Vigilant Blog

News, trends and analysis in employment law, HR, safety & workers' comp

Jan 04, 2023

Workers’ Comp Best Practices: Don’t wait to begin!

Featured Worker’s CompSafety and HealthWorkers’ Comp 

After a recent visit to my doctor, I was told in no uncertain terms that I needed to change my eating habits or potentially face some serious health consequences. Wow. Ok. Did I know that my diet was off track? Yes (sigh). So, why did it take the specter of bad health and medication to get me back on track? Perhaps it’s because I wasn’t feeling any negative side-effects. Perhaps it was simply complacency (read on for more on this). Regardless, I’m struck by the fact that even though I knew better, it took poor test results and serious accountability before I was willing to act differently. Maybe it’s this: until we get bad news from our doctor, look an injured worker in the eye, or learn of a near miss accident for example, it’s just too easy to become complacent with the way things are.

Since I spend so much time thinking and talking with others about workers’ compensation, I’ve now come to realize how taking care of yourself is actually much like accident prevention, where doing the right thing before something goes wrong is critical. With the New Year upon us, like many of you, I’m reflecting on where I’ve been, where I’m headed, and how to improve in the coming year. It’s a good time for us all to look for ways to move out of complacency and ensure we’re taking the best care of ourselves and those we work with. So how do we do that with accident prevention? Here’s three workers’ comp best practices to get you started:

  • Set goals. You need goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely (SMART). That means outlining specific tasks, measuring your progress regularly, keeping goals doable, making them relevant to your safety needs, and establishing a timeframe for achieving them. The goals for my diet follow the same formula by the way. It works (I’m down 7lbs in 5 weeks. Woo-HOO!).
  • Get employees involved and motivated. Complacency is one of the prime causes of workplace accidents and injuries. Every employee needs to be aware that safety is everyone’s responsibility and that everyone plays a vital role in creating a safe workplace. Involve your workers in the assessment process and in setting safety goals. Keep them motivated by acknowledging and recognizing safety conscious employees who follow the safety rules. One of our high-performing members told me that ‘Safety means looking out for the person next to you’.
  • Make training regular and engaging. Regular safety training reinforces safe work habits. But instead of merely delivering dry training seminars, try injecting humor or storytelling into your training sessions. I always consider shared laughter as a hallmark of a good meeting. Also, offer training through different mediums including laptops and mobile devices to further reinforce safety best practices. 

A safer workplace is always a worthwhile resolution, and one that shouldn’t wait for a bad accident or a near miss to begin. An effective safety culture is the best defense against accidents and time lost due to injuries, and it can bolster morale and productivity.  

My humble advice: Don’t be like me. Don’t wait to begin doing the things that you know are best practices when it comes to accident prevention. 

Follow me and my colleague Art Dalessandro for more thoughts on workers’ compensation in Washington or check out our article on, The Most Impactful Way to Lowering Workers’ Comp Costs.

This website presents general information in nontechnical language. This information is not legal advice. Before applying this information to a specific management decision, consult legal counsel.