During June we recognize National Safety Month. Originally declared in 1996, National Safety Month was created to increase awareness of workplace hazards and work-related injuries for industrial workers. But workplace safety was an issue long before 1996, and National Safety Month is only one of countless initiatives undertaken at state and federal levels to ensure safe working conditions in the United States. Fortunately, all fifty states have taken steps to offer injured workers more than just a month on the calendar.
The first state workers’ compensation laws passed in New York at the tail end of the Second Industrial Revolution, with federal employees receiving coverage around a decade later. Up until that point workers in America were subject to incredibly dangerous and unforgiving conditions, and workers finding themselves on the wrong end of those conditions were often poorly compensated for their injuries, if at all. Of course, that’s only the ones who lived to tell the tale.
Today businesses can protect their most valuable commodity, the employees, with workers’ compensation insurance policies. In the case of a workplace injury, the effects on the injured worker are immediate and often long-lasting. On top of that, your standard general liability policy will not cover your injured worker in case of an injury occurring in the course and scope of employment. Workers’ compensation insurance provides benefits to help ease these hardships. Here are a few benefits workers’ compensation offers in the event that an employee sustains a covered injury or illness:
- Wage continuation
- Coverage of related medical procedures, devices and bills
- Compensation for permanent impairment
- Death benefits (if applicable)
- Aid returning to similarly gainful employment if original employment is no longer viable
Now the question becomes, “Who should carry workers’ compensation insurance?” This question is answered in most cases by the governing body of whichever state in which coverage applies. In Virginia, for example, any employer with more than two employees, or any sole proprietor who hires subcontractors must carry workers’ compensation insurance. Failure to do so will result in costly penalties levied by the state which may include a shutdown of your operations.
With that out of the way you may wonder be wondering what type of employment would require such coverages. The following types of employees are considered eligible for workers’ compensation coverage under an employer:
- Full-time employees
- Part-time employees
- Temporary employees
- Seasonal employees
Make sure that a month of awareness isn’t the extent of your efforts to protect your most valuable assets. Take a second to consider the aforementioned circumstances. Do they apply to you? If so, you should reach out to one of our knowledgeable and friendly staff to explore your options and keep your employees covered! Call Insurance Strategies – The Cooksey Agency today!