Weekly news and updates from Washington's workers' comp and workplace safety leader
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Oregon Rate Study shows Washington premiums continue to rise

As we noted on our blog this week, the Oregon Department of Business & Consumer Services published its every-two-year report ranking the relative premium costs of the 50 states. For 2016, Washington climbed a few spots to 15th highest premium in the country. This marks a sharp increase of 33 slots since 2010, at a time when Washington's State Fund rates have been held either artificially low or relatively constant, showing a relative decline in premium in other states. Although we have some quibbles with its methodology, the "Oregon Study" frequently features in public policy debates about the cost of workers' comp in Washington. Take a look at our blog post and commentary here.

OSHA delays enforcement of new anti-retaliation rules
The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration has delayed once again enforcement of the anti-retaliation portions of its new rule on electronic illness and injury tracking rule. Originally set to go into effect in August, the new provisions are now on hold until December 1, as a result of litigation pending in Texas over the validity of the rule. Read more about it in last week's OSHA newsletter here.

Labor & Industries notes top 10 safety rule violations
The Department of Labor & Industries has released its list of top ten most common safety and health rules cited during L&I inspections over the last 12 months. Not surprisingly, fall protection continue to be the leader. Take a look here.

WSIA News & Events:

"Fireside Chat" with Dr. Franklin added to the webinar calendar
Earlier this week, we added a new program to our fall/winter calendar, "A Fireside Chat with Dr. Franklin: The Latest in Medical Policy," to take place November 22nd from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Dr. Gary Franklin is the Department of Labor & Industries' Medical Director, and will update participants on all the latest initiatives at the Department and around the country to improve health care delivery and address the prevalence of work-related disability. Broadcast from WSIA's office in Olympia, the fireside chat will have both online and in-person attendance options. Check it out here

Great launch this week of AMA Guides webinar series
Speaking of the new format we've started with online and in-person webinars, yesterday launched our 5-part series on impairment ratings under the AMA Guides, featuring Dr. Edward Dagher (parts 1-4) and attorney Shawna Fruin (part 5). Dr. Dagher gave an overview of the AMA Guides and their use and misuse before applying general principles to a few practice ratings. The next parts in the series cover rating conditions of the upper extremities (November 10th), the lower extremities (November 16th), the spine and more (November 30th), and psychiatric issues (December 8th). You can still register for individual parts of the series a la carte, or for the whole series -- you'll get a link to a recording and handouts for any that you missed live. Full details here.

Liaison Committee to meet Nov. 3
WSIA's Liaison Committee holds its next bi-monthly meeting with the leadership of Labor & Industries' Self-Insurance Section on November 3. The Committee is an excellent forum to bring to light any claims or personnel related issues you may be experiencing with the Department, for resolution or troubleshooting. If you have any issues you would like the Committee to take up with the Department, just drop me a line.

Legislative coalition meetings taking place on Nov. 2 and 11
The Employers' Workers' Compensation Coalition, a voluntary group of State Fund and self-insured employers, associations, and professional service providers working toward ongoing legislative reform, is holding two meetings in the coming weeks. First, on November 2nd from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m., coalition members are holding a discussion with DOSH chief Anne Soiza and Labor & Industries lobbyist Tammy Fellin to discuss in greater detail the Department's 2017 legislative proposal to increase WISHA penalties. That meeting will be held at the offices of the Associated General Contractors in Olympia. Next, on November 11th from 10:00 a.m. to Noon, coalition members are holding a meeting to debrief from the elections and prepare for a hearing of the state Senate Commerce & Labor Committee taking place the following week and focusing on workers' comp reform. Both meetings have a call-in option and are open to any interested employer. Contact Kris Tefft for details.   

Safety Committee to meet Nov. 10
Also coming up is the next monthly meeting of WSIA's Safety Committee, taking place online over the GoToMeeting platform on November 10th from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Committee chair John Shervey asks members to forward any questions or topics of interest as the agenda is developed; he can be reached by clicking here. Discussion topics are set to include reactionary versus proactive safety activities, post-accident drug testing and random testing, reviewing accident investigations, and more. Please pass along to your organization's safety managers if you think they'd be interested in the work of our Safety Committee.  

Celebrating staff anniversaries
Finally, please join me in recognizing our two WSIA staff members who had anniversaries with the organization last week, office & events manager Kari Heinold, who reached seven years last Friday, and professional development coordinator Patrick Koenig, who had his two year anniversary the prior Monday. We all appreciate Kari and Patrick's energy, talents, and commitment to the association. Congratulations on your anniversaries!

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