It happens in less than a second. One moment an employee is on the job, working hard, smiling and looking forward to the weekend. The next moment, he is sprawled out on the floor, grabbing his knee, unable to get up, his leg bent at a peculiar angle. The receptionist picks up the phone, calls 911 and you can hear the sound of a siren in the distance.
On the job/work place injuries and accidents happen in less than an instant, but can have long lasting effects and huge financial impacts.
Workers' Compensation insurance is legally required in most states as long as your business has a single employee. It covers medical and disability expenses related to work-related sicknesses and on-the-job injuries. Employers' liability coverage, which is an aspect of most worker’s comp policies, protects your company in case of litigation, by paying legal fees and any awarded settlements should an employee sue you, claiming that an illness or injury was caused by your company's negligence or failure to provide a safe workplace.
My agency, WRG, insures many Main Street small businesses, retail establishments, manufacturers, corporate offices and builders/contractors. Over the years we have had a significant bump in the amount of claims that were processed through my company. So I thought sharing the report below would be an eye-opening,
Recently, Travelers Insurance released a comprehensive study: The Travelers Injury Impact Report which examined over a four-year period, more than 1.5 million Workers Compensation Claims. The research included:
· What are the largest causes of injuries in the workplace?
· What types of business are effected by these injuries?
· What are the causes of the injuries?
· How long employees were absent from their position due to injuries.
I have included a link to the study below, if you are interested in looking over all of the findings, but I do believe the statistical results are intuitive:
The overall top causes of accidents in the workplace were:
- Material Handling = 32%
- Slips, Trips and Falls = 16%
- Being Struck by/or colliding with an object = 10%
- Accidents involving tools = 7%
- Other = 31% (This includes fire, flood, disturbance, natural disaster and natural causes)
Material Handling: includes the lifting/lowering/filling/moving of an item. Using your back. Moving that box from one side of the room to the other when it is too heavy. Straining, spraining, or slicing your skin while carrying. Breaking bones or creating fractures in your legs and knees from over-extension. Employees putting themselves in situations that they are not equipped to handle. The average time for an employee to be out with a Material Handling injury is 55 days. Almost two months.
Slips, Trips and Falls account for 16% of work related accidents. This includes slippery work surfaces, fraying carpets, staircases, materials placed in employee walkways. These are often avoidable mishaps that happen because of employees rushing or not being attentive to their surroundings.
The average claim cost per injury for the most frequently occurring injuries ranged from $8,000 to $42,400 per claim.
The average time for an employee to be out on leave because of a workplace injury is 55 days. Almost two months of work loss.
What types of businesses are effected by Workers Compensation claims? All. Small businesses, construction, manufacturing, retail, oil and gas … even office workers and professionals have instances where staff suffer from injuries. Any situation where employees “move” can lead to a possible injury and eventual claim.
So what to do?
Travelers Insurance has a great link from their website that gives employers tips on how to create a “safer” work environment through the following channels:
· Attracting and Hiring
· Onboarding and Training
· Supporting and Engaging
Some of the variables WRG and other insurance agencies consider and investigate when gauging policy needs for clients include:
• Rates: While workers comp. rates are standard nationwide, depending on carrier, insurance companies apply what they call “deviations, premium discounts or schedule credits” from those rates, up or down depending on the loss experience.
• Premium Audit: When it is time for your annual premium audit, it is important to make sure you are properly classified and that you maintain your records to receive the most advantageous payroll calculations and classes.
• Experience Mod: Your experience mod needs to be an accurate reflection of your claims.
• Loss Control: A loss control or risk management program where injuries to your employees are minimal because of the safety features used on your premises.
Following the criteria and suggestions set forth from Travelers, and recommendations from your insurance agency, can help companies cut back on Workers Compensation claims which will result in long term savings and financial gain for the business.