Ralph, Most interesting. You explained the diverging interests in managing claims in a single 53-word sentence. Very clear and concise summary. They are grad students. They'll understand. Put a similar sentence that reflects the position in the actual school they are entering so they are aware of the traps in the playing field they will be in.
From: Stuart, Ralph <Ralph.Stuart**At_Symbol_Here**KEENE.EDU>
To: DCHAS-L <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**PRINCETON.EDU>
Sent: Wed, Sep 5, 2018 9:28 am
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Can A Woman Who Lost Her Arm In A Lab Explosion Sue UHawaii?
> The employer (university) would rather pay workers compensation than be exposed to a Tort, this is why they include the parking lot as a workplace injury even though you are not on the clock - certainly not out of altruism.
For many years, the EHS group I was in was in the risk management department, which also included the insurance professionals, of a University. Based on that experience, I wouldn't attribute a lack of altruism to the employer, but rather than to the insurance companies that manage the payment of claims. There were many cases where either the employee's supervisor or the institution tried to make the case that an employee should be treated more generously and the insurance company did not agree. And the insurance company had the final say.
The impact of the diverging interests in managing claims leads to the muddy situation that many grad students find themselves in with regard to workers compensation because the decision as to whether they are covered are made on a case by case basis often by the academic department rather than "the employer". See
for how this played out in a well-publicized case in 2014.
This confusion makes Monona's suggestion to include a discussion of this topic in grad student orientation, while a good one, rather a challenge.
Ralph Stuart, CIH, CCHO
Environmental Safety Manager
Keene State College
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