Common workplace injuries for tech businesses
1. Slips, trips, and falls
One common misconception we hear from IT business owners is that they don’t need workers’ compensation insurance because they aren’t at risk for workplace injuries. However, slips, trips, and falls are the second most common cause of workers' compensation claims in the United States – and they can easily happen in an office environment.
If you and your team work in close quarters, the trip risk may be even higher, as small spaces tend to be harder to navigate. Another risk factor? Working up north. Icy sidewalks outside and water tracked in on boots provide ripe conditions for unfortunate accidents.
How can you keep your team safe so you don’t have to make a claim on your workers’ compensation policy? Run a tight ship:
- Keep a mop handy to take care of puddles and spills as they happen.
- Tape down cords and wires to prevent tripping.
- Do periodic clean-ups if you’re prone to clutter.
2. Repetitive motion injuries
Repetitive motion injuries rank ninth for the most common reasons business owners make claims on their workers’ compensation policies. If you and your team spend your hours staring at monitors, typing on keyboards, and clicking on mice, you’re probably top candidates for carpal tunnel syndrome and similar conditions.
Again, a little prevention can go a long way:
- Invest in ergonomic chairs, desks, keyboards, and mice.
- Talk to your team about preventing repetitive motion injuries – some of the onus is on the person and their posture.
- Encourage employees to come to you at early signs of pain. Often, a small investment in preventative measures (like a wrist rest) can reverse early complications.
Workers’ compensation coverage for IT businesses
We mentioned earlier that IT businesses aren’t immune to needing workers’ compensation coverage – and that’s true regardless of how risky your office is. Workers’ compensation is the only type of business insurance that’s regulated at the state level and the only type your business might be legally mandated to buy (other than commercial auto insurance for business-owned vehicles).
The laws vary widely from one state to the next. Depending on where you live, your coverage needs may be affected by:
- How many employees you have
- Whether you’re the only person in your business
- Whether you work as a consultant or contractor for a larger business
- Whether you use subcontractors or 1099 workers
If you are a consultant spending a lot of time in other people’s offices, their contract may specify whether you need to carry a workers’ compensation policy. To make sure you’re covered, check your paperwork and consult with your insurance agent. That way, you can make sure you and your team are protected in case a worst-case scenario happens.
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