FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
IR # 96-46
Tuesday, December 17, 1996

CONTACT:
Christine Baker
(415) 557-1304


Commission Initiates Report to Study Uninsured Employers

SAN FRANCISCO -- In an effort to support California's legitimate businesses that carry the state's mandatory workers'compensation insurance, the California Commission on Health and Safety and Workers' Compensation will address problems associated with uninsured employers. The undertaking will explore methods to identify and track employers who are illegally uninsured for workers' compensation coverage and bring them into compliance.

At the study's conclusion, expected by April 1997, proposed legislation will be suggested by the Commission. A report will identify problems associated with uninsured employers and offer alternative methods of identifying those employers, said Christine Baker, Chief Executive of the Commission.

"Employers who are insured for workers' compensation are placed at a competitive disadvantage with respect to illegally uninsured employers," Baker said. "The Commission recognizes that employers who are not covered for workers' compensation impose a burden on everyone involved: employers who comply with the insurance requirements, injured workers, and the state's taxpayers."

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.

Taxpayers, including injured workers and employers, are disadvantaged when taxes are raised to cover costs shifted to government services to assist the injured workers of employers who are illegally uninsured.

Several states, including Wisconsin and Colorado, have been using proactive programs to identify uninsured employers using computerized lists of employers and their workers' compensation policies. These have proved successful at bringing uncovered employers into compliance.

Further information about the Commission and its activities can 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, CA 94102; by calling (415) 557-1304; or by faxing a request to (415) 557-1385. Information is also available through the Internet by accessing the Department of Industrial Relations' home page at www.dir.ca.gov.

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