How can the PIR Program Reduce WCB Premiums for my Company ?
As 2015 winds down and the start of a new year looms ever closer, it is never too late to review your WCB premiums and explore ways in which they can be lowered. One of the most effective ways to reduce the WCB premiums your company pays is through participation in the Partnerships in Injury Reduction (PIR) program that operates through the combined efforts of the Workers’ Compensation Board of Alberta (WCB), the Alberta Ministry of Jobs, Skills, Training and Labour (JSTL), industry partners, safety associations, employers and labour groups.
The goal of the PIR program is to reduce claims and claims costs through injury prevention in conjunction with the development and implementation of workplace health, safety and disability management systems. The incentive for employers to participate is recognition by the WCB Alberta, which results in premium refunds based on claim cost performance. Employers’ performance is measured in three ways:
- a Certificate of Recognition (COR),
- by improving their accident/injury record,
- or through comparison with other employers in the same industry.
The measurement that produces the highest percentage will be used to calculate the WCB refund.
Health and Safety Management System
Any employer can participate in the PIR program. The first and most important step is obtaining and maintaining a COR. Through the combined efforts of the Ministry of Jobs, Skills, Training and Labour and a Certifying Partner, employers who have a health and safety management system that meets Ministry standards can be awarded a COR.
A Health and Safety Management System is made up of key elements used as a proactive approach to minimizing the risk of injury or illness in the workplace. Elements of the system include but are not limited to:
- management commitment to implementing, maintaining and enforcing the system
- identification and assessment of potential and real hazards
- controlling and minimizing hazards
- maintaining worker competency and training
- regular inspections of the workplace and hazards to keep current with operations
- emergency response planning
- thorough incident reporting, investigation and follow up
- proper and appropriate administration of the system
Certificate of Recognition (COR)
After a health and safety management system is in place it needs to be audited by a Certifying Partner recognized by the PIR program. Upon achieving at least 50% on each element of an audit and an overall score of 80%, a COR will be granted. After a COR is obtained, an employer is eligible for a 10 per cent industry rate refund for the first year and then 5 per cent every year they maintain their COR. Once a COR has been awarded, it is valid for three years so long as maintenance requirements are met.
Improving Injury/Accident Record
An employer’s claim cost performance will be compared it to their own historical record. Essentially, an employer’s current claims and claims costs are looked at against their past claims and claim costs. For every one per cent improvement in their performance, up to a maximum of 20%, they will earn a one percent industry rate refund. The WCB acknowledges that it takes time to establish an effective health and safety program, so employers have a one year grace period to achieve their COR and still be eligible for refunds under this measure.
Comparison to Employers in the Same Industry
Employer’s claim cost performance can be compared to their industry average. If an employer’s performance is significantly better than industry average over a two year period, they can earn premium refunds. The refunds range between 10%, for employers performing 50% better than the industry average, and 20% for employers performing 90% better than the industry average with graduated amounts in between. In order to take advantage of this measurement, an employer must have a valid COR.
Obtaining and maintaining a valid COR is essential to all three performance evaluations and it is never too early to start working towards achieving it. Since a COR is dependent on the successful implementation of an effective health and safety management system, the workplace organically becomes a safer and healthier environment.
The deadline for registering in the PIR program for any given year is December 31st of the preceding year. It takes time to meet the criteria necessary to obtain a COR, so it is never too late to register in the PIR program and start taking advantage of proactive approach to workplace health and safety.
You can find out more about the PIR program here or you can connect with us on our Facebook page, through our Twitter account, on our LinkedIn profile and you can always email us at BCL.Calgary@bclconsulting.ca or at BCL.Edmonton@bclconsulting.ca,