Many of the most common workers' compensation claims could be avoided by taking safety precautions.

Accidents are bound to happen, but many of the most common workers' compensation claims could be avoided by taking safety precautions. Don't leave your employees at risk for accidents that could result in painful injuries and leave your business short-staffed. It's important to be informed about the types of accidents and injuries that tend to occur in your industry — and take steps to prevent them.

"Workers' compensation injuries are often caused by lifting, repetitive motion, and slip and falls," says Debra Robertson, Claim Account Executive at The Hartford. "Many injuries can be prevented by taking simple precautions."

Common Claims by Industry

  • Retail
    Employees who work in a retail environment often experience accidents and injuries as the result of lifting heavy objects or repeated lifting, or slips and falls as a result of wet or slick floors.
  • Construction
    In the construction industry, many accidents occur because workers are not following safety codes or instructions (for example, not wearing the necessary protective gear, not tying off structures like ladders for stability, and not taking the necessary fall precautions when working from heights).
  • Restaurants
    Restaurant employees often sustain cuts from kitchen equipment and experience slips and falls.
  • Offices
    Employees who work in office environments commonly sustain injuries from repetitive motions, such as keyboard use, or poorly fitting workstations.

How to Take Precautions

While workers' comp insurance is available to provide for the needs of your injured employees, it's preferable to avoid an injury in the first place. In many cases, you can help do that simply by being proactive. "Employers need to make sure they are always talking about safety and following standard safety procedures throughout their workplace," Robertson says. Being proactive about health and safety is vital to the continuity of your business.

In addition to making safety a regular topic of workplace conversation, consider taking the following precautions to prevent potential accidents or injuries.

1. Clean floors and mats daily, or more often, if necessary.

2. Place mats at entryways on wet weather days and in places where spills commonly occur.

3. Check bathrooms frequently for wet floors.

4. Clean, inspect and repair parking lots and walkways on a regular basis.

5. Clean up spills quickly. Keep floors clean.

6. Install handrails on steps and stairwells.

7. Plow, shovel and remove snow from parking lots and sidewalks promptly and apply ice melt frequently.

8. Use "wet floor" signs.

9. Discuss required safety precautions, such as appropriate lifting tactics, with workers on a regular basis (daily for some industries, such as construction).

10. Review desks and work areas for ergonomics.

11. Encourage employees to take breaks regularly.

By understanding the most common workers' compensation claims, you can take appropriate steps to inform your employees about workplace safety and take precautionary measures. When you prevent an accident, you help keep your employees safe and preserve employee engagement by keeping your business fully staffed.

Automatic Data Processing Insurance Agency, Inc. (ADPIA) is an affiliate of ADP, Inc. All insurance products will be offered and sold only through ADPIA, its licensed agents or its licensed insurance partners; 1 ADP Blvd. Roseland, NJ 07068. CA license #0D04044. Licensed in 50 states. All services may not be available in all states. This information is not intended as tax or legal advice. If you have any questions, contact a tax or legal professional.

This is not an endorsement of The Hartford or any of its products and services. ADPIA partners with multiple carriers to provide access to Workers' Compensation products and services.

Tags: Small Business Midsize Business Workers' Compensation Research & Insights Risk and Compliance Articles Construction Hospitality/Restaurant/Food Service Retail

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