GRIP RETRO | March 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.

MARCH TIP: To keep your rates as low as possible, offer a reasonably continuous modified-duty position (work that you believe to be available for the foreseeable future) that fits within the restrictions provided by the medical provider and matches the workers’ pay and work pattern before being injured.

Focus on Safety (FOS) –
Ladder Safety

Falls from ladders are all too common in residential construction. This retro plan year GRIP has seen more than 25 ladder falls from its members. Last month alone there were two ladder incidents which resulted in serious injuries to employees. Please take the time this month to focus on ladder safety and inspections.

Graph of GRIP 2020-21 PY Top Fall to Lower Level by Incident Type

What are the 5 main causes of falls from ladders?

Ladder-fall injuries are a persistent hazard for GRIP members. There are five major causes for ladder falls.

  1. Incorrect extension ladder setup angle — In approximately 40% of cases, the leading cause of ladder-related injuries is a ladder sliding out at the base due to an incorrect setup angle. Ladder users tend to set extension ladders at shallower angles than the optimal desired angle (75 degrees).
  2. Inappropriate ladder selection — Selection of a ladder with the proper duty-rating is also important to avoid structural failure. However, many ladder users lack knowledge of proper ladder selection.
  3. Insufficient ladder inspection — You can reduce the likelihood of ladder structural failure with regular inspection and maintenance.
  4. Improper ladder use — Activities such as overreaching, carrying objects, applying excessive force, slips, and missteps are also frequent causes of ladder-related fall injuries.
  5. Lack of access to ladder safety tools and information — Small companies that account for up to 80% of all construction companies and individual ladder users, such as homeowners, do not typically receive the required training for safe use of portable ladders. These ladder users are difficult to reach, often do not have access to safety information, and generally lack the resources to develop or follow an effective ladder safety program.

Get more information on how to prevent ladder falls.

March is National Ladder Safety Month

Every year, thousands of people suffer disabling injuries and over 300 people die in ladder-related accidents. Designed to decrease these numbers and raise awareness of ladder safety, the American Ladder Institute (ALI) and its partners celebrate National Ladder Safety Month each March. Mark your calendars for March 2021 and contribute to the growing reach and impact of this important movement.

Start your free ladder safety training through the American Ladder Institute’s Ladder Safety Training Program.  

ERNwest FOS Webinar Series – March Training

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!
March 18, 2021 at 10am | Mentoring for Safety – Coaching vs Discipline

Each month ERNwest offers topical discussions about safety strategies unique to your industry. Download the 2021 Calendar of FOS Webinars as part of our available training and refer back to for updates and additions.

L&I Will Calculate Your 2022 Rates Soon!

Every year on June 1, the WA Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) takes a snapshot of your workers’ compensation claim expenses to establish your company-specific rate for the next year. This year, on June 1, L&I will be looking at your company’s claims and hours reported during the period of July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2020 to establish your 2022 experience modification factor (EMF) and workers’ compensation rates. 

The good news is that it’s not too late to lower your rates for 2022 and beyond. The two most important things you can do are:

  • Make sure you return any injured employees back to physically appropriate work as soon as possible. Time-loss benefits add avoidable expenses to your claims and will keep them from closing. Not sure if you have work available? Contact ERNwest for help.
  • Close as many claims as possible. Claims that are open when L&I is calculating your rates include estimated future expenses as additional costs. Closed claims do not.

Now is a great time to think outside the box and make a push to reduce your overall claim costs. Remember, your ERNwest claims team is here to help. Please work with your Claim Manager for strategies to return injured employees to work, reduce costs, close claims, and start reducing your L&I rates.

Questions? GRIP Group Manager: Ashlee Day | 253-237-0809 |

Helpful Safety Information

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.

Questions? GRIP Safety Manager: Ann Kershul | 253-237-0819 |

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.

March   4, 2021 at 10:30am | Getting your GRIP on Claims, Comp & Safety
March 10, 2021 at 12:30am | Return to Work – It’s Easier Than You Think

ERNwest Webinar Training

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. Select a topic for more information and to register.

March   2, 2021 at 10am | Understanding Industrial Insurance
March   4, 2021 at   2pm | What is Retro?
March 16, 2021 at 10am | Fundamentals of Claims Management

Find more training 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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