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Topics: Workers' Compensation
Labor shortages and staff turnover continue to be an issue for restaurants. Newer workers are hired for the busy months to supplement the tenured staff. However, these new employees might not receive adequate training, potentially leading to more workplace injuries. Not surprisingly, the less tenured workers file the most workers’ compensation claims. COVID-19 brought new challenges to the restaurant industry, but the traditional risks of cuts, strains, falls, burns and scrapes have not changed. In our 2022 Restaurant Risk Report, AmTrust examined over ten years of restaurant workers’ compensation claims to help employers understand the trends, including the impact of the pandemic.
Factoring in the number of active payroll employees in 2020 and 2021, reported injuries were down 25% during 2020 and remained below pre-pandemic numbers in 2021 at -5%. Not surprisingly, our report also found that injuries were at the lowest during Q2 2020 due to COVID-19 restaurant closures. Since Q2 2021, as vaccines became more widely available and health safety restrictions were lifted, restaurants reopened to their “normal” operations, but they faced a new challenge of staffing shortages. Looking at the data, we see an increase in reported injuries because of these shortages, turnover and new hires. The 2021 data shows a similar pattern to pre-pandemic injury peaks, with higher injuries reported in the summer months and a drop-off during the winter months. Another side effect of the COVID-19 pandemic is increased mental health issues. Mental stress claims have skyrocketed post-shutdowns, with 2021 being the highest on record.