Accidents happen. Are your employees covered?

Wednesday, March 15, 2017 – Ed Corcoran

A nurse in a hospital injures his back while lifting a patient. An administrative employee in a clinic slips and falls on a wet floor. Regardless of whether you’re a small family health team or a large hospital and have solid health and safety programs in place, accidents can happen.
 
Protecting your employees from the financial burden of work-related injuries is crucial. That’s why in Canada, certain healthcare organizations are required by law to purchase the provincially-mandated Workers’ Compensation coverage.
 
Some healthcare organizations, however, are not legally required to purchase Workers’ Compensation which opens up a number of questions regarding alternatives to this costly coverage.
 
HIROC subscribers often ask whether Contingent Employer’s Liability (CEL) can replace Workers’ Compensation coverage. CEL is found under ‘Coverage D’ within the HIROC Composite Healthcare Insurance Policy.
 
While HIROC’s Underwriters do their best to respond to and serve our subscribers’ needs, the answer in this case is not so simple. Workers’ Compensation is a complex coverage with many moving parts and there are variances among the different provincial Workers’ Compensation regimes. HIROC’s Underwriters are not experts in this area but we do our best to understand both the limits and the benefits of this coverage.
 
Subscribers should also be aware that Workers’ Compensation provides far more than compensation for an injury suffered in the workplace (benefits that are not included with CEL), including:
 
  • A return-to-work provision: An employer is obligated to identify suitable employment consistent with the employee’s skills and abilities and which, where possible, restores the employee’s pre-injury income.
  • A re-employment obligation: An employer is obliged to re-employ an injured worker provided certain conditions are met.
  • Labour market re-entry assistance: When an injured worker cannot go back to work with the same employer due to the nature of the injury, labour market re-entry assistance is offered to the worker. This is done to ensure they have the skills, abilities and knowledge to re-enter the labour market in jobs that are consistent with their abilities.
  • The right to appeal: A Workers’ Compensation Board decision can be appealed by both the employer and the employee.
  • Protection from lawsuits: In some provinces, there are statutory provisions for the employer that prevent employees from suing their employer when they receive benefits from Workers’ Compensation.
In short, the decision to withdraw from a Workers’ Compensation Plan is more than an insurance decision and should be made with advice from experts, including legal counsel.
 
HIROC subscribers should also be aware that for organizations not legally required to purchase the provincial coverage, the HIROC Brokerage can offer an Occupational Accident policy — a low-cost alternative to Workers’ Compensation. A claim reported to HIROC under this coverage would not require the employee to establish liability.
 
For more information about Contingent Employers Liability or Occupational Accident coverage through HIROC, please contact inquiries@hiroc.com.
 
Accidents happen…especially in healthcare. Know your options and make sure your employees are protected.
 
By Ed Corcoran, HIROC Manager, Reciprocal Operations (ecorcoran@hiroc.com)