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The WSIA Weekly, 6.12.15

New safety penalty rule formally adopted – effective September 1, 2015

On Tuesday, the Department of Labor & Industries formally adopted a rule update it had been considering for over a year, modifying the penalty calculation process for violations of the Washington Industrial Safety and Health Act (WISHA). Adopted in response to changes in federal OSHA policies, the new rule adds definitions, includes a new matrix for matching violations with penalties, and includes new provisions for various mitigation of penalty amounts. Some background on the rulemaking can be viewed here, while the adopted language can be viewed here, an overview of the rule changes here, and the Department’s required explanatory statement and response to public comments it received here. The new process for calculating WISHA penalties goes into effect September 1, 2015.

Employer nominees selected for the Benefit Accuracy Working Group

Yesterday, the employer workers’ compensation legislative coalition met to discuss nominees to the Department for the two employer reps to the Benefit Accuracy Working Group, the business-labor-department collaborative created by the Legislature this year to discuss and report back potential improvements to the accuracy, simplicity, consistency, and fairness of the wage calculation in workers’ compensation. The coalition selected Tammie Hetrick, Vice President of Retail Services for the Washington Retail Association, and Lisa Vivian, owner of Eberle Vivian, to represent the State Fund and Self-Insured employer communities, respectively, in the working group. We anticipate the group will begin meeting next month, and we’ll be closely following its discussions and any progress.

Materials from WSIA-L&I Self-Insurance Colloquium available online

On Tuesday, WSIA and Labor & Industries held our summer colloquium on occupational health best practices at the Starbucks corporate HQ in Seattle. The day’s conference covered issues ranging from updates to the ICD-10 codes, the DSM-5, the Coston penalties rule on medical bills, an approach to “integrated care” to deal with psychosocial and non-injury factors that complicate claims, evidence based medicine, new opioid guidelines, and surgical best practices. We’ve compiled all the presentation slides into one link at our website, which interested members can view by clicking here.

Last chance to register for marijuana issues webinar

There are only a few days left to register for our webinar taking place next Thursday, June 18th from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., featuring attorney Erin Sullivan-Byorick and toxicologist David Michaelson. The two are exploring the workers’ compensation and workplace safety implications of legalized recreational (and medical) marijuana in Washington, from both a practical legal and technical perspective. Topics include how much marijuana in the blood shows up in test results? What constitutes a positive test? How will Labor & Industries address marijuana use? Can an employee return to work while using medical marijuana to manage pain? Will there be occupational health guidelines around the use of marijuana? 1.5 WWCP statutory credits are available, and Department CEU credit is pending. Use this link for more info and to register.

See our other summertime webinars and events at our Calendar of Events