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Connecticut Employers: Workers Compensation & Modified Duty --Worthwhile or a Waste of Time?


We've all heard of it - light duty, modified duty, restricted duty, and transitional duty. Regardless of what you call it, you have an injured worker who can't do their regular job and the claim adjuster is asking you to bring them back to work!

Employers and HR personnel struggle with this daily, and it seems construction companies usually have the most difficulty in developing jobs within the worker's restrictions. So should you even bother to try? The answer is absolutely Yes!

First and foremost it has been proven that keeping an injured construction worker in their normal routine (getting up, going to work, etc) helps in the recovery process. Next is the fact that by providing modified duty work you are sending the message to employees that having a work related injury does not automatically result in time off from the job. Finally, by bringing the injured worker back it is helping to reduce the claim costs and thus have a more positive effect on your experience mod.

It's a good idea to have pre-developed modified duties or jobs. We all have things we would like to accomplish, if we only had some extra time. Start keeping a running list of these and you have started your modified duty list!

So the next time the adjuster asks if you have modified duty available, don't sigh and roll your eyes - pull out your list, say yes and get that employee back to work!


Need help developing a Return to Work program for your construction firm?  We can help!  There are other options than just having your injured worker counting paperclips and shredding paper. Get in touch with one of the Construction Risk Advisors and we can guide you as well as help prevent the injury in the first place!

How to Ruin Your Construction Company’s Safety Reputation Overnight


Would Massey Energy have lost twenty-nine workers in a mining accident on April 5th if safety training was a strong cultural value? Would Toyota have recalled 2.3 million vehicles in January of 2010 if safety was of paramount concern in the design of their cars?

I think the answer to both these questions is, "No". These companies were not focused on safety and it cost people their lives.

Google either one of these safety disasters and you'll get tired of hitting the "Next" button after the 10th page. In the short run, and maybe forever, both these companies have seriously tarnished their image. The public thinks company profit was more important than human lives. Who wants to be known for that?

Connecticut Contractors of all types are involved in dangerous work every day. If there was an unfortunate disaster on one of your jobsites, would your safety training practices stand up to the scrutiny of the press? How much would your reputation suffer? How long would you be on OSHA's "hit list"? How well would you be able to document your company's safety practices?

Unfortunately, many Connecticut construction firms don't consider safety training in their strategic plans. Nor do they consider the safety training capabilities of the insurance agent or insurance company they choose each year. Far too often the focus is on price and risk management is ignored.

Who is protecting your company's reputation? Risk management is not about buying cheap insurance. If you have an insurance agent whose only focus is selling you cheap insurance, you've hired the wrong one. Don't wait to see your name in the paper before getting a risk advisor who helps make safety your highest priority.

Independent Contractor or Employee?


Today's Post comes from another one of the Risk Advisor Allstars at CRA, Debbi Kuhne, our Director of Client Services

 Many companies hire what they deem to be Independent Contractors and not employees. This is now being scrutinized more and more by both the Department Of Labor and the Connecticut Workers Comp commission and more lawsuits are being filed every day in both areas. So, how do you make the decision? It isn't necessarily an easy one as you can see from the information below.

Connecticut Workers Compensation Statutes do not give a definition of an Independent Contractor. They offer guidelines to follow and each case is reviewed individually. The Commission suggest you review Behavioral Control (where the individual works, who provides the tools and supplies) Financial Control (is the workers given a check based on an hourly rate or a per job basis) and finally, Type of Relationship (is there a written contract, is there an assumed permanency of the position).

The DOL is much more definitive of those individuals to be considered an independent contract. The following tests must all be met in order for the individual to qualify. 

1. Must be free from control and direction

2. His/her service must be performed outside of any place of business of the     employer

3. Must be customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, profession or business.

So, what does it matter if you misclassify a worker? Here are some of the laws under which you could be fined and/or sued:
• Wage and hour laws
• Minimum wage law
• State overtime law
• Law on keeping payroll records
• Withholding taxes and payment of social security benefits
• Willful understatement of payrolls for workers compensation insurance
• Violation of laws on discrimination.
• Whether you're a Connecticut construction company, distributor, or restaurant owner, seek legal advice before determining an individual is an Independent Contractor and not an employee!


Please join me in congratulating Debbi as the newly elected Regional Vice President for Region I of the National Association of Insurance Women. She was elected on April 10th at The Regional Conference and will be installed at the National Conference in Washington, DC this June. Her official term will run from July 1, 2010 - 2011.

The Regional Vice President is the ranking officer in the region and is the direct representative to the National Board of Directors of NAIW, International for the Region. Region I consist of - NJ, CT, RI, PA, MA, VT, NH, ME & NY. Debbi will be responsible for communicating with members in the region on news from the National level, presiding over the Regional Conference, formulating plans for the region (growing the membership, establishing new associations), building a team relationship with all members in the region, providing leadership direction, answering questions and concerns of the Council Directors from each State.

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