Why is workers’ compensation important for your ministry?


It can happen instantly — an employee breaks their arm as they slip on a wet floor or hurts their back while moving heavy sound equipment. Then costly medical treatment and bills follow. It happens often, with the U.S. Department of Labor stating that 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses are reported by private industry employers annually.*

Workers’ compensation is important because it protects your ministry by helping pay for medical, disability, rehabilitation and, in rare instances, expenses associated with death on the job.

Work-related injuries are challenging for the employee and employer — consuming time, weakening productivity and adding stress on everyone involved. That’s why it is critical to minimize risk with precautionary measures and to know how to navigate a workers’ compensation claim.

Accident Prevention in the Workplace

Prevention and preparation go a long way in lowering your employees’ risk for injuries on the job.

Train Employees on Safety

Safety training minimizes risk as employees do their jobs. Make training part of employee onboarding and conduct annual training to help keep safety top of mind. Depending on your ministry’s functions and job roles, training could include topics such as:

  • Back Injury Prevention
  • Driving Safety
  • Emergency Evacuation
  • Electrical Safety
  • Fire Safety
  • Equipment Use
  • First Aid
  • Food Handling and Preparation
  • Violence Prevention
Conduct Routine Inspections

Cracked sidewalks, leaking pipes and expired fire extinguishers can cause trips, slips and other injuries. Maintaining church property reduces the potential for hazards or breakdowns that could contribute to an injury. Help keep your property in top condition year-round by following a Facility Maintenance Schedule.

Exercise Diligence During an Incident

While it may be tempting to panic during an incident, staying calm is essential. Get medical attention for your employee(s) immediately — their well-being is the priority. Then, address any existing risks to prevent additional injuries.

Know Your Responsibilities After an Incident

Follow these three steps as soon as possible after injury occurs. Your insurance carrier will have resources to assist with these action items:

  1. Notify your insurance provider. Assign someone to handle the claim. Promptly report all injuries, including minor claims.
  2. Gather details. Document how the incident occurred, date and time, property conditions, people involved and any other relevant information.
  3. Implement corrective measures to prevent the accident from reoccurring.
Beware of Workers’ Compensation Fraud and Abuse

While we hope that worker’s compensation fraud or abuse never happens within any ministry, it is essential to be aware of the potential for this issue. Does the employee’s explanation for the injury seem unreasonable? Do eyewitnesses have a different account of what happened? If you suspect something isn’t right, immediately notify your insurance carrier and the appropriate state department about your concerns.

Examples of employee fraud include:

  • Reporting a claim for a fake injury
  • Exaggerating an injury
  • Filing a claim for an injury that is not work-related

To help prevent workers’ compensation abuse, you can establish zero-tolerance for fraud in your employment policy, implement security surveillance and train employees on expectations for safety and honesty.

You’re Not Alone in Protecting Your Ministry

As you fulfill God’s calling in your life, you’re tasked with understanding the importance of workers’ compensation and protecting your property — among countless other responsibilities. At GuideStone®, we come alongside you to identify gaps in your coverage and equip you with policies that make sense for your needs and budget. For more information, contact us at InsuranceSolutions@GuideStone.org or (214) 720-2868, Monday through Thursday, from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. CT and Friday, from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. CT.

This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be construed as legal advice. Readers should use this article as a tool, along with best judgment and any terms or conditions that apply, to determine appropriate policies and procedures for your church’s risk management program.