State of California

Commission on Health and Safety and Workers' Compensation

News Release

December 21, 1999 Christine Baker
(415) 703-4220

Commission Recommends Repeal of 'Baseball Arbitration' in Workers' Compensation

SAN FRANCISCO -- The California Commission on Health and Safety and Workers' Compensation (CHSWC) has voted to recommend repeal of the workers’ compensation ‘baseball arbitration’ provisions regarding the determination of permanent disability.

Before the workers’ compensation reform legislation of 1993, a workers’ compensation judge had the authority to resolve divergent views of medical experts with respect to permanent disability by a finding within the range of evidence. The reform legislation established Labor Code Section 4065, which limits the workers’ compensation judge to choosing between a permanent disability rating proposed by either party.

In response to widespread concern about this provision, the Commission requested that a study be conducted of the impact of ‘baseball arbitration’. The report, entitled "Preliminary Evidence on the Implementation of Baseball Arbitration in Workers’ Compensation", documented some of the difficulties with this provision and was utilized by the Commission in reaching its decision.

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.

A copy of the ‘Baseball Arbitration" report and 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, 455 Golden Gate Avenue, 10th Floor, San Francisco, California 94102, by calling (415) 703-4220, or by faxing a request to (415) 703-4234. The report and other Commission information are also available at