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Changing Equipment May Result in Changing Your Print Shop’s Workers’ Comp Class Code

When printing companies purchase equipment that allows for new products and services, it can change the applicable classifications of their employees on their workers’ comp policy.

In the California Workers’ Compensation Uniform Statistical Reporting Plan (1995), some classifications are grouped alphabetically under industry groupings to help users identify and assign classifications within similar industries. The “Printing, Publishing, and Duplicating Industry Group” has 23 classifications applicable to various segments of the sector.

But just a few small changes to how a printing shop operates can push them into another class code with different rates. It’s important for small printers to understand that even changing one machine can affect their workers’ compensation rates.

Take the case of two similar classes and how one change can result in a classification change for workers.

Many small and medium-sized printing and duplicating companies are assigned to:

  • Classification 8019(1), printing – quick printing, or
  • Classification 8019(2), document duplication or photocopying service

Each of these classifications includes footnotes that define and restrict the operations that can be assigned to the classification.

Classification 8019(1) applies to those locations engaged in job printing using sheet-fed offset printing presses on paper not exceeding 18″ x 24″. This classification does not apply to locations that use roll-fed presses or where the paper fed to the press exceeds 18″ x 24″.

The key restriction for Classification 8019(1) is paper size; the classification applies to offset printing operations, but only when sheets of paper no larger than 18″ x 24″ are used.

Trouble will often arise when a quick print shop converts from individual sheet to roll-fed paper. The use of roll-fed paper disqualifies an employer from assignment to Classification 8019(1).

Employers conducting offset printing on roll-fed paper, or on sheets larger than 18″ x 24″, are assigned to companion classifications 4299(1), printing operation – all other employees, and 8813(1), printing operation – editing, designing, proofreading, and photographic composing.

Classification 8019(2) applies to print shops engaged in document duplication or photocopying on a job basis using electrostatic copiers, scanners, ink jet printers, or laser printers on paper of any size. This classification also applies to locations that reproduce technical drawings, sketches and renderings for architects, contractors, engineers, and similar customers.

This classification does not apply to locations that perform offset printing, however.

Classification 8019(2) is not applicable to offset printing, but applies to other types of document printing, including electrostatic duplication, ink jet printing, and laser printing.

There is no paper size restriction applicable to Classification 8019(2) and, for this reason, it often applies to the production of oversized documents, such as technical drawings.

The takeaway

The Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau of California says that some document duplication shops evolve into “quick sign shops” when they expand beyond document duplication and use large-format inkjet printers or similar equipment to produce signs and advertising graphics.

And when that happens, they need to change the classification to be rated properly.

If a printer fails to notify their insurance carrier of these changes, eventually they could be rerated and owe back premiums.

If you are upgrading your shop with new equipment or if you are expanding your service offerings, you should call us at Visual Media Alliance Insurance Services to go over your current workers’ comp policy to make sure you don’t need to change classifications. Call Shannon at 415-710-0568 to get started.

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