Even if you are an avid football fan, you may not be aware that one of the key discussions in the four month-old NFL lockout revolves around California workmans’ compensation. Workmans’ comp is a complex issue, and business owners have a lot to learn from the lockout. Workmans Compensation
It has been a common practice amongst NFL players to use California as a filing base for a workmans’ compensation lawsuit, if they can prove they suffered any injury during their career while playing in the state. California is notorious for being one-sided in its support of employees’ work comp claims. NFL players recognize they will receive higher benefits for filing an injury in California, over other states in the country. This perception creates a vicious cycle for NFL team owners as their insurance premiums suffer when large claims are filed against their policy. The team owners are pushing for players to file for workman’s comp benefits in the players’ home state, if they suffered an injury, not the state where the injury occurred.
Business Owners – Listen Up!
The NFL lockout is obviously complex in many ways and extends far beyond a simple workmans’ compensation disagreement. However, the game of football can teach many valuable lessons to employers. Despite bearing some of the most employee-favorable workmans’ comp policies, and some of the most expensive insurance costs in the country, California employers have a lot they can learn from the NFL in the areas of managing workplace safety, reducing claims, and being proactive in keeping insurance costs to a minimum.
5 Workmans’ Comp Lessons from the NFL
1. In football, safety is the #1 priority. NFL players wear more protective clothing than virtually any other sport. Owners recognize that the long term success of their team is based on the health and welfare of their players. So too, business owners should take the safety of their employees seriously by purchasing the necessary protective gear, and educating their staff on proper usage.
2. Football players train 4-5 days per week, perfecting their craft. Employees should receive constant training and education on their craft, as well. Whether it is on handling equipment or proper use of machinery, an educated workforce will produce higher quality work with fewer workplace injuries.
3. While most of the practice time in football is spent running plays and strategizing game plans, much of the time is also spent on basic drills, exercise and maintaining overall health and fitness. The fitter and stronger the player, the greater their contribution to the team. Similarly, employers are well advised to create a healthy work environment for their staff. From healthy snacks in the vending machines and incentives for exercising, to flexible work environments and promoting a healthy work/life balance, healthy employees are dramatically more productive than their unwell counterparts.