Auto Body Repair

Risk Classification 3412

Why your rates have been going up

In seven out of the past eight years, workers' compensation rates in the auto body repair industry have risen at a far higher pace than the average rate of all industries in Washington. In 2006, the auto body repair industry rates rose eight percent. Since 1999 these rates have risen 82.3 percent compared with 45.9 percent average of all industries in Washington.

The Composite Rates over the Last Eight Years for Auto Body Repair chart illustrates the increase in rates.

Finger cuts and debris in eyes are the leading causes of injury, but overexertion and back injuries, resulting in lost wages, are what drove up claim costs and rates. Such injuries are preventable with training that focuses on proper lifting technique and avoiding awkward postures.

Save money by managing claims properly

Western Washington auto body shop is a prime example of how even a minor injury can impact rates.

The company was receiving a claim-free discount until a worker jumped off a paint booth, injuring his heel. This injury negated the employer's claim-free discount. Even though the claim only cost $270 including $63.36 in wage-replacement benefits the company's rates rose 25 percent the following year.

This rate increase could have been avoided had the employer kept the worker on salary or offered light-duty work while the injury healed.

The company's rates rose again when two workers suffered back injuries, one of them serious. Back injuries are so costly that employers need to do everything they can to prevent them.

See Preventing injury and illness in auto body shops (79 KB PDF) for safety tips in this industry.

Tips for preventing injuries

  • Use jacks and lifting aids for lifting and holding heavy parts for installation.
  • Use rolling work stands so workers avoid having to bend over to pick up tools.
  • Prevent work-related asthma by wearing approved respiratory equipment. Make sure your respiratory protection program meets Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) requirements.
  • Wear eye protection and develop an effective eye protection program.
  • Wear protective clothing to avoid contact with paints and chemicals.
  • Avoid cuts by wearing puncture-resistant gloves whenever possible.
  • Always keep knives and other blades sharp to avoid using excessive force and always cut away from your body.

About your industry

Membership

Risk Classification 3412 represents 939 auto body repair accounts with L&I, employing about 16,521 workers.

Premium rates

On January 1, 2006, the base premium rate went from $1.02 to $1.11 per hour per employee. Within this risk classification, rates range from $.47 an hour to $1.68, the latter being employers with a poor claims history. On average, body shops can deduct 18 percent of the premium from their workers' paychecks.

The Range of Annual Premiums Per Employee in 2005 for Auto Body Repair chart illustrates the range of premiums employers and workers paid in 2005.

Serious injuries driving up premiums

Rates have risen because of the increase of long-term disability claims, many of them from back injuries.

While most of the industry's injuries are minor they frequently result in a loss of wages and permanent partial disabilities. Some common injuries are:

  • Overexertion.
  • Back injuries.
  • Asthma caused by exposure to chemicals such as:
    • Polyurethane paints.
    • Coatings.
    • Linings.
    • Fumes.

The Claims by Injury Type for Auto Body Repair chart illustrates the number of claims filed by type of injury during the last six years.

Additional information

Help managing claim costs

Contact your L&I account manager for help on managing the cost of a workplace-injury claim.

L&I offers a variety of services to help prevent injuries in your workplace. Request a no-charge safety and health or risk management consultation by calling 1‑800‑423‑7233 or your local L&I Office Location.

L&I also offers online training tools.

Contact us

Contact your L&I account manager (his or her phone number is on your quarterly billing statement) with any additional questions you may have.

You can also call Employer Services at 360‑902‑4817 for general information or to be directed to your account manager.

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