Wednesday, September 27, 2023

OWCP Proposes Changes to Longshore Act Civil Penalties Procedures

The U.S. Department of Labor has proposed changes to the regulatory framework governing penalties assessed against employers and insurance providers for non-compliance with reporting obligations under the Longshore & Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act.

Under the Longshore & Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA), compensation, medical care, and vocational rehabilitation services are provided to employees incapacitated by job-related injuries on U.S. navigable waters or adjacent areas typically used for ship-related activities. The LHWCA also stipulates survivor benefits for dependents in cases where a work-related injury leads to an employee's death.

The LHWCA allows the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP) to impose civil penalties against employers failing to report workplace injuries or deaths promptly and accurately.

In an effort to bring more transparency to the process, the proposed modifications unveiled by OWCP on September 11, 2023, would alter the practice of assessing and imposing civil penalties. 

By implementing a system of graduated penalties based on violation history, increasing measures for clarification throughout the assessment process, and expanding opportunities for employer appeals, the OWCP aims to promote accountability and ensure fairness in the process.  

OWCP is accepting written comments regarding the proposed rulemaking through November 13, 2023. You may submit written comments, identified by RIN number 1240–AA17, via the Federal eRulemaking Portal.

Ian Greenway