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Workers Compensation Repurcussions of an Aging Workforce


connecticut construction insurance speciliastWill Workers Compensation injuries be on the increase, merely because we have an aging workforce?

 We hear it constantly – the aging workforce – and for some of us that are of the baby boomer generation we don’t like hearing it!  We can’t stop the aging process, but we do actually have some control over the WC injuries that can result.

Whether you work at a desk, in commercial construction, or in manufacturing, it’s unfortunate but true that as you age your body parts just get worn out!  Years of typing can cause repetitive motion issues, years of lifting or digging trenches can cause repetitive traumas, as well as knee, back, and shoulder issues.   But it comes down to the fact that even though the body part may be weakened just by the aging process, if the “final straw” happens on the job, it’s a workers’ comp claim.

It is evident that the baby boomer generation is willing to learn new techniques, take care of ourselves both physically and mentally, and they don’t want to give in to the idea of getting older so they can’t do certain tasks.  They are highly motivated to keep going, but without pain.

So, what can an employer do to help the aging workforce not get injured?  First of all observe how tasks are performed and be open to having them done a different way to alleviate stress on certain body parts.  Enlist assistance with this evaluation from those who actually do the job and have done the job for many, many years.

For repetitive motion issues, it can merely be an ergonomics issue.  Still even in 2010 we should be looking at how an individual’s workstation is set up and if they have the proper tools.   From a construction standpoint it can be holding training sessions regularly on proper lifting techniques, or merely telling your employees it’s okay to ask for assistance when lifting items of a certain weight – in fact encourage or insist they ask for help!

By providing your employees with training on correct body mechanics, healthy eating habits, support in joining a gym,  more employees may come to realize that they do have control over their personal discomfort and/or pain and see that they can prevent and alleviate the physical stresses or work and personal life!

Independent Contractor or Employee?


Today's Post comes from another one of the Risk Advisor Allstars at CRA, Debbi Kuhne, our Director of Client Services

 Many companies hire what they deem to be Independent Contractors and not employees. This is now being scrutinized more and more by both the Department Of Labor and the Connecticut Workers Comp commission and more lawsuits are being filed every day in both areas. So, how do you make the decision? It isn't necessarily an easy one as you can see from the information below.

Connecticut Workers Compensation Statutes do not give a definition of an Independent Contractor. They offer guidelines to follow and each case is reviewed individually. The Commission suggest you review Behavioral Control (where the individual works, who provides the tools and supplies) Financial Control (is the workers given a check based on an hourly rate or a per job basis) and finally, Type of Relationship (is there a written contract, is there an assumed permanency of the position).

The DOL is much more definitive of those individuals to be considered an independent contract. The following tests must all be met in order for the individual to qualify. 

1. Must be free from control and direction

2. His/her service must be performed outside of any place of business of the     employer

3. Must be customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, profession or business.

So, what does it matter if you misclassify a worker? Here are some of the laws under which you could be fined and/or sued:
• Wage and hour laws
• Minimum wage law
• State overtime law
• Law on keeping payroll records
• Withholding taxes and payment of social security benefits
• Willful understatement of payrolls for workers compensation insurance
• Violation of laws on discrimination.
• Whether you're a Connecticut construction company, distributor, or restaurant owner, seek legal advice before determining an individual is an Independent Contractor and not an employee!


Please join me in congratulating Debbi as the newly elected Regional Vice President for Region I of the National Association of Insurance Women. She was elected on April 10th at The Regional Conference and will be installed at the National Conference in Washington, DC this June. Her official term will run from July 1, 2010 - 2011.

The Regional Vice President is the ranking officer in the region and is the direct representative to the National Board of Directors of NAIW, International for the Region. Region I consist of - NJ, CT, RI, PA, MA, VT, NH, ME & NY. Debbi will be responsible for communicating with members in the region on news from the National level, presiding over the Regional Conference, formulating plans for the region (growing the membership, establishing new associations), building a team relationship with all members in the region, providing leadership direction, answering questions and concerns of the Council Directors from each State.

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