5 Ways to Reduce Workers Compensation Costs in Your Cleaning Company
-by Jean Hanson
Janitors and cleaners have one of the highest rates of workplace injuries, and the average workers’ compensation lost-time claims are more than $23,000. Those are scary numbers for BSCs, who must also contend with price increases for and decreased the availability of workers’ compensation insurance. Most states require companies to have workers comp insurance coverage. Even if your business operates outside of one of those states, however, insurance is a must. Without coverage, one injury could bankrupt your business.
Cleaning technicians have higher-than-normal exposure to dangerous fumes, slip-and-fall accidents, and chemical burns from harsh cleaning agents. They also experience an unusually high rate of musculoskeletal injuries as a result of heavy lifting or repetitive motions. Workers comp insurance offers help if an employee experiences injury, illness, or another condition.
The average workers’ comp insurance premium in the US is $150-$300 per month. Like any insurance, your premium depends on the amount of coverage you choose and the type of work your employees perform. A general cleaning technician has a lower risk of injury than a cleaning technician who also does outdoor window cleaning on multi-story buildings. Likewise, medical cleaners who may have frequent contact with bloodborne pathogens carry a greater risk of infection and require higher insurance premiums. Fortunately, BSCs have options for reducing their workers’ comp costs. By altering your policies, you can reduce your risk (and liability) and lower your expenses.
Tips for Reducing Your Workers Compensation Insurance
Invest in Safety Training- Maintaining a safe work environment starts at the top. Business ownership and management are responsible for making sure employees have a safe working environment and can make good decisions for their health and safety. Employees who are confident in their skills and are well-trained in safety procedures have fewer accidents and require less time off for recovery.
Keep Track of Where Your Problems Occur- Every time you hear of an accident or near accident, keep track of what the staff member was doing and where they were. Chances are, you will see trends of high-risk areas or high-risk activities. Concentrate your safety training on these aspects of the job. If an area continues to be an issue after increased training, it’s worth looking at your procedures to see if you can rearrange or augment the area in some way.
Make Safer Purchases- Cleaning products undergo more thorough testing now than ever before. With the wide availability of safe cleaning products, it’s no wonder many insurance providers are willing to lower the premium for employers who seek out the least-harmful options available. You can also select ergonomic equipment that is less stressful for your technicians’ wrists, shoulders, and back. Tools that reduce heavy lifting will also reduce unnecessary muscle strains among your technicians.
Create a Return-to-Work Program- When you must make a workers comp claim, lost wages is one of the expenses you can control. Employees need a chance to recover after an injury or illness, but they are able to handle some of their usual tasks even if they can’t complete their full duties. Instead of paying for employee recovery time and a temporary replacement, ask if the employee is willing to perform light duties during their recovering time like dusting or changing towel dispensers.
Look for State-Sponsored Discounts-Another great option for reducing your workers’ comp insurance costs is to investigate whether your state has government-funded programs for companies like yours. Many times, complying with these programs is a significant saving for employers who don’t already meet the full requirements. For example, in Oklahoma, small businesses can have their workers’ comp insurance premium reduced up to 15% by making a commitment to safety training and completing a comprehensive survey at each facility. Similarly, several states offer discounts on workers’ comp premiums for employers who commit to a drug-free workplace.
Finally, as the business owner, you have a duty to keep your employees safe. Create a culture of safety and make choices whenever possible to protect the health and safety of your team members. Workers compensation insurance is one of many tools in your arsenal. Make sure to keep your costs down so you can afford the best coverage possible for your greatest assets.
This month’s blog is courtesy of Jean Hanson, Co-Founder -The Janitorial Store. Jean Hanson has been helping owners of commercial cleaning companies build a more profitable and successful cleaning business since 2005. Jean is also a Certified Duct Tape Marketing Consultant and provides marketing services through her marketing agency, Marketing Systems By Design. Jean will also be conducting training for IEHA-Georgia Coastal Chapter in November.