News from Washington's Workers' Comp & Workplace Safety Leader
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The WSIA Weekly, 11.20.15

Legislative committee holds work session on workers' compensation issues
Members of the Washington State Legislature convened in Olympia this week for an informal series of meetings and hearings known as "committee week," as it ramps up to the start of the 2016 legislative session in January. The House Labor Committee held a work session this morning inviting speakers to weigh in on two different workers' compensation issues. First, the committee heard comments on proposals to modify or eliminate the statutory offset for social security retirement benefits. Department of Labor & Industries' Vickie Kennedy provided a history and overview of the offset and a critique of the extreme financial impact of eliminating it. A representative from the state trial lawyers' association spoke in favor of a proposal to eliminate the offset for workers already receiving social security retirement income prior to an injury. WSIA spoke in strong opposition to the former, and noted the more narrow proposal was new and has not been vetted. Second, the committee heard comments from Director Joel Sacks and business and labor representatives over the Department's 2016 State Fund rate proposal and the current financial standing of the State Fund.    

Department announces adoption of IAIABC national data standards for self-insurance
Consistent, useful, accurate collection of self-insurance claims data in Washington has been a longstanding goal of WSIA. Standardized data collection should allow for meaningful comparisons and benchmarking within Washington and around the country. The Department of Labor & Industries has taken a major step in the right direction by announcing today its commitment to adopt, at our request, the national data standards of the International Association of Industrial Accident Boards and Commissions (IAIABC) as part of the development of the new Self-Insurance Risk Analysis System (SIRAS). We're excited to see this addition to the SIRAS system, and look forward to working with Labor & Industries and our members to implement it over the next year. Read L&I's announcement here.

Labor and Industries solicits feedback on draft policy for time loss payment
The Department of Labor & Industries is soliciting feedback on a new draft policy governing the 14 day period for the payment of initial time loss benefits. The Department claims the policy is being rewritten for clarity. WSIA members may want to take a look and comment. You can compare the current policy here, and the new draft policy here. Any comments should be e-mailed to by December 1.  

Safety rule updates
Earlier this week, the Department formally adopted new rules governing lockout-tagout procedures for sawmills as well as formatting changes to its various safety rules, making them consistent in format and easier to access and search electronically. You can see the adopted sawmills rule here and updated rule format here. Both go into effect next month.

Back December 4th
The WSIA Weekly will be back December 4th. We wish everyone a happy, safe, and blessed Thanksgiving holiday next week.
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