Supreme Court clarifies occupational disease evidence question
While we were away just over a week ago, the Washington Supreme Court released its decision in Street v. Weyerhaeuser (background here), which raised the issue whether medical expert testimony is required to show that a contended occupational disease "arose naturally" from the distinctive conditions of employment, just as medical testimony is required to demonstrate a disease "arose proximately" from employment. WSIA and a number of allied employer organizations filed an amici curiae brief supporting Weyerhaeuser's position that the court should, like L&I and the Board, require such testimony. Somewhat unsurprisingly, the Court instead held on a 9-0 basis that medical evidence is not required to prove an occupational disease arose from the distinctive conditions of a claimant's particular employment. The court would allow, as in this case, lay testimony from supervisors, co-workers, and so on to satisfy the requirement. Read the decision here.
Legal Issues Workshop 2017 now open for registration
Earlier this week, we opened registration for this year's installment of our popular annual event, the Legal Issues Workshop. Led this year by Mike Graham and Gibby Stratton, we're excited to train on the hottest legal and public policy issues in workers' compensation and moreso excited to host the event right here in Olympia in the seat of state government. As an added bonus, WSIA will be hosting a reception here at our office for attendees. Space is limited for this one to keep it interactive, so take a look at the program details here and be sure to register early.
New speakers added for Fall Conference September 15
We're just under a month to our Fall Conference taking place September 15th in the SeaTac-Tukwila area, and are excited to announce that we continue to add panelists to the line-up, including this week safety executives from Trident Seafoods, who will be back to brief us on their continued development of their Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) and recent certification, alongside panelists from other WSIA VPP companies. The neat thing about hearing from companies like this, even if you're not looking at VPP status, is to hear about the best practices on safety culture that receive that kind of external validation, and take those concepts back home. Check out the rest of the great line-up of speakers here, and don't wait to register!
Department releases foot and ankle revised guideline
Earlier this week, the Department released its updated treatment guideline for foot and ankle conditions, effective October 1. You can access it here. You may recall the initial draft of this guideline was controversial to us as it expanded substantially causation around non-acute instances of plantar fasciitis, and we asked WSIA members at the end of June to submit comments to that effect. Although the resulting guideline isn't perfect, we're happy to report that section has been scaled back significantly in recognition of the conflicting science on occupational exposures, thanks to the many comments submitted by WSIA members.
Congratulations to Hoffman Construction's Travis Wright, a 2017 Life Saver
This spring, we encouraged WSIA members to nominate for the Governor's recognition any employees whose quick thinking or action had saved a life on the job. Earlier this week we were made aware of the Governor's Industrial Safety & Health Advisory Board selecting Hoffman Construction employee Travis Wright to receive a 2017 Lifesaving Award at the Governor's Safety & Health conference next month. Travis saved the life of a young employee of a subcontractor on a job site who had stopped breathing. Congratulations, Travis! If you ever have good news like this from your company, please pass it along so we can recognize the important work of our self-insured community here in the newsletter!