Florida investigators contacted more than 770 employers and issued 70 citations to construction companies and other businesses that put their employees at risk by failing to carry the required workers’ compensation insurance, the result of a two-day statewide sweep of 375 construction jobsites, according to Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater.
“The goal of this sweep was to ensure the safety of Florida’s workforce, especially in the construction industry, where workers encounter potentially dangerous situations daily,” CFO Jeff Atwater said. “Construction companies that don’t carry the required workers’ comp coverage put their employees at great risk and, through gaming the system, are able to outbid responsible companies that play by the rules.”
Investigators with the Department of Financial Services’ Division of Workers’ Compensation Bureau of Compliance and Division of Insurance Fraud made random site visits this week to ensure that employees were covered by the required workers’ compensation insurance.
Under state law, businesses engaged in the construction industry are required to obtain workers’ compensation coverage when they employ one or more employees, including the owner. Businesses engaged in the non-construction industry are required to obtain workers’ compensation coverage when they employ four or more employees, excluding business owners, who are exempt.
When an employer receives a citation or Stop Work Order (SWO), the business must immediately cease all operations until the employer obtains coverage for its employees. SWOs are issued for violations including failure to obtain workers’ compensation coverage, under-reporting payroll such as paying employees in cash instead of payroll checks and misclassifying employees in order to receive a lower workers’ compensation rate. During this sweep, five employers were found working in violation of an already issued SWO.
As Florida’s CFO, Atwater oversees the Department of Financial Services’ Division of Workers’ Compensation, which conducts approximately 34,000 onsite investigations yearly.
Source: Florida Department of Financial Services’ Division of Workers’ Compensation
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