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News Release
DCBS releases national study on workers' compensation costs - 10/10/18

(Salem) – Oregon’s workers’ compensation rates remain among the lowest in the nation, according to an analysis released today 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, 2018.

Oregon had the sixth least expensive rates in 2018, an improvement from its ranking as the seventh least expensive state the last time the study was done, in 2016. DCBS recently announced that Oregon workers’ compensation rates would decline further – an average 9.7 percent – in 2019. Workers’ compensation pays injured workers for lost wages and medical care for job-related injuries.

“Oregon continues to demonstrate that it’s possible to maintain low employer costs while providing strong support to workers,” Governor Kate Brown said. “We must remain committed to working together to balance employer rates and worker benefits, and to help injured workers heal and return to work quickly.”

The study shows New York had the most expensive rates, followed by California. Meanwhile, North Dakota had the least expensive rates. In the Northwest, Washington’s rates were the 16th most expensive and Idaho was the 21st most expensive.

Oregon researchers also compared each state’s rates to the national median (the 26th ranked state) rate of $1.70 per $100 of payroll. Oregon’s rate of $1.15 is 68 percent of the median.

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.

A summary of the study was posted today; the full report will be published later this year.

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.

“Oregon employers and employees understand the importance of keeping workplaces safe,” said Cameron Smith, DCBS director. “That commitment continues to be a major factor in keeping costs down.”

Here are some key links for the study/workers’ compensation costs:

• To read a summary of the study, go to https://www.oregon.gov/dcbs/reports/Documents/general/prem-sum/18-2082.pdf  

• Prior years’ summaries and full reports with details of study methods can be found at https://www.oregon.gov/dcbs/reports/protection/Pages/general-wc-system.aspx  

• Information on workers’ compensation costs in Oregon, including a map with these state rate rankings, is at https://www.oregon.gov/dcbs/cost/Pages/index.aspx

Learn about Oregon’s return-to-work programs, workers’ compensation insurance requirements, and more at https://wcd.oregon.gov/Pages/index.aspx

Request a no-cost workplace safety or health consultation, and learn about workplace safety and health requirements and resources at https://osha.oregon.gov/Pages/index.aspx


The Department of Consumer and Business Services is Oregon’s largest business regulatory and consumer protection agency. Visit www.dcbs.oregon.gov.


View more news releases from Oregon Dept. of Consumer & Business Services.