From new claims statistics and assessment rates to legislative changes surrounding scaffolding requirements and workers’ compensation treatment, there’s a lot going on in New York workers’ compensation.
New York lawmakers introduce workers’ compensation bills
If passed, several new bills could affect New York’s workers’ compensation system.
According to Business Insurance, two recently introduced bills would allow additional types of treatment in workers’ compensation cases. Assembly Bill 1014 would allow workers’ compensation beneficiaries to participate in telehealth services for psychological treatment and counseling, while Assembly Bill 1204 would allow them to receive care from occupational therapy aides and physical therapy aides.
Another Business Insurance article explains that New York lawmakers have also introduced Senate Bill 1488, which would prohibit companies from retaliating against workers who file workers’ compensation claims. Companies would not be permitted to contact or threaten to contact US immigration authorities regarding the worker’s immigration status or the immigration status of the worker’s household members. Employers who violate the law can be fined $500 to $2,000.
In addition, Business Insurance says New York Assembly Bill 571 would require notice when a new claims representative is assigned to a case or when it is determined that a personal claims representative is no longer needed.
Whether these bills will pass into law remains to be seen, but employers and workers’ compensation professionals should watch for changes in the legislation.
New assessment level comes into effect
The New York State Workers’ Compensation Board has announced the 2023 assessment rate for employers. From 1 January 2023, the assessment rate is 9.8% of the standard premium or premium equivalent. This is down from the assessment rate of 10.2% in 2022.
Injured workers can pursue litigation
Senate Bill 9149 would amend New York’s workers’ compensation law regarding safety interruptions — a legal doctrine that says a party cannot dispute an issue. According to Business Insurance, the law (which has passed both the New York State Senate and the New York State Assembly) would give injured workers the right to litigate in the court system.
New York’s 2021 injury rate is lower than the national average
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics has released the employer-reported workplace injury and illness figures for 2021. In New York, private employers reported 125,500 non-fatal workplace injuries. This is an incident rate of 2.2 cases per 100 full-time workers. The national incident rate for 2021 was 2.7.
Of the 125,500 injuries, 81,600 were “DART” cases involving days away from work, a job transfer or a restriction. The education and health services sector saw a decrease in the total number of recordable cases and DART cases, while the trade, transport and utilities, manufacturing and professional and business services sectors increased.
Fall protection retains its place as the most frequently cited violation
The National Safety Council (NSC) reports that OSHA presented the 10 most cited workplace safety standards for fiscal year 2022 at the 2022 NSC Safety Congress & Expo. Unsurprisingly, fall protection was again in first place, with 5,260 violations.
The most common violations were:
- Fall Protection – General Requirements (1926.501): 5,260 violations
- Hazard Communication (1910.1200): 2,424 violations
- Respirators (1910.134): 2,185 violations
- Stairs (1926.1053): 2,143 violations
- Scaffolding (1926.451): 2,058 violations
- Lockout/Tagout (1910.147): 1,977 violations
- Motorized industrial trucks (1910.178): 1,749 violations
- Fall Protection – Education Requirements (1926.503): 1,556 violations
- Personal protective and life-saving equipment – eye and face protection (1926.102): 1,401 violations
- Machine guarding (1910.212): 1,370 violations
New Registration Requirements for New York’s Scaffolding Law
Section 240 of the New York State Labor Law, commonly referred to as the Scaffolding Law, requires building owners to provide scaffolding and other safety measures. According to Mondaq, Labor Law Section 240-i was recently enacted and will create registration requirements for contractors and subcontractors bidding on government contracts or performing work on covered private projects.
By December 30, 2023, these contractors and subcontractors must register with the Department of Labor Bureau of Public Works. As part of the process, contractors will be required to answer questions and submit documents related to prevailing wages and worker protections. Once approved, contractors receive a certificate of registration valid for two years.
Take control of your workers’ compensation program
The workers’ compensation landscape in New York is always evolving, but New York employers can take proactive steps to control workers’ compensation claims and costs. BNC can help. Read more.