Peach and nectarine growers may see the cost of their Workers’ Compensation Insurance dropping, as researchers are using genetic engineering to breed shorter trees, according to an LA Times article. These farmers typically pay 40 percent more for Workers’ Comp Insurance than grape growers because of ladders. Unlike the traditional 13-foot trees, the eight-foot trees will allow workers to harvest from the ground. According to sources, these “ladderless” orchards will decrease the number of accidents and improve worker safety.
That’s great news for peach and nectarine orchards, but what does it mean for your small business? In a nutshell, even seemingly small improvements to workplace safety could result in markedly lower Workers’ Comp premiums.
Putting a Number on Workplace Accidents: How Workers’ Compensation Premiums Are Determined
Maybe you’re not running a small family-owned peach orchard. Rather, you’re the owner of flower shop – so your workers don’t risk falling off ladders, right? But they face other hazards. Sharp pruning shears for trimming stems could cut a gardener’s fingers. Puddles on the floor from watering pots could cause a sales associate to slip and fall. The cashier could have a terrible allergic reaction to an exotic plant. And the list goes on.
When determining Workers’ Comp premiums, each of these risks translates into numbers. In total, the cost of your Workers’ Comp Insurance depends on…
- The number of employees you have. Premiums are based on your gross annual payroll.
- Experience modification and claims history. This compares your losses to the expected losses for others in your industry.
- Employee activities and classification. Work classification codes identify risks associated with different professions.
Learn more about Workers' Comp costs in our Workers' Comp Insurance Cost Analysis.
Though you may swear up and down that you run a safe and risk-free workplace, chances are Workers’ Comp coverage isn’t optional. You can learn about your state’s requirements in our Workers’ Compensation Laws by State guide.
Save Money By Reducing Opportunities for Worker Injuries
Like the peach and nectarine farmers creating ladderless orchards, you can implement ways to lower the risk of injury for your employees. Genetic engineering may not be the answer for your small business, but technology and smart safety practices can be.
For example, say you run an IT business and your staff spends a lot of time typing away at the computer. To reduce repetitive motion injuries, you could use ergonomic office equipment, such as split keyboards and elevated desks.
If you own a hair salon, you might require stylists to keep hair shears in padded cases or holsters. You could also require that stylists organize hair appliance cords, which may prevent electrical hazards. You may even provide padded floor mats to ease back tension for stylists standing all day.
Construction professionals can don appropriate safety attire, such as hard hats and goggles.
You can also prevent worker injury by…
- Creating and distributing safety guides. Prepare detailed safety procedures for your employees to follow while working.
- Reviewing and practicing safe habits. Regularly train your employees in all your industry’s standard safety practices to keep the information fresh.
- Replacing old equipment. Tools and equipment in frequent use need to be regularly checked and maintained to prevent deterioration and malfunction.
Even when you are mindful of possible hazards, accidents can still happen. And when they do, you’ll be glad you have Workers’ Comp to cover the cost of employee medical bills and replacement wages.
Need a policy? Apply online for free Workers’ Compensation Insurance quotes.