18 Actions to Lower Workers’ Comp Rates for Florida Contractors

From our work with Florida construction companies and specialty trades in the last ten years, we have identified 18 proven action items that will shrink the risk of costly workers’ compensation claims and lower the mod rate of Florida contractors.

Here are the top four actions that will make a difference:

  1. Improve the hiring process – Avoid hiring a problem employee by developing a meaningful hiring process.  Have a plan and be more deliberate about hiring.  Hire based on skills, past work experience, reputable work history, not crazy reasons for leaving past jobs – and a “can do” attitude.  Conduct an interview and make sure they are serious about the position.  It is also important to check references for applicants – call previous employers and see what can be confirmed.  Too many jobs, bad reasons for leaving, not providing any supervisor references can all be red flags.  Need help? Call your local Florida Career Source Center, https://www.careersourceflorida.com/, and have their Business Services team pre-interview and qualify applicants for your company.  It’s free.
  2. Use a written 90 day probationary period – When you have each new hire sign a written 90 day probationary period acknowledgment, your company will not pay unemployment if the employee is terminated for unsatisfactory performance within the first 90 days.  If the new hire is having problems with attendance, not following instructions, making mistakes – don’t wait too long to make a decision.  A successful motto is: Slow to hire, quick to fire.
  3.  Update your New Hire Packet – Contractors should use a multi-page Employment Application.  It should ask for important information about past work, reasons for leaving jobs, ability to perform job duties, licenses, other skills, criminal convictions and reliable transportation.  Other critical new hire forms include the mandatory ones (i.e. I9, W4 and the Florida Healthcare Exchange info) as well as forms that can learn more about their ability to do the job.  To verify medical capability during the application phase, a contractor may use an Applicant Questionnaire (describe job duties and ask if they can do it) or use a Post Offer Medical Questionnaire.  The most expensive option is to require a physical examination for each new hire.  Pre-employment physicals can be performed by walk in clinics or occupational medical centers – to test for physical agility and back/lifting evaluation.  Just make sure you test all applicants for a position type, not just some candidates.
  4. Written Safety program – Contractors are eligible for a 2% reduction in workers’ compensation premiums for a written safety program.  FL Stat 440.1025 describes the required safety program sections. Download the Employer Certification form and submit to your workers’ compensation carrier.  A Safety Plan template can be created using the FREE resources from the University of South Florida, Safety Consultation Services.  Click the following link and create a safety program.

Download all Eighteen (18) Human Resources actions to lower the workers’ compensation costs for Florida Contractors.  If you want some expertise to help you implement these steps, just give us a call.  If your style is more DIY, order our Complete HR Manual for Florida Contractors (2020) which contains the forms and policies needed to implement your solution.  Start lowering your work comp rates today.  If you saw me speak at Carmen’s Construction Comic continuing education classes in 2020 – you receive a discount – just let us know.

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