Section I

Commission on Health and Safety and Workers' Compensation

1995-96 Annual Report

Section I

The Commission

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. 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:

Robert Alvarado

James J. Hlawek

Leonard McLeod

Gerald O'Hara

Tom Rankin

Kristen Schwenkmeyer

Robert B. Steinberg

Gregory Vach

Meetings of the Commission

Commission meetings have been held on the following dates and locations in 1995 and 1996:

January 12, 1995 Los Angeles
February 9, 1995San Francisco
March 9, 1995 Los Angeles
May 11, 1995 San Francisco
June 8, 1995 Los Angeles
September 14, 1995San Francisco
October 12, 1995San Diego
November 9, 1995Sacramento
January 18, 1996Los Angeles
March 14, 1996Sacramento
April 18 & 19, 1996 (Symposium)San Francisco
May 23, 1996Los Angeles

The Commission is planning to meet on the following dates and locations:

September 16, 1996Los Angeles
November 15, 1996San Diego

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

Grant Program

In 1994, the Commission on Health and Safety and Workers' Compensation awarded grants to nine employers and/or employee organizations for Injury and Illness Prevention Programs.

These nine grant projects are progressing on schedule. Four of these grant recipients have submitted final projects and the remaining five are approaching completion.

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 library products is available by contacting the Commission on Health and Safety and Workers' Compensation. Requests for library products can be sent to:

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

Health and Safety Courses on the Internet

The Commission wanted to make information about health and safety and workers' compensation courses more accessible to workers and employers and to establish a data base of such courses.

The Commission developed and maintains a comprehensive curriculum of health and safety and workers' compensation classes available to the public on the Internet. This free service provides the name of the college or university, information on degree and certification programs, 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 is updated periodically to incorporate additions to and changes in classes and schedules.

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

Commission Symposium

The Commission hosted an educational program entitled "Challenges in California Workers' Compensation: A Symposium" on Thursday and Friday, April 18 and 19, 1996 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in San Francisco.

The purpose of the symposium was to bring leaders throughout the country together to identify successful programs and propose solutions to challenges noted in the California workers' compensation and health and safety systems.

The objectives of the Symposium were as follows:

Approximately 400 participants attended the Symposium, which was very well received by the workers' compensation community. The Commission brought together academics, administrators, attorneys, employers, insurers, labor leaders, program managers, public officials, service providers and others from California and throughout the nation to identify, discuss, and suggest alternative solutions to challenges in the California workers' compensation program.

The Commission presented a "Who's Who" of California workers' compensation along with national and international experts in the field to discuss eight wide-ranging topics of concern. These included representatives from states such as Florida, Oregon, Texas, and Wisconsin that have recently implemented various changes and reforms in their workers' compensation systems. A comprehensive syllabus, containing material submitted by the Symposium speakers and panelists, was provided to the attendees.

The first topic explored an overview of the challenges to the current California workers' compensation system. Moderated by Commissioner Robert B. Steinberg, various viewpoints were presented by DIR Director Lloyd W. Aubry, Jr., DWC Administrative Director Casey L. Young, CAAA President John Frailing, CWCI President Edward C. Woodward, David R. Caine of Southern California Edison, Mary E. Garry from Hewlett-Packard, and Commission Chairman Tom Rankin, who represented the California Labor Federation in this discussion.

The impact of the elimination of the minimum rate law was discussed by Professor Terry Thomason of McGill University in Montreal. Commission Chairman Tom Rankin moderated the panel discussion by WCIRB Executive Vice President David Bellusci, and National Council on Compensation Insurance executives Thomas Cleary and Nicholas J. Lannutti.

The topic of health and safety issues in workers' compensation was addressed by former NCCI Assistant Vice President William Kahley, by AFL-CIO Assistant Director of Occupational Safety and Health James N. Ellenberger, and by Barry Hoschek, Region Operations Manager for Liberty Mutual Insurance. Commissioner Gerald O'Hara moderated the panel discussion by DOSH Chief John Howard, DOSH Loss Control Certification Manager William S. Van Cleve, Dispute Resolution Manager Mari Miller from the Oregon Division of Workers' Compensation, and Willie Washington, the Legislative Advocate and Director of Human Resources, Safety and Health and Workers' Compensation of the California Manufacturers Association.

The fourth topic focused on litigation and alternative claims resolution approaches. Speakers included Les Boden of the Workers' Compensation Research Institute, Policy Director Ben Delgado from the Texas Workers' Compensation Commission, Florida Workers' Compensation Director Ann Clayton, Wisconsin Department of Industry, Labor and Human Relations Director Gregory Krohm, and Oregon WC Manager Mari Miller. The panel consisting of Florida attorney Rosemary B. Eure, CAAA President John Frailing, Wisconsin attorney Michael Gillick, Oregon attorney associations executive Robert C. A. Moore, and CWCI General Counsel Michael J. McClain, was moderated by Commissioner James J. Hlawek.

The second day of the Symposium started a with a moment of silence for the one-year anniversary of the Oklahoma bombing and its victims of workplace violence and continued with a lively discussion of permanent disability and potential alternatives. Discoursing on that topic were Rutgers University Dean John F. Burton, Jr., WCRI's Les Boden, and Bobby Gierisch, Director of Research and Policy Analysis for the Texas House of Representatives. Commissioner Gregory Vach moderated the panel discussion by CCR Executive Director Charles W. Bader, Texas Workers'; Compensation Commissioner O. D. Kenemore, Robert B. Hall of the Interwork Institute at the California State University at San Diego, John Frailing, Michael J. McClain, and Ben Delgado.

The objectives and methods of system evaluation were addressed by University of Connecticut Economics Professor Peter Barth, Ben Delgado, and Ann Clayton. Commissioner Leonard McLeod moderated the panel discussion by Joseph E. Markey Association Manager and Legislative Advocate for the California Self-Insurers Association, O. D. Kenemore, and Casey L. Young.

A review of medical benefit cost containment strategies was presented by Dr. Jay S. Himmelstein of the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, Michigan State University Professor Ed Welch, and Integrated Benefits Institute President Thomas Parry. The panel consisted of CSIMS Executive Vice President Carlyle R. Brakensiek, PacificCare's COMPREMIER Medical Director Dr. Henri Cuddihy, IMC Executive Medical Director Dr. Allan MacKenzie, DWC Managed Care Medical Director Dr. Linda Rudolph, Mari Miller, and Commissioner Kristen Schwenkmeyer as moderator.

The final topic addressed alternative benefit delivery systems and the identification of possible applications. Speakers included DWC Industrial Relations Counsel John Plotz, Center to Protect Workers' Rights Director Knut Ringen, Chapman University Associate Professor of Law Ellyn Moscowitz, Ulico Insurance Group Executive Vice President Mary-Lou Misrahy, and James N. Ellenberger. The panel, moderated by Commissioner Robert H. Alvarado, included United Brotherhood of Carpenters WC Policy Coordinator Michael M. X. Buchet, Collins Electrical Company President Eugene Ginie, attorneys Michael Ozurovich, Richard A. Robyn and Victor Van Bourg, and Charles W. Bader.

The presentations revealed that some features of workers' compensation programs in other states may be applicable to California, but those systems cannot be transferred to California without extensive analysis and appropriate modification. Representatives from other states also stressed that they considered an oversight body as essential to facilitate program transitions, new legislation and systems evaluations.

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 locates the California Department of Industrial Relations. 

               The Commission may be accessed under either "Workers' Compensation"  or  "Occupational Safety and Health"  on DIR's home page. 

Commission Publications

Commission publications are available upon written or faxed request to the Commission. Publications marked with an asterisk (*) are available on the Internet at the address given above.

One copy of any or all of the following publications will be provided at no charge. Commission publications may be reproduced for further distribution.

Publications currently available include:

Organization Chart