Workers’ Compensation

All California companies are required to have Workers’ Compensation insurance, provide employees with certain forms and information, and take appropriate steps if there is a workplace injury. We can give you guidance and/or put you in touch with specialists.

 Workers’ Compensation Basics for Managers

Q. WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW ABOUT WORKERS’ COMP IN CALIFORNIA?
A.
  • Workers’ comp is a mandatory insurance policy held and paid for by your company.
  • All (including part-time, temporary) employees are covered from their first moment on the job.
  • Injured workers are normally entitled to all reasonable medical care.
  • It is a no-fault system; all injuries and illnesses are covered if they are caused by the job.
  • It is not up to you to decide if the injury or illness is job-related; it is your duty to report any incident.
Q. WHAT ARE MY RESPONSIBILITIES FOR PREVENTING ACCIDENTS?
A. As an agent of your company, you must:

  • Make sure your work areas are safe and healthful;
  • Immediately fix and/or report any (or any potential) unsafe or unhealthful condition;
  • Train your employees to work safely; go over a safety checklist with new employees;
  • Train your employees on what to do in case of an emergency;
  • Train your employees to use any special equipment or chemicals, if applicable.
  • Watch for high stress levels and take steps to deal with the causes.
  • Do not behave negatively toward an employee who files or wants to file a claim.
Q. WHAT ELSE SHOULD I DO?
A.
  • Make sure that there is a notice of workers’ comp posted where your employees will see it.  It must state the name of the company’s workers’ comp carrier and who in the company is responsible for handling claims.
  • Put workers’ comp information in packets for new employees when they are hired. But sure the information is the most current, because workers’ compensation regulations change frequently.
  • Every February, post OSHA Form No. 300-A, Log and Summary of Occupational Illnesses and Injuries on your bulletin board (unless you are in an exempt industry).
Q. WHAT SHOULD I DO IF SOMEONE GETS HURT?
A. You must act immediately:

  • Determine the extent of the injury.
  • Get the person to medical help if necessary.
  • If only basic first aid is necessary, take care of it and document the incident.
  • Report all incident to your workers’ compesatin carrier.
Q. WHAT MUST THE COMPANY DO IF SOMEONE REPORTS AND ILLNESS OR INJURY?
A.
  • Investigate the circumstances surrounding the illness or injury.
  • Within one day the employee must be given a DWC Form 1 (Employee’s Claim for Workers’ Compensation Benefits) if the injury or illness results in lost time or treatment beyond first aid.
  • Even if the employee does not return the DWC Form 1, an Employer’s Report of Injury (Form 5020) must be sent to your workers’ compensation carrier within 5 days if the illness or injury results in lost time, hospitalization for more than 24 hour, or treatment beyond first aid.
  • In event of an employee’s death, notify the carrier immediately by phone or fax.
  • Your company controls the medical treatment for the first 30 days after the injury is reported. After that, the employee is then free to select any treating physician or facility. If the employee has notified the company prior to the injury that he or she has a “personal physician” (i.e. a physician who has previously treated the employee) then the employee may be treated by that physician from the date of injury.
Q. WHAT ELSE DO I NEED TO KNOW?
A.
  • CA law prohibits discrimination against a person who files or intends to file a workers’ comp claim.
  • You can’t ask job applicants if they’ve ever filed a workers’ comp claim.
  • There is normally a three-day waiting period before any salary-replacement benefits are paid by workers’ compensation.