08.07.2013

Stuff Happens, Do You Know Where Your Worker’s Comp Insurance Is?

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So, let’s say you have an employee who trips over a bad spot in the rug at your office, or has a shelf fall on him or pulls something carrying boxes. You

The chilling moments before an employee injury
The chilling moments before an employee injury

send him to the emergency room right? No wait! If the injury happens during the course of work, while the employee is doing his job, this is covered under worker’s compensation insurance. You do have worker’s comp, right?

Actually, Texas is the only state in the nation that doesn’t require all employers to provide worker’s compensation insurance. Companies have the option of self-insurance and paying out of pocket for employee injuries, disability and even death.  That could get expensive. We believe though as benefits go, worker’s comp is part of the crucial, must haves for every company that includes both worker’s comp and long term disability.  There is a difference and both are important.

Dental is cheap and easy for people to get on their own.  If you’re going to skip a benefit, skip dental.  But worker’s comp is an assurance you’re looking out for your employees. And it can keep you from getting sued if somebody has an accident on your clock. The other crucial insurance, long term disability, is really expensive if you’re buying it as an individual, but much less so when bought for a group.

With long-lerm disability, if an employee is injured or becomes disabled for reasons outside of work and can’t earn the money he or she needs to live, he or she is covered for around 60 percent of their earnings after an initial short-term period. That’s a huge benefit for employees. Gigantic!  I promise, we see this more times than you would think and the woulda, shoulda, coulda factor is enormous in hindsight.  Wow, I am about as insistent on the importance of long-term disability as I am about job descriptions.

So back to the guy bleeding on the floor. When someone is bleeding on your carpet or a limb is hanging the wrong way, this is not the moment you want to go sifting through the incomprehensible language of your worker’s comp plan. If you do have a plan, you need to make sure there’s a process in place that managers and employees are all well-versed in for handling workplace accidents:

Who needs to be informed?

Where can the employee go?

Who needs to be called at the insurance company?

What’s the policy number?

 

It needs to be practiced almost like a fire drill.

At times, you’ll have an employee who hurts himself at work but thinks…’No big deal, I’ll be fine tomorrow’ and doesn’t even tell a manager what happened. Then, lo and behold, the little pull he felt turns out to be a hernia and he needs surgery. If an employee comes to you after the fact and tells you about an injury that happened at work, you still contact your workers’ comp insurance company. It’s their responsibility to sort out whether it’s a covered injury. You don’t have to get sideways with the employee and risk being sued.

Sadly, there are employees who have wounds that didn’t come from the workplace but they’ll deliberately hurt themselves at work to get treatment they can’t afford otherwise. Why? Perhaps she hadn’t realized the importance of disability or healthcare coverage for herself and now is stuck.  Perhaps you did offer it as a voluntary benefit but the employee hadn’t purchased it. This doesn’t happen a lot, but it happens. That, too, is the domain of the insurance company.

But if, and this would be sad, you don’t have these insurance policies, it’s well worth it to talk to your insurance broker or an HR professional about finding a plan that fits your company. Call us!

 

ValentineHR is excited to announce our series of Management 101 classes is now available on an individual basis.   Our training series provides valuable information and direction on the best practices of leading teams for not only your current managers and supervisors but future leaders, individuals that you may be considering for leadership roles, giving them the tools to be successful in managing teams. 

Please plan to join us for our first class on Management/Leadership Best Practices:

Thursday, September 5

8:45 am – 11:00 am

$100 per attendee (includes free parking and breakfast)
Discount for Non-Profit

To reserve your spot, please contact Lori@ValentineHR.com

In-house classes are available for groups of 5 or more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

We work with companies on a project basis or on retainer, providing a custom level of HR help designed for your business, with offices in Austin, San Antonio, Dallas and Houston. Contact me at Caroline@valentinehr.com or call (512) 420-8267.