Salem, OR – Oregon’s workers’ compensation rates remain among the lowest in the nation, according to an analysis released by the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services (DCBS). This reflects the state’s ongoing success in making workplaces safer and keeping costs under control.
The biennial study ranks all 50 states and Washington, D.C., based on premium rates that were in effect Jan. 1, 2022.
Oregon had the 10th least expensive rates in 2022. Oregon fell in the rankings by four spots from the 2020 survey, despite having a lower premium index rate, because rates in other states dropped a few pennies more. Oregon’s index rate is 93 cents per $100 of payroll, down from $1.00 from 2020.
DCBS announced in September that Oregon workers’ compensation rates would decline further – an average 3.2 percent – in 2023. Workers’ compensation pays injured workers for lost wages and medical care for job-related injuries.
In recent years, rates have dropped all over the country, which has led to a compression of the scores in the survey. The premium index rates are bunched up at the low end, so that small changes in the index rates can lead to big jumps in the ranking.
In 2020, Oregon was sixth least expensive. In 2022, that spot is held by Kentucky. However, there is just a 7-cent difference per $100 of payroll between the two (93 cents for Oregon and 86 cents for Kentucky).
“This study is an important tool for the workers’ compensation systems throughout the U.S.,” said DCBS Director Andrew Stolfi. “It shows how strong the Oregon workers’ compensation system has become since the survey’s inception in 1986. As an agency, we work hard to keep workplace injuries low and benefits robust and are glad to see insurance costs for employers continue to fall.”
The study shows New Jersey had the most expensive rates, followed by Hawaii and California. Meanwhile, North Dakota had the least expensive rates. In the Northwest, Washington’s rates were the 24th most expensive and Idaho was the 16th most expensive.
Oregon researchers also compared each state’s rates to the national median (the 26th ranked state) rate of $1.27 per $100 of payroll. Oregon’s rate of 93 cents is 73 percent of the median, its second-lowest recorded level.
To produce a valid comparison of states, which have various mixes of industries, the study calculates rates for each state using the same mix of the 50 industries with the highest workers’ compensation claims costs in Oregon.
Oregon has conducted these studies in even-numbered years since 1986, when Oregon’s rates were among the highest in the nation. The department reports the results to the Oregon Legislature as a performance measure. Oregon’s relatively low rate today underscores the success of the state’s workers’ compensation system reforms and its improvements in workplace safety and health.
Oregon has long taken a comprehensive approach to making workplaces safer, keeping business costs low, and providing strong worker benefits. This approach includes enforcing requirements that employers carry insurance for their workers, keeping medical costs under control, and helping injured workers return to work sooner and minimize the impact on their wages.
It also includes efforts to prevent on-the-job injuries by enforcing workplace safety and health rules, and advising employers about how to improve worker safety and health.
The study can be found here: Oregon DCBS: Workers’ Compensation Premium Rate Ranking (PDF)
Source: OR DCBS