Horse Racing

Workers’ Compensation in the Horse Racing Industry

Employers in the field of horse racing face much higher cost for work comp insurance due to the greater risk (higher frequency and higher severity) involved for both jockeys and handlers of the horses.

  • Horse racing tracks have associations where the members often self-insure for work comp coverage.
  • Stables who are not in a self-insurance group obtain work comp coverage from carriers who specialize in this market.

Horsing racing tracks are found in approximately 20 states with California having the most tracks.

  • There are a variety of jobs available in the equine related field including:
    • Jockeys
    • Groomers
    • Riders
    • Trainers
    • Stable hands
    • Owners
  • Most of the workforce is dedicated and will stay with a stable owner for years.

The physical hazards include:

  • Working around horses
  • Trips and falls on rough tracks and rough ground
  • Lifting of heavy objects

Safety programs do exist but are not always enforced.

The quality of medical care available when an injury occurs varies with the size of the stable or the track.

  • Large horse racing tracks will have medical care plans established before an injury occurs.
  • When injuries occur to employees medical treatment is often not readily available due to the rural location.
  • In the states where the employer can select the medical provider, the number of choices may be limited due to the low number of medical providers in rural locations.

Comparable to other industries, the indemnity benefit levels are about average for equine field employees, but tend to run longer when incurred due to the higher severity of injuries.

Some categories related to horse racing that would have the same or similar work comp issues include:

  • Greyhound racing tracks
  • Tennessee walking horse stables
  • Polo club organizations
  • Rodeo organizations

Transitional / Modified Duties in the Horse Racing Industry

Employees in the field of Horse Racing who are restricted from their regular duties may be challenging to accommodate. Consideration should be given to placement with a non-profit agency to keep the employee active and more focused on being productive that at home dwelling on his injury and disability.

If there is an applicable Union Contract, be sure to review the terms to verify modified duty is not prohibited or restricted. Temporary accommodations include:

All Employees: Consider placement in the office to help catch up on paperwork, data entry or light cleaning.
All Employees: Consider projects around the stable that are within the physician assigned abilities.
Employees experienced with horses: Depending on the nature of the work comp injury,  consider utilizing employees as an exercise rider, groom or vet assistant.

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