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You can’t control every factor that helps determine your workers’ compensation costs, but you can affect one big one: your losses.

Your workers’ compensation premium is based in part on your past claims, so maintaining a safe workplace and helping injured workers return to work as soon as possible can help prevent big price increases.

Following these three simple tips will help you avoid some of the pitfalls that lead to big workers’ compensation claims and higher premiums.

1. Hire smart

Make sure you’re hiring the best possible employees. Legally, you can’t ask job candidates whether they’ve had past workers’ compensation claims, but you can explain the job and its requirements and ask during the interview or in an application whether the applicant can perform the essential functions of the job. Be sure to explain the importance of safety, especially in jobs involving physical labor. Take the time to look into candidates’ backgrounds and talk to their former employers.

2. Pay close attention to safety

Establish good safety rules and watch for things that cause workplace accidents. Look for any patterns in what’s causing injuries. Correct employees with unsafe habits and promote the importance of workplace safety.

3. Build a relationship with clinics treating your employees

Connect with staff at the clinic, or clinics where your injured employees are most likely to get medical treatment. Check if they have a formal program for employers. If not, try to arrange a meeting with a staff member and let them know they’re your primary clinic. Let them know of any potential light-duty work options. Work with them to help your employee return to work faster. This might mean finding temporary, light-duty work in another position if they can’t return to their regular job due to medical restrictions.

Note that in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Nebraska and South Dakota, employees have the right to choose their own medical provider by state law. In Iowa, employers can legally direct medical care.

For more on this, see the video below. To learn more about workers’ compensation basics, read our frequently asked questions.

This is not intended to serve as legal advice for individual fact-specific legal cases or as a legal basis for your employment practices.