GRIP April 2020 Newsletter

COVID-19 & Workers’ Compensation Information

Benefits from Labor and Industries

At this point L&I will only provide benefits to healthcare workers and first responders during the time they are quarantined after being exposed to COVID-19 on the job. It is unclear at this time if, or how, L&I will charge employers for these claims, but ERNwest is operating as if these claims will be charged like any other claim.


The Washington State Employment Security Department has put together a helpful visual for employers that give an overview of benefits. COVID-19 Scenarios and Benefits


For healthcare-related incidents or if your employees worked at a site where they are at an increased risk of contracting COVID-19 (e.g. a HVAC company working in a hospital):

  • L&I will pay the employee “time loss” for a quarantine period of up to 14 days.
    NOTE: The quarantine time loss will not be charged to you as an employer. This is important to companies that have a discounted workers’ compensation rate.
  • If the employee tests positive, L&I will allow the claim.

Furloughs and Layoffs

For those companies that may be considering furloughs or layoffs, there are three quick items to consider:


  1. Have each employee fill out an exit questionnaire so you can document the employee’s physical health at the time of separation.
    Download the exit questionnaire.
  2. Let ERNwest know if you are planning a lay off or furlough and if you are planning on laying off an employee on light-duty. NOTE: The good news is, if you followed ERNwest’s practices and offered a reasonably continuous job at the wage during the time of injury and you are doing a larger layoff (not just those on light-duty), these employees are unlikely to receive time loss.
  3. This is an uncomfortable time for everyone. Do everything in your power to care for your employees. It is everyone’s hope that sometime soon they will return to the workforce and you want your employees back healthy and strong.

Construction and COVID-19 Guide

Download this guide containing prevention tips, protocols for builders, workplace precautions and OSHA recordkeeping information.

Additional updates and resources on Covid-19 can be found on the MBAKS website



April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month

On a typical day, more than 700 people are injured in distracted driving crashes. Talking on a cell phone, even hands-free or texting or programming an in-vehicle infotainment system diverts attention away from driving. Find more information on ways to stay safe on the road.


SRL Recall

Due to a potential manufacturing defect between February 2019 and February 2020, the Guardian Fall Protection Diablo Big Block Leading Edge Self-Retracting Lifeline must be immediately removed from service and returned for inspection and repair. Learn more.


GRIP Safety

Access Toolbox Tips and general safety resources. Learn more.

Workers’ Comp News


L&I will be calculating your 2021 rates soon!

Every year on June 1, the WA Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) takes a snapshot of your workers’ comp claim expenses to establish your company-specific rate for the following year.  This year on June 1, 2020, L&I will be looking at your company’s claim costs and hours reported during the period of July 1, 2016 – June 30, 2019 to establish your 2021 experience modification factor (EMF) and workers’ comp rates. 


The good news is that it’s not too late to lower your rates for 2021.  Do you have any open claims that fall into the July 1, 2016 – June 30, 2019 time frame?  If you do it’s important to understand that when looking at these claims to calculate your rates, L&I will use not only paid-to-date costs but also their estimate of future expenses on the claim. However, if those claims are closed, L&I will only use the paid-to-date costs in calculating your rates. 


Claim closure is the simplest way to eliminate the excess claim reserves and to keep your EMF and rates as low as possible.  For claims that aren’t going to close by June 1, it may still be possible to lower L&I’s estimate of future claim expenses. Now is a great time to think outside the box and make a push to reduce your overall claims costs. Your ERNwest claims team is here to help! 


Upcoming Training


Live GRIP Training

These GRIP-specific trainings benefit new members or members who would like to review the content. Click on the dates below for more information about the training and to register. *These trainings have been moved to a webinar.

April 7, Webinar, 10:30am | Getting your GRIP on Claims, Comp & Safety

April 7, Webinar, 12:30pm | Unified Fall Protection Updates


ERNwest Training

Select the dates below for more information about ERNwest-specific trainings and to register.

April 2, What is Retro* (Webinar)

April 16, Incident Analysis: A Systems Approach (Webinar)

April 21, Fundamentals of Claims Management* (Webinar)

April 28, Providing Kept on Salary and Modified-Duty (Webinar)

View a list of all ERNwest trainin

Remember to report all incidents on the ERNwest website so that your claims manager is aware and can help guide you through the process. |

GRIP Retro Questions?

Trish Leimbach, GRIP Group Manager | (253) 343-0153 |

GRIP Safety Questions? 

John Sevier, GRIP Safety Manager | (253) 300-6399 |

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