California: More than 4 percent of comp payments go to restaurant workers
The study detailed data on more than 137,000 claims filed by restaurant workers in California for work-related injuries that occurred from January 2000 through the end of 2008. Researchers said that more than 90 percent of the claims were filed by employees in restaurants and taverns. Workers employed in facilities such as wineries, country clubs and hotels were also included in the sample.
Total medical and indemnity benefit payments on these claims amounted to just under $1.1 billion. In addition to accounting for 4.1 percent of the state's workers' comp benefit payments, restaurant workers filed 6.1 percent of all California job injury claims.
The study found that the number one injury diagnosis for restaurant workers was minor wound/injury to the skin. Researchers said these injuries represented nearly one out of three restaurant claims, but only 4.4 percent of the loss payments because workers were treated quickly and returned to work with no lost time. On the other hand, medical back problems without spinal cord involvement -- typically sprains and strains -- made up less than one in five restaurant claims but carried a much higher average cost and consumed almost one-third of paid losses in this sector.
Rounding out the top five injury categories were shoulder, arm, knee and lower leg sprains (10.4 percent of the claims and 8.8 percent of paid losses); other injuries, poisonings and toxic effects (8.1 percent of the claims and 9.4 percent of the payments); and ruptured tendons, tendonitis, myositis and bursitis (3.8 percent of the claims and 6 percent of the payments). Researchers found that second- or third-degree burns represented 3.6 percent of the restaurant claims. However, burn injuries accounted for only 1.4 percent of the total dollars paid on restaurant claims (about five times the proportion found for all industries).
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April 19, 2010
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