NEW COMP RATING FORMULA LOWERS PREMIUMS FOR MOST BUSINESSES
A revision to the formula for calculating Workers Compensation rates is saving premium dollars for companies in a large number of states since the first of this year.
The change involves the experience modification ("mod"), the premium credit or debit that businesses receive for their claims experience. The mod compares your claim experience to that of other firms in your industry; if your experience is good, you'll get a premium credit if not, you'll receive a debit.
What has changed is the "split point" between the primary and excess portions of a claim. This value is important because the primary portion of each claim has a far larger impact on predicting an employer's mod than does the excess portion. For the past two decades, the split point has been $5,000. However, inflation has both eroded the primary/excess split point and hurt its predictive power; the mod doesn't give enough credit to good experience and doesn't penalize poor experience enough. The change raises the split point to $10,000 in 2013, $13,500 in 2014, and an estimated $17,000 in 2015.
In 26 of the 38 states that have approved the new formula, a survey of more than 75,000 businesses by the National Council on Compensation Insurance found that 62% of them will see their rates fall by 5% or less this year. Another 11% will enjoy decreases of 5% to 10%, while rates will stay unchanged for 4.5%. Fewer than one in four (22.5%) - mostly larger businesses - would see a rate increase.
Our Workers Comp specialists would be happy to discuss the revised experience mod formula with you - and make sure that you enjoy the cost savings that it can provide. Feel free to get in touch with us at any time.
OPIOID ABUSE: EMPLOYER, BEWARE!
Misuse of powerful prescription painkillers, whether intentional or accidental, is a rapidly growing threat to employers throughout the nation.
Opioid overdoses caused more than 16,000 deaths in 2010, the latest year for which data is available; and about 12 million people use prescription painkillers for nonmedical reasons. In addition to the human tragedy, opioid addiction creates a significant financial problem for both businesses - in terms of lost productivity - and their insurance companies. Nonmedical use of prescription painkillers costs Health insurers more than $70 billion a year; while narcotics prescriptions account for one-fourth of Workers Comp prescription drug expenses (costs that ultimately come out of employers' pockets).
Government plays a significant role in dealing with this problem. The federal Department of Health and Human Services regulates Opioid Treatment Programs (OTPs) through the Division of Pharmacologic Therapies. On the state level, for example, California has followed the lead of Washington State by devising treatment guidelines to curb over-prescription and abuse of opioids. These measures include limiting opioid prescriptions to six weeks after surgery or injury and using non-opioid painkillers as a preliminary pain management measure in non-acute cases.
However, these regulatory or legislative efforts can only go so far. No employer can afford to ignore the issue of opioid abuse among its workers - and your Workers Compensation manager is well-positioned to intervene in these cases by implementing a risk management plan that:
ensures that patients are treated early and effectively;
monitors and manages opioid prescriptions;
uses predictive modeling to tag potentially severe claims;
requires physician peer reviews for opioid prescriptions;
uses drug testing and screening workers prescribed with drugs;
provides post-addiction help; and
phases workers back into their jobs
We stand ready to offer our advice at any time.
CONFINED SPACE EMERGENCIES DO'S AND DON'TS
Confined spaces (such as storage tanks, ship compartments, pits, silos, wells, sewers, boilers, tunnels and pipelines) can be dangerous places. According to OSHA, accidents in confined areas kill an average of 70 American workers a year and injure hundreds, primarily due to atmospheres that were flammable, toxic, or corrosive.
To make sure that your employees know what they should do - and, just as important, not do - in case they need to deal with confined space emergency - safety experts recommend that they follow these guidelines.
What workers should do:
First, report the situation immediately to your supervisor, who will notify an emergency rescue team. If the people inside can rescue themselves safely, keep in contact with them throughout the procedure, and help them in any way possible without entering the space. If a rescue by an outside party is needed - and you're trained, equipped, and authorized to do this - go ahead. If the emergency calls for a rescue team, let those inside the space know that help is on the way, keep in touch with them, and wait for the team to arrive.
What workers should not do:
Never let other workers attempt a rescue unless they have the training, equipment, and authorization to do so. Don't allow anyone except the designated rescue team to enter a confined space in an emergency. Don't leave the entry point to the confined space until the rescue team arrives.
We'd be happy to work with you on training your workers to deal with a confined space emergency - just give us a call.
11 WAYS TO HELP YOUR WORKERS MANAGE STRESS
You can't eliminate the stress that your employees bring to work - but you can offer them these guidelines to help manage workplace stressors on their own:
Prioritize, streamline, delegate, and discard. When facing a task, ask if it's really necessary to do immediately.
Break things up. Take two - to three - minute breaks every hour and commit to doing at least one fun thing every day.
Make time. Build time into your schedule for creative expression, healthy eating, moderate daily exercise, hanging out with friends, and enjoying nature.
Be on time. Build in cushion time between appointments to allow for traffic and the unexpected.
Send negativity flying. If a co-worker is on the warpath, visualize an airplane with an ad banner over the person's head, with each negative word floating up into the banner and out of view.
Relax and watch what happens. Do mini-meditations or mindful breathing while you're between tasks or in line at the cafeteria.
Get essential nutrients. Go beyond vitamins and begin to think about daylight and laughter as integral parts of your daily life.
Consider what you're consuming. Sugar, caffeine, and alcohol can increase stress levels.
Watch your words. Don't let negative internal chatter and self-recrimination distract and demoralize you.
Be kind. Do something nice for a different co-worker every day until it becomes second nature to reduce stress for others.
Sleep on it. Sleep deprivation a major culprit in stress is Try to get restful, restorative slumber every night, and watch your stress level decline.