All employing agencies are required to fully cooperate with SORM and DWC in any way that may be required to properly administer the state employees workers’ compensation program.
State agencies are responsible for certain required “employer” reports and forms described in this handbook. Please see Chapters 408 and 409 of the Act for a description of the employer’s responsibilities for reporting injuries and employer requirements for administering claims.
As employer, the agency has certain responsibilities. Among these responsibilities are:
1. Sending timely notices, reports, and information.
An agency is required to give notices, make reports, and otherwise transmit information to SORM and to the Texas Department of Insurance, Division of Workers’ Compensation DWC concerning on-the-job injuries and occupational diseases/illnesses in a timely manner. Most of these notices and reports must be given or made within a certain time period after the event or occurrence. The sections appearing later in this handbook explain how and when to file specific forms.
2. Designating a claims coordinator.
Each agency must designate one or more claims coordinators, as may be necessary, and must report to SORM any change in this designation. The role of the claims coordinator is discussed later in this handbook.
3. Administrative Violations.
Agencies must comply with all rules enacted by SORM, as well as those of DWC. Agency policies, guidelines, or instructions must not vary from DWC rules, SORM rules, or with the Act. As the employer of record, state agencies are subject to administrative penalties for violations of the Act which may be assessed against the employer by the DWC Compliance and Practices Division (see Chapter 415 of the Act). DWC can assess monetary administrative penalties on the employer for failing to file certain documents on time, such as the first report of injury, the wage statement, and the supplemental report of injury. Instructions for filling out and filing these forms are included in this handbook. Please contact DWC’s Information Services at (512) 804-4636 or your local DWC Field Office for information regarding employer requirements and administrative violations.
4. Keeping adequate records.
Each agency must make a record of all injuries sustained by employees in the course of employment. DWC Rule 120.1 states that agencies must maintain these records ‘until the expiration of five years from the last day of the year in which the injury occurred or the period of time required by Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards and regulations, whichever is greater.’ Occupational disease records may be required to be kept for 30 years beginning from the date an employee’s employment is terminated. Various written reports also must be filed with SORM. This is discussed more fully later in the handbook.
5. Notifying SORM immediately if the injury is severe or fatal.
If the injury is severe or results in death, the agency must immediately notify SORM by telephone, in addition to filing the required first report of injury.
6. Posting required notices in the workplace.
DWC rules require that an employer who has workers’ compensation insurance coverage post certain notices in the workplace (28 Texas Administrative Code 110.10). Please call DWC’s Information Services line at (512) 804-4636 for more information.
7. Ombudsman Program
A state agency, as the employer, is required by the Act to inform employees of DWC’s Ombudsman program. The mission of the Ombudsman program is to help injured employees, employers, providers, and persons claiming death benefits to obtain benefits under the Act. Failure to inform employees of this program is an administrative violation.
8. Developing health and safety programs and return-to-work programs.
The Legislature has mandated that all covered agencies have programs in place to promote the health and safety of the employees and to assist injured employees with returning to work.
These programs must comply with SORM’s Risk Management for Texas State Agencies guidelines.
Return-to-work programs will be a coordinated effort involving the SORM Risk Assessment & Loss Prevention Section, the employing state agency and the medical provider. See Section 412.051 of the Texas Workers’ Compensation Act and Section 1 of House Bill 2133, or call SORM at (512) 475-1440 for additional information.
Call DWC’s Information Services line at (512) 804-4636 for more details on these and other DWC requirements.
9. Employer’s Rights
As the employer of record, state agencies are entitled to certain rights under the Texas Workers’ Compensation Act. Section 409.011(b) of the Act describes the rights of the employer. These rights include:
(1) the right to be present at all administrative proceedings relating to an employee’s claim;
(2) the right to present relevant evidence relating to an employee’s claim at any proceeding;
(3) the right to report suspected fraud;
(4) the right to contest the compensability of an injury if the insurance carrier accepts liability for the payment of benefits;
(5) the right to receive notice, after making a written request to the insurance carrier, of:
(A) a proposal to settle a claim; or
(B) an administrative or a judicial proceeding relating to the resolution of a claim.
Please contact the Texas Department of Insurance, Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) Information Services at (512) 804-4000 for more information about the employer’s rights and responsibilities.
Employer Rights and Responsibilities (Adobe PDF)