GRIP RETRO |February 2021 News

Return to Work (RTW)

The single most powerful tool an employer has in controlling its workers’ compensation costs is immediately providing meaningful work.

FEBRUARY TIP: It is in your company’s best interest to match the work pattern (full-time vs. part-time) for modified duty. For example: if an injured worker was hired for 25 hours, match those hours with a return-to-work position.

Help Protect Your Refund by Utilizing RTW

The GRIP Retro Program is experiencing a much higher degree of paid time-loss days on claims than a year ago. Time loss is extremely damaging to your Retro refund and the GRIP refund overall. Many businesses feel like they cannot accommodate modified-duty because COVID-19 has created an impression that there are fewer hours being worked this year compared to last.

We want to reassure you that the construction industry in Washington continues to thrive amid the COVID-19 restrictions. Reported hours between July 1, 2020, and Sept. 30, 2020 are nearly the same as they were during the same time period in 2019 (98%). While COVID-19 has undoubtedly changed the way businesses operate, we must continue to focus on controlling costs so that we can protect our Retro refund. The most effective way to reduce time loss and cut down on claim costs is to return injured employees back to work as soon as possible.

If you have an injured worker off work, please reach out to your ERNwest claim manager to assist in bringing your employee(s) back to modified duty. Remember, L&I will reimburse you 50% of your modified-duty wages through the Stay at Work Program (SAW) and the processing of those applications is included as a GRIP participant!

Horseplay at Work – It’s No Joke!

It’s not uncommon for workers to need to step away, if only for a moment, to escape the stress and routine of their day-to-day work. It’s in these moments that horseplay often ensues, and what may seem like harmless relief can lead to serious injuries, which are allowable workers’ compensation claims.

What is horseplay? 

Horseplay is rough or rowdy play or pranks that occur in the workplace – such as playing jokes that involve physical contact, racing, grabbing, foolish vehicle operation, and social pressure to participate in unsafe acts.  

What’s the harm?

Don’t view horseplay on the job as harmless fun. When an employee is fooling around, they are not concentrating on their work. 

Horseplay directed at others is even more dangerous – they are not expecting the distraction and could easily have an accident such as falling into a moving machine part, slipping on the floor, or knocking boxes into a person. Workplace horseplay incidents may lead to serious injuries at work, divide the workplace, and prevent employees from getting their jobs done.

Take precautions.

What can you do as an employer to prevent horseplay incidents?

  • Lead by example.
  • Have a policy that clearly states that employees are to refrain from engaging in horseplay and a procedure for employees to report unsafe behaviors.
  • Provide a safe and healthy work environment for all employees.
  • Ensure that employees understand and follow company operating practices and safety procedures.

Encourage other safe ways to have fun at work.

You and your employees work hard – so while horseplay isn’t the answer, there are safe ways you can have fun at work and help your employees build relationships.

  • Set up a “creativity” station in the break room – a quick craft, cardmaking, photo booth, etc.
  • Establish programs or contests for staff members – a chili-cook off, lunch break trivia, a cookie exchange, a photo contest, or fitness tracking/competition.
  • Make time to celebrate – birthdays, work anniversaries, retirement, etc.  
  • Forego the uniform for a day and let employees enjoy a “casual Friday” or show support for their favorite team by wearing fan gear.

GRIP Safety

GRIP Complementary Safety Walk

This is a reminder that GRIP members can schedule a complimentary safety walk through their jobsite to review site safety programs and provide recommendations. If you are interested in scheduling a safety walk, please email

NIOSH Ladder Safety App

The Ladder Safety App, NIOSH’s first mobile application, is designed to improve extension and step ladder safety—a concern for those working in construction or any other task that requires ladder use. The app includes ladder safety checklists and a measuring tool to place ladders into position. Download the Ladder Safety app.

Construction Safety Day, March 31

Each year the Washington State Governor’s Industrial Safety & Health Advisory Board sponsors Construction Safety Day for Washington State businesses. The conference is usually hosted at the Puyallup Fairgrounds, however, due to COVID-19, the conference will be virtual this year. Learn more

OSHA 300 Recordkeeping Reminder

This is a reminder that contractors with more than 10 employees in a calendar year are required to keep and maintain 5 years of OSHA 300 logs and post OSHA 300 summary reports each February 1st – April 30th of injuries and illnesses recorded in the previous year. In addition, certain employers are required to submit logs to the Injury Tracking Application (ITA) system by March 2. Find out if you are required to submit your logs electronically.

If you have questions, please contact Ann Kershul  at 253-237-0819 or

Upcoming Training

GRIP Webinar Training

These GRIP-specific trainings benefit new members or serve as a great refresher for established GRIP participants. Click on the dates below for more information about the training and to register.

February   3, 2021 at 12:00pm | Supervising for Safety

February 10, 2021 at 10:30am | Getting your GRIP on Claims, Comp & Safety

ERNwest Webinar Training

Select a topic for more information about these new, ERNwest-specific trainings and to register.

March   9, 2021 at 10am | Mentoring for Safety – Coaching vs Discipline                                      

March 16, 2021 at 10am | Reduce Lift Injuries and Stop Doing What Doesn’t Work! 

ERNwest presents topics such as Understanding Industrial Insurance Rates, What is Retro? and Using Kept on Salary and Modified Duty Effectively on a monthly basis. Find more information about each online at

Latest COVID-19 Updates

MBA King/Snohomish
MBA Pierce

Additional RETRO Resources

GRIP Safety Resources

Access Toolbox Tips and general safety resources. Learn more.

Report All Incidents

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


For precautionary reasons related to COVID-19, MBAKS offices are closed until King County enters Phase 3. Staff is working remotely and can be reached via phone or email. Events and class cancellations are noted on the MBAKS Events Calendar. Refer to the MBAKS COVID-19/Updates for up-to-date information.

GRIP Retro Questions?
Ashlee Day, GRIP Group Manager, (253) 237-0809 |

GRIP Safety Questions? 
Michael Octave, GRIP Safety Manager, (253) 237-0812 |
Ann Kershul, GRIP Safety Manager, (253) 237-0819 |

GRIP Stay-At-Work Questions?
Tom Nelson, GRIP Stay-At-Work Coordinator | (253) 372-2357 |

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