L&I Hosts 21st Annual Workers' Compensation Conference To Promote Latest Workplace Safety Standards And Services


Hershey,PA (WorkersCompensation.com) – Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) Secretary Jennifer Berrier today joined workers' compensation attorneys and judges, employers, and workers from across Pennsylvania at the 21st Annual Workers' Compensation Conference in Hershey, a two-day conference offered by L&I's Bureau of Workers' Compensation (BWC) to highlight workers' compensation best practices, workplace injury prevention, practical enforcement of the workers' compensation system and to highlight timely workplace health and safety information for businesses and employees.

"L&I remains committed to transcending expectations and protecting Pennsylvania's workforce," Berrier said. "We continue to urge employers to work toward improving their workplace safety culture to better protect workers – an effort only made possible with an accessible, effective workers' compensation system. I extend my thanks and appreciation to the BWC and the conference committee members who worked tirelessly to make this conference possible."

In 2021, Pennsylvania's workers' compensation system provided more than $3 billion in wage and medical benefits to injured workers and received more than 154,000 reports of injury and illnesses – slightly up from nearly 148,000 in 2020.

Additionally, BWC responded to more than 250,000 inquiries regarding workers' compensation in Pennsylvania and coordinated outreach efforts, including the distribution of its quarterly newsletter News & Notes, to more than 185,000 stakeholders. The bureau's Health & Safety Division has certified more than 12,800 workplace safety committees, which were established in March 1994 to protect more than 1.6 million workers and save employers millions in workers' compensation premiums.

"This annual conference brings together stakeholders from across the industry to network and discuss the latest updates within workers' compensation," said Deputy Secretary for Compensation and Insurance Scott Weiant. "The interactive educational sessions have been instrumental in contributing to a proficient workers' compensation system in Pennsylvania."

Throughout the two-day conference, participants will attend breakout sessions from six educational tracks, ranging from basic, intermediate, and advanced: claims, legal, human resources, medical, safety and general.

Each session provides practical, up-to-date workplace safety information and allows attendees to network with workers' compensation professionals. Breakout sessions include "Stress, Anxiety and Burnout in a Pandemic Era," "Medical Marijuana: Impact on Employers, Workers, and Workers' Compensation," and "Working From Home: The Proactive and Reactive Issues."

Workplace safety is a priority of Governor Tom Wolf's worker protection agenda. Governor Wolf signed an executive order in October 2021 that directed commonwealth agencies to take actions that advance worker protections in Pennsylvania, including studying the possibility of extending Occupational Health and Safety Act (OSHA) standards to commonwealth workplaces.

In April 2022, the Wolf Administration announced its partnership with Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) to study the feasibility of extending the protections of OSHA standards to the workplaces of thousands of public-sector workers throughout Pennsylvania

Two months prior, Gov. Wolf signed H.B. 1837 into law. This bill, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, suspends certain workers' compensation regulations and allows for a more efficient process when claimants intend to sign a Compromise and Release Agreement. The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Rich Irvin, permits workers' compensation claimants to appear before a workers' compensation judge and provide sworn testimony and proof of understanding regarding a Compromise and Release Agreement, rather than having to sign the agreement in the presence of two witnesses and a notary.

In November 2021, Gov. Wolf signed Senate Bill 94 into law. It is the latest amendment to the Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Act and expands the definition of who is considered an employee of volunteer fire companies to include those who do not actively respond to emergency calls.

To learn more about L&I's Workers' Compensation Services or upcoming conferences, seminars, and trainings, visit the bureau's webpage.

Information about the 21st Annual Workers' Compensation Conference is also available online.

MEDIA CONTACT: Alex Peterson, dlipress@pa.gov


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