Workers sometimes joke – particularly within earshot of a Safety person – that, “Safety comes third – first there’s lunch, then break!” At least they’re thinking about it!
Safety = good investment ~
From a business perspective, safety is a good investment. Every safety professional will tell you it costs $6-10 to fix the accident or injury that $1 could have prevented. A great safety record keeps your “ex-mod” down, which means lower Workers’ Comp premiums, and often, the ability to get on to job sites. Increasingly, large firms exclude contractors with poor records – your record could put you out of the game. So you need appropriate, up-to-date policies, the right equipment and pro-active, documented training.
First Aid can be a key element ~
Investing in First Aid is the next step and can help keep your safety record in good shape. While first aid for minor injuries should go on your reporting form, they do not go on your WC loss record. The investment here involves setting up a relationship, including a billing agreement, with a near-by clinic where workers can get immediate attention. A mobile unit that comes on site might be a good alternative. The doctors and staff can quickly remove a splinter or appropriately bandage a cut and avoid time off work. If you wish, they can also become partners with you for pre-employment physicals, drug testing, or back to work and modified duty advice. You pay them directly so they don’t need to wait for reimbursement from the WC insurer. (See full WC and OSHA definition of First Aid HERE)
Contingency plans = important safeguards ~
Of course, you’ll need some contingency plans – if the injury gets worse and needs more treatment, you’ll have to modify the accident report. You’ll also want to get your broker and insurer involved – they can help with claim management and back to work strategies to minimize the time off and the costs. If you have a major accident you’ll want to be ready to conduct your own serious investigation and keep it all under legal confidentiality with a specialized attorney.
Strategic investments ~
These investments – both time and money – are business strategy. They can keep you “in charge” of your safety record and thereby your ability to stay open, avoid OSHA hassle or shut-down, and the distractions of investigations and possible lawsuits. Make sure you’re getting the advice and advance planning you need – from your insurance professional (broker or consultant), your insurer, and from appropriate legal counsel.
A great safety record is a competitive advantage and shows commitment to your own employees (and their families), to other on-site workers as well as to your customers. Being pro-active with the right training and equipment is a winning and cost-effective strategy!
Have questions or a safety experience to share? Please comment below!