Workers' Compensation Trends for 2012

As 2011 rapidly draws to a close, businesses looking ahead to 2012 should be mindful of the following workers' compensation trends as they may increase a company’s operating costs:

(1)   An older work force. In the last decade or so, the life expectancy of the average U.S. citizen has increased every year. As a direct result, companies are seeing their employment populations develop more and more age-related disabilities. The major chronic conditions of an aging society include: cardiovascular diseases; hypertension; stroke; diabetes; cancer; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; muscular-skeletal conditions including arthritis and osteoporosis; mental health conditions such as dementia and depression; and blindness and visual impairment. Accordingly, there is a greater risk that an injured worker’s recovery may be delayed by any one of these conditions, thus increasing the costs of a claim.

(2)   A rise in medical costs. With medical bills increasing each year across the board, the amount paid to treat injured workers has gone up as well. 

(3)   Increased risk exposure for employers due to off-site workers. With advances in technology and a drive to be more efficient, more and more companies have adopted programs which allow employees to work from satellite or home-based offices. While giving employees flexibility, companies are potentially incurring more exposure to work-related injuries due to less control over off-site offices.

On a more positive note, there has been a decline in workplace fatalities. The number of workplace deaths has been decreasing almost every year in the last decade. This may be due, at least in part, to the adoption of more stringent health and safety programs.

Roetzel & Andress is committed to assisting businesses in dealing with these and other employment related issues. If you should have any questions, please contact any of our offices to discuss these matters with one of our attorneys.


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