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Workers’ Comp Costs Reduced by Timely Reporting

By March 25, 2024HR, OSHA

Accidents in the workplace are unpredictable, but employers can do their best to plan for accurate reporting and recordkeeping. 

When it comes to workers’ compensation claims, time is of the essence. Prompt reporting of accidents and injuries reduces an employer’s workers’ compensation insurance costs. 

Why Timely Workers’ Comp Reporting Matters 

‘Lag time’ is a key workers’ comp industry term that is defined as the time between the occurrence of a work injury and when a claim is filed with the insurer. 

One study by The Hartford Insurance Company found the average medical and indemnity costs were 18% when reported in the second week but jumped to 45% when reported in the fifth week after the day of the injury. The longer that lag time drags on, the more costs go up. For example, the median cost of a sprain or strain injury was about 70% higher when reported in Week 4 than in Week 1. 

Prompt reporting not only helps injured employees get the medical care they need quickly; insurance carriers can investigate and resolve claims before the details get muddled over time. Carriers evaluate lag time as an important risk performance metric that affects workers’ comp insurance rates. 

What are Employers’ Responsibilities for Injury Reporting? 

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires most employers with 10 or more employees to keep detailed records of serious work-related injuries and illnesses. 

Employers should include workplace accident protocol as part of employee training. Employees should understand that they have three responsibilities: 

  1. Required to report job-related accidents as soon as possible after an injury occurs.
  2. Must receive proper treatment for the injury from an authorized provider.
  3. Will need to complete required paperwork in a timely manner. Delays or omissions will affect employers’ abilities to resolve claims. 

Each February 1 through April 30, employers are required to display OSHA Form 300A, which summarizes the injuries and illnesses recorded the previous year. If there are multiple locations, a business is required to complete a Form 300 and 300A for each physical establishment. Form 300A should be posted in a visible location where employees can view accident totals for their specific workplace site. 

Records of workplace injuries must also be maintained at the worksite for at least five years and available to current and former employees upon request. 

As part of its Risk Management and Safety tools and services, MarathonHR is available to assist employers with mandatory OSHA reporting, recordkeeping, and record retention. 

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