Vermont: State audit calls for better communication for WC program
The report said the Office of State Employee Workers' Compensation and Injury Prevention and the departments that incur workplace injuries do not always collaborate adequately.
The comments are included in a performance audit that looked at claims frequency and costs, prevention efforts, and whether state departments had implemented WCP recommendations. It estimated the WCP paid $8 million in claims annually over the last five years.
"The departments with high workers' compensation claims had implemented less than two-thirds of the WCP recommendations that were reviewed by our auditors, even though some of them were made several years ago," the audit says. "WCP sends the recommendations to Department of Human Resources staff members rather than to the departments of the affected workers."
Another concern was missed opportunities by the WCP to identify and recommend better safeguards for workers.
"To prevent future injuries, WCP performed safety evaluations of reported incidents and undertook other activities, but those actions were not always completed as required," the report says.
On the plus side, the report noted a "steady and decreased" number of workers' comp claims between 2008 and 2012 with the exception of incident-only reports. However, nearly three-quarters of those happened within six organizations: the Agency of Transportation, Department of Corrections, Department of Public Safety, Vermont State Hospital, Department of Buildings and General Services, and the Vermont Veterans' Home.
Limited resources were blamed for many of the challenges, the audit said. However, it suggested paying now may prevent future expenses. "Although prevention activities may require an investment of resources, the benefits to state workers and the state budget are long lasting," wrote State Auditor Douglas R. Hoffer in his letter accompanying the report.
By Nancy Grover
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
September 9, 2013
Copyright 2013© LRP Publications