Workers’ Compensation Insurance is an important product for employees. There are six common myths that surround this insurance, though. Debunk the myths so you can understand and maximize your benefits.
1. Small businesses don’t need to offer Workers’ Compensation Insurance.
You may work in a small business with only a few employees. Federal and state laws dictate that most businesses with one or more employees must carry Workers’ Compensation insurance. Be sure your employer carries this valuable insurance even if you are a solo employee.
2. I don’t need Worker’s Compensation insurance because my job is low-risk.
Some jobs, like construction, farming and commercial fishing, are dangerous. However, even low-risk jobs include injury and illness risks. You could develop carpal tunnel while typing or slip and fall in the break room during lunch. Your employer will pay lower Workers’ Compensation insurance premiums if you work in a low-risk job, and you absolutely must ensure you’re covered no matter what type of work you perform.
3. I’m careful and won’t get hurt.
While you might have an accident-free employment history, it only takes a second for an accident to happen. Plus, some workplace accidents or injuries occur because of someone else’s actions. Ensure you are covered by Workers’ Compensation regardless of your careful track record.
4. My boss is like family, and I could never sue.
It’s great that you have such a good relationship with your boss and feel like family. However, you are still employer-employee. By law, your employer must provide Workers’ Compensation for you. You also owe it to yourself and your dependents to have this valuable coverage in place in case you are injured or disabled and can’t work.
5. My boss will pay my work-related injury or illness expenses out-of-pocket.
Perhaps your boss has vowed to pay out-of-pocket for your medical, living and others expenses if you’re injured or become ill on the job. Unfortunately, your boss may decide not to pay, particularly when the Workers’ Compensation claims reach thousands of dollars or affect multiple employees. Always protect yourself with Workers’ Compensation insurance so that you can ensure your expenses are paid.
6. Any pain I feel at work is eligible for Workers’ Compensation.
While assembling furniture at work, you notice that your arm hurts. Instead of rushing to file a Workers’ Compensation claim, think about when and where the pain started. If it originated from an activity or injury that occurred outside of work, don’t file a Workers’ Compensation claim.
Workers’ Compensation insurance is important. Understand these six myths as you make sure you’re covered. For more details, contact your Human Resources manager or insurance agent.
Whether you stand all day, operate heavy machinery or handle chemicals, you need to protect your feet as you work. Several foot safety tips reduce injuries and help you maintain a safe work environment.
When to Wear Safety Footwear
Safety footwear protects your feet against numerous injuries, including punctures, impacts, electrical shock and compression. If you work in any hazardous work environment, you probably need to wear safety footwear as part of your daily uniform. Protective shoes also protect your feet if you suffer from weak ankles or other medical conditions.
Available Types of Safety Footwear
Depending on your job and preferences, you may select safety boots or sneakers. Available in a variety of styles and colors, the best safety shoes include a CSA certification and may include:
Safety-toe – features a special toe covering that protects the foot from dropped objects
Steel insole – stabilizes feet and protects them from joint and bone injuries or problems
Metal instep – provides a barrier against glass, nail and other sharp object punctures
Metatarsal protection – reduces injuries to your upper feet and internal bones
Electric protection – absorbs shock through specially made soles
Heat resistant – resists heat-related injuries
Water resistant – repels water and keeps feet dry
Nonslip – improves traction on various surfaces
Where to Purchase Safety Footwear
Your employer may provide strict guidelines and limitations about exactly which safety shoe you may wear, including where you may purchase this gear. If you can select the safety shoes you wear, check specialty footwear stores or online retailers. Because you want to protect your feet, select only the right shoes for your job and feet. Price should be secondary as you promote safety.
How to Fit Your Safety Footwear
When trying on safety footwear, ensure a proper fit.
- Try on shoes in the afternoon to accommodate swelling that occurs naturally during the day.
- Wear your regular work socks and any special supports.
- Ensure ample toe room since the shoes typically do not stretch with wear.
- Check for snugness around the heel and ankle.
- Walk around a bit to check for comfort.
Most safety footwear requires ongoing care and maintenance. Before you wear them for the first time, apply a water-resistant coating. Every day, inspect your shoes for damage, including sole cracks, leather breaks or toe cap exposure. Always replace your safety footwear if you notice signs of wear or damage that you cannot repair and after a puncture, impact or other event that may compromise the shoe.
Protect your feet at work when you wear the right safety footwear. Talk to your employer and check OSHA resources as you purchase, maintain and wear shoes that protect your feet every day.
OSHA’s final rule on electronic reporting requires certain employers to submit data from their injury and illness records electronically so it can be posted on the agency’s website. Because the rule is an extra requirement on top of existing OSHA recordkeeping standards, affected employers need to be ready to comply with the rule before the proposed Dec. 1, 2017, deadline.
Other News and Tips
Preparing for OSHA Inspections
If an unannounced OSHA inspection finds violations at your business, you may have to pay thousands in fines and watch as your reputation plummets. Fortunately, OSHA inspections generally follow an established procedure that you and your staff can prepare for.
When an OSHA compliance officer arrives at your business, it’s important to check his or her credentials and then determine if you’ll give consent to the inspection. Although you can refuse an inspection or give only partial consent, the compliance officer will take note of this and OSHA may take further action.
Once an inspection begins, the goal should be to determine its purpose and set any ground rules. You should also be prepared to provide proof that your business is in compliance with OSHA standards. During the walkaround process, be sure to take notes of what the inspector documents so you can review them later.
OSHA inspections can be stressful, even when your business is in full compliance. Scurich Insurance can provide you with our inspection guide, “Be Prepared for an OSHA Inspection,” and help your business impress OSHA compliance officers.
OSHA Removes Employee Fatalities from Home Page
Although OSHA used to include a URL link on its home page that would direct viewers to a list of employee fatalities, the agency recently moved the link to a separate page on its website.
According to a spokesperson from the Department of Labor, the link was moved in order to increase the accuracy of workplace data, as previous listings included fatalities that were outside OSHA’s jurisdiction. However, OSHA will keep the list of employee fatalities on its website and continue to review data from employers.
Although the electronic reporting rule initially required certain employers to start submitting their required information by July 1, 2017, OSHA’s Injury Tracking Application website wasn’t ready to receive electronic reports in time, and OSHA proposed Dec. 1, 2017, as the new deadline. The rule doesn’t change an employer’s requirements to complete and retain regular injury and illness records, but some employers will now have additional obligations. Here are the requirements for the rule:
- Establishments with 250 or more employees that are required to keep injury and illness records must electronically submit the following forms:
- OSHA Form 300: Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses
- OSHA Form 300A: Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses
- OSHA Form 301: Injury and Illnesses Incident Report
- Establishments with 20 to 249 employees that work in industries with historically high rates of occupational injuries and illnesses must electronically submit information from OSHA Form 300A.
The final reporting requirements will be phased in over two years. After the initial Dec. 1, 2017, deadline, establishments with 250 or more employees must submit information from OSHA Forms 300, 300A and 301 by July 1, 2018. Beginning in 2019 and every year thereafter, the information must be submitted by March 2.
For more help preparing for this new rule, call us at 831-661-5697 and ask to see our comprehensive Compliance Overview on OSHA’s electronic reporting rule.
New Silica Rule Enforcement Begins
A new OSHA rule on respirable crystalline silica will require employers to limit their employees’ exposure to silica hazards and provide medical exams to monitor highly exposed employees. The rule is scheduled to come into effect on June 23, 2018; however, OSHA began enforcement of the new rule in the construction industry on Sept. 23, 2017.
Under the new rule, employers must reduce the permissible exposure limit (PEL) for respirable silica to 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air (50 µg/m3). The rule also requires employers to take the following steps:
- Establish engineering controls to limit employees’ exposure to the new PEL.
- Provide employees with respirators when engineering controls alone do not provide enough protection.
- Establish a written silica exposure control plan.
- Provide medical exams to employees who are exposed to levels of respirable silica at or above the new PEL for 30 or more days a year.
To see more information on the respirable silica rule, and to see specifics about the rule’s application in the construction industry, visit OSHA’s website.