Most Retail Workers’ Compensation Claims are Filed in January

Claims least likely to be filed in December, despite holiday bustle

December 20, 2023 Photo

More workers’ compensation claims in the retail sector were filed in January than during the busy holiday months of November and December, despite the influx of temporary seasonal workers, according to AmTrust’s 2023 “Retail Risk Report.” The study found that the number of injuries in retail claimed for every $100,000 of payroll is 25% higher in January than the earlier holiday months.

Retail Injury Claims by Month

The report found that the most reported injuries per $100,000 in payroll over the last five years occurred during January, whereas the least reported injuries occurred in December. “In the bustling holiday season of November and December, the paradox of lower retail injuries emerges,” explains Matt Zender, senior vice president, workers’ compensation product manager, AmTrust. “While one might expect injury rates to soar due to the influx of seasonal workers, there’s a hidden dynamic at play: Younger workers, who often comprise a significant portion of the seasonal workforce, might choose not to report minor injuries, relying instead on their health insurance or treating it at home. This reluctance to engage with workers’ compensation could artificially deflate injury statistics.”

Claims by Injury Type

The report, which analyzed over 42,000 workers’ compensation claims, shows that strains in the workplace are both the most expensive and most common cause of injury, followed by falls. Twenty-six percent of claims are due to strains and account for 29% of payouts, while falls account for 19% of claims and 27% of payouts. Being struck accounts for 14% of claims and 12% of payouts, while 18% of claims are due to cuts, which account for 5% of payouts. Motor vehicle accidents only account for 2.5% of workplace accidents; however, they have the highest cost per claim, with the average payout being $20,451, the study shows.

“Relatively few employees drive regularly as part of their job responsibilities in retail,” said Zender. “Nevertheless, businesses are wise to take all the necessary precautions when it comes to deliveries and other driving by retail workers since the pay-out for a strain or fall is between $12,000 and $15,000—while the average claim payout for motor vehicle accidents is much higher at over $20,000.”

Claims by Body Part

When broken down by body part, the study found that multiple body part injuries result in the largest number of workers’ compensation claims paid out at 29%. Back and shoulder injuries, specifically, account for the second and third highest percentage at 19%. Knee injuries account for 6%, ankle injuries account for 5%, and hand and foot injuries each make up 3% of claims paid out.

Staying Safe at Work

AmTrust lists several safety tips for retail workers in its report. It advises them to place heavy items at waist level and lighter items on higher shelves; use safe lifting techniques and lifting aids; use lighting on walkways, exists, and parking lots; enforce proper footwear policies; and keep walking surfaces free of clutter.

About The Authors
Angela Sabarese

Angela Sabarese, Associate Editor of CLM.

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