Manufacturers– How to Prevent Workers Comp Claims 

Manufacturers – How to Prevent Workers Comp Claims 

Manufacturing by its very nature is hazardous.  Material handling, moving heavy objects, working around forklifts, being in contact with processing machinery, potential exposure to chemicals, repetitive motion problems, and more make workers comp claims a headache for many manufacturing companies.

So, how do you prevent workers comp claims? 

Good question and the answer could fill volumes upon volumes of text.  In this video, I want to kick off a multi-part video series on the ideas, and strategies I’ve seen work with my clients during my career.  While each employer has very unique characteristics that require a customized approach to keeping workers safe, I think a lot of the ideas here will help you get started on improving safety and preventing workers comp claims. 

First up is identifying potential hazards. 

Sure, anyone can walk into a manufacturing facility and point out potential hazards – as I mentioned a minute ago manufacturing floors are hazardous places.  So where do you start? 

In my opinion, the best place to start is with your history.  Looking backward gives you an insight into the future.  Workers comp claims from the past will tell you what will likely happen in the future – not entirely, but in my experience, prior claims history will give you a lot of great information to focus on and get started with.

Where do you get that history and how far back do you want to go? 

I would recommend reviewing five years of your worker’s comp loss history and you can get those records from your insurance broker or from the insurance companies you were with during those five years.  In insurance language what you’re looking for are “loss runs”, and when requesting loss runs from your prior insurers you want to ask for as much detail as possible. 

Some insurers can customize their loss run reports to provide a summary of the data with just the dollar amounts paid out, but what you’re looking for is as much info as possible.  The more description you have around each claim is important. 

You may also have this information – or should – in your files as well.  Having the loss runs from your insurance company though will help assure you’re including all the relevant data – especially the amount paid out for each claim. 

Once you’ve gathered all your data, you’re going to want to look at a variety of data points. 

Which claims were the most expensive? 

Which claims were the most frequent? 

Can you categorize claims or find trends by:  

  • What department or area the worker was in when injured? 
  • What actions were the worker doing when injured – like lifting or operating a forklift? 
  • What caused the accident – was it slip and fall, fall from heights, injured by machinery? 
  • What time of day and day of the week was it? 

Another factor you’re looking for is lost time.  How many claims involved lost time, versus medical-only claims. 

Once you go through five years of loss history and discuss these workers comp claims with your managers or safety team, I’ll bet that you’re going to find some obvious issues that need to be addressed as the most critical ones in the quest to reduce and prevent workers comp claims. 

But, is that it? 

No.  Obviously not.

While the historical perspective will help you identify hazards and worker injury risks in your facility, it’s not the full story.  This is where a trained expert can help you further identify risks within your plant.  That person could be your insurance broker, a third-party risk consultant you hire, or a risk engineering consultant from your worker’s compensation insurer.     

Whoever you choose to perform the next level of hazard identification should be able to provide you a broadened view of the potential hazards and risks and begin the process of prioritizing these risks for improvement. 

In our next video, we’ll talk further about risk identification and prioritization.

Thanks for watching this video, my name is Gordon Coyle and if you’re looking for help on workers comp or your business insurance, give me a call, let’s chat.  No pressure, no sales gimmicks just some conversation to see if I can help you and if we might be a good fit for your business insurance needs.  I work in all 50 states and love solving insurance and risk problems and issues for business owners.  My contact info is coming up and there’s a link in the description box below to book a call directly on my calendar. 

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