The costs of workers’ compensation insurance will go down for many businesses in Washington next year. Today, the state Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) announced that the average amount employers and workers pay for the coverage will drop by 2.5 percent in 2018.

After proposing this decrease in September, the agency hosted several public hearings around the state to take input. L&I Director Joel Sacks made the final decision this week.

“We’ve made several improvements that are helping injured workers heal, return to work sooner and avoid long-term disability,” said Sacks. “We’ve also used small rate increases in recent years to make the workers’ compensation system healthier and to build our contingency reserve. As a result, we’re able to cut premiums in 2018.”

The rate decrease means employers will pay about $34 less a year per employee for workers’ compensation coverage in 2018. As a group, Washington employers will pay $67 million less in premiums. Employees will also pay less for their share.

The 2.5 percent workers’ compensation premium decrease is an average; individual employers may see smaller or larger drops depending on that employer’s industry and claims history. For that same reason, some employers will see increases.

L&I attributes the decrease to several factors, including the improved economy, employers and workers focusing on safety, and L&I initiatives that are helping injured workers recover sooner and reducing workers’ compensation costs.

The new rates go into effect on Jan. 1, 2018. More information about 2018 workers’ compensation rates is available at www.Lni.wa.gov/Rates