At the 2023 WCRI Annual conference, Jill Leonard from Louisiana Workers Compensation Corporation (LWCC) and Jeff Rush from California JPIA discussed the impact that severe weather events have on workers compensation.
- Employer/Employee challenges following hurricanes:
- Road closures.
- Extended power outages.
- Water outages or advisories.
- Limited access to workplace and utilities.
- Clean up often required before returning to business as usual.
- Safety training and safe practices can be in jeopardy.
- Long work days in extreme heat.
- Chemicals in water followed by mold exposures.
Injured worker challenges following hurricanes:
- Limited access to medical care due to office closures.
- Forced relocation leads to difficulty finding medical providers and filling prescriptions.
- Damage to their home and property.
- Delays in the mail.
- Bank closures.
- Access to indemnity benefits.
- Limited ability to communicate with claims representative.
- Make sure employees have laptops so they can work from anywhere.
- Consider the availability of your employees both physically and mentally.
- Think about your ability to communicate with injured workers and consider using texting more.
- Utilize ACH direct deposits or debit cards to pay injured workers.
Wildfires in California presented a huge list of challenges for employers and their workforce. This included heat and air quality issues. Cal OSHA has strict rules about heat exposures and air quality concerns that require employers to modify working conditions, utilize personal protective equipment or even suspending work.
Fire hazards faced by employees included:
- Carbon monoxide
- Respiratory/inhalation injury
- Heat illness
- Vehicle safety
- Unstable structures
- Slips trips and falls
- What are employers legally required to do to protect their workforce?
- What loss control techniques can be implemented to protect your workforce?