OSHA Workers Compensation Discussion Board
– What does workers compensation mean to you and how is it now different from what you thought it was?
-Now explain the trade-off that employees and their employers make by having this type of WC system?
Workers compensation to me means that as an employee I have an insurance plan if I was to get hurt. I believe that employees sometimes fear that if they get hurt that they will not make income to pay for their bills, so if they are injured on the job and can act if nothing happened they are willing to take the chance which in the long run can cause more injury not only to the individual but to other employees as well. Workers compensation means if an employees was to get injured they still would receive some type of compensation. Truly, I my thoughts haven’t changed on what workers compensations, I do not understand the ins and outs or what terms that are used when in a workers compensation claim but I believe I have a pretty good understanding of the term.
My understanding of what workers compensation is that an employer purchases insurance to protect them from civil suits that an employee may seek if injured on the job. It also provides lost wages to an employee in the event they are injured or become ill because of a work related task. In my experiences in general, my employer has done a pretty good job at ensuring all employees are aware that they have this benefit. In order for the process to go as smooth as it can we have strict policies to follow such as immediate notifications to supervisors and of the incident, reporting procedures, and investigations. I have no negative opinions of the process or the intent. We have had incidence where employees failed to report and seek medical attention and at times beyond the time frame allowed for reporting the incident and have been denied workers compensation. Those who have followed the policies and procedures have had minimal issues other than the initial time delay in receiving their compensation.
I know Patrick eluded to the fact that some employers may fight the claims because of rate increases and I am sure that is true but I have not experienced that myself as we have let the process work itself out. We have had some controversial claims that have been both accepted and denied by the Kentucky Workers Compensation. My fire department does use the lessons learned from injury/illness investigations to mitigate the chance of the incident happening again. One such example was playing basketball on shift for PT. We had several injuries that resulted from playing basketball and the department decided to remove our basketball goal. I also feel this was a recommendation made by our department insurance contact.
We also annually get a site visit from our workers compensation provider that tours our facility, and looks at our record keeping and offers suggestions for improvement if applicable. So while many may have different opinions or takes on workers compensation, mine remains positive although I can see the process being unfair to those who are deserving or to businesses that are taken advantage of. At the end of the day, if the benefit is needed their should not be fear in using it.