Grab the streamers and balloons…non-latex, of course! Governor Roy Cooper has declared June 2020 as Safety Awareness Month in North Carolina. For most people, Safety Awareness conjures up images of masks, social distancing, and hand washing. But for the fine folks in the Wonderful World of Workers’ Comp, when we think safety, we think fewer comp claims.
Yes, workers’ compensation and insurance professionals across North Carolina are already keenly aware of workplace safety and its impact on claims. The National Safety Council reports that preventable work-related fatalities decreased 24.6% from 1992 to 2009, presumably thanks to safety awareness and training. Although we have come a long way from the days of dusty factories and dangerous equipment, work injuries are still big business in North Carolina. From a purely financial standpoint, the benefits of increased safety measures in the workplace include:
- Fewer high-dollar serious injury and death claims
- Less frequent and less severe minor claims such as routine slip and falls
- Fewer fraudulent claims, due to worker satisfaction and loyalty
- Less chance of malingering, due to workers’ confidence in a safe return to work
Like many adjusters, claims managers, and risk managers across North Carolina, the attorneys at Anders Newton routinely handle workers’ compensation claims arising from safety-related injuries and appreciate the very real danger of an unsafe workplace. Although progress has been made, serious workplace injuries and disease still are commonplace. After all, according to the National Safety Council, the total cost of work injuries across the country in 2018 was $170.8 billion.
The Safety Awareness Month Proclamation offers the following suggestions on ways to reduce unnecessary injuries and, therefore, claims:
Flag the Hazard, a workplace safety program for NC state employees which encourages state employee to identify and report potential hazards in the workplace.
Private Business Recommendation, urging all private businesses to implement reporting policies to reduce incidents of preventable illness and workplace injuries.
Ergonomic Plans, geared toward eliminating preventable injury and illness and increasing mental health of employees.
Public Health Measures, including implementing broad COVID-19 safety practices to protect the public health of North Carolinians.
North Carolina’s workers’ compensation professionals have the unique perspective of seeing, every day, the human and financial impact of workplace safety measures. Let’s use the month of June to celebrate how far we have come in increasing workplace safety in North Carolina, and to ponder how else we can protect our workforce.
Contact the attorneys at Anders Newton for help defending your North Carolina workers’ compensation claim. Call us at 919-516-8400.