Does general liability cover employee injuries?

Employee injuries

Employee injuries

Businesses need a lot of different insurance coverages in order to protect themselves from different risks. One common business insurance coverage is general liability insurance. (It’s a really important coverage for business owners.) While this coverage is common, that doesn’t mean people don’t have questions about it. One frequent question is this – does general liability insurance cover employee injuries? We’ll take a look.

Does general liability insurance cover employee injuries?

General liability can help protect your business against claims of third-party bodily injury or property damage. It can help cover things like medical expenses, lawsuits, settlements, and attorney fees. (Of course, the claim must be a covered one.) This is such a fundamental coverage that it’s typically included in a BOP (business owner’s policy), which is intended for small to medium-sized businesses.

To give an example, this is the coverage that could come into play if one of your customers slips and falls, injuring themselves on your premises. (People can sustain serious injury from a simple slip-and-fall. It can be a big deal.)

Anyways, lawsuits can be devastating to businesses, so it’s important to protect against them. But let’s get back to the question at hand – does general liability cover employee injuries?

To give a simple answer…no. Typically general liability insurance won’t cover an employee injury. That’s not what it does. So that might leave you with a follow-up question: what is an employer to do if an employee gets hurt on the job? The answer lies with worker’s comp insurance.

What does worker’s compensation insurance do?

Workers’ comp is the coverage that can help if an employee is injured on the job. So, though general liability won’t help if an employee takes a spill, slices their hand, or falls down a flight of stairs, that’s what workers’ comp is for. It can provide benefits if an employee is hurt or gets sick because of their job.

Workers’ compensation can cover the following if an employee is hurt on the job.

  • Medical expenses. If an employee is injured while on the job, workers’ comp can take care of their medical bills. It can also cover the cost of rehab if the employee needs it. Considering how expensive medical expenses can be, this could be very helpful.
  • Disability. If an employee is disabled because of a workplace injury, workers’ comp can help by paying disability benefits based on the severity and permanence of the disability.
  • Lost wages. Workers’ comp can also help by paying an employee a portion of the wages they lost if they need to take tine off to recover. That way the employee doesn’t have to worry about the bills piling up.
  • Death benefits. If the worst happens and an employee is killed on the job, workers’ comp can pay death benefits to their dependents.

So, you can see why workers’ comp is so important that Georgia may require you to carry it.

Quick tips to lower your workers’ comp costs.

Though workers’ comp is a crucial coverage for businesses, that doesn’t mean that you want to break the bank paying for it. Here are a few tips for lowering your workers’ comp costs.

  • Check your insurance policy. Make sure your job classifications and payroll information are accurate.
  • Invest in safety to reduce the chance of an accident. This can help you improve your claims history, which can help lower your costs.
  • Have a return-to-work program. A return-to-work program helps employees come back to work by providing them with tasks that have been modified according to what they’re able to do as they recover.
  • Make sure that employee injuries are reported promptly. This is really important.
  • Take the time to do some detective work and investigate the incident. You can discover ways to prevent the same incident from happening again in the future.
  • Train your employees. Be sure that you spend ample time teaching your employees to do their jobs safely. Make sure they know how to properly use the tools they’ll need to do their jobs.

So, there’s the answer to the question of whether general liability covers employee injuries. Most likely it will not, but workers’ comp is there for that reason. And whether you need workers’ comp insurance, general liability, or both, our team would be happy to help you get the right coverage for your business. Just fill out our online form or message us to get started with your business insurance quotes. Prefer to talk on the phone? No problem – just give us a call.

What are the requirements for workers’ compensation insurance in Georgia?

Georgia has set requirements for workers' compensation insurance.

Georgia has set requirements for workers' compensation insurance.

You may have heard the term “workers’ comp” thrown around a lot, especially in Atlanta where a lot of industrial and unconventional industries thrive. But what exactly is workers’ compensation insurance? What does it cover? Why does your business need it? We’re here to help you answer all these questions and more.

So, What is Workers’ Compensation Insurance?

Although many of us don’t like to think about Murphy’s Law (whatever can go wrong, will go wrong), it’s nice to be prepared for it. Worker’s compensation is a state-mandated way that a business can cover an employee’s medical bills and part of their wages if they’re hurt or made sick at work. It can even cover death benefits in a very worst-case scenario.

It may seem like the type of insurance that you’ll never use as an employer, especially if you promote workplace safety as a number one priority. However, you can think of it as a way to protect your business as well. Workers’ comp claims provide an alternative to an employee lawsuit. When someone gets hurt or sick as a result of working, the last thing anyone wants to do is go through a lengthy legal process. So, by simply filing a workers’ compensation claim, you and your employees know that there is a system in place to take care of everyone should an accident happen.

What Kind of Workers’ Comp Coverage Do I need in Georgia?

Since workers’ compensation laws are determined by the state, the amount of workers comp. coverage you need will vary. The Georgia Workers’ Compensation Act (WCA) outlines the requirements and minimum amount of coverage that business owners would need across our state.

Workers' compensation can help your employee if they get hurt on the job.

What Are the Requirements for Workers Compensation in Georgia?

So, for Georgia, these are the minimum requirements that the WCA lists:

1. You must have three or more employees in the same business to maintain your coverage.

2. You must post both the Official Notice regarding workers compensation and the Bill of Rights for the Injured Worker where every employee is able to see and reference them.

3. You must keep a record of all employee injuries. If an employee has to be out of work for more than a week, the employer has 21 days from the notice of injury to file a report with the Board.

4. You must get your coverage from an authorized insurance carrier or get the Board’s approval to self-insure.

(But to be completely honest, self-insuring can be a total pain considering some of the start-up costs are a $250,000 minimum deposit to the WCA AND the fact that you’ll be covering an employee injury out-of-pocket.) Luckily, you’ve got experts right here get you the best rates on authorized workers comp carriers! Call 404.352.0304 today for a free quote tailored to your Atlanta business.

5. You must establish a “Panel of Physicians” who can provide medical treatment to an injured employee.

6. You must be able to pay the medical costs of the employee directly to the treatment provider within 30 days of being billed, and you must reimburse the employee for mileage to receive treatment if your employee files a mileage claim.

7. You have to issue weekly payments the injured employee for lost work time within 21 days of the incident.

How Much In Workers Compensation Do I Need to Pay in Georgia?

So, exactly how much in wages do you need to pay an injured employee? The usual rate that the WCA states is about two-thirds of an employee’s average weekly wages. There are also minimum and maximum amounts of workers’ compensation that are paid. The range of weekly compensation can be anywhere from $50 – $575/week.

Sometimes, the WCA also limits the dollar amount or amount of time that an employer pays for workers compensation. For example, the cap on paying TTD benefit payments is about 7 years (with no dollar amount), while the cap on paying TPD benefits is an amount of $134,050. The specifics of what these acronyms mean are pretty tricky but can be found on the WCA website or in your workers’ compensation notices.

They also list regulations for, again, the worst-case scenario of death benefits. In the event of employee death, an employer must pay a maximum of $7,500 in funeral costs and $575 per week to the family of the deceased until the payment total reaches $230,000.

How Can I Prevent a Workers Compensation Claim?

There are a few ways to make sure that a workplace accident doesn’t turn into a workers’ comp claim. As an employer, it’s your job to make sure that all of your employees know the safety measures to follow, are trained on these safety measures, and that you investigate any incidents that may have resulted from not following safety practices. (And not only will this help keep your employees safe, but it can also help you lower your workers’ comp premiums.)

It may also be a good idea to implement a Return-To-Work program at your company, where an employee may return to work with modified duties according to their injury.

In general, you want to make sure that your employees trust you and the company they work for to take care of them in a worst-case scenario. Your workers should know that if they’re injured, they can not only feel safe in filing a workers compensation claim as soon as possible but that they will be taken care of if an on-the-job accident happens.

Whether you’re in a high or low-risk industry, our insurance experts are here to learn about your business and what type of workers compensation plan will work for your Atlanta business. Fill out our online quote form or call us today at 404.352.0304 to speak with an agent about how you can get the best rates on the perfect workers’ comp plan for your business.

8 ways to improve workplace safety at your Atlanta business

Workplace safety can help you lower your workers compensation insurance costs.

Workplace safety can help you lower your workers compensation insurance costs.

As a business owner, you’re responsible for providing a safe workplace for your employees. It’s kind of part of the job. Sure, you have workers’ compensation insurance, but isn’t it better not to have to use it? By committing to safety at your business, you lower the chance of someone getting hurt, which means fewer workers’ comp claims – and saving money on workers’ comp insurance.

But this all begs the question:

How can you improve workplace safety?

Well, we’ve come up with a handy list of ten ways to improve workplace safety.

1. Train your employees.

Your people can’t do their job safely if no one shows them how. Make sure to spend ample time on training and emphasizing safety. Encourage questions. Explain clearly. Show everyone proper protocol and safety practices – for example, how to use a ladder properly. You can’t throw someone into a pool and expect them to do the butterfly, right? It’s also important that you have continuing education and training – even your experienced employees need a refresher.

2. Identify workplace hazards.

Take a good, hard look at your workplace and take note of anything that could be done more safely and any risks that your employees face. You can’t protect your people if you don’t know what the danger is.

And remember:

You’re not in this alone. Ask your employees for their suggestions or concerns. They’re the ones on the front lines – take the time to have a chat with them.

3. Make a safety plan.

Once you’ve talked to your employees and taken a walk around your workplace to look for hazards, create a plan for eliminating or reducing the hazards you find.

Take steps to make your workplace is as safe as possible, and communicate your plan to your employees. Take the suggestions and concerns your employees have into consideration and make sure they feel like they’re being heard.

Hey, that actually leads us to our next point…

4. Talk about safety.

Make it a habit to talk about safety at your workplace. Even outside of training, your employees should feel comfortable voicing their thoughts about safety and looking out for each other. Communication is key, and discussing how to make your workplace safer should be an ongoing thing.

5. Watch the workplace.

You also have to keep tabs on what’s going on in the workplace. Make sure that all the machinery is working well. Check that the storage room is looking safe – having things fall on your employees would be no good. Do your employees know how to lift heavy things properly to avoid injury? Look out for the little things that can make a big difference.

6. Show that safety is Priority A.

Create a workplace culture that puts safety at the forefront. Acknowledge those workers who show that they put thought and effort towards safety, not those who put efficiency over doing the job safely. Also, be careful of incentivizing zero injuries – that could lead to a culture where workers don’t report injuries at all.

And that would make it difficult for you to carry out our next tip…

7. Investigate any accidents or near-misses.

If there is ever an accident (or a near-miss) you’ve got to get out your magnifying glass and do some detective work. Launch an investigation and unleash your inner Sherlock Holmes. Talk to witnesses and try to get to the bottom of what happened and why. That way you can do everything in your power to stop it from happening again. Conduct your investigation promptly – your witnesses will have a better recollection of how things unfolded.

But don’t stop there – carry on with improving safety by using our next tip…

8. Be an expert record-keeper.

It’s important to log and record any safety-related happening, whether it’s an accident, first-aid treatment, near-miss, training session, investigation, or inspection. Keeping these records will help you keep track of everything – our memories, sadly , are not perfect. Being organized with your paperwork can also help you notice areas for improvement for safety.

So, those are our eight ways to improve safety in the workplace. Preventing workplace injuries can help you lower your workers’ comp costs, but it’s also about looking out for your people. Your team is a vital part of your business, and they deserve a safe workplace. So. Go forth and make your workplace safer.

And if you want to save money on business insurance, we would be happy to help. Our team can help you shop for the best coverage at the best possible rate. All you have to do to get business insurance quotes is fill out our online form or give us a call. We’re here to help with any of your insurance needs.

Source:

https://smallbusinessbc.ca/article/seven-steps-improving-health-and-safety/

6 ways to lower your workers’ compensation premiums in Atlanta

Improving safety can help you save money on your workers' comp insurance.

Improving safety can help you save money on your workers' comp insurance.

As an employer, you might absolutely dread one of your employees getting hurt. You care about your employees, of course, and you don’t want to see them in pain because of a workplace accident (and, well, there’s an awful lot of paperwork involved with workplace accidents.) Ensuring that the employee gets the medical attention and care they need is the most important thing, so as a business owner it’s important for you to have enough workers’ compensation insurance to provide for your employees if they get hurt – workers’ comp is probably one of the most important types of business insurance. But there are things you can do to control and manage the cost of the workers’ compensation insurance you need. Below are six tips that explain how you can lower your workers’ comp premium.

1. Place an emphasis on safety.

The best way to avoid workers’ comp claims (and the potential rise in your insurance rates that follows) is to prevent the accident in the first place. And that means taking the time to properly train your employees in safety protocol – for example, how to stay safe while working with ladders. Every member of your team should get the training they need to stay safe on the job. It’s kind of hard to avoid accidents and danger if you don’t know where to look for it, which is where training comes in. Anyways, it’s important to talk about safety, too, to keep it fresh in everyone’s mind. Safety is a team effort.

Here are some basic safety tips you can consider for your business.

  • Identify hazards around your workplace and take steps to minimize them.
  • Choose a flooring material that won’t make everyone slip and fall – you need a floor surface that has good traction.
  • Reduce distractions on the job.
  • Implement ergonomics at your workplace. Ergonomics means tailoring a workspace to the jobs that are performed there to reduce the chances of strain and injury. There are even benefits of implementing ergonomics at an office.
  • Teach and emphasize proper lifting to help employees avoid back problems – lift with your legs, not with your back, everyone.

2. Create a return to work program.

A return to work or modified duty program allows employees who have been hurt to come back to work. They will be assigned tasks that have been customized for their physical capabilities while they’re recovering from their injury. Keep in mind that it’s essential to make sure that the employee is getting the medical attention and support they need.

Now, having a return to work program might make it seem like you’re just trying to exploit an injured person. That’s not the case. The goal of a return to work program is to support the employee as they come back into the workplace and resume their job duties. So, when you’re creating the new tasks that are tweaked for your employee, make sure that the work is meaningful and genuinely contributes to your business so that the employee doesn’t feel punished or unnecessary. It’s important that they know how much you value them.

Understanding your mod can help you figure out how your workers' comp premium is calculated.

3. Understand your workers’ comp mod.

Your company’s mod, or modification factor, is a method of figuring out how “risky” your company is by comparing it to other businesses in your industry. It gives insurance carriers a way of seeing whether your workers’ comp losses are better, on par, or worse than what they’d expect. (The size of your company, unexpected big losses, the frequency of losses, and the severity of your losses are all ways in which your business is compared to others.) The data used by most states for calculating mods is collected by the National Council on Compensation Insurance.

Okay. The significance of your mod is that it can either make your workers’ comp premium higher or lower. If your mod is above 1.0, you have a debit, which means that your losses are worse than what they should be. If your mod is below 1.0, you have a credit, which means your losses are better than what is expected. A debit means that you could have higher workers’ comp premiums while a credit means that you could get lower workers’ comp premiums.

4. Investigate accidents and near-misses.

It’s really important that you put on your detective hat and conduct an investigation of any accident or near-miss that happens at your workplace. Talk to witnesses and get their accounts of what happened. Check out the area where the accident occurred and observe what could have caused it. Try to get to the bottom of what happened and keep a detailed and organized record of your discoveries. The idea is to find out why the accident happened so that you can prevent another accident from happening in the future. Knowing why it happened will help you take steps to avoid another injury or accident.

Pro tip: Try to conduct your investigation within 48 hours of the incident. The witnesses will have a clearer memory of what happened, and besides, it’s best to take action immediately to prevent future accidents.

5. Report injuries that need to be reported promptly.

If the accident is a reportable one, you need to file that report as quickly as you can. It’s best to do this ASAP to help the investigation and claim move forward as smoothly as possible. The Department of Labor requires you to file several reports – for instance, the First Report of Injury or Occupational Disease must be completed according to your state’s workers’ comp laws. Find out what paperwork and reports you have to fill out and go to town.

Pro tip: Make sure your employees know that they need to inform their supervisor (or you) about any workplace accident or injury as soon as they can.

6. Check your payroll.

Make sure that all of your job classifications and your payroll are correct. All of this needs to be accurate so that you’ve got the right amount of workers’ comp insurance.

Your employee is the priority when it comes to your workers’ comp insurance. Taking steps to improve safety at your workplace is vital so that you can prevent accidents and injuries. A bonus of emphasizing safety is that you can lower your workers’ comp premiums. So, the simple truth is that preventing workers’ comp claims is really in everyone’s best interest.

Another way to save money on business insurance is to shop around and compare rates. Our team of insurance experts can help you with that. We can get multiple quotes for workers’ comp insurance so that you can compare coverages and prices. All you have to do to get workers’ comp quotes is fill out our form or give us a call today.

Atlanta workplace hazards: How to become a sensational ladder safety pro

We've got some ladder safety tips to help you and your coworkers stay safe on the job.

We've got some ladder safety tips to help you and your coworkers stay safe on the job.

You and your coworkers might be super confident around ladders. You might use them all the time and scamper up and down without fear. But it’s important to remember that ladders, though they seem harmless enough, present risks to your safety. Falling from heights is always among the top ten causes of workplace injuries. To help you brush up on your ladder safety skills, become a pro, and avoid worker’s comp claims, we’ve come up with a dozen safety tips for you and your coworkers.

1. Wear the proper footwear.

It’s important that you wear nonslip shoes if you’re going to be climbing up and down ladders. If the soles of your shoes don’t have enough grip, you could find yourself in free fall before you even realize what happened.

Also, take the time to check the bottom of your shoes before going up. Mud, debris, or leaves stuck to your soles might cause your foot to slip. Clean your shoes off before climbing.

2. Always face the ladder when climbing up or down.

Always face the rungs when you’re going up or going down. This will help you keep your balance and have more security on the steps.

3. Take turns.

Only one person on the ride at a time, please. Ladders are only meant to hold one person. Adding a second person to the mix can throw off the balance and support, which might result in the ladder crashing down.

4. Watch the doors.

Don’t put a ladder near a door that could hit it if it opened suddenly. Make sure that all problem doors are locked or guarded if someone has to get on a ladder near a doorway. Also, don’t support or prop the ladder against a door – bad plan. If the door suddenly opened … well, no one wants to do a face plant, right?

5. Clear the area around the base of the ladder of items that could endanger the worker using it.

Make sure to keep the work area nice and tidy. Move anything that could cause a teammate harm out of the way.

6. Work in pairs.

There should be someone to hold the ladder to keep it steady whenever someone climbs. Don’t fly solo – employ the buddy system.

7. Never move the ladder while someone’s on it.

The ladder should only be moved when everyone has their feet safely on the ground. Seriously. Avoid the insurance claim and save money on your business insurance premiums.

8. Keep your center of gravity steady.

Balance is important when it comes to ladders. Your belt buckle should always be in the middle of the rungs to make sure that you’re centered and balanced. Don’t stretch or overreach over the side – you could lose your balance and make an unplanned descent to the ground.

9. Choose the right ladder for the job and set it up right.

Make sure that your ladder is the right size for the task at hand. The length of the ladder should be three feet over the roofline of the roofing surface if you’re doing roof work.

When you place the ladder against the wall or surface, it should make a 75˚ angle with the ground. You can use the 1:4 ratio trick to help you figure out if you’ve got the angle right. Place the base one foot back from the wall for every four feet of height from the ground to the place of contact.

10. Don’t step on the top rung or shelf.

The big “NOT A STEP” and “DO NOT STEP” signs are there for a reason. Don’t disobey the warnings. It might seem like you can balance on that top step, but it is definitely not worth the risk of falling.

11. Make sure the ladder is in good condition.

Never use a ladder that’s broken or in disrepair. Ladders that aren’t in tip-top shape can slip, break, or collapse while someone’s using them. And that would not be good. If you’re using an extension ladder, check all of the locks carefully and make sure they’re secure before using it.

12. Set up the ladder on a firm, solid surface.

Be sure to place the base on a steady, even surface so that it won’t wobble or slip.

13. Don’t leave a ladder set up and unattended.

When you’re done with the ladder, take it down and move it to a safe place. Don’t leave it propped up against a home or wall and walk away – that’s a general liability claim waiting to happen if someone gets hurt.

Ladders might not seem like the most dangerous of tools, but falls are a serious cause of injury among workers. It’s important not to skip the basic safety rules of using ladders on the job. Make sure everyone stays safe by training everyone in proper ladder use and enforcing safety skills in the workplace.

Need business insurance? We can help with that! We’ve got lots of experience helping business owners save money on their insurance rates – we can help you shop for your insurance. All you have to do to get started with your quotes is fill out our online form or give us a call today.

What you need to know about Atlanta workers’ comp insurance

Workers' comp is an important coverage for employers to have.

Your employees are the backbone of your business. They work hard every day to make your company successful. They’re invaluable and dedicated, and they make your business run like a well-oiled machine. But sometimes accidents happen in the workplace. If one of your employees gets hurt on the job, you want to be able to do everything you can to make sure that they get the medical care they need. It’s also important to make sure that they don’t lose too much of their income because of their injury or illness. That’s where workers’ compensation insurance comes in – workers’ comp is a vital part of your business insurance plan.

If your employees get hurt on the job, workers' comp will cover the employee's medical bills.

Now, there are a lot of employees and a lot of different accidents or mishaps that they could encounter at work. Below we’ve compiled some of the questions that you might have about workers’ comp insurance.

How did workers’ comp get started?

In the 1800s, the labor force was increasing, meaning that the number of accidents went up, too. If someone got hurt on the job, they’d usually end up suing their employer. But in 1949, the workers’ comp system was set up. With worker’s comp, employees got benefits to cover their medical expenses and lost work time if they were hurt on the job. The only caveat was that workers gave up their right to sue their employers over work-related injuries. It’s a mutually beneficial system.

Who gets workers’ comp benefits?

Workers’ comp benefits are given to employees who get hurt or become sick because of their job. Let’s illustrate with an example. Say you have a pair of employees—Joe and Stan—carrying a heavy box. They use the proper lifting technique, just like you trained them to, and do everything right. But Joe accidentally loses his balance, and the box falls, landing on his foot. It’s bad. You know right away that he needs to go to the hospital to get an x-ray. It turns out that the foot is broken and that Joe needs some pretty extensive medical care and physical therapy. He could receive workers’ comp benefits.

Your workers' comp will pay for your employee's medical bills if they get hurt on the job.

What exactly do the benefits do?

With workers’ comp, the medical bills can be covered. Any necessary rehab can be paid for, too. Basically, your employees wouldn’t be responsible for paying their medical bills if they’re hurt on the job, so they get to hold on to their hard-earned money.

Speaking of income, let’s visit Joe again. Joe needs to take some time off to make sure that his foot heals properly. Workers’ comp can also reimburse him for a portion of the wages that he lost due to his injury, so Joe’s family is provided for even though he’s not able to work. These are called income benefits, aka indemnity benefits, aka disability benefits. They’re calculated as a part of an average weekly wage (AWW.)

So, thanks to your business’s insurance, Joe gets the medical care he needs, and everything heals well. Now, Joe broke his foot. It hurt and it took a while for it to heal, but in the end, he was okay and made a full recovery. But say that something really terrible happened and one of your employees died in a work-related incident. Workers’ comp would give death benefits to the employee’s family and dependents, so financially they’re provided for.

What’s an IME?

An IME, or independent medical exam, is an exam given to an injured employee by a different doctor than the one who first provided care. As an employer, you can request an IME to get a second opinion about the original diagnosis and treatment plan, as can the insurance carrier.

How are the weekly wages calculated for reimbursement?

The AWW (average weekly wage) is found by taking the total of the employee’s wages for the past thirteen weeks and dividing it by thirteen. A portion of the AWW (determined by the severity of the injury) is given to the employee as their income benefits. In addition to the wages, the employee may also be eligible to receive compensation for any food or housing benefits given by the employer.

 How long are employees eligible for workers’ comp benefits?

Employees who have been injured on the job are entitled to benefits for as long as they are medically “approved” to take time off of work. They would have their medical bills paid and their wages reimbursed for the duration of this “approved time off” period.

Your workers' comp may reimburse your employees for a portion of the wages they lost.

What are my responsibilities as an employer?

As far as workers’ comp goes, there are a few things you have to do as an employer. You are obligated to:

  • Provide coverage for your employees and understand that you are liable for injuries that they might incur on the job.
  • Pay the insurance premiums.
  • Provide your insurance carrier with audit payroll numbers.
  • Keep your workplace safe.
  • Inform your carrier about any work-related employee injury ASAP.
  • Investigate injuries.

Workers’ comp is essential for businesses. It allows them to help their employees and to provide for them if they get hurt. It also means that employees don’t have to sue their employers anymore, which is appreciated. Basically, workers’ comp ensures that everyone is better off if disaster strikes.

If you want to get a quote for workers’ compensation insurance – or other business insurance – we can help you out with that! All you have to do is fill out our quote form or give us a call today. We’d be happy to help with any of your insurance needs.