6 steps to a lower workers’ comp premium

Winter is coming—use the slow season to update your safety plans for Spring 2019
If you have a safety plan for your landscaping company, you may already have many of these steps completed.

Did you know you can earn an additional 7.5% credit on your workers’ compensation premium if you have received cost containment certification from the Colorado Department of Labor Division for Workers Compensation? Many landscape industry owners don’t know this program is available. If you own a landscaping company and have a current safety program in place, you may already have a majority of the components required to obtain this certification along with the additional discount available through your workers’ compensation policy. Plus, you may just improve your overall safety record, decrease claims activity and lower your National Council for Compensation Insurance (NCCI) experience modification factor, ultimately leading to lower workers’ compensation premium costs and down time costs.

[Related: Pains, sprains and insurance claims]

This article will highlight six steps required for cost containment to help you get prepared for Spring 2019. The slower winter months are a perfect time to invigorate your safety program and get it primed for the time when seasonal crews start working next April.

1. You must have a formal declaration of a companywide safety policy. This policy must be reviewed and signed by all employees indicating that they have reviewed the policy and understand the implemented safety rules, regulations and guidelines.

2. You must designate a formal safety coordinator or a safety committee. Typically, the coordinator is someone who has a management or supervisory level position and has the ability to make decisions about your safety program. You do not need to have both, but the need for a coordinator and a committee is typically related to the size of your company.

3. Your safety policy must include general and job specific safety rules for your organization. These rules are very important not only for the safety of your employees but also to protect your organization from potential additional claims and liability costs.

4. You must have frequent safety awareness and training sessions. The sessions can include items like new employee orientation safety meetings, monthly or weekly toolbox talks, safety videos or webinars, safety classes attended by employees or reviews of various project job site checklists. The sessions can be held as little as quarterly, but during the busy season, weekly or monthly training sessions are highly recommended. These sessions must be documented, and you must keep a list of those who attended the meeting.

5. You must select designated medical providers to handle your workers’ compensation claims. Colorado law allows you to designate specific providers, but you have to provide your employees with at least four different options of providers to choose from and you must provide an injured employee with a letter showing the chosen designated providers. Chances are, you already have this on your work comp policy, which typically provides a 2.5% credit on your work comp policy.

6. You must have written policies and procedures for claims management. Typically, this plan includes how to prepare for claims with the necessary paperwork, an outline of a return-to-work program for injured employees and the proper procedure for reporting a claim.

The final and most difficult item is that you need to have this plan in place for at least one year before you can submit your safety program to the Cost Containment Review Board for consideration.

Stay tuned to the next issue of Colorado Patio & Landscape, where we will discuss some very important elements about developing your safety plan and examples of the types of safety procedures you should have in place.

[Related: Is your landscaping business properly insured?]

Troy D. Sibelius, FASLA, CIC, CRM, is an executive vice president and client advisor at The Buckner Company.

Troy Sibelius

Troy D. Sibelius, FASLA, CIC, CRM is an executive vice president and client advisor at The Buckner Company. With a Bachelor’s degree in Landscape Architecture from CSU, one of his specialties includes offering commercial insurance and risk management programs to landscape industry owners. Troy has been in the insurance business for over 20 years and has been very active in the landscape industry. The Buckner Company was recently recognized as one of the top 100 producing insurance agencies in the country.

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