Unicru Unveils Safety Assessment to Make Drop in Workers’ Comp Claims

August 25, 2004

Oregon-based Unicru Inc. has launched an addition to its line of assessments for the grocery, retail, dining and trucking industries: The Unicru Safety Performance Assessment.

This tool will reportedly help reduce worker compensation claim rates, while lowering the cost of claims by identifying the likelihood an individual will be involved in a workplace accident and how long they are likely to stay off work afterward.

Through a validation process, the Unicru Safety Performance Assessment was reportedly shown to have future impacts on the number of accidents, cost per accident, and length of time away from the job for employees deemed as ‘low risk,’ versus those who received a ‘high risk’ rating.

According to a recent report by Mercer Risk, Finance and Insurance Consulting, while lost time claims make up 26 percent of all national workers’ comp claims, they have an average cost of $25,000, accounting for 90 to 95 percent of all benefits paid.

“Unicru is the only assessment provider addressing the issue of employee malingering in a safety assessment,” said Dr. George Paajanen, Unicru chief scientist. “To keep workers’ compensation costs down, getting employees to return to work quickly is every bit as important as preventing accidents in the first place. As a result, we have specifically designed the Safety Performance Assessment to measure detachment, learned helplessness, entitlement and manipulation that lead to employees taking more time off work than needed. The test also measures carefulness, sensation seeking, conscientiousness, and dependability to identify applicants who work more safely and have fewer accidents, whether they involve injuries, property damage, or both. “

The Unicru Safety Assessment reportedly differs from others in that it measures the human traits related to safe behavior, rather than employee beliefs about the safety of their environment. These tests tend to ask true and false questions such as, supervisors and managers seem to care about your safety, and you have the right equipment to do your job safely.

In a large validity study, Unicru reportedly found that high risk individuals took 18.5 percent more time off following an accident than the average worker, and had an average claim cost 18 percent greater than the average. These percentage differences were even more dramatic for workers in their first year of employment.

The Unicru research supports recent industry findings from Federated Mutual Insurance Company that a significant number of grocery business claim losses involve newer employees. New employees have not had as much experience to develop safer work techniques, are not reportedly as ‘hardened’ to the work, and don’t know what questions to ask to learn safe habits.

For more information, visit www.unicru.com.

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