Workers compensation insurance exists to protect employees; it’s a form of insurance providing wage replacement and medical benefits to those injured on the job. But lately, workers compensation fraud has become an entire industry of its own. It’s unfortunately one of America’s most popular crimes; billions upon billions of dollars in false claims are stolen each year, leaving business owners in need of their own protection.
Last month, a Workers Comp Article by NewsOK, revealed that in the past 13 years, Oklahoma judges alone have ordered restitution payments totaling more than $2.5 million in such fraud cases. While we’re on the road to an improved system, one that limits the number of fraudulent claims and punishes those that make them, it’s no secret that businesses still need to protect themselves.
What can you do?
First, know the many types of workers compensation fraud:
- Claiming an injury that never occurred
- Exaggeration of symptoms following a real injury
- Working while allegedly disabled (and failing to report income)
- Claiming an injury that happened outside of work as a work-related injury
- Claiming to be injured during an on-the-job task, when it may have resulted from horseplay
- Claiming a pre-existing injury/condition as a new injury/condition
- Extending time off work; employee claims they are still in the recovery phase, when they may actually be feeling fine
Second, know how to protect your workplace:
- Maintain an OSHA-compliant workplace.
- Make sure all tools and equipment are up to date and functioning properly.
- Have surveillance cameras on site, everywhere. This will not only help protect your workplace from potential break-ins or crime, but will also help catch reported injuries on film.
- Conduct extensive background checks before hiring.
- Conduct regular drug and alcohol tests in the workplace.
- Have an accident reporting system in place. Know what information needs to be collected when an injury occurs or a claim is made.
- Be proactive. Partner with a Professional Employer Organization (PEO) BEFORE a claim is ever made against your workplace.
A little bit more about “Partnering with a PEO:”
When you partner with a Professional Employer Organization that knows workers compensation inside and out, not only will your cost of workers’ comp take a nosedive, but as your employer partner, your PEO has a vested interest in your workers’ compensation claims. A PEO’s professional risk managers will help you manage safety reviews and OSHA compliance, file and track claims and make sure they are legitimate, while your PEO’s technology empowers you to offload time-consuming documentation and reporting activities.