As a business owner, you want to make sure your employees feel safe and protected on the job. By providing workers’ compensation insurance, you’re protecting your employees and the business from possible financial hardship. Many work injuries are completely preventable. If your business is non-compliant with Illinois state workers’ compensation law, you could be charged a significant fine at best, or a felony charge at worst.
At Barrington Orthopedic Specialists, we’re proud to serve as a knowledgeable resource for workers’ compensation. Here are a few essential steps every business must take to protect their employees effectively and avoid unnecessary costs:
Provide Workers’ Compensation Insurance
In the state of Illinois, it is against the law for businesses to withhold workers’ compensation insurance from their employees, even if they only have one single part-time employee. In fact, willfully denying employees their workers’ compensation coverage is a felony offense that can cost offenders a minimum of $10,000 in fines.
While it’s unlikely that you as a business owner have these ill intentions toward your workers, you may be new to the state (or even new to owning a business), and you may not have known about this important regulation. In this instance, you would still be held accountable for not providing workers’ compensation coverage with a hefty fine.
Most business owners in Illinois -- 90% of them, in fact -- purchase workers’ compensation insurance from an outside vendor. Alternatively, if you have the funds to do so, you can choose to insure your employees yourself.
Follow All Safety Regulations
If you’re concerned about the cost of a workers’ compensation payout, there’s one thing you can always do to protect yourself and your company: take safety regulations seriously and prevent work-related injuries in the first place.
The state of Illinois has a list of work safety guidelines that are approved and monitored by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) on a federal level. Remaining in compliance with these regulations can help prevent your business from being subject to infraction fines. Putting safety first will also give your workers peace of mind in knowing that they are safe at work, and that you as a business owner care about their wellbeing.
Additionally, should one of your employees attempt to claim workers’ compensation for an injury that you believe is not related to their work, being able to prove to your insurance company that your workplace safety is airtight will help give you credibility as you fight a false claim.
Take Employee Complaints Seriously
If your workers are giving you feedback about a problem that could eventually result in a workplace injury, don’t ignore them, even if it doesn’t seem worth your time at first glance. What begins as a complaint about uncomfortable seating and poorly-sized desks could eventually turn into a valid workers’ compensation claim for a back injury from overexertion. In fact, these injuries are actually among those most commonly sustained on the job.
This is also important to remember when it comes to claims of mental health struggles due to workplace negligence, which are being recognized more and more by insurance companies as valid reasons to claim workers’ compensation. Employees who experience unaddressed sexual harassment or extreme workplace hostility may require therapeutic or pharmacological treatment, just as someone would who has sprained their ankle in a slip or fall.
An effective human resources strategy is an investment in the long term. Workers who feel supported and comfortable will come to you to resolve these problems before they progress into injury or mental illness, preventing the need for a claim in the first place.
The team at Barrington Orthopedic Specialists has a dedicated workers’ compensation department and can be reached directly at (847) 285-4220, or by completing a Request an Appointment form on our website at www.barringtonortho.com. Our Schaumburg location offers a work conditioning program which is designed to safely return the injured worker to full duty work following the completion of their outpatient therapy.