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It appears that even the coronavirus pandemic isn't slowing down entrepreneurs when it comes to starting a new business in Colorado. Although the news has been bleak at times, Colorado’s business confidence improved in the third quarter of 2020, up from record lows in the spring.

In addition, new startup companies continue to open their doors. Compared to the same period in 2019, new business entities rose nearly 25% this year in Colorado.

That's all good news for the economy and employment. Something else important to think about is employee health and safety in your workspace. 

Now, more than ever, new small-business owners must consider the best way to protect their employees and company during challenging times, especially when they might be short-staffed or trying to improve productivity. Making sure your business has workers' compensation insurance is a key element.

Here's a primer on workers' comp to help get you started.

What is workers' compensation insurance?

Having workers' compensation insurance isn't just good practice for taking care of employee health; it's also required under Colorado law. 

If you have one or more employees, you are legally required to have active coverage — even if your employees are part time or family members.

Workers' comp helps protect both you and your employees. If one of your workers becomes ill or suffers an injury on the job, the coverage can pay for their medical bills as well as any lost wages during their recovery. It can also help cover specialized care your employees might need in order to feel better and get back to work.

Without workers’ comp coverage, you risk facing significant financial strain. Businesses with workers' comp coverage tend to save approximately 50% on the costs of a workplace injury compared with those that pay for those costs out of pocket. Plus, you may face a potential fine of up to $500 a day from the Colorado Division of Workers' Compensation if you're not following regulations.

Why workers' comp coverage is important for small businesses and startups

Legal requirements aside, it's just good business to have workers' compensation coverage for your company, regardless of the size.

Did you know that some of the most common workplace injuries are from strains, falls and repetitive motion, such as carpal tunnel syndrome? Regardless of your business’s industry, whether it be construction or accounting, employee safety needs to be a high priority, even when you think there aren't many risks.

Every profession faces potential workers' compensation claims from illness or injury. For example, in professional and clerical workplaces, 30% of employee injuries happen in the first year on the job. That number increases to 35% for new employees in the hospitality industry and 44% for those in construction.

For new startup companies, the first year in business is a critical time, both for economic growth and ensuring your employees are safe and healthy. According to five years of Pinnacol's claims data, approximately 40% of injuries occur in the first 12 months on the job, and of those, about 30% occur in the first six months. In your safety training, focus on ”the rookies” and don't forget to check back in. Create a robust culture of safety in your workspace from the start.

Learn more about workers' compensation with Pinnacol

At Pinnacol, we provide over 56,000 Colorado businesses with the best coverage and protection for their workers’ comp needs. Throughout 2020, Pinnacol led the insurance industry with special programs and free resources for businesses dealing with the challenges presented by COVID-19. Additionally, 2021 will mark the sixth year in a row Pinnacol has decreased workers' comp rates for Colorado business owners.

Are you a business owner ready to learn more? Find out how to get your company and your employees covered with Colorado’s leading workers' compensation insurance provider.

— This branded content advertisement was paid for by Pinnacol Assurance.