Magazine article Occupational Hazards

Best Practices for Controlling Comp Costs

Magazine article Occupational Hazards

Best Practices for Controlling Comp Costs

Article excerpt

Since 1972, total spending by employers for workers compensation claims has increased by 1,000 percent, according to Eric J. Oxfeld, president of the Washington, D.C.-based National Foundation for Unemployment Compensation and Workers' Compensation.

Currently, workers' compensation costs more than $55 billion annually, and is a dominant overhead expense for employers. Despite state legislation and numerous individual efforts, many employers are unable to keep their costs in line.

Enter Oxfeld's compensation foundation, which is the research arm of the UWC-Strategic Services on Unemployment and Workers' Compensation. The group has published the second edition of Employer's Workers' Compensation Cost Control Handbook, a compendium of "practical tips on controlling costs of workers' compensation by means within employers' powers and within the [sphere of] existing laws," as Oxfeld describes the book.

"There's one basic rule to remember ... you pay workers' compensation rates that are revised annually," according to the handbook's preface. "Your claims experience and your employment level and the state's general workers' compensation claims experience determines [sic] your costs. The system is intended to reward employers who prevent injuries and return injured workers to employment promptly." (editor's emphasis).

The book uses an economy of words and an easy-to-read format to dispense practical advice on controlling compensation costs. Examples include:

* Claims should be reported immediately to the insurance carrier, ensuring faster service for the employee, faster return-to-work, reduced litigation and lower claims costs.

* Employers should work closely with the insurer and medical providers to ensure that the injured employee receives the best possible medical care.

* Stay in contact with injured workers and try to find a way for them to resume working as soon as possible. …

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