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Published on Friday, March 29, 2013

Workers Comp Retro Programs and workplace safety bills scheduled for hearings

SSB 5112 provides Workers Compensation Retrospective Rating Programs the ability to assist in scheduling independent medical exams and vocational rehab appointments. The goal is to streamline the scheduling process to help employees resolve their cases more quickly. This bill is not a reform measure, but an administrative processing issue. SSB 5112 is scheduled for a hearing in the House Labor and Workforce Development at 10:00am on April 2. AWC’s Retro Program supports this bill and will testify.

HB 1891 addresses workplace safety as regulated by the Department of Labor and Industries (L&I). The bill makes the following changes:

  • Adds requirements to the review process by the Washington Industrial Safety and Health Act (WISHA) Advisory Committee. Not only must WISHA continue to review and make recommendations on civil penalties and ensure federal requirements are met, it must also make recommendations about changing any civil penalties.
  • Requires L&I, at the request of the victim (person injured on the job), to meet with the victim, provide a copy of any citation, reports, and appeals notices, and provide the victim an opportunity to make a statement before the parties at proceedings.
  • Extends the period of time for an employee to file a complaint with L&I from 30 days to 180 days after a violation occurs.
  • Requires an employer to provide eight hours of safety and health training to new members appointed to the Safety committee. Additionally, annual training of no less than eight hours must be provided for each Safety Committee member. Requires that workplace inspections be conducted every three months by one employer and one employee member of the Safety Committee.

HB 1891 is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Commerce & Labor Committee at 1:30pm on April 3. AWC, along with other employer groups, has concerns about the potential for increased costs stemming from these changes.

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