Because of increased construction injuries, more than 650 contracting and related firms across Oregon, including those in Lane County, will get a lower annual refund in workers’ compensation insurance premiums, officials said.
Businesses that participate in the Associated General Contractors/SAIF Workers’ Compensation Program will receive a $2.5 million refund from their 2014-15 plan year premium.
At 8.3 percent of premiums paid, the refunds to 665 firms will be smaller than last year when they totaled 26 percent, said Christy Witzke, SAIF marketing and groups director.
“It’s all about injuries,” she said.
The robust economy has led to a construction boom, leaving many contractors struggling to find qualified workers, Witzke said.
“There are unique challenges in construction, and the fact that it’s hard to find qualified workers right now can potentially lead to more injuries,” Witzke said. “There may be fewer employees working longer hours, and all of those things can potentially lead to situations where injuries can occur.
“This year’s results may not be as strong as in the past, but because of the outstanding collaboration between workers, employers, agents, AGC and SAIF, we’re still able to return $2.5 million to these Oregon companies,” Witzke said. “We’ll continue to look for ways to protect workers and get to our goal of zero injuries.”
In total, more than $3.4 million will be returned to members participating in the AGC/SAIF program. The amount includes refunds, medical reimbursements and credits from adjustments to Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services premium assessments.
In the program’s 24 years, refunds have totaled more than $169 million. The program failed to provide a refund in just one year, 2001.
The return will be distributed to participating companies in August.
SAIF is Oregon’s not-for-profit workers’ compensation insurance company.
The 665 construction-related firms are a fraction of SAIF’s more than 50,000 policyholders.
Original article posted on: registerguard.com