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The WSIA Weekly, 9.8.17

Welcome to WSIA: Take a look at our new video about Washington's self-insured community and our efforts on its behalf.
Get your last-minute registrations in for Fall Conference
This time next Friday, September 15th, we'll be gathered at the Embassy Suites in Tukwila for our Fall Conference, the first event in our new program year. If you're on the fence about coming, get your registration in today - it is a great opportunity to network with your friends, bring your concerns to the Director of Labor & Industries, get some take-home tips for improving accident and claim prevention, and even get access to a free high quality accident reporting/workplace safety utility. The program info and registration link is on our website here. Hope to see you next Friday! 

New Paid Family & Medical Leave webinar added for October
Earlier this year, Washington became the fifth state in the nation to adopt a Paid Family & Medical Leave Insurance program covering every employer and employee in the state. Although benefits don't start until January, 2020, efforts are underway right now to get in compliance and prepare for the voluntary, self-insured option for this program. We've put together a great program to educate you on all aspects of this new law, featuring experts who were directly involved in the legislative process that developed it. Join us Friday, October 6th from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. online for the webinar. Program information and registration is available here.

WSIA's Safety Committee to meet next Thursday
WSIA's Safety Committee will be holding a brief meeting next Thursday at its regular monthly time, 2pm-3pm, using the GoToMeeting online platform. On the agenda is a review of topics discussed at yesterday's WISHA Advisory Committee meeting at Labor & Industries, and a preview of topics to be addressed in the following day's Fall Conference. Interested members can get the link to join the meeting right here.

WSIA's Legislative Committee sets fall kickoff meeting
WSIA's Legislative Committee, our group of volunteers who meet to discuss and vet the association's legislative priorities and agenda, is holding its first meeting in preparation of the 2018 legislative session, and all interested WSIA members are invited. The meeting is taking place at Eberle Vivian in Kent on September 28th, from 9:30 a.m. to Noon. The agenda will focus on a report from 2017, an assessment of where things stand politically with the legislature, and a discussion of issues to bring forward next year. A call-in option is available for those who can't make it in person. If you want to attend, get the call-in details, or be on the list for committee notices, please let me know.

L&I announces new SHIP grant availability
Earlier this week, the Department of Labor & Industries announced another season of SHIP grant availability -- the Safety & Health Improvement Project program. SHIP grants are available for innovative workplace safety or return to work programs. It was a SHIP grant that gave us the WA-HSEQ smartphone app, which WSIA Safety Committee chair John Shervey will be demonstrating and making available at the Fall Conference. Generally, SHIP grants are available only to State Fund employers, however self-insured employers may partner with a State Fund employer or worker organization to pursue a grant project. Read more here. Grant applications are due October 31.

Washington Supreme Court issues interesting third party decision
Yesterday, the Washington Supreme Court released its decision in Carrera v. Olmstead, an interesting third party action where the court had to decide whether L&I, as a state agency, was exempt from the Statute of Limitations for tort actions, and whether L&I could seek more recovery than necessary to replenish the State Fund. The court unanimously answered yes to both. It's interesting on the first question that the court's reasoning focuses on L&I as a state agency, not a workers' comp insurer; its reasoning would not apply to self-insured employers. On the second question, it's interesting to see the lengths the court went to distinguish the problematic Tobin decision. Worth a read, here.

L&I sets stakeholder meetings for new beryllium exposure rule
In response to earlier regulatory action by federal OSHA, the Department of Labor & Industries is working on a new rule to govern occupational exposure to beryllium. The first draft of the proposed rule is available here, and the Department has set stakeholder forums in which to discuss it, on Wednesday September 27th, 10am-Noon at L&I HQ in Tumwater, or September 29th, 10am-Noon at L&I offices in Tukwila.  
(c) 2017 Washington Self-Insurers Association, 828 7th Avenue SE, Olympia, WA 98501 
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