Hiring for Workers’ Comp Cost Containment: 10 Key Steps

Hiring the right employees is essential for any business, but it’s particularly critical when it comes to workplace safety. Implementing a comprehensive hiring process can help reduce the risk of work-related injuries, which can save employers a significant amount of money in workers’ compensation costs.

Why Hiring for Safety is Important

Hiring employees who can safely perform their job duties is crucial for several reasons. 

Work-related injuries:

  • can be costly for employers – according to the National Safety Council, the total cost of work-related injuries in the US in 2018 was $170.8 billion. These costs can include medical expenses, lost productivity and workers’ compensation claims. 
  • can impact employee morale and productivity – when employees feel unsafe at work, they may be less motivated to perform their duties, leading to lower productivity and decreased job satisfaction. 
  • can damage a company’s reputation – this can make it difficult to retain valuable employees and attract new talent.

Hiring employees who can perform their job duties safely can help prevent these issues and ensure a more productive and profitable business.

Steps to Ensure Workplace Safety During the Hiring Process

To ensure an applicant can safely perform the required tasks of a job, employers should take specific steps during the hiring process.

Before-Hiring – Prepare

1. Understand Legal & Company Guidelines: It’s important to note there may be legal or company restrictions on the types of pre-employment screenings employers can use when hiring. To ensure compliance, employers should talk to their human resources professional or industry trade association consultant to find out what steps they may legally take to screen applicants in their state, and understand company policies regarding conducting physical exams and tests, accessing candidates’ motor vehicle records and performing background checks.

2. Conduct a Job Analysis: Employers should identify the essential functions of the job and the physical demands required to perform those functions safely. A job analysis can help employers identify any potential hazards or risks associated with the job and determine the necessary skills and abilities required to perform the job duties safely. This information can be used to create a detailed job description that accurately reflects the job’s physical demands and any potential risks associated with it.

3. Prepare a Detailed Job Description: A job description should include information about the physical demands of the job, any potential hazards or risks associated with the job and any necessary safety equipment or training required to perform the job safely. Providing candidates with a detailed job description can help ensure applicants are aware of the potential risks associated with the job and can make an informed decision about whether or not to apply for the position.

During Hiring – Screen

4. Require a Resume & Written Application: To determine whether an applicant meets the qualifications for the position, employers should ask for a resume and written application. A resume can provide valuable information about an applicant’s work history, skills and education, while a written application can provide additional information about an applicant’s qualifications, work experience and any relevant certifications or licenses. 

5. Consider an Applicant’s Safety Record: Employers should consider an applicant’s safety record when making hiring decisions. Applicants with a history of work-related injuries or accidents may be at a higher risk of injury, which can increase workers’ compensation costs for the employer. Employers can check an applicant’s safety record by contacting their previous employers and reviewing any workers’ compensation claims or safety violations.

6. Follow Interview Best Practices: It’s best to conduct in-person interviews, asking only job-related questions that deal with the essential functions of the job. It’s also a good idea for employers to take notes to help them remember key details and make informed hiring decisions later on. If necessary, they can incorporate skills testing to ensure the candidate has the necessary skills to perform the job. Employers should also verify work history by contacting former employers and checking references, and confirm an applicant’s educational background.

After Hiring – Reduce Risk

7. Request Feedback: Employers can solicit feedback from new hires after 90 days on the job to gain insight into their perception of the job, strengths and developmental areas and situations that might affect their ability to perform the job. This can help identify areas where employers can improve their hiring and training processes, as well as identify potential safety concerns that may have been overlooked. It also shows employees their opinions and experiences are valued, which can help foster a positive work environment and encourage employees to prioritize safety. 

8. Provide Ongoing Safety Training: Once an employee is hired, it’s important to provide them with thorough training on how to perform their job safely and effectively. This includes demonstrating proper techniques for handling equipment, ergonomic coaching, explaining safety procedures and protocols, and providing guidance on how to avoid potential hazards. Regular refresher training can help reinforce these safety measures and reduce the risk of accidents or injuries, and wearable safety programs can provide continuous coaching to further reduce risk. 

9. Conduct Regular Safety Inspections: Conducting regular safety inspections of the workplace can help employers proactively identify potential hazards and prevent accidents from occurring. Inspections should include identifying potential tripping hazards, checking for proper lighting and ventilation, ensuring the use of appropriate personal protective equipment, and verifying that machinery and equipment are functioning properly. 

10. Encourage a culture of safety: Creating a culture of safety within the workplace can help promote safe behaviors and reduce the risk of accidents and injuries. This includes encouraging employees to report safety concerns or near-misses, providing incentives for safe behaviors and recognizing employees who prioritize safety. By making safety a top priority and involving employees in the process, employers can create a culture where safety is valued and prioritized.

By implementing these steps, employers can reduce the risk of work-related injuries and lower workers’ compensation costs, leading to a more productive and profitable business. Remember, investing in workplace safety not only benefits a business’s employees, but also benefits a company’s bottom line.