Washington employers have long complained about the high cost of doing business in the state, including workers’ compensation claims and insurance premiums. Now, they can take control of this annoying problem.
The seminar is free, but registration is required. Participants can register online or by calling 1-800-574-2829.
The complete schedule of dates and locations is here. The next workshop is in Kennewick on June 10, 2009. The final workshop this year is in Tacoma on December 9, 2009.
According to L&I, the workshop is an overview of basic workers’ comp claims management principles. Participants will learn: (more…)
In the District of Columbia, basically all employees or thereabouts are required to have workers’ comp coverage. The rule actually states that employers with one or more employees have to have this type of insurance. As I said, basically, all employers in Washington D.C. should.
One of the other requirements of the Washington D.C. workers’ comp labor law is that all employers also have to have a workers’ compensation poster put up in their work site so that all of your employees understand their rights and responsibilities under the law. More on the employees’ responsibilities later.
Let’s first look at the workers’ rights when it comes to workers’ comp. Remember, the general rule about workers’ comp is that it is meant to protect them if they get hurt or sick on the job. The coverage assures your workers that they will get the medical care that they need after they are hurt, especially the emergency medical care that is sometimes required after a serious injury at the work site. It also assures them that they will be compensated for any lost wages due to time away from work because of their injury.
In many cases, workers who suffer serious injuries cannot go to work for weeks, maybe even months, after the injury occurs. They are entitled to certain amounts of disability payments depending on what sort of injury and disability it is, whether it is a temporary partial disability or a permanent full disability, meaning that their injuries are serious enough to keep them from returning to their former jobs forever.
Much if not all of this information can be found in the workers’ comp poster that you are required under Washington D.C. labor law to post on your work sites. But as we will shortly see, the poster does more than just allow you to abide by the law.
As I was saying, the mandatory workers’ compensation posters in the Washington, D.C. area also serve other interests besides just you following the labor law of the land. The workers’ comp poster also allows your employees to learn what their responsibilities are under the workers’ comp labor laws. The poster can help teach them, for instance, what they are required to do when an injury occurs on the job.
The poster, for instance, tells employees that under the law they are required to report their injuries as quickly as possible to you their employers, as well as to the Office of Workers’ Compensation. Even if the employee doesn’t think much of their injury, and the injury isn’t an emergency, they must still report it to you.
There is a special form that your employees must use to report these injuries, called the Notice of Accidental Injury or Occupational Disease, which you should have copies around the office of. After the employee completes it and signs it, they have to mail it in to the Office of Workers’ Comp. They should also mail or hand you a copy of the completed form as well.
In the Washington D.C. system, employees can choose which doctors that they go to for their medical care. In some other states we looked at before, if you can remember that far back, the states make it so that employers and their insurance companies can decide what doctors the employees go to.
In the event that an employee does not report the injury to the Workers’ Comp Office, then it is up to you the employer to notify them and your insurance company, preferably no more than 3 days—no more than 10 days at the latest—after the injury was reported to you by the employee.
We’re talking the state of Washington next. We’re not talking about Washington D.C. I know, we haven’t gotten around to talking workers’ comp in the nation’s capital just yet, and I promise that we will eventually. In the meantime, let’s deal with the state of Washington on the West Coast. Both places are named after the famous general and first president, but both of their workers’ comp situations are different and worthy of their own look.
First, let’s go to the state of Washington. There, it’s important for all employers with workers’ comp coverage for their employees to understand all about injury reporting and making a claim on your workers’ comp policy. You should be familiar with how such a claim will affect your policy and how much it will affect your premium, more importantly.
For instance, in the state of Washington, disability payments can much more greatly affect your workers’ comp insurance rates than if you just have to pay the medical bills for an injury. That’s because disability payments are what are called long tailed claims, meaning they can stretch on for years and years, during which time the insurance company will make regular payments to your employee. Medical bills typically are one time payments, and end as soon as they are paid.
Employers should also know that once they report an injury, that claim isn’t over. You shouldn’t forget about that worker and that injury. Instead, you should make certain to be regularly updated on the workers’ condition and how your insurance company is handling their claim.
Last but not least, employers should not forget that a first report of injury form may not even have to be used if you follow simple safety guidelines at your work sites. That is where safety posters ergonomic training can certainly come in handy with your workers.
The Washington state workers’ comp system is primarily designed to deliver to employees approved medical care in case they suffer a work-related injury, as well as any hospital care they may need if that injury is relatively serious. The system also delivers to those injured workers compensation for lost wages should they not be able to return to the job after the injury for a time.
As in the other states that we have looked at in the workers’ comp world, in Washington the system is built upon the premise that the employers have to cover for their employees. And as with other state systems that we’ve looked at, the employers get something in return for providing workers’ comp coverage to the employees: Employers in most cases cannot then be sued by their employees if an injury occurs because of potential negligence or liability.
Washington has one of the more unique systems in the workers’ comp world, however, because employers buy their workers’ comp coverage through the state’s workers comp division, which has the nickname the L&I. This state division also is responsible for managing all of the claims that come in from the state’s employers, and for dispersing money and benefits out to the needy employers and employees.
All of this pay out is paid for by the premiums that Washington employers have to pay to the state L&I department. All employers have to work through this workers’ comp system in Washington. It starts for a new business as soon as they apply to become a new business. If they plan to hire employees, they must sign up an application with the L&I division so that they can get a Master Business License and open up a workers’ comp account.
If they are an existing business that is taking on new employees, then the employer must change their Master Business License to cover those additional employees in their workers’ comp program.