August Resources from Sedgwick - OABA Member Service Partner
OABA is pleased to partner with Sedgwick to offer members quality service and stability through the complex workers’ compensation environment. Check out this update from Sedgwick regarding heat stress and illnesses, and more.
Heat Stress and Illnesses
We are well into the dog days of summer! Many of us may be thinking that fall (and cooler weather) are right around the corner. However, it is important we stay mindful of the hazards from the heat during these last few months. There are ways we can combat heat illness but let’s first take a look at how the body uses its’ own mechanisms.
Normal body temperature is around 98 degrees F and to achieve that temperature the body responds in the following ways:
- Activating sweat glands.
- There are anywhere from 1.6 to 5 million sweat glands in our body.
- Sweat glands release water and electrolytes. Be sure to replenish!!!!
- Evaporation of sweat carries heat away from the body.
- Pumping blood (opening and closing blood vessels) to the surface of the skin.
- This is a result of blood taking heat from the body to the surface.
- Raising or flattening the hair on our body.
- Positions of hair can help reduce body temperature.
Whether our job requires us to work indoors or outdoors in a hot environment, quick response to the symptoms of heat illness is crucial. Let’s review some of these illnesses and their treatment.
- Heat Cramps – The mildest form of heat illness and is caused by depletion of salt and water levels in body resulting in painful muscle cramps or spasms. Be sure to drink water (or a sports drink) and take a break in a cool area.
- Heat Exhaustion – More severe than heat cramps, it is a continued result of water and salt loss without proper hydration. Symptoms include weakness, profuse sweating, nausea, rapid breathing, and continued muscle spasms/cramps. If you have heat exhaustion or see someone who shows the symptoms, get to a cool shaded area, drink small sips of cool water and put cold cloths on the skin. Keep an eye on this situation as it might require immediate medical attention.
- Heat Stroke – This is the most severe of heat illnesses and begins as the body temperature reaches 104 degrees F. The body is in an altered mental state with symptoms of confusion, inability to sweat, hallucinations, slurred speech, and potential seizures. Immediately get to a cool area, call 911, loosen clothing and try to cool the body off with water mist or cool compresses. Do not give the person anything to drink.
These conditions are preventable if you take the proper steps when working in this environment. Here are some tips.
- Be sure to hydrate frequently. Remember, sweat is a combination of water and electrolytes. We must be sure to replenish.
- Monitor daily temperatures and humidity and take appropriate precautions.
- Be sure to take breaks in the shade or cooler areas.
- Wear light weight and light-colored clothing.
- Spread the word to other employees on how to identify signs and symptoms of heat illness.
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine when working in a hot or humid environment.
- Finally…. never “tough it out” and be a hero.
If you would like to find more information on “Warning Signs and Symptoms of Heat-Related Illness” go to the CDC website at https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/warning.html.
Did you know that heat illness has become such a “hot” topic that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has created a National Emphasis Program where they are focusing on industries where heat illnesses may be an issue. To read more about it, click on the link https://www.osha.gov/heat.
Ohio Workers' Comp & Experience Modification Rate
Ohio is one of a handful of states that has a state administered workers’ compensation system. The Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC), established in 1912, is the largest state-operated provider of workers’ compensation insurance in the United States.
An employer’s experience modification rate (EMR), which is determined by the BWC, greatly impacts workers’ compensation premium that an employer pays. If you have a safe organization, with little to no workers’ compensation claims, you will have a better than average EMR. If you have a less safe organization, with numerous costly claims, you will have a worse than average EMR. Typically, the better your EMR, the lower the premium that you will pay to the BWC.
The BWC uses your historical payroll, industry type and claim costs to determine your EMR. A business with claim costs that are typical for their size and industry, will have an EMR of 1.0. If the business has lower claim costs than typical, their EMR will be below 1.0. If the business has higher claim costs than typical, their EMR will be above 1.0. The lower the EMR, the lower the premium that will be paid compared to similar business. The higher the EMR, the higher the premium that will be paid compared to similar businesses.
Additionally, the lower your EMR, the greater likelihood that you will qualify for higher discounts through group rating programs and group retrospective rating programs. These programs allow employers to band together to receive additional discounts or rebates on their premium. Discounts and rebates can exceed 50% of the premium that you pay to the BWC.
An employer’s EMR is based on claims that occurred in the past compared to historical payroll. Your payroll is categorized by your industry type. To lower your EMR, you must reduce claims and claim costs. The best claim is one that never occurs. A robust workplace safety program can limit future claims from occurring which will ultimately improve your EMR.
If your organization does have a claim, there are several strategies that you can implement to help reduce the overall cost in the claim. Every claim is different, but generally, getting injured workers healthy and back to work safely and quickly, will keep costs down. here are many additional strategies that can be enacted to reduce or lower costs in a claim that has occurred. Partnering with your managed care organization and your third party administrator will help determine the best strategies for a specific claim.
From safety programs to claim cost containment strategies, there are many tools to assist with reducing your EMR and your premium. Beyond any potential premium reductions, keeping your employees safe is simply the right thing to do. By using the many tools available to you, our hope is for your employees to return home from work in the same healthy condition that they arrived to work.
Learn more about Sedgwick!
Did you know that many alternative discounts are available to help reduce your annual Ohio workers’ compensation costs? Through the OABA workers’ compensation program, your organization can significantly reduce your workers’ compensation costs through a variety of alternative rating programs. Our program, administered by Sedgwick, offers you quality service and stability through the complex workers’ compensation environment.
For over 50 years, Sedgwick has been helping employers navigate Ohio’s workers’ compensation system, providing services to help them control claim-related costs and reduce premiums. Our team includes the experienced colleagues from CompManagement and CareWorks Comp.
Learn more about how Sedgwick can help your company save significantly on your workers’ compensation premium by visiting www.oaba.net/services_workers_comp.