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NPR recently reported the story of Pius “Gene” Hobbs, who was killed in a work-related accident when a dump truck backed over him.  As the network reported, Kentucky Occupational Safety and Health investigated the incident and, according to federal authorities, did very poorly, failing to interview the eyewitness, missing possible work safety violations and failing to properly test the truck’s backup beeper.  Kentucky OSH issued no violations and assessed no fines against the employer as a result of the accident.

But Kentucky’s inept investigation of Hobbs’ accident was only a symptom of a more serious condition.

According to the NPR report, Kentucky’s OSH is a “state plan,” which means “the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration has authorized it to run its own worker safety program.” There are 28 such state plans across the United States, and OSHA annually audits those state plans to ensure “they are ‘at least as effective’ as the federal agency at identifying and preventing workplace hazards.”  The 2017 fiscal year audit of Kentucky OSH “identified more shortcomings in Kentucky’s program than any other state.”

The OSHA audit “was sharply critical, depicting an understaffed, under-resourced agency that’s failing to protect Kentucky’s workers. It also included a special study exclusively examining how Kentucky falls short at investigating deaths on-the-job.”

The Kentucky Labor Cabinet declined multiple interview requests for NPR’s story.

Listen to the broadcast here.

Read the online article in its entirety here.


FRANKFORT, Ky. (Oct. 22, 2018) – The Department of Workers’ Claims (DWC) announces the adoption of ODG by MCG as its treatment guidelines and pharmaceutical formulary provider.

Pursuant to KRS 342.035, as amended in 2018 by House Bill 2, the commissioner of the Department of Workers’ Claims is directed to develop or adopt a pharmaceutical formulary and medical treatment guidelines for use in the treatment of work injuries and occupational diseases. In compliance with that statutory mandate, Commissioner Robert L. Swisher announces the adoption of ODG by MCG.

“We are honored to add Kentucky to the roster of ODG-mandated states, joining the neighboring states of Ohio, Tennessee, and Indiana. The Department of Workers’ Claims and the Medical Advisory Committee should be commended on a thorough, transparent evaluation of evidence-based guidelines and formulary options, placing confidence in a proven solution,” commented Phil LeFevre, Managing Director, ODG by MCG. “The ODG by MCG team is prepared and excited to work with DWC and stakeholders on a successful implementation to deliver improved outcomes for injured workers and the system. Complementary training and support will be offered including Webinars and onsite visits.”

The Department of Workers’ Claims is in the process of drafting administrative regulations implementing the ODG formulary and medical treatment guidelines and establishing their effective dates.

The Ky. mileage rate for July 1 through September 30, 2017 is .40.

mileage rate 170701

Jeff V. Layson and W. Greg Harvey, both of Bowling Green, have been appointed as ALJs with the Ky. Department of Workers’ Claims.  Layson’s term expires July 14, 2020, while Harvey’s term expires December 31, 2017.

The DWC has announced that per a KBA opinion issued May 1, 2017, preparation and filing of a Form 110-Agreement as to Compensation constitutes the practice of law under SCR 3.020.  Therefore, the DWC will no longer accept Form 110 settlement agreements prepared by individuals not licensed to practice law in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

Beginning July 1, 2017, all Department of Workers’ Claims (DWC) submissions must be made in electronic format via the DWC’s Litigation Managment System (LMS).  However, due to the ongoing development of the capacity of the LMS to receive and process settlement agreements in electronic format, the DWC will continue, until further notice, to accept Form 110 Settlement Agreements in paper format subsequent to July 1, 2017.

The Workers’ Compensation Nominating Committee has recommended three nominees for the Administrative Law judge position, term expiring December 31, 2017, in the Department of Workers’ Claims.

Nominees are:  Anthony Gray, a defense attorney with Quintairos Prieto Wood Boyer of Lexington, KY; W. Greg Harvey, a Bowling Green, KY defense attorney with Kerrick Bachert; and Gregory Schabell, a Covington, KY plaintiff’s attorney with Berger and Cox.  This is Schabell’s 4th nomination for the position.

Sorry-were-closed-signThe Kentucky DWC announces that effective June 30, 2017, the Louisville DWC hearing site at 410 W. Chestnut Street will permanently close.  Beginning July 1, 2017 all Louisville dockets will be temporarily relocated and conducted at the Frankfort hearing site, 1025 Capital Center Drive, Frankfort, Kentucky.

Kentucky Department of Workers’ Claims (DWC) Chief Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Robert L. Swisher has been appointed as the Acting Commissioner of the DWC beginning April 1, 2017.  Swisher has been an ALJ since 2010 and has been Chief ALJ since 2014.

The DWC has issued the Ky. Workers’ Compensation Benefit Schedule for 2017.  Click here to view the schedule.


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