Texas Employers Can Require COVID Vaccination, With Exceptions

Texas Legislature Ends COVID-Era Session
TAN-Supported Legislation Passes, Providing Liability Protections for Employers; TAN-Proposed Amendment Prevents Texas Mutual From Entering Nonsubscription Market

The 87th regular session of the Texas Legislature adjourned “sine die” (without a day) on Monday. The session that will be remembered as one of the more bizarre in our state’s history due to the COVID protocols put in place and the weeklong fallout from a devastating winter storm that essentially shut down the state and the session for the better part of a week. Despite the unusual and historic circumstances, the session ended with major victories for Texas businesses and for conservative politicians anxious to set the stage for the critical 2022 state elections that will include new legislative districts expected to be drawn during a special session later this year.

The session began with the election of a new speaker of the House (Dade Phelan, R-Beaumont), temperature checks before gaining entry to the Capitol, limited public access to legislative offices, rules requiring masks in legislative chambers, plexiglass shields separating legislators in committee hearings, and online committee testimony. Despite the COVID-era practices that complicated the 140-day session, it ended much like the previous 86 sessions: with frayed emotions as bills died due to end-of-session deadlines, political posturing for next year’s state elections, a walkout by Democrats to block passage of an election fraud bill and the usual closing tension between the House and the Senate.

Despite the heated debate that accompanied many of the politically divisive issues, several major pieces of legislation were adopted aimed at maintaining and bolstering Texas’ “business-friendly” stature, including liability protections for businesses related to COVID-19, trucking litigation reforms to address skyrocketing commercial vehicle insurance rates, and a measure prohibiting local governments from adopting or enforcing terms of employment-related benefits or practices that conflict with federal or state law.

Here are the highlights of major legislation adopted:

SB 6 provides liability protections for certain individuals, businesses, organizations and institutions that attempt in good faith to follow applicable governmental standards, guidelines or protocols with the purpose of minimizing the spread of a pandemic disease. TAN registered its support for the legislation early in the process and maintained that support until its final passage.

HB 19 revises state laws that govern civil litigation to ensure legitimate evidence relevant to causation and injuries arising from a commercial vehicle accident is presented to jurors without prejudice. Sets forth specific procedures by which facts of a case are presented in court by both the plaintiff and defendant to determine negligence of the defendant and award fair compensation.

SB 3 passed in response to the 2021 winter storm. Establishes provisions related to preparing for, preventing and responding to weather emergencies and power outages to ensure the state of Texas has a reliable electricity grid during energy emergencies. The bill includes requirements for natural gas facilities to properly prepare for extreme weather conditions.

SB 1: The one item the Legislature must pass each session is the bill to fund state government for the next two years. SB 1 appropriates $248.6 billion to fund state operations for the 2022-2023 biennium.

Several key bills of special interest to nonsubscribers also passed.

COVID Presumption
Nonsubscribers watched with interest as more than a dozen bills addressing COVID presumption were introduced. In the end, only one of these bills passed; SB 22 extends presumption protections to Emergency Medical Technicians, firefighters, peace officers and correctional officers.

Not Workers’ Compensation Disclaimer
After more than two years of the Texas Department of Insurance considering the issue, HB 3769 was passed, clarifying which types of insurance policies require the “This is not a workers’ compensation policy” disclosure. The statement must be included on the first page of the policy in a 10-point font and on the first page of material used to market the policy to an employer that does not offer workers’ compensation insurance coverage. TAN was actively involved in discussions about this previously proposed and eventual legislation. TAN expressed concerns and objections to proposed draft language. In the end, TAN submitted edits crafted by members of our organization and most suggestions were incorporated.

Texas Mutual in the Health Care Market
HB 3752 was adopted to allow Texas Mutual to create, acquire, or otherwise own or operate subsidiaries to “offer innovative, cost-effective solutions …” in the health insurance market. The legislation was offered on the premise that the company could serve small to mid-sized employers, as they do in the workers’ compensation market. In response to ambiguity in the bill language and concern from TAN members that the company may attempt to use its state-favored status to enter the nonsubscription market, TAN proposed language to the legislative authors that would prevent Texas Mutual from doing so. TAN’s government relations team was successful in convincing both the author and the company to accept the language. The language was included in the bill that ultimately passed.

A bill to stop local governments from adopting their own employment rules and regulations died in the final hours of the session. SB 14 would have prohibited the adoption of local ordinances attempting to regulate employment practices that do not align with state or federal laws, while streamlining statewide employment regulations.

The session also had more than its share of the usual politically charged issues being approved, including new laws that will:

  • allow the carrying of a handgun in the state without training or a license.
  • punish pro sports teams that skip playing the national anthem before a game.
  • prohibit an abortion as early as six weeks.
  • limit how teachers are allowed to discuss current events and the country’s history of racism.

End-of-Session Webinar for TAN Members
TAN members will be provided an in-depth review of the session, with a focus on legislation of interest to nonsubscribing employers during the organization’s end-of-session webinar scheduled for June 16 at 1:30. Information on the Zoom event will be provided to TAN members.

Texas Employers Can Require COVID Vaccination, With Exceptions

Over the past few months, COVID-19 vaccines have become more accessible, and their safety and efficacy has been repeatedly confirmed. That’s leading many employers to wonder whether they can require employees to get vaccinated in order to return to work.

While the answer varies state by state and involves some exceptions, the simple answer is yes. Any private business in Texas that does not receive public funds may require proof of vaccination before allowing an employee or customer to enter a place of business.

Online rumors have been circulating that asking employees or customers if they have been vaccinated is a violation of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which requires that certain health information be protected. Experts are clear, however, that HIPAA does not apply to situations involving proof of vaccination. As a best practice, of course, employers should refrain from sharing specific information about one employee’s vaccination status (or exemption status) with other employees.

Employers interested in requiring the vaccine should be aware, however, that there are two valid exemptions for employees. If the employer is covered by the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), employees may opt out of vaccination for medical reasons, such as being at risk for an adverse reaction to the vaccine or a medical condition that precludes vaccination. If the employer is covered by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), employees may opt out of vaccination due to a sincerely held religious belief. These exemptions apply only to employers that employ 15 or more employees in 20 or more calendar weeks of the year.

In the case of either exemption, the employer should consider whether the unvaccinated employee poses a direct threat to others in the workplace and must make a reasonable accommodation for the employee unless it would cause undue hardship on the business. This may include allowing the employee to work away from others or remotely, or to take a leave of absence. An employee may lawfully be excluded from the workplace if the direct threat cannot be reduced or eliminated.

In both cases, employers should generally assume that employees’ requests for exemptions are sincere. In response to a request for religious accommodation, however, if an employer has an objective reason to question the sincerity or religious nature of the request, they can request additional supporting information. Similarly, an employer is allowed to request supporting documentation about an employee’s disability if the employee requests an exemption based on medical reasons.

The Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC) recommends encouraging employees to get vaccinated, but not requiring vaccination. Educational campaigns about the vaccines’ safety and efficacy can be more effective than requiring vaccination in some circumstances. Some employers are also choosing to reward vaccination by offering employees who get vaccinated small monetary incentives.

You can read more about the EEOC’s guidelines here.


As Workers Return, Employers Consider Vaccine Policies

Thanks to widespread vaccination, the COVID-19 pandemic is waning, and workplaces all across Texas are reopening. Office employees who have been working remotely are coming back to their cubicles. Shift workers in the manufacturing and hospitality industries are being called back in.

In some cases, all employees are being brought back at once. In others, the reopening is phased in, with some employees continuing to work remotely for part or all of the week while others are on-site full-time. Employers are also using staggered daily shifts to control the number of people on-site at any given time.

Public health officials say that a high vaccination rate is the only sure way to ensure the COVID-19 virus stays under control. Yet the pace of vaccination appears to be slowing, and there is concern that not enough Americans will get vaccinated to reach herd immunity.

The human resources firm Zenefits recently surveyed 1,000 managers and employees at small and medium-sized businesses, asking about vaccination requirements and concerns they have about health and safety at work.

While 45% of respondents said their company did not require vaccination, 61% said their employer had encouraged it.

  • Twenty-four percent said their company was requiring vaccination for all employees (unless legally exempt), while another 20% said it has been required for some employees based on their job description.
  • Half of the respondents said they are comfortable working in an office if not all employees are fully vaccinated. Seventy percent said their job requires interacting with customers, with more than half of those saying they were comfortable working with customers who aren’t vaccinated.

If your company has a policy of requiring or encouraging vaccination, these steps will simplify the process for your employees and increase the coverage rate at your workplace:

  • Offer paid leave for both getting the shot and the time needed to get through adverse side effects. Only half of those surveyed by Zenefits said they were allowed to use paid leave to go get vaccinated. Be aware that through September, businesses with fewer than 500 employees can qualify for a federal paid leave tax credit to help defray the expense.
  • Use low-cost incentives such as transportation gift cards, small one-time cash payments, and company wellness program credits to boost interest in vaccination.
  • Coordinate with other businesses near you to schedule an on-site vaccination clinic. 
  • Have your hiring manager or human resources staff schedule the vaccinations for employees, whether they get the shot through an on-site clinic, at a nearby pharmacy, or at a centralized public health facility. This is particularly key to ensuring employees get the follow-up shot, if needed.
  • Make sure your HR department is prepared to answer employee questions about side effects, vaccine safety, pregnancy concerns and so on, either through materials on hand or by directing them to guidance at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health.

NCCI Report Outlines Status of Industry and Impact of COVID

Pandemic-related job losses and shrinking payrolls during the pandemic resulted in net written premiums in the workers’ compensation system dropping 10% in 2020 to $42 billion, according to data from the National Council on Compensation Insurance. However, NCCI said private insurers still posted a profitable calendar year with a combined ratio of 87, the fourth straight year with a combined ratio below 90 for workers’ compensation insurance.

Other key takeaways from NCCI’s State of the Line Report on workers’ compensation insurance include the following:

  • Reserves — Private insurers had $14 billion more on hand at year-end 2020 to pay unsettled liabilities than was expected.
  • COVID-19 claims — Workers hurt by COVID-19 made more than 45,000 claims in 2020, with more than 95% of those claims costing less than $10,000. Carriers reported $260 million in total COVID-19-incurred losses in 2020.
  • Workers hurt by COVID-19 — Hardest hit were workers in nursing homes, hospitals, clinics and other health care settings, along with first responders, which all together account for 75% of the claims. 
  • COVID-19 severity — To date, the costliest 1% of COVID-19 claims account for 60% of COVID-19 loss dollars.
  • Claim frequency — Excluding COVID-19 claims, claim frequency decreased 7% in 2020, continuing the long-term lost-time claim frequency decline. 
  • Claim severity — While indemnity claim severity is expected to increase 3% in 2020, the average cost of the medical portion of a lost-time claim is expected to change between plus or minus 2%.

You may view the workers’ compensation State of the Line Report and State of the Line Guide by clicking here

Amazon Rolls Out Massive Employee Safety Program

Amazon, the nation’s second largest employer, announced a $300 million investment in employee safety for 2021 that it says will reduce worker injuries 50% by 2025.

Amazon says its WorkingWell program will provide employees physical and mental activities, wellness exercises, and healthy eating support scientifically proven to help workers recharge and reenergize, ultimately reducing the risk of injury. It includes the following:

  • Health & Safety Huddles: Daily opportunities to engage employees on proper body mechanics, wellness and ongoing safety education. Operations leaders and small groups of employees gather near workstations to watch short interactive videos on rotating topics created by health and safety professionals and injury prevention specialists.
  • Wellness Zones: Provide employees with voluntary stretching and muscle recovery via easily accessible, dedicated spaces within Amazon’s operations buildings. These areas incorporate interactive videos and written information to help employees proactively improve health and wellness in areas like body mechanics, wellness topics like best practices in stretching, and ongoing safety education.
  • AmaZen: Stations that include short videos featuring well-being activities, including guided meditations, positive affirmations, calming scenes with sounds, and more.
  • Wellness Centers: Amazon-staffed spaces dedicated to preventing injuries and illness through preventive self-care, health and safety education, as well as first-aid treatment in case of injury.
  • EatWell: Signage in on-site breakrooms highlighting healthy choices such as fruit, granola bars and vegetable snack packs.
  • Neighborhood Health Centers: Affordable health care centers for employees, located within 10 miles of where they work and live. Services offered include prescription medication services, vaccinations, mental health, physical therapy, health coaching for conditions like diabetes and hypertension, and care navigation to specialty referral services, as well as same-day pediatric services.
  • Mind & Body Moments: Hourly prompts employees receive at their workstations guiding them through a series of physical and mental activities to help recharge and reenergize. Designed to reduce muscle and mental fatigue, these activities include stretching recommendations, breathing exercises and mental reflections.

Tips for Reopening the Worksite

As vaccination rates climb and COVID-19 restrictions are rolled back, many businesses face the prospect of bringing a large number of employees back to work on-site. This requires striking a balance between the health and safety of employees and the company’s need for smooth and efficient running of an office, store, job site or warehouse. 

A recent survey asked employees and managers at small and medium-sized companies about their return to on-site work. The survey found: 

  • 60% wanted increased office cleaning
  • 52% supported having more flexibility in work hours and schedules
  • 48% wanted a socially distanced work environment

Key to a successful worksite reopening is to inform employees as early as possible about the process for reopening the worksite. 

  • Be clear and consistent about all new safety rules. Give employees a short, simple guide to the procedures they must follow, and provide training on hygiene and social distancing.
  • Listen and respond to the concerns employees have about the timing for their return to work, the layout of their workspace, etc.
  • Look for incremental ways to enhance on-site health conditions, such as implementing enhanced cleaning protocols, making hand sanitizer readily available in all high-traffic areas such as break rooms and customer service counters. 
  • To the extent possible, consider using staggered shift hours and teleworking options to reduce the number of employees on-site at any given time.
  • For simplicity of implementation, try to align safety procedures, including social distancing for employees, with those set for visitors and customers. 
  • Be mindful of resource limits, such as the cost of enhanced cleaning, availability of health-related supplies, and workspace constraints due to social distancing, when deciding how fast to bring staff back into a facility. 
  • Set a firm rule that employees who have COVID symptoms should not report for work.

Finally, it’s possible that even though the pandemic is coming under control, it is possible there will be another wave of infections. COVID-19 may also turn into a seasonal event like influenza, with cases spiking in the winter or spring. For this reason, you will likely want to continue the safety protocols set in place now. 

Study Reveals COVID’s Impact on Mental Health of Workers

New research from SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) highlights the psychological toll of the COVID-19 pandemic on employed Americans. While millions work to integrate their professional and personal responsibilities, 48% of U.S. workers feel mentally and physically exhausted at the end of the workday, while another 41% report feeling burned out from their work.

The survey on the mental health of U.S. workers more than a year into the pandemic shows burnout and symptoms of depression persist. Of note, working women reported experiencing burnout at significantly higher rates than men, and employees who telework often experience more depressive symptoms compared to those who don’t telework.

Key findings show that in the past few weeks:

  • Nearly half (48%) of employed Americans report feeling mentally and physically exhausted at the end of the workday.
  • Forty-one percent of employed Americans report feeling burned out from their work.
  • Nearly one-third of employees who telework (32%) report often feeling tired or having little energy, seven percentage points higher than those who work in-person.
  • Nearly half of working women (49%) report feeling depleted from their work, 16 percentage points higher than working men.
  • Forty-three percent of working Americans without children in their household report feeling burned out and emotionally drained from work, 9% higher than those with children.
  • “There’s no shortage of challenges facing Americans right now — the COVID-19 pandemic is a public health crisis, an economic crisis and a mental health crisis,” said Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM-SCP, SHRM president and CEO. “Now more than ever, employers must be alert and look for signs that may indicate employees are hurting and take concrete actions to help them as we start returning to work.” 

The research also found a higher percentage of employed young Millennials and individuals in Gen Z have reported experiencing more depressive symptoms often over the past few weeks. Nearly a third of employed younger Millennials/Gen Z report often feeling tired or having little energy (32%), compared to 26% of older Millennials, 30% of Gen X and 20% of Baby Boomers/Traditionalists.

Distracted Driving Major Contributor to On-the-Job Vehicle Accidents

Distracted driving accounted for 74% of on-the-job accidents involving vehicles in 2020, according to a report from Motus, a workforce platform and software company. Speeding was a factor in 31% of on-the-job incidents, according to the report, with driving under the influence the third leading cause of on-the-job vehicle accidents, playing a factor in 18% of accidents.

According to the Motus report “2021 Motus Driver Safety Report: Returning to the Road,” traffic fatalities rose 13% in 2020, despite Americans driving 13% fewer miles as the coronavirus pandemic shut down portions of the nation’s economy. The report attributes the increased fatalities to bad habits drivers picked up while traffic volumes were low.

On average, distracted driving cost employers $72,442 per nonfatal accident and about $4.3 billion total, according to business insurance provider Society Insurance. Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that in 2019, 3,142 fatalities occurred as a result of traffic incidents involving distracted driving.

Distracted driving is any activity that diverts a driver’s attention. The top 10 distractions while on the road are:

  • Texting
  • Talking on the phone
  • Eating, drinking and smoking
  • Grooming, changing or cleaning clothes
  • Reaching for an item
  • Fiddling with your playlist, climate control or GPS
  • Passengers
  • Driving with a pet
  • Visual events outside the vehicle
  • Daydreaming

The report is available here


ABC 3340 News
Those Fully Vaccinated Very Unlikely to Spread COVID-19, Fauci Says
Fully vaccinated people may be a “dead end” to COVID-19. Dr. Anthony Fauci says based on research and data, those who are fully vaccinated are very unlikely to spread the virus. Click here for full article.

EHS Daily Advisor
COVID-19 Safety Training Tips as Employees Return On-Site
As more and more organizations bring employees back on-site, including those that always kept employees on-site, we must continue to be aware of COVID-19 and what it means for employers and employees as the economy picks back up. Click here for full article.

Business Insurance
Mandatory Vaccinations can Lead to Comp Claims, OSHA Recordables
The demand for COVID-19 shots has stalled in the U.S., prompting some employers to implement mandates to get their staff fully vaccinated. Click here for full article.

Construction Dive
OSHA Changes Course on Vaccine Recording Requirements
In a 180-degree shift in policy, OSHA said on Friday that employers do not need to record adverse reactions from COVID-19 vaccines on their OSHA 300 logs. Click here for full article.

Business Insurance America
COVID-19 Workers’ Comp Presumption Laws Based on ‘Misinformation’
The COVID-19 pandemic has created severe headaches for state policymakers across the country. One area of contention has been the role that workers’ compensation insurance should play in helping workers infected with the coronavirus. Click here for full article.

The National Law Review
BWC Proposes New Rule Excluding COVID-19 Claims From an Employer’s Experience Rating
The Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) is proposing a new rule which will exclude COVID-19 claims from an employer’s experience rating. Click here for full article.

COVID-19 and Workers Compensation: What You Need to Know
NCCI has received numerous questions in the last few weeks regarding COVID-19 and the impact it may have on the workers compensation industry. Click here for full article.

Giving 2 Doses Of Different COVID-19 Vaccines Could Boost Immune Response
Typically, if you get a COVID-19 vaccine that requires two doses, you should get two of the same vaccine. Two Pfizer shots, or two Moderna shots. Not one and then the other. Click here for full article.

The Lily
71% of Dads Said Working from Home Boosted Well-being. Only 41% of Moms Agreed.
Sarah Howlett always equated peace with a clean space. But during the height of the pandemic, the freelance journalist and mother of 8-year-old twins found it impossible. Click here for full article.

Rheumatology Network
Patients with Rheumatic Disease Hesitant to Return to Work During COVID-19 Pandemic
Patients with inflammatory rheumatic disease (IRD) have been shielded from the general population in order to prevent infection, which inadvertently caused anxiety related to work obligations, specifically returning to an in-person work environment, according to a study published in BMJ Journals. Click here for full article.

Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 from Inhalation of Virus in the Air Farther than Six Feet from an Infectious Source can Occur
With increasing distance from the source, the role of inhalation likewise increases. Although infections through inhalation at distances greater than six feet from an infectious source are less likely than at closer distances, the phenomenon has been repeatedly documented under certain preventable circumstances. Click here for full article.

The Washington Post
Some Consumer-friendly Air Purifiers Destroy the Coronavirus, and They have FDA Certification to Prove It
Scribner’s Catskill Lodge in Hunter, N.Y., was one in a nationwide sea of hotel establishments to temporarily close last year when the pandemic wiped out tourism and travel. Click here for full article.

State News

Occupational Health & Safety
States with the Highest Rates of Severe Injuries in the Workplace
Severe injuries on the job are common no matter where you are in the United States, but according to a new analysis, there are some states where employees may have heightened risk to broken bones, amputations, and workplace trauma. Click here for full article.

South Florida Reporter
Top 5 States Known For Filing Workers Compensation Claims
Workers’ compensation laws are different for every state. Although they pretty much have the same goal, some specific details can vary per city. Since state legislations govern these laws, they are designed by the federal statutes to provide fixed awards to employees or their dependents in work-related accidents. Click here for full article.

Business Insurance
Drug Costs per Comp Claim Decline in Most States: WCRI
Prescription payments per medical claim decreased by 15% or more in many states, but per claim payments remain high in some areas of the country, according to a report released Tuesday by the Workers Compensation Research Institute. Click here for full article.

Dermatological Agents and NSAIDs Are Leading Prescription Cost Drivers in New 28-State WCRI Drug Trends Study
A new FlashReport from the Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) finds that in most states, dermatological agents and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) have become more important than other drug groups as a share of total prescription payments. Click here for full article.

Alabama Enacts Medical Marijuana Law
Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed legislation legalizing medical cannabis on May 17, 2021. Known as the Darren Wesley “Ato” Hall Compassion Act, the law permits the use of medical cannabis to treat certain medical conditions including Crohn’s disease, depression, epilepsy, HIV/AIDs, panic disorder, Parkinson’s disease, persistent nausea, post-traumatic stress disorder, chronic or intractable pain, among others. Click here for full article.

Insurance Journal
California Contractor Arrested in Nearly $1M Workers’ Comp Scheme
Carolyn Plaza of Fresno, Calif., self-surrendered on May 6 after a warrant for her arrest was issued on six felony counts of insurance fraud. Click here for full article.

Insurance Journal
Report: California Workers’ Comp Written Premium Down in 2020
Written premium for 2020 was 13% below the previous year, and was at the lowest since 2012, a new report out on Thursday shows. Click here for full article.

iStock Analyst
Florida Workers’ Comp in The Age of Remote Working: Essential Information
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, businesses throughout the world have had to adapt to remote work models. This has naturally changed their day-to-day operations in various ways. Click here for full article.

Business Insurance
Comp Claims in Florida Lowest Since Start of Pandemic
In April, Florida employers saw the fewest number of compensable COVID-19 workers compensation indemnity claims since the beginning of the pandemic, according to a report released Tuesday by the Florida Division of Workers’ Compensation. Click here for full article.

Courthouse News Service
Minnesota Insurers Argue Workers’ Comp Doesn’t Cover Medical Pot
Two workers’ compensation insurers took on Minnesota’s medical marijuana program Monday at the state’s high court, arguing that continued federal prohibition of cannabis forbids them from paying for injured workers’ use of the drug for pain relief. Click here for full article.

Firefighters Fight for Workers Compensation for Long-term Health Issues
Firefighters and their families are looking for support from worker compensation in the state of Missouri. Click here for full article.

Montana Legalizes Marijuana for Recreational Use and Will Protect Lawful Off-Work Use
Montana Governor Greg Gianforte recently signed two bills designed to establish the framework for recreational cannabis and to begin to implement Constitution Initiative 118 (CI-118) and Initiative 190 (I-190), which were adopted by vote in the November 2020 election. Click here for full article.

New Jersey: Medical Marijuana Costs Reimbursable in Workers’ Compensation Scenario
Is medical marijuana an expense reimbursable by the employer? For New Jersey employers, the answer is likely yes. Click here for full article.

ABC News 4
Lowcountry Firefighters Support Workers Compensation Bill Covering Mental Health Treatment
They take an oath to protect and serve. First responders risk their lives every day, but the job can lead to tough times, on and off the clock. Click here for full article.

Insurance Journal
New Oklahoma Workers’ Comp Fraud Law Goes in Effect Nov. 1
Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt on May 7 signed into law legislation creating new penalties for workers’ compensation fraud. Click here for full article.

Gov. Ralph Northam Expanding First Responder’s COVID-19 Workers’ Compensation
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam is expanding first responders’ workers’ compensation after signing legislation this Thursday afternoon. Click here for full article.

United States: Beyond COVID-19: Washington SB 5115 Expands Workers’ Compensation Liability And Notice Requirements For Infectious Diseases
On May 11, 2021, Washington State Governor Jay Inslee signed into law SB 5115, the Health Emergency Labor Standards Act (HELSA), which expands the workers’ compensation framework for infectious and contagious diseases and imposes new notice requirements on employers. Click here for full article.

Insurance Journal
Wisconsin Governor Signs Emergency Responder Workers’ Comp Bill
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers has signed a bipartisan bill that makes it easier for emergency responders suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder to file workers’ compensation claims. Click here for full article.

Industry News

Occupational Health & Safety Insurance Journal
Workers’ Compensation Numbers Indicate Strong Performance During 2020 Pandemic
Because of job losses and shrinking payrolls during the pandemic recession, the workers’ compensation industry’s net written premium dropped 10% to $42 billion in 2020. Click here for full article. 

PR Newswire
NCCI AIS 2021 Highlights Report Reflects a Strong and Resilient Workers Compensation System
The US workers compensation system is “emerging from the coronavirus pandemic stronger than ever,” said Bill Donnell, President and CEO of the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI). Click here for full article.

PR Newswire
NCCI Reveals 2020 Workers Compensation Metrics
The National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) today revealed in-depth data on the performance of the US workers compensation system in 2020. Click here for full article.

Employer’s Responsibilities After An Employee Is Injured At Work
Most people know that accidents happen every day, but rarely expect them to happen on their watch. That’s why work injuries can take employers by surprise, even when they’ve done their due diligence by securing a workers’ comp insurance policy. Click here for full article.

Occupational Health Experts Recommend New Guidelines to Prevent Workplace Illness and Injury
AIHA, the association for scientists and professionals committed to preserving and ensuring occupational and environmental health and safety (OEHS), announced new guidelines for developing health metrics in workplaces. Click here for full article.

Jeff Bezos’s Workers Comp Shocker In Final Shareholder Letter
One of the more astounding articles I have seen covering Workers Comp injuries in quite some time hit my inbox recently. The title jumped off the page and ran around the room a few times. Jeff Bezos is obsessed with a common Amazon warehouse injury. Click here for full article.

What Is a Workers’ Comp Exemption?
In most states, if you employ any staff, you are required to have workers’ compensation insurance, which is a specific type of business liability insurance that covers costs associated with on-the-job injuries to employees. Click here for full article.

Occupational Health & Safety
Batteries Might Prevent Workplace Injury
Workplace injuries and deaths have a huge economic impact on the U.S. costing billions of dollars. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), work injury costs totaled $170.8 billion in 2018. One of the top causes was slip-and-fall injuries – an accident that can be completely prevented with proper footwear. Click here for full article.