COVID-19 Risk Management Best Practices for Staffing Firms

Risk management is an important component for Staffing Firms that want to protect their business. There are specific reasons why some staffing companies experienced an inordinate number of COVID-19 claims throughout the year, while others with three times the payroll have had significantly fewer claims, mostly occurring at the beginning of the pandemic.

“Companies that follow COVID-19 risk management best practices are best equipped to protect their people, “says Bill Nagel, Executive Director of StaffPRO3, a specialized workers’ compensation program for the Staffing Industry. “Additionally, they are much better protected against potentially major financial losses due to a high number of claims and lawsuits,” he says.

The two healthcare staffing company examples are shown below help to illustrate his point.

Both are Healthcare Staffing Companies that have healthcare workers with similar skill levels and healthcare workers that have a similar hospital or medical facility exposure.

#One– A mid-size regional Healthcare Staffing Company had a high number of COVID-19 related claims in 2020.  This trend began in April and continues today.  Although this company has the mandated healthcare requirement practices in place, they have not upgraded their risk management protocols to address the specific causes nor taken the extra preventative measures to ensure the reduction or elimination of COVID-19 claims.  As a result, their bottom line has been negatively impacted and this firm is almost uninsurable; and forced to go to the residual market.

#Two- A large national Healthcare Staffing Company had experienced a relatively low number of COVID-19 claims during the same period. Management and their risk management team took action; implementing all of the best practices outlined below. As a result, this company is in a much better position. Their revenue has not been damaged, and they are now promoting their success to current and prospective clients. This staffing firm will have multiple options when their insurance renews.

The best practices listed below were implemented by the second staffing firm and supported by the American Staffing Association. They were applied to the hiring, testing, and training process, and incorporated as company-wide policies and procedures:

  • Professional analysis of claims, causes, exposures, prevention measures along with Action Plans, management training, client information letters, and weekly internal meetings
  • All legally allowable testing for COVID-19 was performed. Testing had become much more widespread and available. Testing methods that had been most effective were implemented
  • Using the most advanced Personal Protective Equipment recommended by the healthcare industry, CDC, and OSHA to eliminate or ameliorate exposure or transmission of the virus. Please see CDC’s Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers.

In addition to the mandated healthcare client location risk assessments, a COVID-19 questionnaire/supplemental was administered to all client locations before placements. Only those clients/locations who scored 100% or made corrections to achieve 100% compliance were serviced.

OSHA’s safety standards or injury prevention regarding COVID-19, all contagious diseases, and any other safety hazards were implemented and audited.  These can be found in OSHA’s Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19

 “The staffing company that implemented all of the risk management protocols above was the one that is faring really well today,” says Nagel, “and others would be smart to follow their model.”

Nagel adds that Staffing companies also should also take note of the following:

  • CDC guidance specifically urges staffing firm clients to talk with their staffing firms about the importance of sick employees staying home and to encourage those firms to develop non-punitive leave policies.
  • Staffing firms, likewise, should advise clients of the steps they’re taking to implement the CDC guidance—and if temporary employees show up sick, that the client should apply the same policies and restrictions that apply to the client’s employees.
  • Clients also should be informed of any staffing firm restrictions on employees who have recently been in countries subject to government travel advisories. Work restrictions on employees or job applicants who have travelled to affected countries may be justified.

PMC offers risk management solutions as part of our specialized Staffing workers’ compensation program. For more information contact Bill Nagel at bnagel@pmcinsurance.comor 877-PMC-COMP (877-762-2667).

By PMC Insurance Group

Since 1996, PMC Insurance Group has worked to help independent agents grow their client base by offering workers' compensation solutions for a wide array of businesses. As one of the most distinguished workers' compensation wholesalers in the country, we have the tools and resources to help you create coverage programs for both small businesses and large accounts.