By Dax Craig, Co-Founder and President of Pie Insurance
For any business owner, employee safety should be a top priority. However, accidents happen: the National Safety Council estimates that over 25,000 slip and fall accidents occur at restaurants across the U.S. These kinds of accidents often lead to severe injuries and costly insurance claims. In 2022, Georgia had nearly 30,000 claims reported across industries, with $732 million in indemnity benefits dispensed. Additionally, the potential for damage to physical locations in Georgia from weather and other circumstances adds risk for restaurant owners. Being educated on workplace safety best practices, as well as understanding the types of insurance your restaurant requires, is critical to keeping yourself, your business and your employees safe. In doing this, you can focus on what matters most—growing your business, retaining talent and serving your community.
Create a Safety Plan to Minimize Workplace Injuries
If you don’t have one yet, create a comprehensive safety plan that identifies potential hazards in your workplace and outlines procedures for preventing and responding to situations. This plan should be regularly reviewed and updated as necessary. To keep your employees safe and your insurance costs low, ensure that all employees—even part-time help and trainees—are well-trained on your safety procedures.
Workers’ Compensation 101
While prevention is important, workplace accidents still happen, so in addition to conducting training, workers’ compensation insurance can act as a guardrail that helps protect restaurant business owners from liability for employees’ workplace injuries. It keeps employers from having to pay directly out of pocket for those injuries.
Not having workers’ compensation insurance, especially when an employee is injured on the job, could create a huge financial drain for your business, including fines, probation and even jail time. In Georgia, a violation of workers’ compensation laws could be a $500-$5,000 fine per violation, a $1,000-$10,000 fine in criminal penalties or you could be charged with a misdemeanor.
Understand the Claims Process
Make sure that you and your employees understand the process for filing and handling workers’ compensation claims. This includes knowing the importance of reporting all work-related injuries as quickly as possible, how to file a claim and what documentation is required.
Education is key to making sure that everyone has an understanding of the process. You should be aware of how you submit your claim to your insurer (and state, if required) within the mandated time frame.
Ensuring Coverage is Right for You
Workers’ compensation insurance isn’t the only type of insurance you need to protect your business. Often, we see restaurant owners overlook certain forms of business insurance, such as property insurance and business interruption insurance. It may be easy to assume that your landlord’s insurance will cover the cost of any repairs for the property or think your general liability insurance will provide coverage when a restaurant is forced to close due to a natural disaster. Unfortunately, this is not always true. For example, Georgia’s subtropical climate makes hurricanes and summer storms recurring events, potentially causing major damage to your business. See if you have separate coverage for property insurance, business interruption and other policies to make sure you are completely protected in those situations.
Your business is an invaluable part of Georgia’s local economy. Staying safe and insured means you can spend your time serving your community and visitors. To learn more about ensuring you have accurate insurance for your restaurant, reach out to your local insurance agent or visit Pie Insurance for additional insight.
Dax Craig co-founded Pie Insurance with the mission to enable small businesses to thrive by making commercial insurance affordable and as easy as pie.