Things you should know

CSB finalizes rule outlining accidental release reporting requirements

Although the CSB has been in existence for more than 20 years, it never promulgated a rule outlining accidental release reporting requirements as required by its statute. On Feb. 4, 2019, a court ordered the CSB to promulgate the rule within 12 months. Under the proposed rule, the owner or operator of a facility must submit accidental release reports to the Chemical Safety Board within eight hours of the release. The final rule extends by four hours the agency’s proposal of four hours due to several comments CSB received that were generally critical of the shorter timeframe.

NCCI launches Solutions web portal

The National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) launched a new Solutions web portal, which is part of NCCI’s Power Up program and is designed to assist industry stakeholders in decision making.

AmTrust’s 2019 Retail Risk report

In addition to comprehensive data on injury rates, types, and costs in the retail sector, AmTrust’s Retail Risk report offers several tips for retailers on how to make their businesses safer.

Some findings:

  • Lifting was the top reported injury type, accounting for 22% of claims and the highest total payout at $22 million.
  • The top three injuries with the highest average payouts were falls from ladders or scaffolding with an average $21,000 payout; repetitive motion with a $14,000 average payout; and motor vehicle collision with a $13,900 average payout.
  • Injuries that cause employees to file a lost-time claim resulted in an average of 24 days out of work.
  • Four types of businesses – meat, fish, and poultry retail sales; hardware stores; automobile parts and accessory stores; and beauty and hairstyling salons – were the most dangerous.
  • For men, the average cost of a claim totaled $11,641, while for women it was $7,030.

U-Haul implements nicotine-free workforce policy

Beginning Feb. 1 in 21 states U-Haul will not hire anyone who uses nicotine. The first in the field to implement such a nicotine-free workforce policy, U-Haul will not subject existing employees who smoke to the new rules.

Reducing sale of soda in workplace improved health: study

Researchers from the University of California studied 214 UCSF employees to determine if the school’s ban on the sale of soda positively impacted their health. Half of the participants were randomly selected to help them cut back on consumption, but all were allowed to buy soda elsewhere.

Over the course of the study, nearly 70% of the employees saw their waistlines recede, with all the participants losing an average of 0.8 inches. Additionally, workers who reduced their intake of soda and sugary beverages tended to have lower total cholesterol and improved insulin resistance.

FMCSA increases percentage rate for random drug testing of CMV drivers

Effective Jan. 1, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration doubled its minimum rate for random controlled substances testing to 50% of the average number of commercial motor vehicle driver positions.

State News


  • The Labor and Workforce Development Agency has launched a website intended to help employers and workers navigate the state’s recently enacted employment status law, A.B. 5.
  • new study from the Workers’ Compensation Bureau Insurance Rating Bureau (WCIRB), “Physical Medicine Treatments and Their Impact on Opioid Use and Lost Time in California Workers’ Compensation” shows that as physical medicine utilization increases, opioid utilization decreases.


  • The Workers’ Compensation Research Institute’s (WCRI) report on outcomes found that 16% of workers reported not returning to work for at least a one-month period predominantly due to the injury, and 20% reported no substantial return to work within one year of the injury.


  • WCRI’s report on outcomes found that 19 percent of workers had “big problems” getting the services that they or their provider wanted.


  • Registration for CompFile, an electronic filing system, is set to go live this week, and the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission is urging attorneys and law firms to comply. More information.


  • Health Commissioner recently authorized a significant expansion of medical cannabis usage to include those with “chronic pain” as well as macular degeneration. Currently, the most common qualifying condition to be eligible for medical cannabis is a diagnosis of “intractable pain.” For more information.


  • The Workers’ Compensation Court has posted changes to its Rules of Procedure, including new rules on filings, fee schedules, reports of injury and lump-sum settlement. For the revised, 99-page Rules of Procedure.

North Carolina

  • The Workers’ Compensation Research Institute’s (WCRI) “CompScope Medical Benchmarks, 20th Edition,” shows that medical payments per claim in the state have decreased year after year since 2014. The authors of the study attribute that to fee schedule changes in hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) and for nonhospital (professional) services.


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Things you should know

Funding package extends TRIA, eliminates Cadillac Tax

The federal funding package signed by President Donald Trump in late December includes a seven-year extension of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program (TRIA). The Cadillac tax, an excise tax on high cost employer-sponsored health plans, which was a part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) was permanently repealed.

Medical and indemnity payments increase with age of worker: WCRI

A recent study from the Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) found little difference in injury rates and outcomes for workers regardless of their age, with rates highest for workers aged 19 and younger, followed by workers aged 55 to 65. Younger workers are more likely to suffer from struck-by injuries or cuts and older workers more likely to suffer from falls and fractures.

The key differences are in payments per claim and lost time. Payments per claim steadily increased up to age 64, with permanent partial disability/lump sum payments averaging a little more than $10,000 per claim for younger workers, climbing to an average of nearly $25,000 for workers aged 60 to 64. Average duration of temporary disability benefits plateaued at age 45 at 24 weeks compared with nine weeks for the youngest workers.

There was a slightly more than 10% chance to have seven days of lost time at 36 months of maturity for workers aged 15 to 19 and a 31% chance for workers 65. Indemnity payments for workers aged 60 – 64 averaged $22,000 compared to under $5,000 for younger workers.

For the report.

Fatal injuries increase: BLS

Workplace fatalities increased from 5,147 in 2017 to 5,250 in 2018, but the fatal occupational injury rate held steady at 3.5 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Fatalities from transportation remained the most frequent fatal occupational injury, accounting for 40% of occupational deaths. Workplace violence deaths increased 3%, including a 12% increase in suicides, and unintentional overdoses also increased. Fatalities from falls decreased 11% after reaching a 26-year high in 2017 and contact with objects and equipment fatalities declined 13%.

NCCI launches online comp court case tool

Court Case Insights,” a new resource tool from the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI), provides information and interpretations of court cases reported by NCCI’s legal team.

Virginia Beach mass shooting results in 450 comp claims

More than 450 city workers have filed workers’ compensation claims following a mass shooting at the Virginia Beach city offices in May that left 12 dead and six injured. Many of the claims are for mental stress.

State News


  • The new reporting requirements for Cal/OSHA went into effect Jan. 1. AB 1804 directs employers to immediately disclose incidents via telephone or through a new online portal. Employers may continue to send incident reports by email until the agency launches the new site.


  • The maximum weekly benefit level rises to $971, up $31.


  • Governor signs amendments (SB 1557) to The Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act to clarify workplace drug testing and other issues, including protections for an employer’s drug testing policy.
  • Legislation regulating the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in hiring practices went into effect Jan. 1.
  • The Workers’ Compensation Commission is reminding stakeholders that it has proposed a new rule, required by Senate Bill 94, that specifies how an insurer must send a complete explanation when medical bills are denied.


  • new study by the Department of Health of Workers’ Compensation Data aims to help identify priorities for reducing injuries and illnesses among private workers. One finding shows that health care continues to be one of the most dangerous types of work in the state, and violence against health workers is one of the leading causes of injuries.


  • The Department of Commerce and Insurance has recommended a 1.6% decrease in workers compensation insurance loss costs for 2020. The change is one of the smallest in the country and the smallest decrease in recent years.

New York

  • The Workers’ Compensation Board has published FAQs relating to the drug formulary.
  • The law prohibiting employers from asking applicants about their salary histories went into effect Jan. 6.


  • The insurance commissioner approved a 7.1% overall loss cost decrease for 2020, lower than the recommended 8.2% from NCCI. The reduction will become effective March 1, 2020.


  • The Corporation Commission has approved an overall loss cost decrease of 10.7% for the voluntary market and an 8.4% decrease for the assigned-risk market, effective April 1.
  • The State Corporation Commission (SCC) has approved revisions to the premium levels that will lower the overall premium level for the industrial, federal, surface and underground coal mine classifications in the voluntary market and assigned risk plan. The changes become effective April 1.

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