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Worker's Compensation Notification & Reporting Requirements

Instructor: A. Casey Carr-Jones

Casey Carr-Jones holds a Bachelor's degree in English & Psychology. She is currently a PHR-certified Human Resources Consultant.

The State of California has specific workers' compensation requirements that are unique to the state. This lesson reviews the responsibility of a Human Resources department in California to provide information about Workers' Compensation benefits, and what to do in the event of an injury or illness that was a result of being on-the-job.

A Workers' Compensation Claim in California

Carl is a technical manager for Electric Works LLC, a company based in California. One morning, he runs into the Human Resources manager's office and says 'Kelly, I need your help. One of our technicians is headed to the hospital and we need to discuss the next steps for our workers' compensation insurance.' Kelly pulls out a notebook and replies, 'Thanks for coming to me quickly. Can you tell me what exactly happened?'

While the details relating to a workers' compensation claim can sometimes be frightening, a Human Resources department needs to take care in reporting these injuries, completing an investigation, reviewing documentation, and providing information to their staff about employees' rights in the state of California.

Reporting Requirements

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is a federal agency that is responsible for enforcing health and safety legislation. In California, the Division of Occupational Safety and Health is known as Cal/OSHA. Cal/OSHA is charged with the responsibility of protecting working men and women in California.

In California, companies are required to carry workers' compensation insurance at all times. Workers' compensation insurance is a type of insurance that provides compensation benefits to employees who suffer work-related injuries or illnesses.

In the event of a work-related injury or illness, there is a requirement to report incidents to the insurance carriers in a timely manner. If the employee does not lose more than one day of work or if the injury only requires first aid, there are minimal reporting obligations. However, if the employee requires more advanced treatment or misses more time from work, you must report it within one working day of receiving notice of the injury. If there is a death, or a serious injury that results in loss of a body part or that requires more than 24 hours in a hospital, you must report it to Cal/OSHA within eight hours.

Investigation and Next Steps

Investigation of the incident is the best way to determine the course to prevent future accidents. HR should investigate what happened and identify the cause. This investigation should include interviews with witnesses and an inspection of the site of the injury. HR should record their findings in the appropriate OSHA record-keeping log. HR should also stay in touch with the injured or ill employee and cooperate with the insurance claims adjuster. HR should also stay in touch with the doctor providing care, in order to remain informed of the employee's health status. As a part of this step, HR should review the doctor's report and confirm against their notes on the incident.

Posters and Notices

The State of California has mandatory posting requirements for workers' compensation. There are two requirements: a poster and a pamphlet. The poster contains information about the company's workers' compensation insurance (specifically about the insurance representative) and should include a medical emergency phone number and the contact information for the insurance claims administration. This poster should be visible to all staff.

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