Questioning the numbers: Practices and policies that hide the true experience in workers’ compensation “experience rating”

Mike Wright, United Steelworkers International Union, Pittsburgh, U.S.A.

Abstract

Overview: The current “experience rating” system in workers’ compensation does not produce an accurate reflection of true injury/illness experience in workplaces. Perverse incentives come into play, and actual experience gets hidden and altered. Employers use various policies, practices and programs to discourage injury-reporting and claims-filing, as well as practices that mask lost-time experience. This presentation shares experiences from workplaces in the U.S. and Canada.

Conclusion: The system as presently constructed hides true injury, illness and lost-time experience in workplaces across all industry sectors. Systemic changes will be needed to address current problems with the workers’ compensation system and “experience rating.”

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