Workers’ compensation insurance protects employees and provides financial assistance to cover the cost of injury care. Many small businesses make the mistake of assuming that workers’ comp is just an added, unnecessary expense. But in reality, you’re likely required by law to have this coverage.
Workers’ comp laws can be complex, but it’s important to understand the basics to avoid facing legal trouble in the future.
1. Every State Has Its Own Workers’ Comp Laws
Workers’ comp laws vary from state to state, but most states will have some similar basic requirements, such as covering all part-time and full-time employees.
Some states only require workers’ comp if you have a certain number of employees. In South Carolina and Florida, for example, you only need this coverage if you have four or more employees.
Texas is the only state where workers’ comp is optional. Still, businesses are held liable for employees’ occupational injuries. In other words, you’re still going to have to cover the cost of a worker’s injuries.
Some states have exemptions for certain types of employees, such as domestic employees, farm workers, and seasonal workers.
2. Every Small Business Faces The Risk Of An Injury Claim
No small business is safe from an injury claim. If you have employees, there is always a chance of workplace injury, even in an office setting.
Data shows there’s a 50% chance that small businesses will face an injury claim in the next ten years.
Even if you only have one employee, you could be held liable for any workplace injuries that may occur. Injuries are more common than you think, and the cost could bankrupt your small business.
According to Strom & Associates:
“Injured workers may receive benefits in a variety of circumstances:
- Work-related accident injuries
- Repetitive stress injuries
- Aggravation of a pre-existing condition
- Occupational illness or disease
- Injuries from the performance of work duties (e.g., injured back, knee, wrist or shoulder)
- Common Workplace Injuries”
Workers’ compensation insurance will protect your business in case an employee is injured while on the job. And as you can see from the list above, workers can suffer a number of different types of injuries in the workplace.
3. An Agent Can Help You Find The Right Policy
Small business owners can purchase a workers’ comp policy on their own, but an agent can help find a policy that provides the most protection.
Understanding the nuances of this complex compensation policy can be a challenge. Work with an agent and insurance provider that is knowledgeable in your state’s laws as well as federal laws.
A good agent will also notify you when regulations and laws change that will affect your coverage needs.
4. OSHA Has Its Own Policies
Along with state laws, OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) also has its own federal regulations for workplace-related injuries.
If you have 10 or fewer employees, you won’t be required to keep OSHA records, but you will be expected to report worker hospitalization and employee fatalities. If you have more than 10 employees, you will be required to give employees access to exposure records, medical records, hazard communication, personal protective equipment, notices about workplace safety and access to file complaints.
If you are interested in even more business-related articles and information from us here at Bit Rebels then we have a lot to choose from.