December 8, 2003

Christine Baker

CHSWC Approves Projects on California Health, Safety and Workers' Compensation

SAN FRANCISCO -- The California Commission on Health and Safety and Workers' Compensation (CHSWC) unanimously voted to approve plans for additional research projects and activities at its public meeting on December 5, 2003 in San Francisco. Several new projects will be initiated at the request of the Legislature.

CHSWC will conduct a study of the workers' compensation and the disability insurance systems, as requested by Senator Richard Alarcón and Assemblyman Rick Keene. The study will address current issues such as monies owed to the disability insurance system by workers' compensation insurers and employers and focus on the potential benefits to be derived from the integration of the two benefit delivery systems, including a review of jurisdictions with such integrated systems.

CHSWC also will engage in a study of how the impact of California's compensability and apportionment laws affect workers' compensation costs and worker outcomes, at the request of Assemblyman Rick Keene and Senator Charles Poochigian.

Responding to the request of Senator Richard Alarcon, Chair of the Labor and Industrial Relations Committee, CHSWC voted to conduct an in-depth study of the 24-hour care concept, a combined healthcare system where employees get the same healthcare coverage regardless of whether their illness or injury occurs in an occupational or nonoccupational setting.

CHSWC will contract with San Francisco State University to design and conduct an evaluation of the Workers' Occupational Safety and Health Training and Education Program (WOSHTEP). The first phase of the study will focus on the development amd implementation of a plan for process evaluation to measure whether the pilot training was implemented effectively and outcome evaluation to measure the actual results of the pilot training.

In addition, CHSWC voted to contract with the Labor Occupational Health Program at the University of California at Berkeley to update information about the workers' compensation system. The CHSWC publication "Workers' Compensation in California: A Guidebook for Injured Workers", will be revised to reflect the recent reform legislation. The 2004 version of the Guidebook will be published in both English and Spanish. This project also includes identifying specific methods and activities to improve and simplify benefit notices and developing a booklet regarding workers' compensation "carve-out" agreements between employers and labor unions.

CHSWC will also jointly sponsor a public "Conference on Permanent Disability" in conjunction with RAND and the University of Southern California to be held next year in Southern California. CHSWC is jointly sponsoring upcoming training on American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM) guidelines.

CHSWC, created by the workers' compensation reform legislation of 1993, is charged with overseeing the health and safety and workers' compensation systems in California and recommending administrative or legislative modifications to improve their operation. The Commission was established to conduct a continuing examination of the workers' compensation system and of the state's activities to prevent industrial injuries and occupational diseases and to examine those programs in other states.

Since its inception in 1994, CHSWC has held meetings, conducted fact-finding hearings, and directed several studies to determine how these crucial programs are serving California employees and employers. These studies, conducted by independent research organizations under contract with the Commission, and other activities were aided by the involvement of state agency personnel and interested members of the workers' compensation community. This cooperative public-private partnership continues to work together to identify, describe, measure and propose solutions to problems and difficulties in the current health and safety and workers' compensation systems.

Further information about CHSWC and its activities may be obtained by writing to Christine Baker, Executive Officer, Commission on Health and Safety and Workers' Compensation, 455 Golden Gate Avenue, 10th Floor, San Francisco, California 94102, by calling (415) 703-4220, or by faxing a request to (415) 703-4234. Information is also available at