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The Office of Insurance Regulation has received the 2018 Florida workers’ compensation rate filing by the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI), which proposes a statewide average premium decrease of 9.6%. This includes a statewide average rate decrease of 9.3% and a reduction of the fixed expense cost applicable to every workers’ compensation policy in Florida from $200 to $160. The new rates would become effective January 1, 2018.

As always, the Office will review the filing to ensure the proposed changes are not excessive, inadequate, or unfairly discriminatory and evaluate its potential effects on the insurance marketplace and employers, who are required by law to carry this insurance on their employees. A public rate hearing will be conducted in October.

NCCI is a licensed rating organization authorized to make rate filings on behalf of workers’ compensation insurance companies in Florida. For more information about the filing, read the NCCI press statement.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a proposed rule to delay the date by which certain employers are required to submit their completed 300A form electronically from July 1 to December 1, 2017.

The Injury Tracking Application or data collection system, which was originally scheduled to launch in February 2017, is expected to launch August 1, allowing employers a 4-month window to electronically submit their 300A forms for 2016 injury and illness data. According to OSHA, the delay will allow affected establishments to familiarize themselves with the electronic reporting system.

Please see the update on OSHA’s Recordkeeping and Reporting Requirements site for additional information.

Update: New Extension Date of 12/1/17

Larger employers and those in certain high-risk industries that were supposed to electronically submit injury records to OSHA by July 1 will get a break from that deadline. On OSHA’s Injury and Illness Recordkeeping and Reporting Requirements webpage, an update has been added that states:

“OSHA is not accepting electronic submissions of injury and illness logs at this time, and intends to propose extending the July 1, 2017 date by which certain employers are required to submit the information from their completed 2016 Form 300A electronically. Updates will be posted to this webpage when they are available.”

The National Law Review reports OSHA sent an email to stakeholders which stated:

“OSHA intends to extend the initial date by which certain employers are required to electronically submit their injury and illness logs. The Recordkeeping Rule currently requires certain employers to submit the information from their completed 2016 Form 300A to OSHA electronically by July 1, 2017. The proposal will extend this to a later date. Currently, we do not have any additional information about the timeline for this. We will let you know as additional information, including a proposed extension date, is available.”

The new rule requires certain employers under federal OSHA jurisdiction to electronically submit injury and illness data that they are already required to record on their onsite OSHA injury and illness forms:

  • Employers with 250 or more employees in industries covered by OSHA’s recordkeeping regulation were scheduled to submit information from their 2016 Form 300A by July 1, 2017. These same employers will be required to submit information from all 2017 forms (300A, 300 and 301) by July 1, 2018. Beginning in 2019 and every year thereafter, the information must be submitted by March 2.
  • Employers with 20-249 employees in certain high-risk industries were scheduled to submit information from their 2016 Form 300A by July 1, 2017, and their 2017 Form 300A by July 1, 2018. Beginning in 2019 and every year thereafter, the information must be submitted by March 2.
  • OSHA State Plans must adopt requirements that are substantially identical to the requirements in this rule.

heat-awareness-safetyBefore we know it, the summer months will be in full swing. Remember, those who work outdoors are at a much higher risk for heat exhaustion, dehydration, sunburn, skin cancer and more. Skin cancer affects more than two million people every year and invasive melanoma, the most dangerous type of skin cancer, will kill more than 10,000 Americans this year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That is one death every 52 minutes. As an employer, are you doing enough for your crew?

Know the warning signs of heat-related illness:

  • Extremely high body temperature (above 103°F)
  • Weakness, dizziness or fainting
  • Unusually elevated heart rate
  • Fast and shallow breathing
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Muscle cramps

Protect your employees with these helpful tips:

  1. Rotate workers on a job site in and out of non-shaded areas, especially during the height of hazardous UV rays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Central Daylight Time).
  2. Consider including heat safety and skin cancer education in your regular safety training.
  3. Educate employees on the early signs of heat exhaustion, dehydration and skin cancer.
  4. Encourage employees to look out for each other to detect wooziness, inability to focus, unsteadiness and reddening of the skin.
  5. Use and make sunscreen readily available to your employees as well as other PPE, like UV-resistant sunglasses, wide-brimmed hats and re-fillable water containers.
  6. Create mandatory water breaks to re-hydrate the crew and provide them with plenty of water.
  7. Create and enforce policies about heat safety so employees know the company is serious about safety.

To Learn More, visit OSHA.gov

Throughout my work of consulting with businesses in all aspects of workers compensation, I’m always asked a basic question about workers compensation payroll so I thought I’d elaborate for all. Most of us know that workers compensation premium is a function of rates defined by insurance carriers (and approved by various state insurance departments) and payroll by classification code. Because this is relatively straight forward, it’s easy to gloss over “what is considered ‘payroll’ for workers compensation purposes?”

Incorrect payroll has a direct impact on workers compensation premium, and it’s critical that the correct payroll be used. Under-report payroll and you’ll have a large, nasty audit bill hit you 3 months after the policy expires (100% due in full, by the way); over-report payroll, and you drag down your cash flow throughout the year, and then wait for your money back at the audit.

Below is a comprehensive list of the inclusions and exclusions for “payroll” as defined by the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI):

Read more