Key Workers Compensation Statistics for Small Business Owners in 2023

As a consultant helping small business owners succeed, I often get asked about best practices for managing workers compensation programs. Many owners find reporting obligations, claim processes, and costs confusing to navigate.

That‘s why understanding these must-know workers compensation statistics is so valuable. Keeping workplace injuries low starts with knowing the risks. Let‘s dive into the numbers so you can benchmark your business and reduce employees getting hurt.

Workplace Injuries Remain Common

The latest data shows workplace illnesses and injuries holding steady at around 2.8 million per year. That comes out to around 2.7 cases per 100 full-time workers. While safety measures have improved, hazards persist.

Small contractors and manufacturers tend to see some of the highest injury rates. In transportation and warehousing, reported cases reached nearly 6 per 100 workers. As you‘ll see below, claims in higher risk sectors cost more too.

Back and Fall Injuries Lead Claim Types

I often tell clients that preventing same-level falls and overexertion backs workers comp expenses. The statistics confirm it:

  • Overexertion at 21%
  • Falls on same level at 17%
  • Struck by object at 10%

These "big three" account for almost 50% of nonfatal claim causes. Be especially vigilant about lifting procedures and tripping hazards. As a small business, every avoidable injury hits hard.

Average Claim Cost Exceeds $41,000

From medical bills to lost wages, the typical workers compensation claim now runs over $41,000 per injured employee. For small shops with slim margins, a single serious incident can mean financial pain.

Costs swell dramatically for certain types of injuries, based on my case review experience:

  • Amputations – $140,000
  • Fractures – $67,000
  • Back injuries – $46,000

Workers Comp Compliance Costs Add Up

Beyond paying high-cost claims, small employers face workers compensation compliance expenses. Premiums, administration fees, and regulatory obligations add around $1,000 per worker annually.

As your employee count rises, containing workers compensation costs grows more crucial. My clients with excellent safety protocols spend significantly less per person.

COVID-19 Impacts on Claims

The pandemic triggered a unique spike in costly workers compensation claims involving healthcare workers and first responders. Stress and anxiety conditions saw a particular increase.

However, COVID-19 infections qualified as work-related health claims in only 21 states as of mid-2022. The uneven rules around compensation put undue burden on smaller essential businesses.

Tips to Control Your Workers Comp Costs

Based on assisting many small business owners improve safety and reduce workers compensation expenses, I recommend:

Prioritizing injury prevention – Regular inspections, protective gear, and proper equipment are invaluable. Safety must permeate operations.

Creating return-to-work programs – Get injured staff back on the job quickly in transitional roles. It speeds recovery, prevents lost talent, and limits claim payouts.

Contesting questionable claims – While you want to support truly hurt workers, beware fraud. Confirm work-related causality to avoid bogus claims sinking your business.

Shopping carriers annually – Comparing workers comp insurers ensures you find the best-priced policy for your risk profile. Never overpay if your underwriting merits discounts.

Reach out if you need help managing workers compensation for your small business. Controlling these costs while keeping your staff safe takes experience – but it can be done.