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By John Conrad, Sep 17 2016 11:19PM

OSHA has promulgated a rule to require certain employers to electronically submit OSHA 300 Injury and Illness data. Under a final rule that becomes effective January 1, 2017, OSHA will revise requirements for recording and submitting records of workplace injuries and illnesses, to require that some of this information be submitted to OSHA electronically for posting to the OSHA website.

OSHA will post the establishment-specific injury and illness date it collects under the rule on its public Web site (www.osha.gov). Any Personally Identifiable Information (PII) must be removed before the data is released to the public.

Why the new rule? OSHA believes that the new rule will, “encourage employers to increase their efforts in preventing worker injuries and illnesses and enable researchers to examine the data in innovative ways that may help employers make their safer and healthier and may also help to identify new workplace safety hazards before they become widespread”. The net result, we believe, will allow OSHA to better focus their inspection efforts on businesses with the worst injury and illness records.

The electronic submission requirement applies to establishments within two categories:

• Establishments with 250 or more employees that are currently required to keep OSHA Injury and Illness records must submit OSHA 300 (Log of Work Related Injuries and Illnesses), 300A (Summary of Work Related Injuries and Illnesses) and 301 (Injury and Illness Incident Report).

• Establishments with 20 – 249 employees that are classified in certain industries who have historically high occupational injury and illness rates must submit Form OSHA 300A.

Beginning in 2019, the submission deadline will be moved up to March 2nd. The new rule will not affect the current requirement for establishments who currently are required to maintain an OSHA 300 form, to post the 300A summary in a conspicuous place, starting February 1 to April 30 of the year following the year covered by the form. OSHA does not currently have specific information posted on www.osha.gov site “How To” guide on submission specifics, but will update that feature as the submission deadline approaches.

By John Conrad, Aug 29 2016 09:14PM

NCCI has proposed workers compensation rate increases to the Florida Department of Insurance Regulation based on two recent Florida Supreme Court rulings. Increases are requested to offset expected workers compensation benefits and legal expense increases as a result of the Supreme Court rulings. Current NCCI requested increases total 19.6%. Requested NCCI increases, once approved, to be effective 10.1.2016.

A public hearing was conducted in Tallahassee on August 16, 2016. Currently awaiting decision from the FLDOIR regarding both the amount and effective date of the proposed increase.

Key Points Derived from the Court Decisions:

Temporary indemnity benefits will be increased from 104 to 260 weeks. Claimant attorney fee caps to be adjusted upward to “reasonable” hourly fees. If carrier is deemed to be wrong in denying a claim the carrier is obligated to pay the claimant’s attorney’s fees.

Claimant Attorney Target Areas:

Average weekly wage determination is a high value target for claimant attorneys. Average weekly

wage has to be settled within 30 days of claim. At day 31, claimant attorney can recoup all attorney

fees. Something as simple as a gift card can trigger an adjustment to the average weekly wage. The claim is medically reasonable and necessary.

Potential Client Impact:

Increase in claims expenses due to longer temporary disability benefits period allowing for the chance in deterioration of medical condition; more requests for expense medical testing and treatment in order to prove permanent total disability; Higher reserves based on possibility of 260 weeks of temporary benefits; higher impairment ratings based on prolonged medical treatment. The ultimate impact on Medicare set aside amounts is undetermined. Increased attorney fees will be allocated to the indemnity column increasing client EMR.

Mitigation Strategies (Claims):

Increase the focus on accident prevention to eliminate claims. Open clear lines of communication between employer and carrier. Ensure a clear understanding of and focus on accurate reporting of average weekly wage. Agree on average weekly wage prior to 30 day cutoff to avoid litigation and attorney fees. Close carrier scrutiny of temporary benefits.

Mitigation Strategies (Premiums):

Conduct claims review of open claims six months prior to renewal date. Audit experience modification rate worksheets for accuracy. Explore program structures to include risk sharing options.

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