If an employee has an accident at work or becomes ill due to negligent workplace practices, they are entitled to submit a claim for compensation. Every year, over a million workers in Great Britain suffer harm as a result of their work.
Any employee claim for compensation is made against the company’s Employers’ Liability Insurance policy, rather than directly against the business itself. However, there is likely to be an excess to pay in addition to the cost of lost business. Compensation is generally only awarded if the company is judged as negligent with regards to health and safety. Therefore, a successful claim can also result in significant damage to the reputation of a business.
Companies can protect their business from the negative financial consequences of workplace accidents and injury by implementing an effective employee compensation claims process.
What Are an Employee’s Rights to Claim?
If an employee suffers an injury or illness due to a workplace accident or negligent working practices, they are entitled to submit a claim for compensation. All businesses are required to take out adequate employer’s liability insurance to cover them for such incidents.
If the claimant is under 18 years, they must appoint somebody older to act on their behalf. In the case of fatalities, the dependents of the deceased worker can claim on their behalf — or for the loss of dependency.
What Is an Employee Claims Management System?
Claims management systems may be used by companies to manage external claims, such as a customer’s claim against a travel agency’s insurance policy for a delayed flight, or to handle internal claims from employees if their personal property is damaged onsite; this could be their car, a laptop or phone, etc.
Both types of claims handling process will include strategies to reduce costs and minimise fraudulent claims. An effective claims system should protect a business against unnecessary expense while ensuring customer and employee satisfaction.
Does My Business Need a Claims Management System?
Apart from ensuring there is an adequate insurance policy in place, all employers should implement an employee compensation claims process regardless of the nature of their business. Systems like an HR compliance system can make sure that all aspects of human resources are covered when it comes to handling sensitive information. From time tracking to recording important documentation, a compliance system can prove beneficial to a business. For more details on HR Compliance click here.
Even seemingly “low risk” work environments can lead to accidents or illness. Implementing appropriate health and safety measures is crucial, but it is impossible to eradicate all risk.
How Can I Protect My Business?
A business can protect itself from the potentially catastrophic impact of a workplace accident by establishing a clear process for managing employee claims. Scrabbling to set up a process after an accident has occurred is a case of closing the stable door after the horse has bolted. Effective management of employee compensation claims is as much about preventative measures as it is about how well the business reacts to an incident should it arise.
Put your business in the best place to effectively manage employee claims for compensation by following these steps;
- Conduct Risk Assessments for All Work Areas. An injured employee will need to show the business has been negligent with regards to keeping them safe. If thorough risk assessments occur for all working areas and measures have been put in place to mitigate any risks found, it is less likely that a claim for compensation will be successful.
Completing a risk assessment involves identifying workplace hazards, establishing who could be harmed by the hazard and determining preventive measures to reduce the risk. The findings of assessments should be recorded and circulated. Risk assessments should be regularly reviewed as changes in the work environment, working practices or the workforce could result in new hazards and the need for different precautionary measures.
- Establish an Accident Reporting System. The HSE sets out clear guidance for businesses on how accidents, incidents and diseases should be reported. The Reporting of Injuries and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR) places a duty on employers to report certain serious workplace incidents.
All businesses should have an injury reporting plan, shared with all employees. The plan should include step-by-step instructions on what to do should an accident or any of the dangerous occurrences covered under RIDDOR take place.
- Implement a System of Response to Injury. If an accident or illness occurs in the workplace, there should be a system in place to manage this effectively. All staff must be made aware of the behaviour expected by the company.
These behaviours are likely to include training some employees as appointed first-aiders and making sure the entire workforce is aware of who these people are. Establishing a clear process of escalation will be necessary, so employees are clear who to contact and when. Providing a list of emergency contacts is also useful.
- Set up a Claims Management Process. Create a policy for employee claims and circulate this to all staff. Where necessary, appoint staff members to assume responsibility for the various elements of the claims process and provide any training required.
Claims management software can help companies to provide an efficient and cost-effective claims handling process. A mobile-friendly app can make the onboarding process quick and easy while reducing staff costs as claimants can self-serve. For an employee who may feel awkward about claiming against their company, reducing the need for human interaction can make the process much more accessible. Documents such as proof of identity can be easily photographed and uploaded to the system, which reduces the delays caused by waiting for information to arrive via the post. The right software will also keep the employee regularly updated with notifications as their claim progresses.
Waiting until a claim is made before implementing an effective claims management system could result in serious consequences for a business. From a damaged reputation to lost business and significant compensation payouts, failing to prepare for employee claims could be catastrophic. By putting the right policies, processes and technology in place, you can protect your business and ensure that employees are treated fairly and efficiently.