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Oregon sees decline in injury and illness frequencies

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The Oregon workers compensation system’s total-cases incidence rate for injury and illness frequencies was 3.7 cases per 100 full-time workers in 2015, a 38% decline from 2002, the state’s Department of Consumer and Business Services reported Wednesday. 

No violations were found in 32.7% of the 4,187 Oregon OSHA inspections in 2015, according to the report.

Oregon’s workers comp claims system has been steady over the past few years. In 2016 the denial rate of disabling claims was 13.4%, while the denial rate of disabling occupational disease claims was 32.2%. 

The report also highlighted federal and state rule violations. In 2015, Oregon OSHA issued 2,814 citations against employers with $1.7 million in penalties for workplace violations. The Workers Compensation Division issued 1,179 citations against insurers for “failing to meet requirements for payment of compensation, claim acceptance or denial, and claim closure.” The penalties totaled about $837,000.

In 2015, 47% of paid benefits were indemnity benefits, 40% of indemnity benefits for accepted disabling claims were temporary disability benefits, 15% were permanent partial disability benefits, and 35% were settlements. An estimated $299 million was paid for workers comp medical services, the department said in the report. 

The insurance commissioner approved overall pure premium rate changes of minus 5.3 % for 2016 and another minus 6.6% for 2017.

Workers comp total system written premiums in Oregon totaled $907.6 million for 2015, up 24.5% from 2010, according to the report.