Over 100 state agency representatives gathered in the House chambers of the Capitol building Sept. 18 to learn about ways to reduce the costs associated with workers’ compensation insurance. As a follow up to a meeting with Governor Martz and her cabinet, Montana State Fund (MSF) brought in Richard Pimentel, a nationally renowned expert on disability management, workers’ compensation cost containment, rehabilitation, and job retention in the workplace.
In his opening remarks, Lieutenant Governor Karl Ohs reminded attendees “Workplace safety is no accident. It requires a commitment by all of us to recognize that through our collective efforts, we can control outcomes, reduce accidents that don’t need to occur, and ease the impact of those that do by implementing a number of the measures that will be presented to you today.”
Earlier this spring officials became concerned about the rising cost of workers’ compensation insurance for state agencies. In response, Montana State Fund, the states’ workers’ compensation insurer is partnering with the agencies in finding ways to identify and eliminate the cause of accidents in the workplace. “A company’s employees are one of their most valuable assets, and state agencies are no exception,” commented Laurence Hubbard, CEO of Montana State Fund. Hubbard went on to say that “We need to make safety part of the workplace culture throughout Montana. And, when unavoidable accidents occur, we need to do all within our power to bring that person back to work when it is medically appropriate to do so.”
Over the course of the four-hour session, Pimentel focused on topics ranging from an overview of what is behind the rising costs of workers’ compensation insurance to discussing early return to work programs and “Changing attitudes toward safety in the workplace begins at the top.” He added, “Managers and decision makers need to get involved in all aspects of safety management if there is going to be effective and meaningful change in how an organization deals with these issues.”
Montana State Fund provides coverage to nearly 28,000 employers in the state, making it the largest workers’ compensation insurance company in Montana. They hold safety seminars throughout the state that are free of charge to any employer. Details on upcoming seminars can be found online at www.montanastatefund.com or by calling (800) 332-6102.
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