February '18

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rv-pro.com February 2018 • RV PRO • 187 lant about areas where people move from one level to another. "The risk of a slip and fall is high in such places, especially if people are car- rying things like cartons of inventory," Moore says. "Make sure the steps are well-marked and lighted. And reduce the slipperiness of steps by using 'anti- slip' or 'sandpaper' tape. That can really reduce the chance of accidents by adding roughness to the floor." High shelves in the stockroom also can pose special problems. Experts advise providing quality ladders for employees who need to retrieve items from upper shelves and to train workers to spot and reinforce cartons that look insecure. Here are some other safety tips: • Teach employees about safe lifting techniques and provide them with back braces. • Install sufficient lighting in all areas of the building. • Make sure the plumbing is working well so people do not slip on water. • Make sure employees take appro- priate work breaks. While the above ideas will go a long way toward reducing costly accidents, the fact remains that every workplace is unique. Experts advise employers to keep their eyes open for unsafe condi- tions and practices. "Avoid the temptation to turn your head the other way when you see dan- gerous conditions," Adelson says. "Take action to resolve them." Finally, when an accident does happen, look upon it as a learning expe- rience. Determine its cause and institute procedures to obviate similar events. "Get together with your employees and talk about steps you can take to increase safety," Sieberg says. "Write them down in a manual and have everyone sign off on them. When you take steps like this your insurance carrier will see you as a more desirable risk." Reduce Fraud Experts say employers should call their broker to report injuries as soon as they occur. Not only is it a crime to fail to report injuries, but delay often results in additional medical costs. "The longer a case stays open, the higher the medical expenses, which are the biggest driver of workers compen- sation costs," Adelson says. "Reporting an injury right away will help your carrier in containing medical costs and will help get the injured employee back to work with the least delay." E a r l y r e p o r t i n g a l s o c a n h e l p increase the chances of uncovering fraud, because evidence is easiest to gather immediately following an acci- dent. Experts advise employers to start their investigation right away if they suspect fraud. "Investigate in a non-threatening and non-emotional manner," Adelson says. He suggests starting with relevant ques- tions such as these: • Was a Friday afternoon acci- dent not reported until Monday morning? If so, why? • Did the accident occur in a part of the building where the person had no business being? If so, maybe they were not really per- forming their assigned duties. • Do you have cameras in the workplace that might have recorded the accident? Did anyone witness the injury? Adelson advises employers to ask for assistance from their insurance company. "Most carriers have what are called special investigation units that can help assess fraud," he notes. Those carriers also can provide employers with hand- outs or posters that explain the serious- ness of bogus claims. Experts say employers also can help reduce the incidence of fraud by treating their employees well. "Develop a fair, honest workplace culture," Adelson says. "Unhappy and bitter people who don't value their jobs are going to file claims and take them all the way. People who respect their employers and workplaces will want to get back to work quickly." Shop Smart While a safe workplace is the best way to control workers compensation costs, experts say employers also should select the right insurance providers. "You want a broker who understands your business, who works with you on the front end to avoid injuries, and who will advocate for you when you have an issue with your carrier," Adelson says. Such as? "Suppose you believe a certain claim should be investigated for fraud and your carrier balks at doing so," Adelson says. "You run the risk of a fraudulent claim leading to a higher premium at renewal time – unless your broker steps in and urges the carrier to investigate." And speaking of carriers, don't pick one solely on price. "Ask your broker to suggest a com- pany that will give you sound advice about avoiding losses and minimizing risks," Adelson says. "Ask if the carrier will per- form ergonomic reviews and educate you on what to do when accidents or injuries occur. And find out if the carrier main- tains fraud departments that can help you investigate questionable accidents." Employers might first approach so-called "multi-line" carriers who also sell insurance in other categories, such as property, general liability and automo- bile. However, many such companies have been exiting the workers compensation market because the low interest rate envi- ronment makes it hard for them to make up any losses with profits from other lines. That sometimes leaves "single-line" carriers who specialize in workers com- pensation. Beware though: Many of these have become more selective in their clientele, favoring only those employers who have a history of risk control and claims management. Shopping coverage can be a smart way to cut costs, and an insurance broker should be able to suggest additional channels, experts says. "Look into professional employment

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