Workers' compensation claims at small businesses are at their peak from June through September, according to an analysis by Travelers of its claims data. Lower back strains and other back-related injuries and injuries from slips, trips, and falls are the most common, and workers under 30 years old comprise almost one third of those sustaining on-the-job injuries.
Travelers encourages business owners to adopt key risk management techniques. By taking even small steps, says Travelers, businesses can enhance employee health and manage the costs associated with workers' injuries.
Travelers Risk Control professionals recommend the following risk management tips:
Sound hiring practices. Summer is a particularly high traffic time for many businesses and hiring new full- and part-time employees is a common way business owners meet the increased demand. Businesses need to evaluate their current recruiting practices, especially considering that, on average, employees in their first year on the job have a higher incidence of injuries than those with more tenure. Make workplace safety part of the screening process; be sure to inquire about a prospective employee's attitude toward safety issues.
Orientation and training. Regardless of the background or experience of an employee, it is critical that business owners orient and train all employees in safe work practices and procedures. Safety training of any sort should include:
- a focus on emergency procedures
- a review of safe work practices
- a reminder about required personal protective equipment
- a review of employee protocol should an accident occur
Active supervision. Promoting safe work practices through active supervision is key to mitigating workers' compensation risks. Reinforcing the fact that the safety practices and procedures in place will protect employees is an important responsibility for all small business owners. Remember that keeping feedback upbeat and positive also promotes a productive and safe environment.
Accident response. Business owners need to ensure that employees understand there is a process in place in the event they do get injured on the job. This process allows employees to get the necessary care and attention they need in a prompt fashion from a qualified physician. Doing so will help expedite employees' recovery and minimize the impact an injury has on their family and work life, which ultimately benefits business owners.