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Occupational Safety and Health Data Collection

And Injury Prevention Work Group

Minutes

Bureau of Labor Standards

First Floor Training Room

June 16, 2004

9:30 AM – 11:30 AM

Present: Bill Peabody, Chair (Maine Department of Labor), Brad Brown (Maine Bureau of Insurance), Brian Doe (Hannaford), Bill Gourde (sitting in for Stefanie LaRose, Cannon Cochran Management Services, Inc.), Matt Holbrook (sitting in for Gary Baxter, MEMIC), Jeff Levesque (Workers’ Compensation Board), Pat Philbrook (Maine State Nurses Association), Kurtis Petersons (Summer Intern, Bureau of Labor Standards), John Rioux (Maine Department of Labor), and Leslie Walleigh (Workplace Health). 

Absent: Gary Baxter (Maine Employers Mutual Insurance Company), Peter Doran (Maine Occupational Research Agenda), Denise Dumont (US HealthWorks), Vanessa Duquette (Maine Department of Labor), Saskia Janes (Maine Public Health Association), Kim Lim (Maine Department of Labor), Stefanie LaRose (Canon Cochran Management Services, Inc.), Steve Minkowsky (Workers’ Compensation Board), Louise Morang (Maine Association of Occupational Nurses), Ralph Tucker (McTeague-Higbee), and Dave Wacker (Maine Department of Labor).

Chair Bill Peabody opened the seventh meeting of the Occupational Safety and Health Data Collection and Injury Prevention Work Group at 9:38 A.M.

Introduction of Members.  Members and guests introduced themselves as there were a couple of absent members, who sent representatives.

Approval of Minutes of May 19, 2004.  Before approval of the minutes, Leslie Walleigh asked for clarification regarding injury prevention and if that includes illness also. Mr. Peabody responded by saying that the Department of Labor includes illness.

Jeff Levesque made a motion to approve the minutes of May 19, 2004. John Rioux seconded the motion. Vote, unanimous, by regular work group members. The approved minutes will be posted to the Bureau of Labor Standards’ website.

Update on MEMIC’s Tracking of EDI’s – Jeff Levesque. Mr. Levesque asked Matt Holbrook of MEMIC to explain tracking of EDI’s. Mr. Holbrook stated that MEMIC keeps track of actual data sent by electronic transmission to Workers’ Compensation. This also includes any changes. Originally, only lost time claims were filed, but now includes Medical Only (M.O.). Currently, Notice of Controversies (NOC’s) are not filed electronically, but will be at a later date. Mr. Holbrook also said that once data is transmitted electronically, MEMIC receives a workers’ compensation number; also, this is true of M.O.’s.

MEMIC has a flat file as defined by the Workers’ Compensation Board, which consists of any new claims and any corrections to previously reported claims. This is in compliance with the IAIABC standards.

Mr. Levesque explained that Workers’ Compensation does a query by report only. Any lost time or medical only claims go through Quality Control.  Report Only cases are on file.

Mr. Holbrook explained that MEMIC gets acknowledgement from the Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) verifying receipt. MEMIC receives a text file with a workers’ compensation number. Also, MEMIC receives another file, which explains where errors occur and the type. MEMIC and the Workers’ Compensation Board have a good working relationship. Also, MEMIC has the bulk of claims in the State.

Mr. Levesque explained that there are lower penalties for reporting from MEMIC than other insurance carriers. Penalties usually fall on the employer.

Mr. Holbrook mentioned that MEMIC’s subsidiary would be doing EDI’s with the States of Vermont and Connecticut, starting July 1st.

Dirigo Update – Jeff Levesque. Mr. Levesque will gather the questions and send to Terry Hathaway, so she can e-mail them to the work group.

Self-employed’s Study – Bill Peabody. Mr. Peabody explained that the Maine Bureau of Labor Standards was approached by a group studying construction industries at Harvard regarding the misclassification of workers as self-employed’s. Kuris Petersons, the summer intern with the Maine Bureau of Labor Standards and studying economics, is working on this project. Eventually, the Bureau hopes to include all industries. There are factors in the UI (Unemployment Insurance) and Workers’ Compensation system that leads them to classify self-employed’s as independent contractors rather than employees. Kurtis explained that nationwide that the service industries are more prominently misclassified as independent contractors. He has already started working with UI and identifying information.

Independent contractors are not under OSHA, no unemployment insurance, and no workers’ compensation, which impacts economic issues. Mr. Levesque said the employee leasing companies acquire a policy to insure “x” number of employees, but may actually employ more. Regarding workers’ compensation, Mr. Levesque explained that Workers’ Compensation audits form filing, but does not inspect employers.

Mr. Brown explained that there is a registration process in the Bureau of Insurance for employee leasing companies, but not licensing.

Mr. Peabody added that under federal law, there are 16 definitions of Independent Contractors.

Other – Bill Peabody. Mr. Peabody explained that at the end of each legislative session, he creates a tracking document of items the Legislature has left for the Maine Bureau of Labor Standards to do.

A.     A Study for the Maine Department of Education to look at whether there should be a requirement that all teachers be certified in CPR and all school buildings be equipped with defibrillators. This relates to the Maine Bureau of Labor Standards as our SafetyWorks! Division does public sector enforcement and is concerned with blood borne pathogens. Discussion followed.

B.     Requiring the Maine Quality Forum Advisory Council to study the need for a patient care ratio. Pat Philbrook stated that the Maine has too many patients and not enough nurses. Maine has the highest number of nurses working in non-nursing proficient fields. She also said the Maine Quality Forum Advisory Council has two (2) ad hoc committees, which are reviewing this issue.

C.    Substance Abuse Testing. The Maine Bureau of Labor Standards does the enforcement of substance abuse testing. This legislation would require the Maine Bureau of Labor Standards and the Office of Substance Abuse (OSA) to study the prevalence of substance abuse in the workplace. Mr. Peabody stated that, at this time, only statewide data is available; but we would like to see, at least, county level or lower. The OSA is looking for money to do a study for the county level. The Bureau has an annual publication, “Substance Abuse Testing Report”. Currently Maine’s rate of positives is lower than the national rate.  Arbitrary testing can currently be done only if there is a collective bargaining agreement calling for that or positions that are safety sensitive (the employer has cause to believe that a person under the influence of substance abuse would be a threat to the public or co-workers). The new law would allow testing of all employees provided that the portion of the policy on random testing would have to be developed by an employee committee. This goes into effect June 30th. Maine’s substance abuse law is one of the most restrictive in the country. The first part regarding expanding drug testing is L.D. 1760 and the second part is L.D. 1792.

D.    Firefighters’ Standards Update. This would ensure that “hand-me-down” equipment meets current standards. The small town fire departments are not qualified to fight internal structure fires as they need proper self-contained breathing apparatus fit testing and proper training.

E.     Regulations Regarding Transportation of Forestry Workers. This came about as a result of the accident that killed 14 migrants. Now, they cannot use 15 passenger vans unless the rear seat is removed; no equipment can be stored in the rear or on the van’s roof due to instability. Forestry workers can use a 12-passenger van, but are limited to 11 passengers. There are also training requirements for the drivers. Mr. Peabody explained the H2B program, which is a visa classification allowing an employer to bring in foreign workers for a temporary or seasonal job. The national cap is 66,000 and that was reached in March.

Discussion of Injury Prevention – Bill Peabody. Mr. Peabody would like the work group to get into the injury prevention side. The group would like to know what employers are doing for themselves that may not be through a government-sponsored program. One of the questions Mr. Peabody asked is what kind of services for self-employed’s could come from the Bureau of Insurance. Mr. Brown stated that insurance carriers do offer consultation services, Title 24-A, Chapter 25, Section 5 (a copy of this law was handed out to those present at the meeting). It is also available at the web site: http://janus.state.me.us/legis/statutes/24-A/title24-Asec2385-C.html

For the next meeting of the work group, Mr. Peabody would like folks to think about injury (including illness) prevention issues and let him know of someone who can enlighten us on injury prevention.

Mr. Peabody will start putting together what the group has discussed regarding data issues as the first report to the Legislature is due January 2005. This report will focus on what we know now about data collection (what it doesn’t tell us, its strengths and weaknesses, and what we can do about the weaknesses) and what is happening with EDI and how it might affect data.

Next meeting. The next meeting of the Occupational Safety and Health Data Collection and Injury Prevention Work Group will be held on Wednesday, July 21, 2004 from 9:30 to 11:30A.M., First Floor Training Room, Bureau of Labor Standards, Hallowell Annex. Refreshments will be available.

Adjournment. Mr. Peabody adjourned the meeting at 11:34 A.M.

Respectfully submitted,

Terry M. Hathaway

Recording Secretary