Not every company is built the same and holds themselves to the minimum standards required to keep their employees safe. If you’re running a business but don’t have the proper insurance coverage and workers comp coverage, your business could potentially find itself in big trouble. Here’s a look at why this is an important issue, and make sure you are prepared for the worst.
Understanding Your Responsibilities
The OSHA Act and state workers’ compensation laws create competing and complementary responsibilities for employers. Some of these responsibilities fall directly on safety managers, while others may be primarily managed by Human Resources or another division within an organization.
Depending on the company, safety managers may be tasked with ensuring compliance with federal or state safety standards, as well as the OSHA General Duty Clause, as well as administering workers’ compensation claims, monitoring workers on leave because of workplace injuries and illnesses, and handling an injured worker’s return to work or arranging for and monitoring light-duty programs for workers not yet recovered enough to resume their regular duties.
When a workplace injury or illness occurs, the first task for employers is to ensure that the employee receives proper medical attention. If the injury or illness is compensable under workers’ compensation rules, the employee may need assistance filing a claim and navigating the insurance system.
That’s where insurance is so important. Workers’ compensation is administered at the state level. It shields employers from liabilities for workers’ injuries, illnesses, and deaths while covering the costs of workers’ medical treatments and lost wages or providing death benefits to the surviving spouse and children of a worker killed on the job.
All states except Texas require employers to purchase workers’ compensation insurance coverage. Insurance coverage may be sold and provided by private insurers or offered through a state-run program. Some employers have the option of self-insuring or joining a group self-insurance pool. Some states have publicly funded insurance pools to cover claims at workplaces where an employer has neglected to buy insurance coverage. Not having that coverage or not reporting injuries can have severe consequences.
Consequences for not reporting
If a worker suffers a legitimate workplace injury that would qualify for workers’ compensation but doesn’t report it, this can create legal problems for the employer. It also undermines safety at the company and increasing the chances of an injury or illness worsening. If an injury goes unreported, the employer could be cited and penalized for recordkeeping violations. OSHA requires employers to record a work-related injury if it involves death, days away from work, restricted work or transfers to another job, loss of consciousness, diagnosis of a significant injury or illness by a physician or licensed healthcare provider, or certain other specific outcomes, such as needlesticks, work-related tuberculosis, and hearing loss.
Employers should be mindful of the end goal: returning workers to their regular duties throughout the process. A worker’s absence can mean a loss of critical knowledge, as well as a loss of productivity.
When you work with Bergman Brothers, you can trust that we keep everything above the table. Employee health and safety are always our top priority.
We’ll help you get the work done right at the right price. Call the team at Bergman Brothers today!