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Check out our weekly blog posts and see the latest news and discussions happening in the HR world of business.

PEO insider: Workers’ Compensation

Sure, none of us like to think that it’s possible that an accident could occur at our place of work, but even the seemingly safest of workplaces can be the subject of a worker’s compensation claim. If you have ever had to file a claim, you will know that it’s a tedious process that includes a lot of paperwork and a whole lot more penalties should you fail to complete said paperwork appropriately. Luckily, if you partner with a PEO, they will guide you through the process, including taking much of the legal work off your plate, and will even begin thinking proactively about how such an event could be prevented in the future. 

Getting a deal: 
Depending on the type of business you operate, obtaining workers compensation coverage can be a costly but necessary activity. When you partner with a PEO, however, you not only buy into a larger pool of employees, but you also buy into a diversified client base. That means that the high risk and high dollar plan you’d have to obtain as, say, a skyscraper window cleaner, can be offset by the relatively low risk expected from an accounting firm where folks are generally seated on solid ground! But even if you are a so-called “low risk” employer, you still benefit from partnering with a PEO because they use that larger employee pool to negotiate low prices that you would struggle to snag in the open market, making it a worthwhile endeavor no matter your perceived risk.  

Safety First: 
From a business perspective, the PEO has a vested interest in keeping you and your employees safe. After all, they are the ones that carry your workers compensation coverage and so any claims across their pooled cohort of “employees” can quickly stack up and raise the prices that they pay. With an eye towards keeping these rates as low as possible, PEOs thus put a lot of stock in controlling the things that they can: namely, creating a safe work environment. At Abel HR, for example, we have an in-house safety officer who can come to your business and perform a risk analysis that identifies any potential problem areas that could put you at risk for an accident. Next, they will help you develop a feasible and cost-effective plan to remediate this risk and make your workplace as safe as possible. 

Proactive protection: 
Following on from this idea, this same safety officer at Abel HR can even look at your physical workspace and identify not only the potential safety risks, but also steps that you can take to actually enhance the health of your employees. For example, this safety officer can go to a business where parts are assembled and look at ways that workers can move more ergonomically, be it changing the height of the tables that they work at or simply installing anti-fatigue mats under foot. Similarly, for more traditional office settings, our safety officer can assist with the selection of chairs that help to reduce back issues, screens to protect eyes from computer glare, and other simple steps that can make office workers more comfortable (and thus productive!). Creating a safe work environment can also sometimes mean performing pre-employment drug tests, hosting drug-free workplace programs, promoting employee wellness initiatives, and even offering an employee assistance program . Another bonus? These workplace safety programs can actually save you money!

Accident and Emergency: 
When the accident first occurs, your first call should be to the emergency services where necessary, but your next call should be to your PEO. There are so many things that need to be done, by law, immediately following an incident, and we can help you get the ball rolling in those first crucial hours. We’ll chat with you on the phone to gather as much information as you can provide, and then we’ll start the process of filing your claim and handling next steps as it pertains to getting your worker the medical attention that they need. Should you choose, we’ll also set up some time to come by and assess the scene and can begin interviewing, either in person or by phone, those who were present when the accident occurred so that we can get strong statements about what happened and what was done in the immediate aftermath. We’ll also download all this information into our HR information system so that it’s accessible to you should anyone 

Back to work: 
Bringing someone back to work following an injury can be a daunting task. You will have to understand their doctor’s orders, determine, and implement any accommodations, and then find a way to integrate the employee back into the workforce in a way that is safe and supportive. Once again, your PEO will be here for you since the accident occurred. We will have performed a safety analysis and made recommendations for changes, and we’re also happy to work closely with your employee’s medical teams to determine the necessary accommodations and how they can be implemented in a non-disruptive and cost-effective manner. We can also work with you and your employee to address any concerns about reintegration and come up with a plan that is mutually beneficial, including but not limited to temporary or permanent job changes.

Hand holding: 
And we mean this in the nicest possible way, but when you’ve handled a worker’s compensation claim, you know just how draining it can be and how frightening the thought of getting that worker back in the door can be. When you’re handling this on your own, you rarely have someone to answer all of your questions or simply get some reassurance that you’re doing the right thing, but if you’re part of a PEO, we become that touch point. As we touched on above, we are happy to be the go-between to help coordinate orders from the medical team to you and help you negotiate the accommodation and reintegration process. In addition, we provide assurances along the way that forms are submitted correctly and provide you updates as we receive them from the workers comp plan about next steps and timelines. In short, we take the pressure off so that you can focus on continuing to run your business. 

Beyond the emergency:  
Even if you do not have a workplace safety event, you can still benefit from having a PEO on board. You see, each year you have to make sure that you are in compliance with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations. To do this requires a pretty extensive knowledge as well as some lengthy classes and certifications. The good news is that a PEO like Abel HR handles all that for you – we’ll file all the paperwork, make any necessary updates, and even update the documentation that you have to display each year to prove that you are in compliance. The only thing you are responsible for is posting the posters each year and we’ll even tell you the rules on where they have to be displayed.

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