What Employers Can Learn from Workers’ Comp Statistics
By Rylie Holt
As a business owner, one of your most important responsibilities is keeping your employees safe by preventing workplace injuries and illnesses. If you take the time to identify and mitigate the risks your employees face daily, you can reduce the odds of severe injuries and ailments. One way to help identify hazards and face them head-on is to review workers’ compensation claim statistics.
The Most Common Injuries and Illnesses
Identifying the most common injuries and illnesses in your industry can help you focus your preventative efforts and improve your employee training materials. Across industries, the most common workers’ comp injuries include:
- Slips, trips, and falls
- Falls to a lower level
- Bodily reaction injuries (for example, when an employee avoids a fall but twists their ankle in the process)
- Being struck by an object
- Being stuck against an object
- Highway accidents
- Machinery malfunction and incidents
- Repetitive strain injuries
When an employee suffers a workplace injury and receives workers’ comp benefits, they can recuperate a portion of their lost wages. According to the National Safety Council, the most common injuries that require leaves of absence are:
- Sprains, strains, and tears
- Chronic sores of pain
- Cuts, lacerations, and punctures
Recovery and Return-to-work Policies
The Washington State Department of Labor and Industries found that only 55.4 percent of ill or injured employees return to full employment after a six-month leave of absence. With this statistic in mind, employers may want to consider investing in a return-to-work program or policy.
Return-to-work programs help injured employees return to their place of work as soon as it’s safe to do so. If the employee cannot perform their former duties yet, a return-to-work program helps employers identify appropriate work for them and ease their transition back to full employment.
Workers’ Compensation Lawsuits
Workers’ comp lawsuits account for billions of dollars of payouts from businesses every year. The injuries that result in the highest payouts are motor vehicle injuries, fire and burn injuries, and slip and fall injuries. In terms of the nature of injuries that result in payouts, amputations, fractures and dislocations, burn injuries, infections, and diseases incur the highest costs.
Insurance providers use a variety of factors to determine what benefits employees receive after an at-work injury claim and the overall cost of a workers’ compensation policy. Factors that influence your insurance rate include your payroll, experience modification number, and industry classification code.
Because some jobs present higher risks than others, workers’ comp insurance rates vary dramatically across industries. For example, it costs an average of $7,312.40 a year to cover a full-time mining employee. In contrast, it costs an average of $327.80 a year to cover a full-time employee working in administration or facilities support services.
When shopping around for a workers’ comp policy, be sure to research the average insurance rate for your state and specific industry to ensure you’re getting a fair deal.
As explained above, workers’ compensation insurance costs more for businesses within high-risk industries. According to data from 2018, the following occupations experienced the highest number of workplace illnesses and injuries within the private sector:
- Laborers and freight, stock, and material movers
- Truck drivers
- Janitors and cleaners
- Maintenance and repair workers
- Retail salespeople
- Stock clerks and order fillers
- Light truck and delivery service drivers
- Construction workers
Employer Best Practices
With an in-depth understanding of injury hazards and illness risks, business owners can create comprehensive employee training programs that cater to their company’s specific needs. Any employer who needs help writing effective training materials can look to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) online library of safety training resources.
Get to Know the Facts and Stats
Keeping your employees safe is every business owner’s top priority. Making sure you stay up to date with the statistical trends in common workplace injuries can help you to do just that. The more you know, the more preventative action you can take.
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