Workers' Compensation

ORS 656.726
Duties and powers to carry out workers’ compensation and occupational safety laws

  • rules


(1)

The Workers’ Compensation Board in its name and the Director of the Department of Consumer and Business Services in the director’s name as director may sue and be sued, and each shall have a seal.

(2)

The board hereby is charged with reviewing appealed orders of Administrative Law Judges in controversies concerning a claim arising under this chapter, exercising own motion jurisdiction under this chapter and providing such policy advice as the director may request, and providing such other review functions as may be prescribed by law. To that end any of its members or assistants authorized thereto by the members shall have power to:

(a)

Hold sessions at any place within the state.

(b)

Administer oaths.

(c)

Issue and serve by the board’s representatives, or by any sheriff, subpoenas for the attendance of witnesses and the production of papers, contracts, books, accounts, documents and testimony before any hearing under ORS 654.001 (Short title) to 654.295 (Application of Oregon Safe Employment Act), 654.412 (Definitions for ORS 654.412 to 654.423) to 654.423 (Use of physical force by health care employee in self-defense against assault), 654.750 (Definitions for ORS 654.750 to 654.780) to 654.780 (Providing basic information to employees) and this chapter.

(d)

Generally provide for the taking of testimony and for the recording of proceedings.

(3)

The board chairperson is hereby charged with the administration of and responsibility for the Hearings Division.

(4)

The director hereby is charged with duties of administration, regulation and enforcement of ORS 654.001 (Short title) to 654.295 (Application of Oregon Safe Employment Act), 654.412 (Definitions for ORS 654.412 to 654.423) to 654.423 (Use of physical force by health care employee in self-defense against assault), 654.750 (Definitions for ORS 654.750 to 654.780) to 654.780 (Providing basic information to employees) and this chapter. To that end the director may:

(a)

Make and declare all rules and issue orders which are reasonably required in the performance of the director’s duties. Unless otherwise specified by law, all reports, claims or other documents shall be deemed timely provided to the director or board if mailed by regular mail or delivered within the time required by law. Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, the director may adopt rules to allow for the electronic transmission and filing of reports, claims or other documents required to be filed under this chapter and to require the electronic transmission and filing of proof of coverage required under ORS 656.419 (Workers’ compensation insurance contracts), 656.423 (Cancellation of coverage by employer) and 656.427 (Termination of workers’ compensation insurance contract or surety bond liability by insurer). Notwithstanding ORS 183.310 (Definitions for chapter) to 183.410 (Agency determination of applicability of rule or statute to petitioner), if a matter comes before the director that is not addressed by rule and the director finds that adoption of a rule to accommodate the matter would be inefficient, unreasonable or unnecessarily burdensome to the public, the director may resolve the matter by issuing an order, subject to review under ORS 656.704 (Actions and orders regarding matters concerning claim and matters other than matters concerning claim). Such order shall not have precedential effect as to any other situation.

(b)

Hold sessions at any place within the state.

(c)

Administer oaths.

(d)

Issue and serve by representatives of the director, or by any sheriff, subpoenas for the attendance of witnesses and the production of papers, contracts, books, accounts, documents and testimony in any inquiry, investigation, proceeding or rulemaking hearing conducted by the director or the director’s representatives. The director may require the attendance and testimony of employers, their officers and representatives in any inquiry under this chapter, and the production by employers of books, records, papers and documents without the payment or tender of witness fees on account of such attendance.

(e)

Generally provide for the taking of testimony and for the recording of such proceedings.

(f)

Provide standards for the evaluation of disabilities. The following provisions apply to the standards:

(A)

The criterion for evaluation of permanent impairment under ORS 656.214 (Permanent partial disability) is the loss of use or function of a body part or system due to the compensable industrial injury or occupational disease. Permanent impairment is expressed as a percentage of the whole person. The impairment value may not exceed 100 percent of the whole person.

(B)

Impairment is established by a preponderance of medical evidence based upon objective findings.

(C)

The criterion for evaluation of work disability under ORS 656.214 (Permanent partial disability) is permanent impairment as modified by the factors of age, education and adaptability to perform a given job.

(D)

When, upon reconsideration of a notice of closure pursuant to ORS 656.268 (Claim closure), it is found that the worker’s disability is not addressed by the standards adopted pursuant to this paragraph, notwithstanding ORS 656.268 (Claim closure), the director shall, in the order on reconsideration, determine the extent of permanent disability that addresses the worker’s impairment.

(E)

Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, only impairment benefits shall be awarded under ORS 656.214 (Permanent partial disability) if the worker has been released to regular work by the attending physician or nurse practitioner authorized to provide compensable medical services under ORS 656.245 (Medical services to be provided) or has returned to regular work at the job held at the time of injury.

(g)

Prescribe procedural rules for and conduct hearings, investigations and other proceedings pursuant to ORS 654.001 (Short title) to 654.295 (Application of Oregon Safe Employment Act), 654.412 (Definitions for ORS 654.412 to 654.423) to 654.423 (Use of physical force by health care employee in self-defense against assault), 654.750 (Definitions for ORS 654.750 to 654.780) to 654.780 (Providing basic information to employees) and this chapter regarding all matters other than those specifically allocated to the board or the Hearings Division.

(h)

Participate fully in any proceeding before the Hearings Division, board or Court of Appeals in which the director determines that the proceeding involves a matter that affects or could affect the discharge of the director’s duties of administration, regulation and enforcement of ORS 654.001 (Short title) to 654.295 (Application of Oregon Safe Employment Act), 654.412 (Definitions for ORS 654.412 to 654.423) to 654.423 (Use of physical force by health care employee in self-defense against assault), 654.750 (Definitions for ORS 654.750 to 654.780) to 654.780 (Providing basic information to employees) and this chapter.

(5)

(a) The board may make and declare all rules which are reasonably required in the performance of its duties, including but not limited to rules of practice and procedure in connection with hearing and review proceedings and exercising its authority under ORS 656.278 (Board has continuing authority to alter earlier action on claim). The board shall adopt standards governing the format and timing of the evidence. The standards shall be uniformly followed by all Administrative Law Judges and practitioners. The rules may provide for informal prehearing conferences in order to expedite claim adjudication, amicably dispose of controversies, if possible, narrow issues and simplify the method of proof at hearings. The rules shall specify who may appear with parties at prehearing conferences and hearings.

(b)

Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, the board may adopt rules to allow for the electronic transmission of filings, reports, notices and other documents required to be filed under the board’s authority.

(6)

The director and the board chairperson may incur such expenses as they respectively determine are reasonably necessary to perform their authorized functions.

(7)

The director, the board chairperson and the State Accident Insurance Fund Corporation shall have the right, not subject to review, to contract for the exchange of, or payment for, such services between them as will reduce the overall cost of administering this chapter.

(8)

The director shall have lien and enforcement powers regarding assessments to be paid by subject employers in the same manner and to the same extent as is provided for lien and enforcement of collection of premiums and assessments by the corporation under ORS 656.552 (Deposit of cash, bond or letter of credit to secure payment of employer’s premiums) to 656.566 (Lien on property of employer for amounts due).

(9)

The director shall have the same powers regarding inspection of books, records and payrolls of employers as are granted the corporation under ORS 656.758 (Inspection of books, records and payrolls). The director may disclose information obtained from such inspections to the Director of the Department of Revenue to the extent the Director of the Department of Revenue requires such information to determine that a person complies with the revenue and tax laws of this state and to the Director of the Employment Department to the extent the Director of the Employment Department requires such information to determine that a person complies with ORS chapter 657.

(10)

The director shall collect hours-worked data information in addition to total payroll for workers engaged in various jobs in the construction industry classifications described in the job classification portion of the Workers’ Compensation and Employers Liability Manual and the Oregon Special Rules Section published by the National Council on Compensation Insurance. The information shall be collected in the form and format necessary for the National Council on Compensation Insurance to analyze premium equity. [Formerly 656.410; 1977 c.804 §30; 1979 c.677 §2; 1979 c.839 §20; 1981 c.535 §45; 1981 c.723 §5; 1981 c.854 §49a; 1981 c.876 §9; 1985 c.600 §16; 1985 c.706 §4; 1985 c.770 §4; 1987 c.884 §2; 1990 c.2 §40; 1995 c.332 §55; amendments by 1995 c.332 §55a repealed by 1999 c.6 §1; 1999 c.313 §10; 1999 c.876 §9; 2003 c.170 §7; 2003 c.171 §1; 2003 c.657 §§3,4; 2003 c.811 §§17,18; 2005 c.26 §§16,17; 2005 c.653 §§1,2a; 2007 c.241 §§4,5; 2007 c.270 §§7,8; 2007 c.274 §2; 2013 c.162 §1]

Notes of Decisions

Workers' Compensation Board had authority to require, by rule, prompt compliance with claimant's request for documents and to consider noncompliance as unreasonable delay within meaning of ORS 656.262 (8). Morgan v. Stimson Lumber Co., 288 Or 595, 607 P2d 150 (1980)

Director of Department of Insurance and Finance had authority to adopt rule regulating payment to physicians for deposition testimony. Black v. Dept. of Insurance and Finance, 108 Or App 437, 816 P2d 652 (1991), Sup Ct review denied

Standards for evaluating disabilities adopted by Department of Insurance and Finance which gave no value to factors of age, education, training and adaptability when worker has returned to his "usual and customary work" were not inconsistent with ORS 656.214. Harrison v. Taylor Lumbering & Treating, Inc., 111 Or App 325, 826 P2d 75 (1992)

Where disability is not addressed by existing standards, Director of Department of Consumer and Business Services is required to stay further proceedings and adopt temporary rules. Gallino v. Courtesy Pontiac-Buick-GMC, 124 Or App 538, 863 P2d 530 (1993)

Workers' Compensation Board has authority to remand order to Director of Department of Consumer and Business Services where disability requires development of temporary rule. Gallino v. Courtesy Pontiac-Buick-GMC, 124 Or App 538, 863 P2d 530 (1993)

Where one or more factors to be considered exceed zero, assignment of zero value to factors taken as whole does not fulfill requirement for modifying impairment. Carroll v. Boise Cascade Corp., 138 Or App 610, 910 P2d 1111 (1996)

Requirement that criterion for evaluation of disability be "permanent impairment" as modified by age, education and adaptability factors does not require that all impairments, including chronic conditions, be rated prior to modification. Schultz v. Springfield Forest Products, 151 Or App 727, 951 P2d 169 (1997)

Workers' Compensation Board has authority to review validity of rule of Director of Department of Consumer and Business Services to determine whether rule is consistent with statute. Schultz v. Springfield Forest Products, 151 Or App 727, 951 P2d 169 (1997)

Temporary rule adopted to address disability not addressed by existing standards must be directed to claimant's particular impairment, not category of impairment generally. Shubert v. Blue Chips, 330 Or 554, 9 P3d 114 (2000)

Temporary rule that assigns zero value for claimant's impairment qualifies as standard that accommodates impairment. May v. Multnomah County Animal Control, 177 Or App 218, 33 P3d 387 (2001)

For purposes of determining whether impairment is only factor to consider in determining worker's disability, when worker is terminated for cause, availability is not factor to be considered in determining worker's disability. Suchi v. SAIF, 238 Or App 48, 241 P3d 1174 (2010), Sup Ct review denied

For purposes of determining whether impairment is only factor to consider in determining worker's disability, end of seasonal employment constitutes termination of employment unless claimant proffers evidence that claimant would have been entitled to return to work after seasonal layoff. Suchi v. SAIF, 238 Or App 48, 241 P3d 1174 (2010), Sup Ct review denied

Worker who has been released for work by attending physician or nurse practitioner, but who is unable to return to work for cause not related to injury, is not entitled to work disability. Suchi v. SAIF, 238 Or App 48, 241 P3d 1174 (2010), Sup Ct review denied

Law Review Citations

32 WLR 217 (1996)

§§ 656.001 to 656.794

Law Review Citations

55 OLR 432-445 (1976); 16 WLR 519 (1979); 22 WLR 559 (1986)

Chapter 656

Notes of Decisions

Party having affirmative of any issue must prove it by preponderance of evidence unless legislature fixes some different quantum of proof. Hutcheson v. Weyerhaeuser Co., 288 Or 51, 602 P2d 268 (1979)

Amendments to existing statutes and enactment of additional statutes by 1995 legislation generally apply to pending cases and to orders still appealable on June 7, 1995, effective date. Volk v. America West Airlines, 135 Or App 565, 899 P2d 746 (1995), Sup Ct review denied

Amendments to existing statutes and enactment of additional statutes by 1995 legislation do not extend or shorten procedural time limitations with regard to actions taken prior to June 7, 1995, effective date. Motel 6 v. McMasters, 135 Or App 583, 899 P2d 1212 (1995)

Atty. Gen. Opinions

Benefit unavailability for inmates engaged in prison work programs, (1996) Vol 48, p 134

Law Review Citations

24 WLR 321, 341 (1988); 32 WLR 217 (1996)


Source

Last accessed
Jun. 26, 2021