2 Most Common Workplace Injuries for Technology Businesses
One common misconception we hear from IT business owners (and others who do mostly office-based work) is that they don’t need Workers’ Compensation Insurance because they aren’t at risk for workplace injuries. In reality, two of the top 10 most common workplace injuries can easily happen in an IT office environment. Yikes!
Here’s how to keep yourself and your employees safe at work so you can keep your Workers’ Comp rates as low as possible.
IT Workplace Injury 1: Slips, Trips, and Falls
Whether there’s a puddle on the floor or a loose cord lurking near a desk, slipping and tripping can lead to serious injury. In fact, slips, trips, and falls are the second most common cause of Workers’ Compensation claims in the United States.
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.
So 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.
IT Workplace Injury 2: Repetitive Motion Injuries
No risks in the workplace, you say? Well then how do you explain (thunderbolt) CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME?
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 hunched over screens, pounding away at keyboards, and clicking 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 (that’s not just the wrist rest industry talking, either – this writer saw her symptoms disappear after investing in one!).
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.
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.
And 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.