New hires may increase the frequency of workers’ compensation claims

According to Travelers, workers with less than a year on the job filed 35% of all workers’ compensation claims, a troubling statistic given that employers are in the midst of a historic hiring spree.

Rich Ives, vice president of business insurance for The Travelers Companies, said there has not yet been an increase in the frequency of claims, but more accidents could occur as the proportion of employees with little field experience is increasing in US workplaces.

Ives rich

“We haven’t seen it yet. When we look at the reporting of short-term losses, we generally see the same number of large losses as in the past. Now, the trend towards more movement and less experience in the workforce could lead to more losses, and we are watching that.

Travelers reviewed 1.5 million workers’ compensation claims they received from 2015 to 2019. Across all industries, 35% of claimants had been in their current job for less than a year, regardless of age or their experience in the sector. This group accounted for 37% of all workdays missed.

Selective Insurance noted a similar stat on March 23, indicating that 38% of workers’ compensation claims in 2021 were filed by first-year employees, up from 32% in 2011.

In comparison, 22% of American employees had less than a year of seniority in their job in January 2020, according to a study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This percentage remained unchanged from 2018.

A post-pandemic economic resurgence is bringing more first-year employees to the workplace than ever before. The bureau said U.S. employers hired 6.7 million new employees in March. There were 11,549 job openings at the end of this month, compared to 8,480 in March 2021. The bureau said this was the highest number of openings recorded since it began tracking job openings. data in 2000.

In the 12 months to March, new hires totaled 77.7 million and departures totaled 71.4 million, generating a net job gain of 6.3 million. Those totals include workers who may have been hired and fired more than once during the year, the office said.

Some industries have more first-year injuries than others, according to the Travelers Report. In the restaurant industry, 53% of claims were for first-year workers, accounting for 47% of total claims costs. In construction, first-year workers filed 48% of claims and were responsible for 52% of claim costs.

Chris Haynes, assistant vice president for hazard control, workers’ compensation and passenger transportation, said workers who have been on the job for less than a year are more prone to injury, regardless of experience. in their profession. He said new jobs bring new circumstances. For example, a truck driver can be asked to work with new equipment or travel a new route.

Haynes said employers need to make sure employees understand safety standards. Managers must constantly reinforce these standards and show employees that the organization takes its “safety culture” seriously.

Claims frequency has not been a cost driver for workers’ compensation insurers in recent years. The National Indemnity Insurance Board reported in its state of the line report last year that claims frequency had fallen by 7% in the previous 12 months, continuing a long-term trend.

The NCCI reported a rare rise in 2010, which it attributed to a firming labor market after the Great Recession.

“New hires generally have a higher complaint frequency than longer-term employees,” NCCI said.

About the photo: New workers participate in safety integration. Photo courtesy of Travelers.

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