It can be a difficult job explaining to a business owner that how with just a small step over an imaginary line one of their employees can go from a low cost to a high cost workers compensation code. Lets talk a bit about the delicate world of classification and the boundaries surrounding class codes.
I’m often reminded, usually by a clients specific circumstance, that we should never underestimate the power that classification codes, and how they are applied, hold over a business. As consultants in the field of workers compensation, we often find ourselves in conversation with a new client about the intricacies of job classification. These conversations will typically involve the application of certain classifications to the business operations of an employer and often involve long phone conversations drilling down into the details of “what an employee really does.” Our job is one of education, deciphering and condensing the strange world of classification into something that a business owner or responsible party may find a little easier to understand. And we often accomplish that by throwing common sense out the window!
A recent job brought this process to light. We were presented with a case involving a large industrial employer who maintained operations in multiple states with many individual locations within those states. One of their departments, safety training, was run out of their home office where they would develop safety processes and put together training programs into individual training sessions. Once developed they would take their training sessions on the road where they would visit every facility and present their program to employees in a class room setting at the remote location. There were many employees involved in this training department with significant rating payroll. The client was convinced that all training department employees belonged in the 8810 or clerical class code. The insurance company placed all training department employees into the governing classification which carried a much higher rate/100 of payroll.
The training department employees were properly assigned, by analogy, into 8742 or outside sales. They did not belong in the higher governing class or the lower clerical class. The employer believed they fit into clerical because their duties were office bound and seemed to relate more to an office type of exposure. Upon closer examination of the details you will remember that the training staff traveled to the remote locations to present their training sessions. It is this action disqualified them from the clerical class. However because their presentations were restricted to a class room presentation and they were not exposed to the hazards of the governing class code, by analogy, their duties were more akin to the outside sales description.
It’s often a very thin line of work duties that separates an employee from a lower rated code and a higher rated code. A small change in job duties will often result in a change of proper classification. And sometimes those changes can be very costly to the employer!
Hope this helps you out and thanks for reading!