Unless an employee inflicts an intentional injury like stabbing himself with a staple remover to get out of work or falls down the elevator shaft because she is falling down drunk, workers compensation is essentially a no-fault system. You, however, foot 100% of the bill for the premiums. And those premiums are on the rise again. According to the National Council on Compensation Insurance, in 2013 workers comp premiums reached their highest level since before the 2007 recession. The simple explanation is that the improving economy means more employment, and more people on the job means more opportunities for job-related injuries, more workers comp claims and -- ta da -- higher premiums.
One of the ways you can contain your workers compensation costs is to create a safe work environment, encourage your employees to adhere to company safety standards and document your efforts. It is to your financial advantage to understand the most common causes of workplace claims and take proactive steps to avoid them.
Top 5 Avoidable Claims
- Overexertion injuries, the kind caused by lifting, pushing, pulling or throwing, account for nearly 27% of all the on-the-job injuries, according to the Department of Labor. Proper training is probably your best defense. Teach your employees how to deal safely with heavy objects. Provide tools such as dollies and encourage people to ask for help.
- Slips, trips and falls that happen on the same level come in second, at almost 17% of all work-related injuries. People slip of wet floors or food spilled in the lunch room. They trip over loose carpeting. They fall over boxes left in hallways. You need to be vigilant about checking for tripping hazards, cleaning up spills and promoting a clutter-free environment.
- Ten percent of work-place injuries are the result of people falling to a lower level, usually down a staircase in an office setting. Maintain good lighting in stair wells and install proper railings and non-slip treads.
- Workers being struck by objects, usually something falling from a higher level, account for 8% of injuries. Enforce the wearing of hardhats in construction areas, secure shelving to walls, stack boxes properly to prevent sliding or collapse, and set strict safety perimeters around cranes, fork lifts and other hoisting equipment.
- Machinery accidents, most often reported in factories or on construction sites, are not as common as the previous four workers compensation claims, but they are among the most expensive. If your state doesn’t have laws on the books that require employee training before
Accidents Happen. Cover Your Assets.
Despite your best efforts and vigilance, accidents will happen. The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that in 2011, there were more than 1.1 million workplace injuries, with an average recuperation time of eight days! Make sure you have adequate workers compensation to protect your business from loss. You can learn more about available coverage and shop for workers compensation insurance quotes here.
 “Workers Compensation,” http://www.iii.org/issue-update/workers-compensation\
 “Preventing Top 5 Workplace Injuries,”
 “10 Most Common Workers Compensation Claims,” http://www.trustedchoice.com/insurance-articles/business-occupational/common-workmans-comp-claims