Protect Workers and Save Money with Lockout/Tagout 

Approximately 3,000 workers suffer lost-time injuries each year from being caught in dangerous parts of equipment or machinery during maintenance or cleaning 1. Others suffer from electrocution, burns, crushing, amputation and other serious injuries when servicing or maintaining machines without properly controlling the release of hazardous energy. 

In the U.S., approximately 3 million workers, including machine operators, laborers and electricians, face this dangerous workplace risk. 

The Dangers of Hazardous Energy 

Hazardous energy is electrical, mechanical, pneumatic, hydraulic, chemical, thermal, gravitational or other sources of energy in equipment or machinery that have the potential to harm workers. When it’s not properly controlled, workers can be seriously injured or killed. 

For example:

  • Workers were burned when a steam valve was automatically turned on while they were repairing a downstream connection in the piping.
  • A worker was crushed when a jammed conveyor system suddenly released while they were trying to clear the jam.
  • A worker was shocked when internal wiring on a piece of factory equipment electrically shorted while they were repairing the equipment.

A lockout/tagout program can help keep workers safe during these types of routine service and maintenance activities. 

What is Lockout/Tagout?

Lockout/tagout (LOTO) programs are a simple and inexpensive way to protect at-risk workers from injury due to the unexpected release of hazardous energy. They detail specific tools and processes that ensure equipment remains powered down and poses no threat to workers. A LOTO program includes locking (with a physical lock) or tagging (with a physical tag) equipment and machines to prevent accidental start-up, either from human error or residual energy.

According to OSHA, lockout/tagout protocols are “specific practices and procedures to safeguard employees from the unexpected energization or startup of machinery and equipment, or the release of hazardous energy during service or maintenance activities.”

The Costs of Failing to Lockout/Tagout

OSHA reports that following proper LOTO procedures prevents 50,000 injuries and 120 fatalities each year. The administration’s standard establishes minimum performance requirements for the control of hazardous energy that could cause injury to employees. However, despite federal and state regulations that detail protective measures to prevent accidental start-up of machines and equipment during servicing and maintenance, the control of hazardous energy remains in OSHA’s Top 10 list for the most-cited violations.

A failure to lockout/tagout can result in a range of direct and indirect consequences.

Direct injury and workers’ compensation costs can include medical expenses, legal services, property loss and indemnity payments.

  • The average cost per workers’ compensation claim involving an amputation runs $95,204, while a crushing accident is $57,519.2

Indirect injury and workers’ compensation costs could include increased workers’ comp premium rates, reduced productivity, damaged company reputation, lowered employee morale, replacement employee training, accident investigation, implementation of corrective measures and OSHA noncompliance fines.

  • LOTO citations from OSHA can range from $14,502 per violation up to $145,027.3

Guidelines to Control Hazardous Energy

Employers can create a safer work environment by creating procedures to turn off equipment, isolate power sources and control hazardous energy while service and maintenance activities are being performed.

The following are LOTO program and equipment guidelines from our partner, Nationwide’s risk management services:

Simple steps for an effective program

  1. Notify all affected employees that you have implemented a lockout/tagout program. Explain the purpose of the program and familiarize employees with the type(s) of energy that the machinery uses. Warn all affected employees about the potential hazards.
  2. Assign each authorized employee a standardized lock with a single key for locking out equipment. Maintain documentation on file that lists the specific lock assigned to each employee. Keep duplicate keys in a secured location, for emergency use only. 
  3. If the machine or equipment is operating prior to lockout, instruct employees to shut it down using normal stopping procedures. 
  4. Operate the switch, valve or other shut-off device to isolate the energy source from the machinery. 
  5. Lockout or tagout the energy isolating device (using a switch, valve or other shut-off device) only by using the authorized employee’s assigned lock. 
  6. After verifying that all employees are clear of machinery, attempt to operate machinery using normal start-up procedures to confirm that the equipment will not operate. (Caution: Return control to off position after testing.) 
  7. While the equipment is locked out, the employee whose key locked the machinery must retain the key in his or her possession at all times. Only the person who applied the lock is authorized to remove it. 
  8. Once work is completed, clear the machine of all nonessential tools and materials, issue a warning to workers to stay clear of the machinery, and notify all affected employees that the lockout/tagout device has been removed. Locks must only be removed after all work is completed, the equipment is closed, and all guards are replaced. 

Guidelines to control hazardous energy

  • Employers must develop and implement a written lockout/tagout program to minimize exposure to hazards associated with the unexpected startup of machinery or equipment, or the release of stored or residual energy. 
  • Whenever workers perform service or maintenance on machinery or equipment, they must isolate that equipment from all energy sources. Workers must use an energy-isolating locking device to lockout equipment, or place a tagging device on it, according to established and documented procedures. 
  • Employers are responsible for training employees involved in the energy control program. They must keep written documentation of the training on file, including dates and the names of participants. 
  • Employers are required to review lockout/tagout procedures annually to ensure the program’s continued effectiveness. They must conduct reviews with all employees who are authorized to lockout equipment whenever lockout procedures are used. Employers should also review tagout procedures with all authorized employees, as well as those workers whose jobs are impacted by lockout/tagout procedures.
  • When hiring outside contractors to perform equipment service or maintenance, each authorized employee must affix a personal lockout or tagout device to the affected energy source. 
  • When service or maintenance extends beyond a normal work shift, employees must establish procedures that assure the continuity of lockout/tagout protection, including the orderly transfer of lockout/tagout control.

Following these steps and guidelines for properly controlling the release of hazardous energy can help employers protect their employees from serious injury and avoid the costly impacts of failing to follow lockout/tagout procedures.


Bureau of Labor Statistics
National Safety Council

Understanding the Latest OSHA Citation Policy and Fine Updates for Industrial Employers

As a workers’ compensation insurance agent, you know that maintaining a safe workplace is critical to keeping insurance premiums low and protecting clients’ employees. That’s why it’s important to stay up to date with the latest updates to OSHA citations and fines, which can have a serious impact on clients’ bottom lines. 

In this blog post, we’ll look at what the latest OSHA updates entail, and how they could affect the industrial employers you work with.

What are the updates to OSHA citations and fines?

In January 2023, OSHA announced a significant update to its citation and penalty policies. The update increases fines for both serious violations and repeat violations. Additionally, the new guidance allows the agency to issue citations for each instance of a violation (previously several violations could be grouped together under a single citation). Updates go into effect on March 25, 2023.

Overview of the OSHA Citation Policy and Fine Updates

  • Increased Penalties for Serious Violations: OSHA increased the maximum penalty for serious violations from $14,502 per violation to $15,625. 
  • Increased Penalties for Willful or Repeat Violations: OSHA increased its maximum penalty for a willful or repeat violation to $156,259, a 7.7% increase from 2022.
  • New Guidance for Instance-by-Instance Citations: OSHA expanded its instance-by-instance citation policy, allowing the citation of violations for cases where the agency identifies “high-gravity” serious violations. These conditions include lockout/tagout, machine guarding and falls, among others. Additionally, the agency is emphasizing the use of separate citations for each instance of a serious violation.

The new guidance, which covers enforcement activity in general industry, agriculture, maritime and construction industries, could increase the number of citations and fines levied against industrial employers.

Why do these updates matter for industrial employers?

OSHA’s citation and penalty policies are designed to keep workers safe and healthy. The agency is responsible for enforcing workplace safety regulations, and noncompliance can lead to significant fines, legal action and damage to a company’s reputation.

The recent updates will affect industrial employers, no matter the size of their business (although they may have a greater financial impact on small- to medium-sized companies). The increased penalties will make it harder for companies to ignore safety regulations, and the expansion of instance-by-instance citations means that violations will result in more significant financial penalties.

As a risk manager working with industrial employers, you must understand the potential impact of these updates. Your clients may need to take additional steps to ensure compliance and avoid costly penalties.

Here are some potential consequences to consider:

Higher Costs: The increased penalties for serious violations and the change to instance-by-instance citations will result in higher fines for industrial employers. This could lead to significant costs that may impact a company’s bottom line.

Increased Focus on Safety: The OSHA updates serve as a reminder that safety should always be a top priority for industrial employers. By focusing on safety, employers can reduce the risk of serious violations and fines.

Smaller Companies at Risk: Smaller companies may be more at risk from the recent OSHA fine hike. These companies may have less experience with OSHA regulations and fewer resources to address violations, making them more susceptible to fines.

Reputational Damage: OSHA violations can result in negative publicity and damage a company’s reputation. Employers should take steps to address any violations quickly and effectively to avoid reputational damage.

What can insurance brokers do to help their clients?

You can help your clients prepare for these updates by providing guidance on workplace safety and agency compliance. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Educate your clients about the new OSHA citation and penalty policies. Make sure they understand the potential impact on their business and the steps they can take to avoid violations.
  • Encourage your clients to conduct regular safety audits and implement safety programs. By doing so, they can identify potential hazards and implement appropriate safeguards.
  • Offer resources and training on workplace safety. You can provide your clients with access to training materials and resources that will help them meet OSHA’s safety regulations.
  • Review your clients’ workers’ compensation policies. Make sure their policies provide adequate coverage for workplace injuries and illnesses.

Overall, OSHA’s new enforcement guidance is intended to deter employers from repeatedly exposing workers to life-threatening hazards or failing to comply with certain workplace safety and health requirements. The new policies and latest fine increases underscore the importance for companies – large and small – to prioritize workplace safety and compliance.

4 Strategies for Attracting & Retaining Truck Drivers 

Employers in the parcel delivery and warehousing industries know that truck drivers are one of the most important parts of their organization. Employee retention is especially important in these sectors, which rely on drivers for the safe transportation of goods and services to maintain their operations.

As the demand for drivers increases in the last-mile delivery space, employees can be more discerning about where they choose to work. In fact, turnover rates among truck drivers sit around 90%, resulting in a shortage of drivers estimated at 60,000 in the US, according to the American Trucking Association.

This shortage and high churn rate cost employers thousands of dollars in idle equipment, reduced productivity and lowered customer satisfaction. According to a survey by Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute, the cost of driver turnover ranges from $2,243 to $20,729.

Employers who fall short in their fleet management practices may be inadvertently contributing to higher driver turnover. Here are four strategies employers can adopt to help attract new drivers and keep valued drivers on the road:

1. Competitive Compensation

The first step to attracting and retaining drivers is to offer competitive compensation packages that include good pay, benefits and a supportive work environment. Truck drivers are in high demand, and employers must offer salaries and benefits matching market rates to attract the best candidates. 

According to the American Trucking Association, truckers’ earnings are increasing at 5x their historical rate.

Employers should also provide a flexible work schedule and opportunities for advancement, which can help retain drivers looking for stability and career growth.

2. Training & Professional Development

Another effective way to attract and retain employees is to provide ongoing training and professional growth opportunities. With new technologies and regulations constantly emerging in the industry, truck drivers must be continuously updated on the latest skills and techniques. 

Employers might consider helping drivers prepare or pay for driving exams for different vehicles to further their development. Likewise, creating growth opportunities – like supervising and training other drivers – keeps employees motivated and engaged in their work. It shows that the company is one they can advance at if they stay.

3. Efficient Hiring Processes

The hiring process is critical to attracting and retaining drivers. Smart hiring decisions help employers reduce the risk of transportation-related accidents, which are the leading cause of occupational fatalities and can cost from tens of thousands of dollars for property-damage accidents, to millions of dollars for those resulting in fatalities.

Employers must effectively screen applicants to ensure they are properly licensed and qualified to operate a commercial motor vehicle and meet the minimum qualifications established by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Among other criteria, a driver is qualified if they:

  • Have a valid CMV operator’s license for the type of vehicle operated
  • Can safely operate the CMV with relevant experience, training or both
  • Are physically qualified to operate a CMV
  • Have completed a driver’s road test

Thorough background checks and screenings should also be performed on all potential candidates. A clear and streamlined hiring process allows employers to quickly and efficiently screen, interview and onboard new drivers.

4. A Safe & Positive Work Environment

Building a safe and supportive workplace culture is essential for attracting and retaining truck drivers, who face a variety of workplace hazards and pressures. Employers can build strong relationships with employees by providing open and honest communication, recognizing and rewarding them for their hard work and creating a culture of safety.

Employers are responsible for ensuring their workers are protected from workplace risks. This includes providing training and education to employees on the proper use of equipment, safe driving practices and how to prevent injuries and accidents. Additionally, employers can provide safety technology that both reduces workplace hazards and helps to attract and retain drivers. By incorporating safety tech into their operations, employers demonstrate their commitment to innovation as well as to worker well-being.

Adopting strategies to help attract and retain truck drivers, such as good pay and benefits, training and growth opportunities, smart hiring practices and creating safe and supportive work environments, can help employers combat the turnover and driver shortage challenges that trouble the trucking and last-mile delivery industries.

How Wearable Tech Can Help Combat the Labor Shortage

Learn how wearables help employers attract and retain workers, and improve performance, through reduced injuries, fewer lost work days, increased productivity and enhanced loyalty.

Top Tips for Cold Weather Workplace Safety

A mid-winter arctic blast recently plunged US temperatures into record lows – including the coldest wind chill in history in Mount Washington, New Hampshire. 

Cold air temperatures and severe winter weather present hazards for workers, from slippery roads and surfaces that put workers at risk of accidents and falls, to strong winds and environmental cold that can lead to cold stress. Cold stress can result in cold-related illnesses and injuries including frostbite, trench foot and hypothermia.

Cold weather workplace safety is an important aspect of occupational health and safety that employers must consider to protect their employees from hazardous conditions. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 200 occupational injuries and illnesses resulted from “environmental cold” conditions in 2020.

Employers can help protect workers from winter weather hazards and prevent workplace injuries by ensuring employees have the necessary training and resources to perform their job tasks safely.

Here are some top tips for employers when it comes to cold weather workplace safety:

Conduct a Risk Assessment

Employers must assess the risks associated with cold weather conditions in the workplace and take necessary measures to minimize or eliminate these risks. This includes identifying potential hazards such as exposure to low temperatures, wind, ice and snow, and determining the appropriate measures to mitigate these hazards.

Train Employees on Cold Weather Safety

Employees should be trained on the hazards of working in cold weather conditions, including how to recognize and respond to the symptoms of cold stress, including reddening skin, tingling, pain, swelling, leg cramps, numbness and blisters.

Workers should also receive training on the proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE), including how to dress appropriately for cold, wet and windy conditions. Protective clothing includes:  

  • at least three layers of loose-fitting lightweight clothing
  • insulated and waterproof gloves and boots
  • a hat that covers the ears
  • water-resistant gear, if needed
  • extra clothing in case a worker gets wet and needs to change

Employers may also consider providing workers with gear like winter coats/jackets and gloves to protect them from the cold weather.

Provide Engineering Controls

To reduce the risk of cold weather hazards, employers can use engineering controls. This might include:

  • shielding work areas from drafts or wind to reduce wind chill
  • using radiant heaters to warm outdoor workplaces like security stations
  • using ice-melt on sidewalks, parking lots and other frequently traveled areas to prevent slips and falls

Maintain Equipment and Vehicles

Employers should maintain equipment and vehicles used in cold weather conditions to ensure they are functioning properly and that employees have access to safe and reliable equipment. This includes checking for leaks, cracks or any other issues that could cause equipment failure.

Implement Safe Work Practices

Employers can follow and implement safe work practices to protect workers from cold weather injuries and illnesses. These include:

  • schedule frequent breaks in warm, dry areas, as cold weather can cause fatigue and slow down reaction time
  • provide water or warm drinks to help keep employees hydrated, as cold weather can cause dehydration
  • save maintenance and repair jobs for warmer months 
  • schedule work during the warmest part of the day
  • use relief workers to assign extra workers for long, demanding jobs

Monitor Weather & Employees

Employers must regularly monitor the weather conditions and adjust their safety procedures accordingly. They should also monitor employees for signs of cold weather-related illnesses and injuries and take appropriate action to prevent further harm. Encouraging the use of the buddy system (working in pairs) is a good way to help workers monitor themselves and each other for cold stress.

Develop Emergency Response Plans

Emergency response plans to deal with cold weather-related incidents are important. These plans should include:

  • a reliable means of communicating with workers
  • procedures for responding to emergencies
  • procedures for providing medical treatment/accessing first aid supplies
  • plans to evacuate affected employees to a safe area

Cold weather safety is an important aspect of workplace safety and risk management that employers should take seriously. Winter storms can bring extremely cold temperatures, freezing rain, snow, ice and high winds. Following these best practices and tips will help employers to keep their employees safe and protected while working in cold weather conditions.

Amazon Safety Citation Underscores the Importance of Ergonomics in Workplace Safety

Concerns over industrial workplace safety are top of mind after Amazon was cited by OSHA last month for failing to keep warehouse workers safe. Inspections at multiple warehouse facilities resulted in the e-commerce giant receiving hazard alert letters for exposing workers to ergonomic risks. 

OSHA investigators found Amazon warehouse workers at high risk for lower back injuries and other musculoskeletal disorders related to:

  • the high frequency with which workers are required to lift packages and other items
  • the heavy weight of the items
  • awkward postures, such as twisting, bending and long reaches while lifting
  • long hours required to complete assigned tasks

A review of on-site injury logs revealed that warehouse workers experienced high rates of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs).

Putting Safety First

Employers are required, by law, to provide workplaces that are safe and free from hazards that are likely to cause serious physical harm or death to workers. There are real consequences for  failing to do so – Amazon faces a total of $60,269 in proposed penalties for violating the OSH Act’s general duty clause, which requires safe workplaces. 

While OSHA fines for the types of safety violations that can cause back injuries, fractures, or sprains have been historically low, the recent Amazon fines were the highest possible for every violation cited. 

In industrial work environments – where speed is often valued over safety – employers that prioritize the safety and well-being of their frontline workforce, and take measures to protect employees from injury, can save on the indirect costs of workplace injuries (including costly fines), as well as direct costs (employers pay over $1 billion each week in direct workers’ compensation costs!). 

“Our hope is that the findings of our investigations inspire Amazon and other warehouses to make the safety and health of their workers a core value,” said Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Doug Parker in a press release.

Reducing Ergonomic Risk

OSHA’s recent Amazon investigation is thought to be the agency’s first to require the company to implement basic ergonomic principles to prevent injury. Ergonomics:

  • helps lessen muscle fatigue
  • increases productivity 
  • reduces the number and severity of work-related MSDs

According to OSHA, implementing an ergonomic process is effective in reducing the risk of developing MSDs in high-risk industries ranging from healthcare to transportation to warehousing

Employers should consider the following when implementing an ergonomic process:

  • Require Full Team Involvement – The entire team needs to be involved for a successful ergonomic process. Management should set and clearly communicate goals and objectives. And workers should be directly involved in identifying hazards and developing and implementing safety solutions. 
  • Provide Worker Training –  Employers should educate workers on the benefits of ergonomics and inform them of ergonomic-related workplace concerns.
  • Identify Potential Problems – Determining and understanding what ergonomic problems exist in the workplace can help employers and employees take action to prevent MSDs before they happen.
  • Encourage Early Reporting – When MSD symptoms are reported early on, improvements can be made to help keep symptoms from worsening and to prevent or reduce serious injuries that lead to lost-time claims. 
  • Implement Solutions – Employers can mitigate safety risks with a variety of ergonomic solutions that improve worker behavior and workplace design and processes, helping to prevent MSDs.
  • Monitor Progress – Procedures for evaluation and corrective action help employers to measure the effectiveness of an ergonomic process and ensure continuous improvement.

An Ergonomic Solution for the Warehousing Industry

Amazon isn’t the only company managing workplace safety challenges among its warehouse workforce – industry-wide, the injury rate among warehousing and storage workers is almost twice that of all private industries, according to a 2020 Bureau of Labor Statistics report.

Every day, workers in this sector face increased productivity requirements to keep up with rapidly growing e-commerce demands. The result is often muscle strains and repetitive motion injuries.

Strain and sprain claims happen 42% of the time in this sector and are a leading loss driver, representing 41% of all claims costs. 

Wearable technology is an effective ergonomic safety solution for this industry. It can reduce awkward postures, such as the ‘twisting, bending and long reaches while lifting’ that were identified among Amazon warehouse workers by OSHA investigators. Reducing these risky movements, which are common among warehouse workers, can help prevent workplace injuries before they happen. 

Here’s how:

  • Wearables measure and help to improve posture in real-time.
  • The device alerts a worker when they’re bending or twisting improperly, or overextending their spine, so they can correct the risky behavior and create new habits before developing an MSD-related injury.
  • As workers reduce the frequency of awkward postures, over time, workplace injury rates decrease.

A wearable platform helps companies optimize their ergonomic process with innovative tech that protects their workforce, helps them avoid safety violations and enhances their bottom line. Companies can reduce the risk of workplace strain and sprain injuries by as much as 60% with wearables. In turn, they reduce workers’ comp claims and even improve experience modification ratings, resulting in workers’ comp premium savings.

Case Study: Iron Mountain

Learn how leading storage and information management company Iron Mountain 
reduced injuries among warehouse associates and drivers by 64% and 
reduced their cost of workers’ compensation claims by 58% 
with wearable technology!

A New Leadership Structure

Adam Price Moves to CEO

Adam Price, CEO

We’re excited to introduce our new Chief Executive Officer, Adam Price. Adam joined Kinetic in 2020 as Chief Operating Officer and brings nearly a decade of leadership experience to the company. He’s led both private and public companies during rapid scaling and has a keen understanding of how to balance a fast-paced work environment with alignment and buy-in of the internal team. 

As CEO, Adam oversees the execution of the company’s vision. He supports Kinetic in all aspects ranging from go-to-market challenges to people to operations. “My primary goal is to get all the teams focused around our vision and mission, and make sure everyone knows how they contribute to us reaching our goals,” said Adam. “Kinetic’s vision is ‘creating the safest workplace for the frontline workforce’ – and that’s where we’re going with everything we do.”

Since joining the Kinetic team, Adam has made a significant impact with a laser focus on strategy and team alignment. He implemented the OKR (objectives and key results) framework at Kinetic, initiated a robust hiring process that includes both skills assessment and a culture interview to ensure candidates are aligned with our core values, increased the speed of execution for executive decisions and built out robust operating processes in multiple areas including sales, customer success and the insurance business.

“When Adam joined, the first thing he did was make the leadership team step back and define a mission and vision that clearly articulated what we’re working towards, and we constantly use that to keep our north, excite employees and investors and remind ourselves why we come to work each day,” said Haytham Elhawary who has served as CEO since co-founding the company in 2014.

Adam is an experienced operator in both technology startups and public companies. He previously served as CEO of Waitr Holdings, a publicly traded company with over 15k employees and $700M in annual gross revenue. Prior to that, he was CEO and Founder at Homer Logistics, a venture-backed startup based out of New York City that built software systems for local delivery operations.

“Adam knows our customer extremely well and knows the hazards frontline workers have to face during their everyday work,” said Haytham. “He’s also been a buyer of large workers’ compensation policies and knows how deficient current carriers are at providing solutions to reduce claims. As such he understands our customer mindset and has pushed the org to provide value with our product in the ways that matter most to them.”

Haytham Elhawary Transitions to Chief Strategy Officer

Haytham Elhawary, CSO

With Adam taking the reigns as CEO, Haytham has transitioned into Chief Strategy Officer. In this capacity, he is focused on more ways we can use technology to prevent injuries, as well as how we can incorporate the unique dataset we’re collecting into our business operations.

“I’m a technologist by background and that’s what I love,” said Haytham who has designed train assemblies and built surgical robots and medical devices. “We’re renewing our focus on continued innovation in all realms of the company, at both the product and business model levels. This led to our expansion into workers’ compensation insurance last year, which has brought incredible growth to the company.”

Adam said, “Haytham is an amazing innovator and focusing his attention on ‘what’s next’ will reap rewards for our long-term value. We have many promising ideas based on our technology and data set just waiting to be explored.”

Looking Ahead

The new organizational structure sets Kinetic up for success in 2023. 

“Kinetic is about to scale across two exciting go-to-market strategies – insurance and enterprise sales – and we really need to focus on rowing in the same direction relative to our long-term vision,” said Adam – who gained expertise in this area with larger, more complex organizations.

Haytham added, “I feel extremely fortunate to have a partner like Adam who I can fully entrust to lead the company in this new phase as we scale growth and operations. It gives me the opportunity to go back to what I love and why I founded the company in the first place: to build technology that prevents injuries, so we can fulfill our vision of creating the safest workplace for frontline workers.”

A Checklist for Controlling Workers’ Comp Costs

From medical costs to legal expenses to increased annual workers’ comp premiums, workplace injuries have a significant financial impact on companies across all industries. 

To help, we’ve compiled this checklist of some of the main areas employers can consider when working to lower workers’ comp costs. Overall, a strong focus on preventing injuries from happening and responding properly when they do are top considerations.

🔲 Workplace Safety Program

The best way to save on workers’ comp costs is to prevent injuries from happening in the first place. Establishing a workplace safety program should be the first step employers take to reduce the likelihood of injuries and control losses. 

A workplace safety program ought to be documented and communicated with employees so they are aware of standard operating procedures for negotiating workplace risks. It might include:

  • the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and safety technology that helps keep workers safe and on the job
  • a routine workplace safety audit of the environment to identify and correct potential hazards
  • an ergonomic evaluation to prevent common and costly musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) 
  • workforce safety training to encourage safe work practices among employees

🔲 Workforce Safety Training

Training on safety topics and common workplace hazards reduces the likelihood of workers being injured at work, especially newer workers. While safety training may seem like an extra upfront cost or a loss in productivity, it pays off in the long run with fewer workplace incidents, reduced liability for employers and improved operational efficiency. This makes it an important tool in controlling workers’ comp costs.

Insurance carriers often offer policyholders free resources, ranging from information on how to create worker training programs to various virtual and in-person worker training materials and programs. And innovative safety tech, like wearables, can provide continuous coaching on proper body mechanics that leads to lasting behavior change, as well as actionable data showing which workers would benefit most from additional safety training.

🔲 Immediate Injury Reporting Protocol 

When an injury does occur in the workplace, one of the most cost-saving measures an employer can leverage is a prompt reporting policy. The more time that passes after an injury, the more likely it is to be more expensive for employers. 

Lag time can lead to:

  • an injury getting worse and requiring higher medical costs
  • greater lost productivity due to delayed medical care
  • an increased chance of litigation and higher legal expenses 
  • fines for failure to report injuries in a timely manner
  • costly claims that have a negative impact on workers’ comp premiums

Immediate reporting is the best practice for accidents and injuries. This practice applies to employees reporting an injury as soon as possible and to employers immediately communicating an injury to their workers’ comp insurance provider.

🔲 Incident Response and Investigation Policies

Another key way to control costs around workplace injuries is to have a clear plan in place for what happens when an injury occurs. A proper response and an investigation not only ensure claims are handled as effectively as possible (incurring less medical and legal expenses), but also can help protect employees from repeated future injuries. 

The plan should cover immediate response protocols for providing proper medical care and incident investigation policies that determine how the injury happened. A thorough investigation may include:

  • photos of the injury site
  • review of security footage
  • injured worker, co-worker and witness interviews

Beyond aiding in efficient claims management and preventing future accidents, proper incident response and investigation can protect employers in the event that an employee chooses to litigate a claim, or in the rare occasion of fraud.

🔲 Claim History and Injury Trend Evaluation

Most workplace injuries, from strains and sprains to slips and falls, are entirely preventable. Employers can save money and reduce workers’ comp premiums by identifying injury patterns and taking corrective action. A regular claims review or analysis of an employer’s claims history can reveal these patterns, showing which claims are costing the company the most. Insurance providers often offer claims review services at no cost to insureds.

Furthermore, trend data collected from wearable safety tech deployed across a workforce can reveal spikes in injuries among a specific job function, or during a particular time of day or day of the week. This information can help employers focus on

Again, preventing injuries from happening is the best way to control workers’ comp costs.

🔲 Return-to-Work Program

A return-to-work program can help save money when an injury occurs. Getting an employee back on the job after an incident assists in resolving a claim quickly, which is important as open claims costs are passed directly to the employer.

A return-to-work program includes transitional duty assignments and scheduling modifications to help employees ease back into work as appropriate. This can help:

  • decrease medical costs
  • reduce the likelihood of litigation and legal expenses
  • lower costs of temporary or replacement workers
  • reduce workers’ comp insurance costs

Insurers often assist policyholders in determining when a return-to-work program is appropriate as well as in implementing the program. These programs boost both productivity and morale while helping to manage workers’ comp expenses.

🔲 Dividend Plans

Another notable way to save on workers’ comp costs is for policyholders to select a policy with the potential to earn money back dividends. Workers’ comp policies that offer a dividend plan reward policyholders for keeping their workers safe. When the policy expires, the insurer evaluates the policy’s loss ratio. If it’s below an established threshold for the policy period, the employer can recover a sizable portion of their premium. Basically, the fewer claims a company has incurred, the greater the money-back dividend it can earn.

By implementing safety standards, like workplace safety programs, wearable safety tech, and safety training, insureds reduce claims, improve loss ratios and maximize potential dividend payout.

Kinetic Insurance policies include the Kinetic Reflex wearable safety platform, proven to reduce workplace injuries and lost work days, at no charge. In partnership with Nationwide, we offer free resources and services to help policyholders maintain a safe and productive workforce and save money. 

Learn more about cost-controlling support services available to Kinetic policyholders. Reach out at

3 Steps to Prevent Workplace Slips and Falls

In 2020, 805 workers died from falls and 211,640 suffered from injuries that required days off of work. These startling statistics from the National Safety Council clearly exhibit that slips, trips and falls are serious workplace hazards.

A Common and Costly Workplace Incident

Across all industries, slips, trips and falls were the third leading cause of workplace injuries resulting in days away from work in 2020. And injured workers missed an average of 16 days of work after a workplace fall.

Source: National Safety Council

Slips, trips and falls not only put employee safety at risk, but they also have a financial impact on employers, ranging from a general inconvenience to a serious liability. 

  • The 2022 Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index reports that slips, trips and falls accounted for over 30 percent of the $58 billion total cost burden to businesses for workplace injuries and illnesses 
  • The National Council on Compensation Insurance revealed slip and fall injuries were the third most costly lost-time workers’ compensation claim, averaging $48,575 per claim filed in 2019 and 2020.

In addition to the cost of the injury, slip and fall incidents can result in lost productivity when injured workers are off the clock, and higher insurance and operations costs for employers.

Workplace Falls are 100% Preventable

While workers in construction, transportation, warehousing and agriculture are at particularly high risk of workplace falls, they can happen anywhere – even at desk jobs. Wet floors, uneven surfaces and wobbly ladders are common causes of workplace slips and falls, which can happen from working at heights as well as on the same level. 

Injuries can occur when an employee:

  • catches him/herself from falling due to a slip or trip
  • falls onto or against an object on the same level
  • falls from a collapsing structure, through surfaces, and from ladders, roofs, scaffolding, or other structures
  • jumps to a lower level

Despite the wide-ranging causes, slips and falls are one of the most preventable accidents to occur in the workplace. To protect employees and prevent losses, employers should create a safety program that focuses on slip and fall prevention and addresses what to do if someone gets injured.

Slip and Fall Injury Prevention

While slips, trips and falls make up the majority of general industry accidents, businesses can manage this risk and protect their employees by following these steps.

STEP 1: Determining what commonly causes falls in the workplace is the first step in a fall prevention program. Performing a daily safety survey can help employers to identify common causes of slips and falls. Some typical hazards to look for include:

  • Unsafe conditions: wet or greasy floors, loose or torn flooring or carpets, and uneven outdoor surfaces like sidewalks and parking lots
  • Risky employee behaviors: rushing, not paying attention/being distracted, using a cell phone, and carrying materials that obstruct vision
  • Damaged or improper equipment: damaged ladder steps and broken/missing handrails
  • Hazardous environments: inclement weather with ice, rain or snow, poor lighting, and clutter

STEP 2: The next step is to take immediate corrective action and implement protection measures to eliminate hazards and safeguard against falls. This might include:

  • workplace maintenance,
  • equipment repairs or replacement, 
  • and safety training and signage.

Employers should develop and implement a written safety program that provides employees with regular training in slip and fall safety. Training should include procedures for how employees report unsafe conditions and respond to injuries or hazards. Offering incentives for safe behavior can help encourage program participation and compliance.

STEP 3: Finally, it’s important for employers to document any safety measures and protection efforts taken, including daily safety inspection and maintenance work records. When slip and fall incidents do occur, they should be investigated to determine the cause and all responses should be documented. This helps protect employers in the event of a claim while also improving workplace safety and growing the safety culture.

By taking these three steps to prevent avoidable workplace slips, trips and falls, employers can protect their employees, preserve company productivity and avoid the costly financial impact of slip and fall workers’ compensation claims.

3 Ways Wearables Help Housekeeper Employers with Injury Prevention Standards

For employers in the hotel industry, meeting OSHA requirements like the Cal/OSHA standard requires ongoing attention and work. To ensure continuous compliance and accurate, on-time reporting, employers need to:

  • develop controls to prevent or minimize exposures to work conditions that cause repetitive motion injuries, 
  • conduct worksite evaluations, 
  • implement worker training programs that address the causes and controls of repetitive motion injuries

A wearable technology program can assist hotel housekeeper employers in meeting OSHA requirements in multiple ways. Data insights help identify potential risks to a workforce and support timely corrective measures. Furthermore, a wearable program can provide continuous coaching on proper posture for common high-risk movements among housekeepers, such as improper lifting while making a bed, or awkward bending and twisting while cleaning a bathroom.

Identify Potential Risks

In worksite hazard evaluations, employers are required to identify unsafe conditions and work practices with respect to potential causes of musculoskeletal injuries to housekeepers.

A wearable platform helps employers recognize high-risk movements among workers that lead to musculoskeletal injuries, such as repetitive motion injuries. Data from wearable devices uncover who is performing excessive high-risk postures, what those movements are, and when, where and how often they are occurring. It can also reveal the potential causes that are putting employees at risk.

Take Corrective Measures

As part of a written Musculoskeletal Injury Prevention Program, employers must include methods or procedures for correcting identified hazards in a timely manner.

Wearables can automatically recognize risky postures and alert users. These real-time alerts help employees correct unsafe movements and create new habits that drive sustained behavior change. Over time, workers reduce their high-risk postures, which directly leads to fewer injuries. An effective wearable platform makes it easy for employers to track and show reduced high-risk postures across an entire workforce. 

Data can also be sorted by job type, day of the week, type of high-risk posture, and more, allowing employers to improve workplace ergonomics through targeted training and coaching, as well as through workstation and work process redesigns.

Provide Continuous Coaching

The Cal/OSHA standard requires employers to provide training elements covering body mechanics and safe practices, including the identification of workplace hazards.

The real-time alerts provided by a wearable program can serve as a continuous coaching system for workers. They remind employees when a posture is performed that puts them at risk of injury, teaching them to identify potential risks and to use proper body mechanics. This continuous coaching method is significantly more effective than one-time training efforts.

Proactive Risk Prevention is the Future

For reducing the risk of musculoskeletal injuries among housekeeping employees, and among myriad other labor-intensive essential roles, the shift to a preventative approach to risk is the way of the future. Kinetic Insurance is pioneering this approach with its tech-driven, proactive workers’ compensation offering.

Our workers’ comp policies include free wearable tech that can help employers comply with multiple components of the Cal/OSHA standard while reducing workplace injuries and lowering premium costs.

Best Practices for Workers’ Compensation Claims Reporting

Benjamin Franklin famously advised, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Preventing workplace injuries is clearly the most effective way to manage workers’ compensation claims. However, while many work-related injuries are avoidable, when they occur, the way employers handle them is critical. 

These best practices for claims reporting can help injured employees receive the best care and support employers in controlling costs.

> Report all workplace injuries immediately.

Timely reporting tops the list of tips for managing workers’ comp claims. Following early injury reporting practices, even if an injury does not require medical treatment, leads to a smoother claims process. 

When employers report a claim right away, evidence is better preserved and the claim representative has more time to investigate the injury. It also ensures the employer’s compliance with state requirements, helping them avoid significant fines and penalties. 

Prompt reporting benefits injured workers too, allowing them to receive appropriate medical care as soon as possible and return to work safely with minimal delay.

> Investigate right away (and keep notes).

All reported injuries require investigation, ideally immediately. Employers should document as much information about the injury as possible and provide it to the claim representative. These details will help to verify reports from the injured worker. 

Investigation information to provide includes:

  • details of the injury, including the employee’s name and type of injury
  • when (date and time) and where the injury occurred
  • how the injury occurred – what the employee was doing when it happened
  • any information received from the injured employee, such as a written statement, medical treatment provider, contact information and wage information
  • documented witness statements and interviews with the injured employee and their supervisor
  • any relevant photos 
  • any accident scene information or evidence

> Communicate frequently.

Open communication among the company, the employee and the claim representative helps to achieve a better workers’ compensation outcome. 

Employers should educate employees on workers’ comp processes, including how to report an injury and who to go to with questions. Knowing when they can expect benefits and how to return to work can ease common employee concerns. And regular communication with injured workers ensures they are cared for and supported through their return.

Employers should also be in touch with an injured worker’s care provider about their condition status and completion of care. Additionally, they should communicate with the claim representative frequently to make sure benefit payments are on time and correct and to reach a resolution of any issues.

> Train supervisors.

A supervisor should be the first person a worker informs of an injury and plays an important role throughout the workers’ comp process. As such, they need to understand how the process works. Training should include:

  • what impact and costs are associated with workers’ compensation 
  • how to help prevent worker injuries
  • what to do when a worker is injured, including how to report incidents 
  • how to navigate the workers’ comp process, from directing employees to the appropriate individuals to determining the validity of a claim
  • how to manage work restrictions and return-to-work processes for injured employees

Well-trained supervisors, and strong relationships between employees and direct supervisors, can help ensure efficient claims reporting and management.

> Focus on prevention.

Preventing injuries before they happen remains the best way to manage workers’ comp claims. Employers can best accomplish this with a comprehensive safety program that provides regular training for employees and supervisors and by creating a positive safety culture.

Wearables can be a beneficial element in prevention-focused safety and risk management programs. The devices can reduce workplace strain and sprain injury frequency by 55% through continuous coaching methods that improve how workers move while doing their jobs.

Wearable tech also provides a wealth of data on workplace risk that employers can use to reduce the chances of work-related injuries and claims. The data provides insight into trends and patterns that can uncover areas of high risk or weaknesses in a company’s safety approach. It can inform employers of potential improvements or enhanced training to help prevent future injuries.

Provide Clients with Superior Claims Services

Best-in-class claims reporting and management services bring real value to insureds. And they can help position brokers as true partners in risk management, allowing them to win and retain business easily. 

In partnership with Nationwide, Kinetic’s proactive workers’ comp policies, which include free wearable technology, offer superior claims services for a personalized customer experience, fast and fair resolution of covered losses and robust digital capabilities.

Services include:

  • easy claim reporting online, with a representative over the phone, or by fax
  • experienced claims adjusters
  • a 24/7 Nurse Triage program that ensures prompt medical treatment
  • a prescription First Fill program that allows prescription processing before workers’ comp is established
  • a workers’ compensation virtual toolkit with useful state-specific resources
  • dedicated claims account managers
  • bill and claim reviews
  • return-to-work programs


Brokers can engage current customers and attract new ones by serving as risk management partners and helping policyholders follow these best practices for claims reporting. In addition, providing policyholders with top-of-the-line claims services, like nurse triage and user-friendly claims reporting, can help them reduce worker injury rates and control claims costs.