State: MN Report Says Paid Comp Claims Down 43% from 1997 to 2010:

The number of paid workers’ compensation claims fell 43% relative to the number of employees from 1997 to 2010, the 2010 “Minnesota Workers’ Compensation System Report” released Tuesday by the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry shows.

The report says the workers’ compensation claim rate fell to 4.9 claims per 100 full-time-equivalent employees in 2010 from 8.7 in 1997.

Department Commissioner Ken Peterson said the report “underscores that Minnesota’s workplaces have become much safer for employees and comparatively less costly for employers ...

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State: CA DIR Launches Website to Aid Injured Workers:

The Division of Workers’ Compensation has launched a new website to help guide injured workers through the administrative claims resolution process.

DWC Administrative Director Rosa Moran issued a statement on Wednesday explaining that the online resource was created because workers who are hurt “need accurate information and assistance, and they need it quickly.”

She said that “(t)oo often injured workers are unaware of their rights or how to proceed with their claim,” and the website can “take them through the entire process ...

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State: CA Owners of Construction Company Charged with Fraud:

The San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office filed fraud charges against the owners of a Southern California construction company for allegedly underreporting payroll to their workers’ compensation carrier.

The District Attorney’s Office charged Gary Renshaw, 50, his wife Tammy Renshaw, 50, and their daughter Brittney Renshaw, 23, with nine felony counts of committing fraud to obtain workers’ compensation insurance at a reduced rate. Gary and Tammy owned GLR Companies Inc. in Yucaipa, and Brittney was an employee of the company.

Investigators allegedly ...

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State: OK Alternative Benefits Bill Awaits Vote, Opponents Call It 'Obama Comp':

Backers of legislation to allow Oklahoma employers an alternative to workers’ compensation coverage reported on Monday the proposal is expected to be considered in the House of Representatives later this week or next week.

Meanwhile, opponents of the legislation have attacked it as “Obama Comp” and contend it would result in the “federalization” of Oklahoma’s workers’ compensation system.

House Bill 2155 was returned to the House after the Senate voted 28 to 17 on April 18 to approve a Senate committee substitute ...

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State: WV High Court Affirms Board in 10 Comp Rulings:

The West Virginia Supreme Court issued a series of memorandum decisions upholding administrative rulings in 10 workers’ compensation cases on Monday.

In Booker v. West Virginia Office of Insurance Commissioner et al., No. 101481, the court affirmed the denial of benefits to Debra K. Booker for her bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome.

Two doctors had testified that her condition developed because of the nature of her occupation, but two others disagreed. The Office of Judges, Board of Review, determined Booker’s job ...

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State: PA SWIF Probe: Auditor was on Staffing Firms' Payroll for Decade:

By Michael Whiteley, Eastern Bureau Chief

An auditing supervisor for the State Workers’ Insurance Fund (SWIF) was on the payroll of three Pennsylvania staffing companies for at least a decade before he was arrested on bribery charges Monday by a special investigations unit of the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office, according to the criminal complaint filed against him.

An affidavit filed Monday in connection with James McDonnell’s arrest alleges McDonnell became a private consultant for American Personnel Services, Wallieo Enterprises and Certified Flagger ...

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State: FL Contractor Charged in Shell Company Case:

The president of a West Florida construction company was arrested last week on charges of falsifying payroll information to reduce workers’ compensation premiums paid to Guarantee Insurance Co. and illegally using a “shell company.”

Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater said Friday that Randall Morton Seltzer, 43, the president of Navarre Industries, was charged with workers’ compensation fraud and grand theft, following an investigation by the Department of Financial Services (DFS) Division of Insurance Fraud.

“Workers’ compensation insurance is vital to the ...

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State: OK House and Senate Pass Workers' Comp 'Opt-Out' Bills:

By Bill Kidd, Central Bureau Chief

Legislation that would make Oklahoma only the second state in the nation to allow employers to opt out of the workers’ compensation system has cleared both houses of the state Legislature, but the final language hasn’t been determined as lawmakers work out differences in two versions.

Both the House of Representatives and the Senate approved the “Oklahoma Employee Injury Benefit Act” but in separate measures.

Senate Bill 1378 by Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa, passed ...

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State: FL Legislature Votes to Abolish Injured Worker Retraining Program:

The Florida Legislature voted late Friday to abolish the state Bureau of Rehabilitation and Reemployment Services and allow the state to contract the rehabilitation of injured workers out to private vocational counselors.

The Senate voted 36 to 1 to approve a report on House Bill 5203 from a House-Senate conference committee. The House approved the measure by a vote of 118 to 0.

If signed by Florida Gov. Rick Scott, the bill would eliminate 27 workers in the bureau and close the ...

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State: HI Uninsured Contractors Fined, State Investigating other Complaints:

A task force comprised of multiple state agencies fined contractors building a townhouse project $45,025 for not carrying workers’ compensation insurance and multiple safety violations, according to a report by Hawaii News Now.

Deputy State Labor Director Audrey Hidano said seven contractors and subcontractors at the project in West Oahu were fined a combined $19,550 for not carrying workers’ compensation insurance. The contractors have coverage now, Hawaii News Now reported.

Hidano also said inspectors from the Occupational Safety and Health Division found ...

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