May 30, 2023

4 Ways Security Firms Can Reduce Work Comp Litigation

Category: Security Guards

Worker injuries can be a major expense for employers, but costs can skyrocket when workers’ compensation litigation occurs. Security guards are often at risk for injuries due to the nature of the job. However, employers can take steps to manage risks and avoid workers’ comp litigation.  

The Cost of Worker Injuries 

According to the National Safety Council, the average cost of a workers’ compensation claim is $41,353, based on data from 2019 to 2020. However, when injuries are severe, costs can be much greater – for example, claims involving amputation cost an average of $118,837.  

Litigation can also drive up costs, in terms of both the settlement and the various legal expenses accrued along the way. By taking steps to avoid workers’ compensation litigation, companies that employ security guards can protect their bottom line while also protecting their workers. 

  1. Prevent claims by identifying common drivers.

Let’s say 5% of your workers’ compensation claims lead to litigation. (This figure is just to illustrate a point – it’s not necessarily indicative of litigation rates.) If you have 100 workers’ compensation claims, an average of five will go to litigation. If you can reduce the number of workers’ compensation claims to 60, an average of just three will go to litigation. By reducing the number of total claims, you’ve reduced the number of lawsuits. 

For security guards, assault is a serious risk. Employers need to take steps to ensure the safety of their workers. However, injuries can also stem from causes unrelated to violence and security hazards. To make the biggest difference to your company’s claims, you need to look at the loss events driving claims.  

The three common causes to watch are: 

  • Auto collisions. Data from the National Safety Council shows that motor vehicle incidents are the greatest source of both medical and indemnity costs. If your workers need to drive around a site or between sites as part of their job, motor vehicle safety must be a top priority.  
  • Slips, trips, and falls. National Safety Council data shows that falls and slips are another common source of workers’ compensation costs. For security guards working at night when visibility is poor, the risk of these injuries may increase.  
  • Heat-related illness. Security guards often work outdoors, which can leave them vulnerable to heat-related illnesses. According to CALSAGA, California law requires employers to have a heat illness prevention program that includes access to water and shade, as well as training, acclimatization for new employees, high heat procedures, a heat illness prevention plan, and emergency response procedures. 
  1. Implement good hiring and training practices.

Good hiring and training policies can also help you avoid workers’ compensation claims and litigation. 

For example, when you screen job candidates, you need to make sure they’re capable of performing their jobs safely. If their duties involve driving, they need a clean driving record. If their duties require heavy lifting, they need to be able to lift an adequate weight. 

Training is also essential. You need to train new workers on all safety procedures. Existing workers may also need occasional refreshers.  

  1. Tackle mental health.

Mental health can play a pivotal role in injuries and workers’ compensation claims. 

If workers are sleep deprived and unfocused due to mental health issues, they may be more vulnerable to injuries. According to the CDC, poor mental health and stress can negatively affect physical capability and daily functioning. Mental health and stress issues can also hurt job performance, productivity, engagement, and productivity.  

After an injury, mental health may impact the outcome of a workers’ compensation claim. According to Insurance Journal, research has found a connection between a worker’s mental health and the time needed to recover from physical injuries. Furthermore, 3% to 10% of all injured workers may experience delayed recovery due to behavioral issues. 

For ideas about how to support mental health, read Security Guard Mental Wellness: Work Comp Concerns. 

  1. Leverage nurse triage.

If workers have difficulty obtaining care and feel ignored, they may be more likely to resort to litigation to handle their workers’ compensation claims. By offering nurse triage access, workers will know they’re in good hands from the beginning,  

A nurse triage program means your workers don’t have to wait for assistance and don’t have to make expensive emergency room visits for minor issues. When an injury occurs, a fast response can reduce time away from work and ensure workers receive the care they need. 

The nurse can also help determine how quickly injured workers can return to work and they can authorize light duty work if needed, helping your injured team members stay engaged and on the job whenever possible. 

Do You Need Help Reducing Workers’ Comp Litigation? 

Tangram offers a workers’ compensation program designed for the unique risks of security guards. Our robust risk management services and dedicated claims adjuster can help you take control of your workers’ compensation costs and avoid workers’ compensation litigation. Learn more.