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When workers’ compensation was first introduced in the U.S. 100 years ago, several types of employment were exempted, including agricultural workers, domestic servants, many railroad workers in interstate commerce, and in some states workers in nonhazardous employments.

More classes of workers were added over time. By 1940, employees earning wages and salaries accounting for 75 percent of wage and salary disbursements were covered by workers’ compensation laws. At the time Mississippi adopted the system in 1948, the percentage rose to about 78 percent. Since that time a decline in domestic servitude, railroading, and agricultural employment, as well as expansions of workers’ compensation coverage, have led to payroll coverage of about 92 percent.

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