Workers’ Compensation for Truckers
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Everything you need to know about Workers’ Compensation for Truckers
The trucking industry forms a major part of the American economy, used to transport goods across states, be it for manufacturing, assembling or distribution. However, given the magnitude of the industry and its presence on a nationwide basis, the industry is prone to a lot of risks, due to which various specifically designed insurance policies have cropped up with regard to this industry. Additionally, the industry should be treated like other industries where employees hold 9-to-5 jobs and have workers’ compensation. This article takes an in-depth look into the need and concept of workers’ compensation for truckers.
What Is Workers’ Compensation for Truckers?
Workers’ compensation for truckers or “trucking workers’ compensation” is a mandatory insurance policy that many trucking companies or operators are required to have in place for the welfare of their employees. This insurance policy covers some of the following:
- Lost income/wages
- Medical expenses
- Rehabilitation costs
- Death benefits
The Need for Trucking Workers’ Compensation
Workers’ compensation for truckers is a necessity for the business owner as well as the employees of the business. Like in any other industry, truckers are prone to injuries and maybe even more than employees in other industries due to the strenuous nature of the job. Trucking involves long hours of sitting with brief but labor-intensive breaks where the drivers are generally loading or unloading heavy goods. Most drivers are also paid only while under dispatch and the number of hours and work can vary, sometimes extending into the night or early hours of the morning, resulting in irregular sleep patterns. Due to all of this, truckers lead very sedentary lifestyles with a lack of fitness and exercise.
Additionally, the following types of injuries can also occur to drivers:
- Accidents (either on-road or while loading/unloading)
- Back injuries from heavy-load lifting
- Slips and falls
- Musculoskeletal disorders
- Injuries from the load falling on the driver
Therefore, medical expenses play a huge part in the trucking industry and if you as a business owner had to foot all these bills out of pocket, you’d be facing bankruptcy sooner than you can say the word! Luckily, workers’ compensation for truckers covers employees injuries while they work for you.
Lastly, workers’ compensation is a requirement by law in almost every American state, ensuring that employers cover partly or entirely the medical expenses of injuries and even occupational diseases of their employees. Not having a workers’ compensation policy in place could result in fines and penalties.
How Much Does Workers’ Compensation Cost?
The cost of your workers’ compensation policy could vary based on a state-to-state difference as well as the number of employees you need to cover and the types of coverage you require.
Saving On the Cost of Workers’ Compensation
Workers’ compensation policies could end up costing you quite a bit. Luckily, there are ways to lower the amount of premium you end up paying, such as:
- Shopping around and getting multiple quotes
- Having a good insurance agent to help you lower your premium
- Make use of discounts
- Increase your deductible
- Reduce accidents
- Implement a policy on safety measures at the workplace
- Treating drivers as independent contractors
- Conduct background checks on drivers to check for any history of drug usage/addiction to alcohol
Of these, reducing accidents is a simple yet effective way to bring down your risk, and therefore, your premium. Put drivers through programs on safe driving to ensure that they understand the need to drive safely. Simple things like the right footwear while driving can also help reduce accidents.
Another measure that business owners take to reduce their premium cost is to treat drivers, even employees, as independent contractors. Doing this makes the employees responsible for their own policies, instead letting them be responsible for their own workers’ compensation, safety and injuries. However, doing so might bring you into the bad books of the law, as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) can treat these employees as just that and not as independent contractors or operators, resulting in a legal mess.
The Final Word
Workers’ compensation is a necessity in every industry. Workers and employees need to be protected from any circumstances that could injure or harm them, not just in the trucking industry but in all industries that work. However, with regard to the trucking industry, workers’ compensation is even more necessary than other industries, given the high rate of injuries, occupational hazards and unhealthy lifestyles that truckers lead.
Given the magnitude of most businesses, truckers compensation can be expensive. However, there are ways to lower the amount of premium that you as an employer pay. Shop around for quotes, look at multiple agents before you settle on one. Also, simple yet important things like safety measures, training your employees in safety procedures, increasing your deductible, having the right insurance agent and paying your premium in one shot are all effective ways of budgeting your workers’ compensation.
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