Understanding OSHA Regulations and Workers’ Compensation
by Mashum Mollah How to Guides 06 August 2020
By nature, workers’ compensation insurance and workplace safety requirements go hand in hand. The insurance helps cover the costs of workplace injuries, and safety regulations help prevent these injuries.
While these subjects both deal with at-work injuries, their governing entities are entirely separate. While state legislation sets the parameters for required insurance for businesses, the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, a federal law, set the standard for regulating workplace safety. Today, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), an organization within the U.S. Department of Labor, determines the guidelines for workplace safety.
Defining the Relationship:
Though OSHA guidelines and workers’ comp insurance have little to do with each other at an operational level, there is a relationship between the two.
If you’re diligent about implementing and enforcing OSHA guidelines and making use of the resources the organization provides, you’ll reduce the risk of injuries at your company. In turn, your employees will not have to use their workers’ compensation benefits. If your company has a clean claims history, it will later translate into lower premiums on your workers’ comp policy.
It’s also important to note that both OSHA and your workers’ comp insurance provider require incident reports when injuries occur. These are two entirely separate processes that involve different people. While it’s the injured employee who has to file a workers’ comp claim to the insurance provider, it’s the employer who must submit incident reports to OSHA according to their rules.
The U.S. federal government founded OSHA following the passing of the Occupational Safety and Health Act in 1970. OSHA enforces the standards set by this law, ensuring that U.S. employers provide safe and healthy working environments for all of their employees. To help achieve this, OSHA offers education and training to business owners to promote awareness of OSHA standards and implement best practices.
OSHA Safety Requirements:
For businesses in the U.S., OSHA requires employers to comply with a number of regulations, including the following:
- Provision of health and safety training to all employees in a language they understand.
- Display the OSHA poster that explains the rights and responsibilities of workers in a prominent place.
- Keep a regularly updated record of workplace incidents that result in serious injury or illness of employees.
- Ensure your employees are working with safe tools and equipment.
OSHA Resources That Help Prevent Workplace Incidents:
OSHA provides many resources to help prevent incidences that could lead to compensation claims. They include a variety of safety training courses for different industries as well as grants that can lower your expenditure on these courses. You can also use the various videos on their website to show your staff how to work more safely.
Understanding Workers’ Compensation Insurance:
Workers’ compensation insurance is a policy a business owner purchases on behalf of its employees. The insurance provides compensation to employees who suffer a serious injury or illness while performing work-mandated duties.
The beneficiaries of workers comp will have their immediate medical treatments and ongoing care covered. If the injury prevents them from working for a sustained period, the insurance provider will offer them a partial payment of their wages.
Many workers’ comp policy options also have benefits for employers. Should an employee pursue a workers’ comp settlement or trial, your insurance may cover your attorney fees.
How you can purchase workers’ comp insurance depends on your state’s laws. In states with competitive workers’ comp state funds, you can choose to use a private insurer or state-funded worker’s comp insurance. In states with monopolistic start funds, you don’t have the option to buy insurance from a private company.
What to Do When Workplace Injuries Occur:
You, as an employer, are required to provide the affected employee all the forms and information they need to file a workers’ comp claim with your insurer. After that, the insurance provider will offer the injured or ill employee a compensation package.
Putting Safety First:
Of course, no employer wants to think about injuries, illnesses, or fatalities happening at their place of business. But unfortunately, these events occur frequently across the country. To prevent such accidents and to provide your employees with the best care should an incident occur, do everything you can to comply with OSHA standards, and find the best workers’ comp insurance coverage possible.