The Second Injury Fund and How it Can Help Your NH Business Reduce Workers Compensation Costs
There exists in NH a little known and underutilized mechanism that gives employers the ability to reduce their workers compensation cost. Do I have your attention? Good, here is how it works…If you own or operate a business in NH you can limit the impact of a worker’s compensation injury if that injury is subsequently sustained by an employee who was impaired prior to working for you – whether work-related or not - and that the original injury left them permanently impaired/disabled. The Second Injury Fund offers reimbursement to your insurer for claims made to your workers compensation policy for such subsequent injuries, preventing them from negatively impacting your experience modification rating and ultimately, the cost of your workers compensation premium.
The key to making the Second Injury Fund work for you is careful documentation and adherence to some fairly uncomplicated guidelines. Here are a few simple steps to follow if you think this may be an option for you:
After, and ONLY AFTER you have hired an employee, request that they disclose to you any known, permanent, impairment. If one exists, document the impairment and file the document somewhere confidential (HINT: not the employee’s personnel file). This document or form should contain the following vital components:
- It needs to be in writing
- It needs to identify the employer, employee, and the date the record was made
- There should be detailed information about the impairment and the limitations it may cause
- This record must be made before any subsequent injury in order for that injury to be eligible to be reimbursed by the Fund
The purpose of the Second Injury Fund is twofold; 1) it helps the employer by mitigating the cost of ever-increasing workers compensation costs by not holding them responsible for injuries that originated before the employee began working for them and 2) it helps to keep NH’s injured/impaired and disabled workforce employed by helping to remove the barrier many employers put up when faced with hiring an employee they fear may reinjure themselves and end up costing them in the long run.
*Important to note here and always are the laws surrounding the American’s with Disabilities Act (ADA); before implementing any policy that requires questioning employees about disabilities you should have a firm grip on what their rights are and what you can and absolutely cannot ask. If you have questions regarding this, please contact me, Bryanne Kingsbury, directly at 877-352-2121 X285 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.