Work-related injuries are an epidemic for companies worldwide. As a result, “Experience Modification Rates,” often referred to as MODs, are increasing. MODs are used by insurance companies to gauge both the cost of injuries and future chances of risk. The lower your MOD, the lower your workers’ compensation insurance premiums. Depending on your company’s experience, your MOD can either reward or penalize you.
Most companies’ knee-jerk reaction to this problem is to audit current safety measures and implement standard solutions, including safety manuals, loss control assistance, safety training and return-to-work programs with a bank of light duty jobs. While these are all proactive steps toward reducing the likelihood of a workplace accident, companies are missing the bigger picture. Well chosen, healthy employees are the roots of a safe workplace.
Strategic hiring practices and the implementation of workplace wellness programs are consistently and mistakenly overlooked when it comes to addressing workplace safety. It is no secret that any company can hire its next workers’ compensation claim, and healthy employees bounce back from injuries faster and better than unhealthy employees. With that in mind, it is time employers take responsibility for hiring great workers and helping them get and stay healthy.
Here are some tips for proactively addressing safety from a human resources perspective:
- Job Posting and Advertising – Post jobs like a marketer! Your goal here is to ensure the best, most qualified candidates are able to find and apply for your open positions. Ensure that your job descriptions include the essential functions of the job so candidates can pre-screen themselves and not apply for a position they cannot physically perform.
- Pre-Employment Screening – Although the following are more standard pre-employment processes, they are critical parts of the hiring process to remember.
- Drug Tests – Each employee should be drug tested prior to employment. This process must be consistently enforced amongst all employees so as to not discriminate. A healthy employee is a drug-free employee, and a drug-free workforce will encourage a safe and healthy company culture.
- Background Checks – Although conducting background checks does not contribute to the wellness of employees, it contributes to the overall mission of a strong safety culture.
- Post-Offer Physicals – Each new hire should undergo a physical before starting work to ensure that they are capable of performing the job’s essential functions. This will reduce the likelihood of workplace injuries.
- Standard Interviewing Guidelines – Having a standard set of interviewing guidelines for all managers to follow ensures not only a non-discriminatory hiring practice, but a practice that assesses all candidates for their ability to contribute to your corporate culture of health and safety.
- Physician Relationships – Establishing a relationship with a physician is beneficial for both new employees and those returning after a workers’ compensation claim. This relationship can ensure consistency and conformity in the evaluation of employees returning to work while simultaneously controlling the cost of physicals and workers’ compensation.
- Workplace Wellness Programs – A well-implemented wellness program can contribute to the health and longevity of employees. It can focus on everything from weight loss, to analysis and education of comprehensive health screenings for potential risks. This program ensures that employees are healthier, less likely to have a workplace accident and able to stay at the company longer.
The bottom line is that it all boils down to culture. When your corporate culture is established as focusing on the health and safety of employees, policies and procedures are developed to further promote that culture. For it to work, everyone from management to interns needs to participate and contribute.
Do you have any Human Resources strategies not listed here for lowering your MOD and reducing workers’ compensation costs?