Question:

I understand that in the near future, employers will have yet another posting requirement. Do you know what that new requirement is?

Answer:

Your question is very timely. The California Division of Workers’ Compensation (“DWC”) recently finalized regulations that require employers in the State of California to post a new “Notice to Employees – Injuries Caused by Work.” No later than October 8, 2010, employers must begin posting this new notice in an area of the workplace that is frequented by all employees, such as a break room. This requirement applies to both fully insured and self-insured workers’ compensation programs. The notice must be posted in an area where it is clearly visible and is not covered by other notices. If an employer has Spanish-speaking employees, the notice must be posted in both English and Spanish.

There is certain information that must be included on this notice:

  • the name of the workers’ compensation insurance carrier or, if the employer is self-insured, the individual who is responsible for claims adjustment;
  • how the employee can obtain emergency medical treatment if needed;
  • emergency phone numbers for hospital, ambulance, police, and firefighting services;
  • the types of illnesses and injuries covered by workers’ compensation;
  • advice that the employer may not be responsible for compensation because of an injury due to the employee’s voluntary participation in any off-duty recreational, social, or athletic activity that is not a part of the employee’s work-related duties;
  • notification to the employee of his or her right to receive medical care;
  • notification to the employee of his or her right to select and change a treating physician;
  • notification of the employee’s right to receive disability benefits, supplemental job displacement benefits, and death benefits, as appropriate;
  • the person or persons to whom the employee must report work-related injuries;
  • the time limits by when the employee must notify the employer of a work-related injury or illness;
  • that the employee cannot be subjected to discrimination for reporting an injury or illness or filing a claim pursuant to Labor Code section 132a;
  • the location and telephone numbers of the nearest information or assistance officers; and
  • a description of Medical Provider Networks (“MPN’s”), which are selected networks of health care providers to provide treatment to employees who are injured on the job.

An employer can create this notice or obtain one on the State of California Department of Industrial Relations website at
www.dir.ca.gov/dwc/forms/DWCForm7_2010.pdf.
The employer can then fill in its own specific information on that form.

If your company is within an existing Medical Provider Network, you must create an MPN notice that must be posted next to the “Notice to Employees – Injuries Caused by Work” poster. This notice must at a minimum include the following information: that medical treatment for new injuries will be covered through the MPN unless the employee pre-designated a treating physician or medical group before being injured; when an employee must begin to use a physician from the MPN; that existing on-the-job injuries may be transferred to the MPN; and how to request information about using the MPN. The employer should also include on the notice the MPN contact telephone number, address and, if available, the MPN website address/URL. The notice should also include the effective date of MPN coverage for the MPN being used by the employer to cover current injuries.

If an employer is implementing, changing, or terminating an MPN, a notice must be posted next to the “Notice to Employees – Injuries Caused by Work” poster notifying employees that an MPN is being implemented, changed, or terminated. This notice must also be posted by October 8, 2010. If you do not wish to create a form, you can go to
www.dir.ca.gov/dwc/FORMS/MPN_MaterialModification_oct2010.pdf
to print out a form, which you can then complete.
Employers must also distribute to their employees a new “Facts About Workers’ Compensation” pamphlet.Employers should be receiving these new pamphlets from their insurance carriers.
Furthermore, for injuries reported on or after October 8, 2010, there is a new workers’ compensation claim form, which is the form an employee uses to report an injury on-the-job. That form, which is in English and Spanish, can be found at
www.dir.ca.gov/dwc/forms/ClaimForm2010.pdf.
Failure to comply with these posting requirements can be very costly. If an employer does not post and distribute the above-described notices, it can incur fines of up to $7,000.00 in civil penalties.

Employers should immediately begin creating the appropriate forms, or obtaining them from the Department of Industrial Relations website, so that they can be ready for the October 8, 2010 deadline and avoid any repercussions for missing this deadline.
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