Workers’ Compensation Employee Injury Rates Can Be Controlled
According to a claimsjournal.com workers’ compensation article, the 2012 P&C Workers’ Compensation and Safety Survey found that 59 percent of employers are concerned about managing workers’ compensation costs in 2012. Managing workers’ compensation employee injury rates is, of course, one of the best ways to control these costs. Interestingly, recent research has identified a link between the rate of employee injury and an ineffective work/life balance.
Employee Injury and Work/Life Balance
Once upon a time, “we used to think work was one thing and family was another,” Dave DeJoy, a professor at the University of Georgia, told the Society for Human Resource Management. Now, there’s a “realization that work/life balance affects performance and productivity.”
DeJoy recently published a survey with Todd Smith, a recent graduate of the University of Georgia’s College of Public Health. The study, published in the February 2012 edition of the peer-reviewed Journal of Safety Research, is titled “Occupational Injury in America.”
Using the 2002 General Social Survey, which is a personal interview survey of households throughout the United States, the researchers found that injury risk increases by 37 percent for employees who are dealing with difficult family issues. According to the study, companies that run smoothly and effectively—and that only minimally constrain worker performance—experience 30 percent fewer injuries.
Workers’ Compensation Employee Injury Rates and Work/Life Balance
DeJoy’s study found that workers who reported the greatest amount of interference stemming from family issues tended to have the highest injury rate. Conversely, workers who reported the least interference had the lowest injury rates. In addition, employees who said they work in unsafe environments had substantially more injuries than those who reported safer work environments.
Together, these two measures of on-the-job climate are telling. Workers whose jobs interfered least with their family life and who worked in what they perceived as a safe environment with a positive culture of safety were least likely to be injured. When employees were unable to successfully balance work and home life, they were more likely to be injured—and most likely to be injured when they worked in what they perceived as an unsafe environment.
How You Can Improve Workers’ Compensation Employee Injury Rates
Building a safe on-the-job environment is still one of the best things any employer can do to protect the safety of employees. Once a safe work environment is established, continuously encourage employees to foster a culture of safety. Even workers who have problems at home had lower workers’ compensation injury rates than their counterparts who worked in perceived unsafe environments.
In addition, survey your employees to find out whether they feel their jobs interfere with their responsibilities at home, and work as a team to find ways to help employees improve their work/life balance. Employees who avoid major problems at home are statistically safer on the job, further lowering an employer’s workers’ compensation employee injury rates.
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