Brushing Up on Workers’ Comp: Essential Guidelines for Painting Contractors

Posted On: April 17, 2024

Painting a wall without priming it might work temporarily, but it doesn’t lend to a quality, long-lasting outcome. Likewise, building a business on a proper foundation makes all the difference in long-term growth and success. One of those foundational essentials for any business in California, particularly painting contractors, is workers’ comp insurance

Why Workers’ Comp Matters for Painting Contractors

If an injury happens on the job, the employer is liable — even if the employee has their own health insurance. In the event of a significant claim, the health insurer will determine liability as part of their claims process and seek payment from the liable party. 

California is a no-fault state where employees do not have to prove responsibility for workplace accidents or injuries in order to receive workers’ comp benefits. As such, the employer is almost always the responsible party. Even if your crew is paid as 1099 contractors, if the worker technically meets the definition of an employee, you can still be liable.

Beyond the costs of claims themselves, operating without workers’ compensation insurance exposes painting contractors to a range of consequences, including legal penalties, civil lawsuits, reputation damage, inability to secure contracts, and worker mistrust. Contractors face fines, citations, and potential criminal charges for non-compliance with legal requirements, on top of the risk of personal liability for workplace injuries or illnesses suffered by employees. 

The bottom line is this: in California, workers’ compensation insurance for painting contractors is essential to mitigate legal, financial, and reputational risks while prioritizing the safety and well-being of their workforce. The state takes this rule very seriously and does not favor leniency for companies that place their employees at risk.

How Workers Comp Protects You and Your Employees

Painting work inherently invites a wide range of risks for work-related injuries and illnesses during the course of performing the job duties. Here are some common scenarios that a painting contractor might be liable for when a worker is injured on the job:

Falls, Slips, and Trips

Painting often involves working on ladders, scaffolds, or elevated platforms to reach high areas. Working in areas with uneven surfaces, debris, or spills is not uncommon. Falls from heights, slips, trips, or other accidents resulting in injuries such as fractures, sprains, or concussions are all work-related injuries.

Strains, Sprains, and Other Repetitive Injuries

Painters frequently engage in repetitive tasks such as lifting heavy paint cans, bending, reaching, and stretching. Over time, these activities can lead to strains, sprains, and other musculoskeletal injuries, particularly in the back, shoulders, and wrists. These types of repetitive injuries are considered workplace injury occurrences for which employers can be liable, even if the symptoms arise later. 

Exposure to Chemicals 

Painters are often exposed to various chemicals and solvents present in paints, primers, thinners, and other coating materials. Prolonged exposure or inadequate ventilation can cause respiratory problems, skin irritation, chemical burns, or allergic reactions. Even if the problem doesn’t manifest right away, an employee can still open a claim that arises from prolonged exposure to job site chemicals. 

Equipment Accidents 

Painters use a variety of tools and equipment, including paint sprayers, brushes, rollers, and power sanders. Accidents involving these tools, such as malfunctions, misuse, or contact with moving parts, can cause injuries ranging from cuts and bruises to more severe lacerations or amputations.

How Workers’ Comp Insurance Benefits Painting Contractors

Regardless of whether or not you have workers’ comp insurance, employers are legally liable for costs associated with these injuries. But it’s not just the obvious costs that employers in California are liable for; the list of financial responsibilities spans hospitalization, surgery, medications, and rehabilitative services.

Workers’ comp also pays many other costs that employers are liable for, including: 

  • Temporary disability benefits (generally two-thirds of pay while out on medical leave)
  • Permanent disability benefits
  • The cost of job training, placement assistance, and skill development programs to help injured workers re-enter the workforce if their injury prevents them from returning to their previous position
  • Death benefits to an employee’s dependents 

Employment laws in California are designed to protect employees. Workers’ compensation insurance is designed to protect employers while also playing an essential role in safeguarding employees’ well-being and financial security.  

When you have proper workers’ comp insurance, it shields you from these financial burdens, stepping in to pay these costs for you should the situation arise. With California ranking among the highest in the nation for workplace-related injuries at a rate of 8.8 per 100 full-time employees, workers’ comp is a safeguard that cannot be overlooked. 

Being properly insured has proactive benefits as well that grow the bottom line versus just protecting it. It can open the door to larger and more profitable jobs as many customers and larger organizations are more apt to do business with painting contractors that are properly insured. 

Growing Your Business With Confidence

When you know you’re protected against catastrophic and sudden financial losses, you can grow your business with confidence. As a business owner, you have the right to protect what you’re building. 

Western Republic works with business owners in California to create a custom-crafted insurance plan of action that is designed to grow with your specific business. Regardless of where your business is now in its growth progress, Western Republic has solutions to get you from where you are to where you’re going. Contact us today and speak with a workers comp specialist about solutions that set your business to grow to the next level. 

About Western Republic

Locally owned and operated since 2009, Gabe Stubin of Western Republic Insurance Services has delivered quality insurance solutions to individuals in Huntington Beach, California, for over 17 years. Specializing in Commercial Business insurance coverage, our team of knowledgeable insurance professionals is committed to helping you find a policy that fits your needs. We focus on providing individualized attention and quality customer service to create an experience that’s difficult to find in today’s market. At Western Republic Insurance Services, we’ll work with you to ensure that you and those you care about most are protected.

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