State & Local Government

Workers’ Compensation for State & Local Government

Local and state governments self-insure their risk.

  • A state government has several hundred agencies. State governments will have a state owned self-insurance programand will either:
    • Administer their own workers’ compensation claims, or
    • Farm out the claims administration to a third party administrator (TPA)
  • Municipalities, counties, parishes, and other local governments will join together to form a governmental pool to insure their workers’ compensation exposure.
  • The governmental pool will either:
    • Administer their own workers’ compensation claims, or
    • Will have the claims administered by a third party administrator

The workforce of governments will be skewed toward blue-collar jobs due to the governmental services provided, including:

  • Police
  • Firefighters
  • Some utilities
  • Trash collection
  • Road and park maintenance, etc.

Most of the workforce will be long term employees due to the job security normally associated with government employment. Unless there is a rigorous and organized return to work program employees may stay out of work longer than necessary.

  • Physical hazards are many for police officers and firefighters.
  • The job hazards for utility workers, trash collectors and maintenance people will include traffic accidents, strains from lifting and falls due to uneven surfaces.

As governments are normally located within a town or city, medical care for on-the-job injuries is usually available nearby.

  • The state jurisdiction where the government is located will determine if the employer or if the employee selects the medical provider.
  • Medical cost for government workers, excluding policemen and firemen, is approximately the same as the average cost for work comp medical benefits in general.
  • As police and firefighters are subjected to greater risk, their injuries are often more severe than average resulting in higher than average medical cost.
  • The agency must be diligent in locating transitional employment if they are not allowed to return to their original jobs until they are able to perform their job at 100% efficiency.
  • Cross-agency assignments are one way to handle transitional duty positions if there are limited positions available in the original agency.

Government worker indemnity benefits cost about the same as the average cost for indemnity benefits in general, others than for police and firefighting personnel.

  • The indemnity benefits cost for police and firefighters are higher than average due to the greater severity of injuries incurred overall.
  • Occupational diseases and the associated disability benefits occur infrequently among government employees.

Some categories related to government that would have the same or similar work comp issues include:

  • Tribal councils
  • Port districts
  • Prisons and jails
  • Park administration
  • Utility regulators

Transitional / Modified Duties for State and Local Governments

Jobs range from unskilled and sedentary to skilled and very heavy in this area and accommodations are usually possible. Some states have over 200 agencies, everything from State Police to Department of Transportation and State Hospitals. There are hundreds of types of positions.

If there is an applicable union contract, be sure to review the terms to verify modified duty is not prohibited or restricted; work with the business agent to try to remove restrictions. Some examples of temporary transitional duty include:

Policemen: If restricted to sedentary duty, allow work in the office doing paperwork or working telephonically on investigations.
Bus Drivers: *See Transportation Companies
Road and Park Maintenance: Allow road workers to work at traffic control by holding signs. Allow park maintenance workers to patrol parks and pick up garbage using a poker.
Office Workers: Identify tasks such as filing, data entry or light cleaning that need attention in the office.
Video Playback: Play back and categorize videos from various operations such as college campus buses and internal university operations.

Professional Development Resource

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Lower your workers compensation expense by using the
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