What are Workers' Compensation Class Codes?

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  • Written By: Susan Grindstaff
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 24 February 2020
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In the United States (US), each state offers insurance programs to help assist workers injured while performing tasks related to their jobs. Most of the time, these injuries occur within the workplace, but in some cases workers' compensation could extend to injuries occurring outside the workplace, as long as the employee was involved in an activity required by his employer. Workers’ compensation class codes are used to classify occupations based on the level or risk for injuries. The classification usually determines the premium rate that employers must pay to participate in these insurance programs. Most of the time, risk assessments used to determine workers’ compensation class codes are based on yearly statistics that document the number of accidents associated with different areas of employment.

High-risk workers’ compensation class codes are usually assigned to dangerous occupations. These include working with construction materials or materials containing toxins. High-risk premiums could also apply to employees who spend a great deal of time driving, especially if they are driving heavy vehicles such as tractor-trailers.

Low risk workers’ compensation class codes are usually assigned to jobs that are performed in offices or retail establishments. Some of these jobs include secretarial work, data entry, or customer service. Exceptions may be made depending on location. For instance, someone working in a fast-food restaurant or retail establishment within a high crime area may be assigned a workers’ compensation class code based of the likelihood of being injured in the course of a robbery.


Coverage provided by state compensation programs differ. Each state is allowed to set up its own programs and coverage. Most of the time, benefits include salary compensation for work missed because of on-the job injury, and payment for medical treatment. Some states may have a cap on the amount they are required to pay for a given incident. Employees should check with their employers or state officials to determine what type of coverage they would be eligible for in the event they are injured on the job.

States have different requirements concerning whether employers must carry compensation insurance. Most of the time, the necessity of carrying this insurance is dependent on the number of employees they have. In some cases, it may also depend on the type of work being performed. For instance, an employer may have fewer than the number of employees required, but if these workers are performing extremely hazardous jobs, employers may be required to carry the insurance.


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