Ask the Workers' Compensation Underwriter


Are Written Job Descriptions Really Necessary?

Yes, written job descriptions are essential to managing your workers’ compensation costs. Workers’ compensation is a “no-fault” system designed to compensate employees for job-related injuries without regard to fault. That makes hiring employees who are physically capable of performing the essential functions of a job so important, hence the need for written job descriptions. The job description details the essential functions and physical requirements of each job. Successful motor carriers often contract with a local occupational therapist to conduct a job analysis and define the physical requirements. The physical requirements should be attached to the application for employment. The application should ask if the applicant can meet these requirements and state that a conditional offer of employment, if extended, will be subject to the applicant's passing an expanded physical performed by a company-specified doctor.

When employers do not ask these questions in the hiring process, or require an expanded physical as a condition of employment, the motor carrier’s prospects of prevailing in a no-fault system are not favorable. The ramifications will affect the company’s experience modifier for the next three years in the form of higher workers’ compensation premiums.

How does this affect premiums?

Underwriters will be more inclined to aggressively price a company that makes its good luck rather than those who are simply lucky. For example, consider two motor carriers with similar loss experience. The motor carrier that requires expanded physicals and has a low turnover rate is more likely to receive better pricing than one that does not conduct expanded physicals and has a higher turnover rate because it has implemented risk controls to reduce the likelihood of a work-related injury.

Call to Action

  • Develop written job descriptions for every job
  • Coordinate expanded physicals for drivers with a company-specified doctor
  • Set a goal for reducing the company's workers’ compensation experience modifier
  • Develop a return-to-work program 


The information in this article is provided as a courtesy of Great West Casualty Company and is part of the Value-Driven® Company program. Value-Driven Company was created to help educate and inform insureds so they can make better decisions, build a culture that values safety, and manage risk more effectively. To see what additional resources Great West Casualty Company can provide for its insureds, please contact your Safety Representative, or click below to find an agent.

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© Copyright Great West Casualty Company 2017. The material in this publication is the property of Great West Casualty Company unless otherwise noted and may not be reproduced without its written consent by any person other than a current insured of Great West Casualty Company for business purposes. Insured should attribute use as follows: “Used with permission by Great West Casualty Company.”

This material is intended to be a broad overview of the subject matter and is provided for informational purposes only. Great West Casualty Company does not provide legal advice to its insureds, nor does it advise insureds on employment-related issues. Therefore, the subject matter is not intended to serve as legal or employment advice for any issue(s) that may arise in the operations of its insureds. Legal advice should always be sought from the insured’s legal counsel. Great West Casualty Company shall have neither liability nor responsibility to any person or entity with respect to any loss, action, or inaction alleged to be caused directly or indirectly as a result of the information contained herein.