Labor StandardsWhat You Need to Know About Workers’ Comp

Before the federal government stepped in during the early 1900s, the only recourse an injured employee or their family had was to launch a lawsuit against an employer.

At that time, employers felt they did not have an obligation to continue to pay employees who’d been injured on the job.

Pittsburgh Survey

The Pittsburgh Survey, a detailed study done in 1907-08 of living and working conditions in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, had a special impact on job safety and health.

A major topic of the study was industrial accidents.

The study found that injured workers and survivors of those killed on the job bore the economic brunt of accidents, even though most were the fault of employers.

Authors of the study agreed that, for reasons of social equity, employers should bear a substantial share of the economic burden.
The theory behind this strategy was that it would give the employers more incentive to eliminate the causes of accidents.


In the early 1930s, labor standards started taking shape.
The government quickly enacted legislation that created a minimum wage.

Health and Safety

By 1970, health and safety in the workplace came to prominence.
So did fair labor standards.

Workers’ comp policies were eventually created to give both employers and employees protection and satisfaction.

How It Works

For a work-related injury, an employee may sue the employer or collect medical payments.

The employee does not get both options.

To reflect this, workers’ comp policies limit the liability available to an employer if an employee sues.

The policies also classify all employees based on their job descriptions.

Employees Rated

Each employee is rated based on the degree of risk of injury and the amount of payroll the employer pays that group of people.

For example, a roofing company will have roofers on the road all day for various jobs, as well as clerical people in the office. Roofers are rated more highly because their job poses more of a danger.

There is a greater likelihood that a roofer in the field would incur a severe injury than a worker in the office, who is in a relatively safer environment all day.


Workers’ comp coverage is a requirement in every state whether an employer has one worker or hundreds.

No matter what kind of business you have, let your insurance agent help you find the best workers comp policy to meet your needs.