If your small business is growing and you need to hire a few employees, you’ve probably already thought about workers’ compensation insurance. At first, it might seem like just one more annoying and confusing business expense, so we came up with this little guide that summarizes what workers’ compensation is, what it isn’t and how to get the best coverage for the lowest prices. Read on …
Why It Exists
Workers compensation is an insurance program set up to provide workers who were injured on the job benefits to make up for lost wages while they’re out taking care of their injury. According to the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission, the laws surrounding worker compensation serve to relieve employers of liability from common law suits involving negligence in exchange for becoming responsible for medical costs and lost wages of on-the-job injuries regardless of fault. That’s right: offering workers’ compensation can actually protect you and your small business from litigation if an employee gets injured or becomes sick as a result of the job.
How Much It Costs – and Who Has to Provide It
The cost for workers’ compensation insurance varies by provider and industry (high-risk jobs like roofing or construction carry higher premiums than office jobs, for instance). In addition, a business’s premiums can either increase or decrease depending on the number of claims filed. Laws vary by state, but in South Carolina, any business with four or more employees is required to carry workers’ compensation insurance.
How To Lower Your Premiums
One of the best ways to save on workers’ compensation insurance is through safety measures, such as:
- Assess the safety of the work environment: how safe is the equipment? Is safety gear offered where needed?
- Reduce job hazards to create the safest workplace possible.
- Prepare emergency announcements. Run tests of the announcement system and make sure that employees know how to respond.
- Make sure your flooring material provides a low risk of slipping.
- Create an ergonomic workplace to reduce the chances of injury or strain. Each workstation should be customized for the tasks that employees perform there.
- Teach your employees how to lift properly so that they don’t hurt their backs.
- Start an employee wellness program to encourage healthy living and fitness, which should reduce the number of employees injured on the job.
An employee can collect benefits even if they weren’t at the workplace when they were injured.
According to FindLaw.com, generally any time an employee is injured within the scope of performing their job – even if they are not at their workplace – they’re covered. Examples include a salesperson who is injured at a the hotel he’s staying at for business purposes or an employee who’s injured while out running an errand on behalf of the company.
Workers can be paid for an injury that occurred at work, even if it was partially their fault.
While employees don’t have free reign to injure themselves on purpose in order to collect benefits, if the injury rises out of or is within the scope of their employment – even if they might have been careless – then they’re covered.
Want to learn more about how to make workers’ compensation work better for your business? Contact us anytime!