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Workers’ Compensation Claims Rise in Winter
For most of us in the restaurant and food service industry, when winter rolls around we think of cold weather, warm menu offerings, and holiday cheer. Unfortunately, many of us tend to neglect a statistic that is extremely important for most restaurant owners to know: Workers compensation claims rise significantly in the winter months. We will discuss why this is the case, and how your business can best protect itself during the cold winter months.
Workers’ Compensation is a state-mandated insurance plan in which an employee’s healthcare costs and wages are taken care of by the company when an employee is injured or gets sick at your establishment. The employee can usually receive workers’ compensation benefits regardless of if the company, a customer, or the employee themselves is at fault. By receiving these guaranteed benefits, the employee usually loses their right to sue the company for the incident. As a restaurant owner, it depends which state you live in to determine if you will be required to provide workers’ compensation insurance to your employees, including part-time and full-time employees. This guide provides a state-by-state analysis so that you know what is required and what is optional based on where your restaurant is located.
Common Winter Accidents
Unfortunately, more accidents will take place at your restaurant during the winter months. By identifying risk for winter accidents, your team can then take the necessary precautions to reduce those risks as much as possible. The most common accident in the winter are slips and falls resulting in an injury. This may be due to icy walkways, icy parking lots, and wet floors inside your establishment due to rain and melted snow getting tracked in. Your business will be liable and have to pay out workers’ compensation in the event of any of your staff being injured from a fall or slip on your property. It is also important to note that icy and wet walkways may cause a customer to fall, which can easily leave your restaurant vulnerable should the customer sue your business for damages.
Protecting Your Team
There are several precautions you can take to protect your team and your business. Remember, even though workers’ compensation payments will be covered by the insurance, an increase in claims that are filed will result in your premiums going up. You can protect your team during the winter months by following these protocols:
- Advise employees to wear closed-toe, non-slip shoes
- Ensure all walkways and parking lots on your property are properly shoveled and salted so that slips and falls are avoided
- Avoid large piles of snow that can easily cause flooding near your entrance
- Put runoff mats near entrances and exits to collect any water/ice/snow buildup
- Keep all flooring dry and repeatedly mop up wet spots. Place proper wet floor signage in wet areas so that employees use extra caution
- Meet with your employees to discuss the danger of wet floors and slips and falls during the winter months
- Explain all of the precautions you will be taking to best protect everyone in your establishment
Contact RPA Today
Workers’ compensation claims can be made any time of the year, but chances are that you will experience a spike in claims during those cold and icy winter months. Even if your state does not require you to provide workers’ compensation insurance, this does not mean you get off scotch free when an employee is injured at the workplace. In fact, your business will be at much more of a risk because that employee can legally sue you. Workers’ compensation is one of the best ways to ensure your business and employees are taken care of, and it is the most cost-effective option for preparing for the inevitable. If you are interested in securing workers’ compensation insurance, then contact RPA today. Our agents are prepared to work with you in all fifty states to help you secure the right amount of coverage.