FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

IR # 96-25
Thursday, May 30, 1996

CONTACT:
Christine Baker
(415) 557-1304


Commission Contracts for Development and Distribution of Educational Materials for Injured Workers


SAN FRANCISCO -- The California Commission on Health and Safety and Workers' Compensation voted unanimously to contract with UC Berkeley, Labor Occupational Health Program (LOHP) for the development and distribution of instructional written materials and video on the workers' compensation system.

Preliminary analysis of focus group sessions conducted by LOHP as part of a study of informational services available to the injured worker funded by the Commission, confirms that the workers' compensation system is very complicated and, for many injured workers, extremely difficult to navigate. The focus group participants and other major participants in the system perceive that available information for workers about the workers' compensation system is overly technical, bureaucratic, vague, inaccurate, and/or non-existent in many cases, and that workers need educational materials that are easy to understand and relevant to their experiences. Such materials would also save time and resources for the organizations that provide workers' compensation services and benefits.

With Commission funding, LOHP will develop 7 fact sheets in both English and Spanish designed for all workers, i.e., uninjured workers and workers who are at various stages of a claim. Covered topics will include Introduction to Workers' Compensation, Medical Treatment and Evaluation, Attorney Services, Problems and Disputes, Settling Your Claim, Resources, and Workers' Compensation for Young Workers. In addition, LOHP will develop and distribute an instructional
video. While the written materials are intended to provide more in-depth information, the video will provide a general introduction to workers' compensation that would be applicable to injured workers who are just entering the workers' compensation system. It will explain the basic terms, acronyms, and benefits in workers' compensation, the chronology of a typical claim, steps the injured worker should take, and available resources. The video will be accompanied by a fact sheet that will allow injured workers to retain some of the essential information shown in the video.

The Commission, 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.

Further information about the Commission and its activities may be obtained by writing to Christine Baker, Executive Officer, Commission on Health and Safety and Workers' Compensation, 30 Van Ness Avenue, Suite 2122, San Francisco, California 94102, by calling (415) 557-1304, or by faxing a request to (415) 557-1385. Information is also available through the Department of Industrial Relations' Internet servers' Commission on Health and Safety and Workers' Compensation home page. The address is www.dir.ca.gov.

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