Section I

The Commission on
Health and Safety and Workers' Compensation



Creation and Purpose

The California Commission on Health and Safety and Workers' Compensation was created as part of the 1993 workers' compensation reforms by Senate Bill 1005, enacted on July 27, 1993 and effective January 1, 1994.

SB 1005 enacted California Labor Code Sections 75 through 78, abolishing the former Health and Safety Commission and creating the Commission on Health and Safety and Workers' Compensation in its place.

The Commission 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.

Commission Membership

The Commission on Health and Safety and Workers' Compensation is comprised of eight members, four from organized labor and four representing employers.

The Governor appoints two organized labor representatives and two employer representatives; one of the employer members represents public agencies. The Speaker of the Assembly and the Senate Rules Committee each appoint two members, one each from labor and employers. The Commission members elect a Chairman, alternating between labor and employer members, for a one-year term.

All official actions of the Commission require a majority vote, including at least two votes from members representing organized labor and at least two votes from members representing employers.


The Commission members are:

James J. Hlawek

Leonard McLeod

Gerald O'Hara

Tom Rankin

Kristen Schwenkmeyer

Robert B. Steinberg

Darrel "Shorty" Thacker

Gregory Vach

Meetings of the Commission

Commission meetings were held as follows in 1996 and 1997:

January 18, 1996 Los Angeles
March 14, 1996 Sacramento
April 18 & 19, 1996
CHSWC Educational Program:
Challenges in California Workers' Compensation: A Symposium
San Francisco
May 23, 1996 Los Angeles
September 16, 1996 Los Angeles
November 15, 1996 San Diego
February 20, 1997
CHSWC Fact-Finding Hearing:
Workers' Compensation Anti-Fraud Activities
Los Angeles
April 24, 1997 Sacramento
June 19, 1997 Los Angeles
July 25, 1997 San Diego
September 18, 1997 Sacramento

The Commission is planning to meet:

November 21, 1997
CHSWC Community Forum:
Summit on California Workers' Compensation Permanent Disability
South San Francisco
December 18. 1997 Sacramento

Commission's Approach to Monitoring Effects of Reform

As described in this Annual Report, the Commission has taken several approaches to monitor the effects of the workers' compensation reform legislation. The Commission's goal is to evaluate situations from all perspectives to achieve an equitable, well run system to benefit all. Commission activities include:



Community Service and Outreach

Participation in Community Activities

The Commission has participated in task forces, special studies and other activities conducted by others in the workers' compensation community. Commission members and executive officer have made presentations at various meetings of the community, including:

California Society of Industrial Medicine and Surgery
California Chamber of Commerce
California Workers' Compensation Institute
California Self-Insurers Association
Californians for Compensation Reform

Grant Program

At its inception in 1994, pursuant to Labor Code Section 77(b), the Commission on Health and Safety and Workers' Compensation assumed the duties of the former Health and Safety Commission.

These duties included completing the process of awarding of grants to employers and/or employee organizations for Injury and Illness Prevention Programs (IIPP).

Nine grant projects totaling $503,655.87 were awarded by the Commission in 1994 for Injury and Illness Prevention Programs. Of the nine organizations receiving grant monies, seven have submitted their completed project reports and products. The remaining two grantees are expected to submit their final products by December 1997.

All products such as training videos and manuals produced with Health and Safety Grant funds are maintained in a library and available to the public for viewing upon request. None of these products are copyrighted and can be duplicated as needed. A catalog of grant products is available by contacting the Commission.

Requests for grant products (and other health and safety material) may be directed to:

Cal/OSHA Consultation
Training and Education Unit
ATTN: Publications
2211 Park Towne Circle, Suite 4
Sacramento, CA 95825

CHSWC Internet Guide to Health and Safety and Workers' Compensation Courses

As a public service, the Commission developed and maintains an extensive curriculum of college-level health and safety and workers' compensation classes at its web site on the Internet.

This free service provides the name of the college or university, information on degree and certification programs and admission processes, course names and descriptions, schedule of classes, tuition costs (if any), and referrals and/or instructions on how to obtain additional information. The data base, updated periodically to incorporate additions to and changes in classes and schedules, contains information on programs, certificates, and/or classes in hazardous materials, environmental technology, health and safety, workers' compensation, ergonomics, and related topics.

In addition, the Commission will provide a compendium of this data base information in printed form for those members of the public without access to the Internet.

The Commission website also provides links to California colleges with websites, including the University of California system, the California State University system and 85 community colleges.

CHSWC Programs for the Community

The Commission has evolved in its role to provide a means of enabling the health and safety and workers' compensation community to come together, discuss, and work to resolve important programmatic and systemic issues.

In addition to its regular meetings which are open to the public, the Commission has presented several public forums which have been very well received. The Commission is gratified to note that the community urges a continuation of these endeavors.

These CHSWC public forums include a fact-finding hearing on permanent disability in 1995 and an educational program "Challenges in California Workers' Compensation: A Symposium" in 1996. Further information about those programs may be found in the CHSWC 1995-96 Annual Report.

In February 1997, the Commission hosted a "Fact-Finding Hearing on Workers' Compensation Anti-Fraud Activities" Findings from the hearing are discussed in the "Fraud" section in this report.

In November 1997, the Commission will host a public forum to discuss the preliminary findings of the CHSWC sponsored study by RAND of the permanent disability system in California. This "Summit on California Workers' Compensation Permanent Disability" is further discussed in the "Permanent Disability" section of this report.

In 1998, the Commission plans to hold several events focused on providing information to injured workers.

Information about the Commission

For further information about the Commission and its activities:

Write to:

Commission on Health and Safety and Workers' Compensation
30 Van Ness Avenue, Suite 2122
San Francisco, CA 94102

Telephone: 415-557-1304 FAX: 415-557-1385

Internet:

The Internet address www.dir.ca.gov locates the California Department of Industrial Relations' (DIR) web site.

Information about CHSWC and its activities may be accessed under either "Workers' Compensation" or "Occupational Safety and Health" on DIR's home page.

Commission Publications

Information about CHSWC and its activities are contained in publications available at no charge to the public. Most CHSWC publications are accessible at www.dir.ca.gov on the Internet.

Commission publications are available upon written or faxed request to the Commission. One copy of any or all of the following CHSWC publications will be provided at no charge.

Commission publications may be reproduced for further distribution, with appropriate attribution to CHSWC.

CHSWC Publications currently available include:


Commission Issue Papers


Commission Study Reports

Injured Worker Study (1996)
Medical-Legal Study (1996)
Medical-Legal Study-2nd Year Report (1997)
Vocational Rehabilitation Study-Interim Report (1997)
Permanent Disability Study (1997)

Commission Grant Product Catalog

* Please note: This item is not available at the CHSWC web site on the Internet










Organization Chart





Executive Summary: Findings and Recommendations

Section I The Commission on Health and Safety and Workers' Compensation

Section II Reform Legislation Impact on the Workers' Compensation Community

Section III Workers' Compensation Issues

Section IV Health and Safety Issues

Section V Program and Agency Operations

Section VI Commission's Future Activities

Acknowledgments