OR Marks 20 Years Of WC Success

                               Salem, OR (CompNewsNetwork) - In the 1980s, Oregon was in a deep economic downturn, much like we face today. However, unlike today, Oregon businesses back then also had to contend with some of the highest workers' compensation costs in the nation. The environment was not good for workers either: Oregon's occupational injury and illness rate was one of the nation's highest, and benefits for workers were among the lowest in the country.
Twenty years later, the story is entirely different. Injury and illness rates have decreased 50 percent, and workers' compensation costs are down 60 percent and among the lowest in the nation. Worker benefits have improved significantly, and Oregon is known nationally for its innovative programs that help injured workers return to the job.
Much of this success is due to major reforms passed by the Oregon Legislature on May 7, 1990. Called the “Mahonia Hall reforms,” the changes were developed by a group of 14 Oregonians (representing labor and management) who met in the basement of the Governor's mansion.
“The 1990 reforms laid the foundation for the world-class workers' compensation system Oregon has today,” said Governor Kulongoski, who led the implementation of the reforms serving as insurance commissioner. “Our success in keeping costs low while improving benefits is unprecedented, and other states frequently cite Oregon as a model.”
The Governor and the Department of Consumer and Business Services will host an event at 10:30 a.m. on May 3, 2010 in the state Capitol Galleria to celebrate the success of the historic reforms. 
The event will feature speeches from business, labor, and state leaders.
The 1990 reforms covered a wide variety of issues important to labor and employers. Workplace safety and health was center in these proposals, including boosting Oregon OSHA staff to conduct workplace inspections and requiring employers to have safety committees. The package addressed managed care and increased benefits for injured workers, return-to-work programs, reduced litigation costs, more precise definitions of compensability, and creation of a small business ombudsman to advocate for employer issues. The reforms also formalized the Management-Labor Advisory Committee, which remains the forum in Oregon to discuss and
resolve workers' compensation issues.
“One of the key points of the Mahonia Hall reforms was focusing the workers' compensation system on those it affects the most: workers and employers,” said Cory Streisinger, director of the Department of Consumer and Business Services, which administers the workers' compensation system. “As we face new challenges today, workers and employers continue to collaborate on solving problems and making improvements to the system.”

Read More

Request a Demo

To request a free demo of one of our products, please fill in this form. Our sales team will get back to you shortly.