Lifestyle risks, such as smoking, obesity, and even telecommuting, can put employees at risk, the National Law Review warns, affecting…
Employee health and safety are complicated issues – and, to be blunt, these issues can deeply affect an employer's pocketbook. Injuries, workplace accidents, and slow recoveries can lead to long-term healthcare and Workers' Comp costs that are difficult to budget for. Let's look at how you can prevent these costs from spiraling out of control.
Hidden Health Risks of a Sedentary Lifestyle
Remember: health and work is interrelated. Employees with sedentary lifestyles and health issues might not bounce back from an injury as quickly as other employees. These delays can cause your Workers' Comp costs to mount. Here's why:
- Workers' Comp may pay for medical costs and some lost wages if an employee can't return to work right away.
- If your employee is out for an extended period of time, your insurer will have to pay more – and that means your premiums may increase the following year.
Insurers will see your business as having a greater risk and price your policy accordingly. Just as your auto insurance premiums go up if you've had an accident, your Workers' Comp costs will increase after an expensive claim.
5 Ways to Lower Workers' Comp Premiums and Avoid Costly Claims
Because health and safety are so interconnected, small-business owners should consider having a plan to improve their employees' health at work (as well as at home) and avoid accidents and injuries at the workplace. Here are five tips that may help you keep your Workers' Comp costs down:
- Offer subsidized gym memberships. Many health insurance providers will subsidize their customers' gym memberships in order to encourage them to stay healthy. As an employer, you can do the same. This can offer you a long-term financial benefit, while also giving you a nice, marketable perk when you're trying to attract the best employees.
- Rent co-working spaces. If your business is in its early stages and you don't have an office, consider renting a co-working space. These shared work environments can be relatively inexpensive. In addition, you'll make sure your employees are in an environment where they can walk around and get some basic exercise.
- Invest in ergonomic devices and furniture. Tech employees are at risk of repetitive stress injuries, carpal tunnel syndrome, and other maladies that can happen when you sit clicking and typing at your desk all day. Healthcare Bluebook estimates that carpal tunnel surgery costs around $3,000 on average, but your total expenses will be even higher as you'll also need to cover employee leave, rehab, and other related expenses. Ergonomic keyboards, desks, and chairs can help you prevent these issues and save you thousands in healthcare costs and Workers' Comp premiums.
- Offer healthy snacks. Intuit offers some advice about healthy work snacks. Avoid soda and sugary juices, but offer drinking water. Fresh fruit and nuts are great, filling snacks that will help employees stay focused and healthy throughout the year.
- Have a safety plan. OSHA offers free onsite visits to small- and medium-sized businesses to help them identify potential risks and improve workplace safety. Once you have identified your workplace risks and have a plan to minimize them, outline this strategy in your employee handbook.
While IT isn't the most dangerous industry, your business will have its fair share of risks. Small-business owners should be proactive in identifying these risks, preventing them, and reducing costs by keeping employees healthy.
If you're looking for a rough estimate on the cost of your Workers' Comp Insurance, be sure to check out our sample Workers' Comp Insurance quotes for IT businesses.