mind, for each new person who comes through your office, this is the first time they’re hearing this information. It may be tempting to rush through it all, get the signatures, and move on to the next pile of paperwork sitting on your desk, but in the long run, making sure your new hire understands all the details could save you time, and your company money.

Unless someone is injured on the job, the workers’ compensation insurance plan isn’t likely to be discussed after onboarding. That’s one of those mandatory topics that human resource managers often fly through when explaining things to new employees. But effectively communicating all the details of your company’s workers’ compensation plan can help lower claims.

Communication is Key

Canadian researchers found that employees have more than three times the risk for a lost-time injury during their first month on the job than workers who’ve been there over a year. For a new employee who doesn’t understand how workers’ compensation is handled, they may be more inclined to reach out to an attorney than to a supervisor. Besides not understanding how it works, in the beginning, it’s very possible your employee will feel an “us versus them” mentality. To reduce the risk of litigation, be sure your workers’ compensation plan is thoroughly explained during orientation as well as clearly spelled out in the new employee paperwork. This isn’t something you want to rush through.

Explain the Benefits

Some industries, like construction, see workers’ compensation claims frequently. Construction employees are often familiar with how workers’ comp is handled because they, or someone they know, has filed a claim. But some people only know that if they’re hurt on the job, they get paid to rest at home. They don’t understand how it works, only that there’s a payoff. At some point, most employers are going to come across a worker who tries to take advantage of that. It’s best to let your new hires know upfront what benefits come with a workers’ compensation plan. If you make a point of telling your new employees they’ll only collect two-thirds of their weekly wage while they’re out, and may not collect at all for that first week, they may be more likely to follow safety procedures, and less likely to file a false claim.

Invest in Safety Training

Once you’ve gone through all the onboarding paperwork and touched on policies and procedures, before you let them on the job site, send your new employees to a safety training class, and use this class to discuss in further detail not just the hazards of the job, but the details they need to understand about workers’ compensation. Research shows that only about 20% of workplaces offer safety training to new hires. Hanging posters on walls, and tacking signs on bulletin boards isn’t nearly as effective as communicating directly with your workforce about site-specific hazards and how to handle them. Be certain every new person who comes on the job understands how to use any safety gear that is required. After the class, test your employees on their knowledge. If they don’t get a passing score, you might want to consider re-enrolling them in the class.

If you’re looking for an agent who understands that an effective workers’ compensation program must include a robust and proactive focus on safety and loss prevention, and an ongoing interest in making the workplace safe and accident-free, please give us a call: 866-688-6442 or drop us a line.

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