Classification 0302

Why your 2006 rates are going up

Here's what you can do to help reverse the trend

The bottom line

Overexertion and improper lifting are the major causes of injuries among masonry workers. While the average premium rate went down slightly in 2005, rates will go up an average of 5 percent in 2006.

Rates in masonry range from $1.45 an hour to $5.19 an hour. Employers paying above the $3.24 base rate need to do a better job of preventing muscle strains and back injuries, many of which put a brick or block mason or hodcarrier out of work for extended periods of time. Such injuries are preventable with training that focuses on proper lifting technique, sharing the load and enforcing restrictions on how much an individual may lift.

About your industry


Risk Class 0302 represents 1,000 masonry companies employing 1,570 workers. Though there have been some complaints of under-reporting, the number of hours reported has remained steady. Premiums have increased, but haven't kept up with claim costs, which is why masonry companies will experience a rate hike in 2006.

The Composite Rates Over Last Six Years for Masonry chart illustrates the increase in rates over the last six years.

Premium rates

On January 1, 2006, the average base premium rate will go from $3.243 per hour per employee to $3.413. Within this risk class, rates range from $1.45 an hour to $5.19. On average, masonry employers can deduct 14.7 percent of the premium from their workers' paychecks.

The Range of Annual Premiums Per Employee in 2005 for Masonry chart illustrates the range of premiums employers and workers paid in 2005 for the masonry industry.

Injuries drive up rates

While the average base rate has remained fairly steady since 1999, there is a huge disparity in what masonry companies pay for industrial insurance. Overexertion is the leading cause of injuries, causing muscle strains, tears and back injuries that frequently result in a loss of wages and permanent partial disabilities.

Many of the employers in this risk classification should adopt safety measures that would decrease the likelihood of serious injuries. The Claims by Injury Type for Masonry chart illustrates the number of claims filed for masonry injuries from 1999 through 2004.

Use equipment to lift or share the load with a co-worker

An Eastern Washington masonry company is a prime example of how workplace injuries impact rates. In 2003 it experienced its fourth serious low back injury since 1998 when a worker, standing on a pitched roof, ignored a lifting restriction and picked up an 80 lb. stone without asking for help or using proper lifting technique. The resulting back injury increased the company's premiums by $10,000 in the first half of 2005, and will negatively impact its rates through 2007.

Annually, the company and its workers pay tens of thousands of dollars more than they would had an effective safety program been put in place. For this industry, that means providing brick and block masons and hodcarriers with the training, equipment and manpower they need to do a job safely, and then making sure they use it.

In January 2002, L&I released the findings of a demonstration project in the masonry industry. The study identified hazards and recommended prevention measures employers could take. Read the complete findings are at the Success with Ergonomics Web page.

Preventing workplace injuries in masonry

Here are some of the things you can do to ensure a safe workplace:

  • Raise saw heights.
  • Store blocks and bags up off the ground.
  • Use lightest bags of cement available or cut heavy bags in half.
  • Rotate among various jobs (laying, striking/joining, cleaning).
  • Use block and brick buggies.
  • Limit wheelbarrow lifting load to 90 lbs. max.
  • Use two people when lifting heavy loads.
  • Distribute mortar by forklift.
  • Load pallets with block grip flange on top.
  • Butter block on leg or mud board.

Rates Watch

L&I produces Rates Watch as a regular service to State Fund employers. Using data collected by L&I, Rates Watch analyzes industry trends and advises employers and industry groups on how they can avoid injuries and lower their workers' compensation insurance premiums.

This Rates Watch is produced and distributed by L&I. If you have questions about the information provided here please contact your L&I account manager. His or her phone number is listed on your quarterly report.

L&I offers you a variety of services to help you prevent injuries in you workplace. Call your local L&I office or 1‑800‑423‑7233 to request a no-charge safety and health consultation. Please see L&I's online training tools.

Contact us

For help with a workplace injury please contact your L&I account manager (the phone number can be found on your quarterly report).

To schedule a WISHA safety consultation call the L&I office nearest you.

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