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Summertime is workplace injury time

According to the old song, living should be easy in summertime. But summer is also the time of year when the most workers' compensation claims are filed at small businesses, according to New York-based Travelers Cos. Inc.

From June all the way through September, employees are more likely to suffer workplace injuries, the insurer said, noting that lower back injuries, and injuries from slips and falls are the most likely to occur. Employees under the age of 30 are the most likely group to suffer injuries; they comprise about a third of those sustaining injuries while at work.

Travelers says this year marks 100 years since workers' compensation began to spread across the United States. The first state to adopt workers' comp was Wisconsin.

Because Travelers is an insurance company, it offers advice to employers who hope to keep their workers' compensation costs down. The insurer lists some steps business owners can take to reduce the risks to themselves and to their employees:

  • Hiring: the insurer urges businesses to screen prospective employees about their attitudes toward safety issues during the interviewing and hiring processes.
  • Training: focus on safety training, including emergency procedures; safe workplace practices; processes and procedures; training on the proper use and implementation of protective gear; and a review of what employees should do (and not do) if a workplace accident takes place.
  • Supervision: management should promote a culture of safety in the workplace.
  • Response: businesses must be clear in their communications with employees about the process in place to protect workers when they're hurt on the job. In that way, employees can get the medical care and compensation they need and deserve.

Source: hartfordbusiness.com: "Travelers: Summer is workers' comp season": Aug. 9, 2011

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