Even though your small technology business doesn't carry the flashy risks of a manufacturing firm or construction site, you still need Workers' Compensation Insurance - if only because most states require this coverage for all businesses. What's more, your home office or start-up environment is still prone to on-the-job injuries. Why? Because the most commonly reported Workers' Comp injury is a slip or fall, which can happen in any environment.
Here's a look at how you can get your employees in a risk management mentality while also lowering your Workers' Compensation Insurance premium.
- Create a safety-training program. When it's just you and one employee, formal safety training seems a waste of time. However, training provides an opportunity to greatly lower your risk of a Workers' Compensation claim, therefore lowering your Workers' Comp insurance costs. Without the training videos and large binders familiar in corporate offices, you and your single employee have the great chance to chat about the risks most applicable to the work you do. Not only can you discuss potential risks, but the can also lead to brainstorming ways to reduce or minimize those risks.
- Classify employees individually. Often, technology businesses can save money if employees are filed under their job, not the industry they work in. For example, if one of your employees is classified under IT risks, but works a clerical job with less overall risk, you could be paying more than you need.
- Enroll in your state's safety initiatives. Many states run programs that offer premium discounts for your Workers' Compensation Insurance. For example, Louisiana's Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP) offers insurance premium reductions for businesses that enroll in the free program. In Ohio, joining the Drug-Free Safety Program also results in a premium discount.
- Keep a Clean Payroll. Mistakes during an audit can inflate your Workers' Compensation premium. If the auditor can't make sense of the way payroll is filed or billed, the auditor can bill the hours spent by an employee in the most expensive classification. Something as simple as a clearly labeled payroll system can save your IT company hundreds on Workers' Comp premiums!
A final note about Workers' Comp risks in IT firms: Some employees have special needs that can slip through even the most comprehensive safety plans - and these are the accidents that could cost your company the most.
One of your best bets for combating claims that raise your Workers' Compensation Insurance premiums is communication with your employees. Many accidents can be prevented by talking to your employees, learning about their personal lives, and addressing concerns that might not initially seem to be work-related.
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Writtten by Brenna Lemieux - check her out at Google+ or Twitter