One misconception that owners of small technology businesses often have is that they don’t need to carry Workers’ Compensation Insurance. This stems from the belief that most on-the-job injuries involve the kinds of events that would be more common on a building site or in a factory than in a home office or startup environment.
In reality, however, the most common workers’ compensation claims are for injuries that could (and do) happen to employees whose primary physical duty involves tapping away on a keyboard or manipulating a mouse.
Five Most Common Workers’ Compensation Injuries
Here’s a look at how five of the most common workers’ comp claims can manifest at your small tech firm – and how you can protect such a claim from draining your financial reserves.
- Slipping and tripping: Icy stoops often get blamed for causing slip-and-fall accidents, but in a high-tech environment, extension cords can be just as dangerous. You can reduce the risk of injury by securing wires with wall-mounted holders or, in a pinch, electrical tape.
- Repetitive use injuries: Can you say “carpal tunnel syndrome”? Working at a computer all day can lead to muscle tension and nerve entrapment, which can cause a host of damaging conditions. Lower the risk of such injuries in your business by investing in ergonomic equipment and making sure you and your team take regular breaks.
- Handling injuries: If your team is small, chances are you rely on your own muscle power to haul in new equipment, move furniture, or otherwise perform heavy-lifting tasks. Injuries from such activity (including muscle strains, thrown-out backs, and more) are among the most commonly cited in workers’ compensation claims. Limit your risk by training your team to handle heavy equipment properly.
- Vehicle injuries and accidents: Even if operating a vehicle is not a primary duty for anyone at your firm, many states allow employees to collect workers’ compensation funds if they’re injured while driving to or from work.
- “Clumsiness” injuries: Injuries from reacting quickly to unexpected stimuli and walking into objects account for a hefty portion of workers’ comp claims in the U.S. You can minimize the risk of such injuries in your workplace by keeping common areas clear of debris.
When Does Your Tech Firm Need Workers’ Comp Insurance?
Workers’ compensation laws vary from state to state, though nearly every state requires businesses to carry at least some form of this coverage. The main factor that will likely affect your coverage requirements is the number of employees you have, the type of these employees (i.e., full-time, part-time, or contract), and the kind of work they do.
Writtten by Brenna Lemieux - check her out at Google+ or Twitter