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Handling workers’ compensation can be a stressful task for business owners. Cordell Walton, program manager at Columbus, Ohio-based CareWorksComp, provides the 10 most common workers’ comp mistakes. CareWorksComp serves as an expert on workers’ compensation, risk and claims management.

  1. Not understanding the system. Taking the time to familiarize yourself and your employees with your workers’ compensation program will help claims go smoother.
  2. Not being involved. An easy way to be proactive in your workers’ comp process is to be actively involved. Walton suggests checking jobsites and identifying any possible hazards.
  3. Not having a knowledgeable point person. It’s imperative to develop a good relationship with your MCO (managed care organization).
  4. Not having an injury reporting process in place. There needs to be a process understood by all employees in case of a workplace injury.

    “Always instruct your people to report to their superiors immediately when an injury happens,” Walton says.

    He also suggests putting the process in the employee handbook and having everyone sign off on it.

  5. Missing deadlines. Missing a deadline can leave you with a lapse in coverage. If you receive discounts or rebates, you may lose those discounts after 40 days without coverage. You must report your payroll every year on April 15.
  6. Not understanding how rates are established. This also ties in to paying attention to deadlines. Your payroll report factors in to your rates, so giving timely and accurate numbers will keep your rate where it needs to be.
  7. Not understanding how claims can impact your bottom line. Walton says to keep in mind that claims impact your rates for four years.
  8. Not taking advantage of discount programs. There are different groups and rates for each company’s situation. For example, companies with no workers’ comp claims could see up to a 53 percent discount on their workers’ comp.
  9. Not understanding and utilizing claim cost control strategies. Any proactive efforts like documenting any incidents can help control your claim costs.
  10. Lack of communication with your MCO/TPA/BWC/Claimant. Whenever an incident occurs or a claim is made, you need to ensure all the right people are in communication, even the person who was injured. This will help build your claim.
Lauren is the assistant editor of Lawn & Landscape, a sister publication.

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