Senator Anthony Sykes
Assistant Majority Leader
State Capitol Room 426
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105
For Immediate Release: August 26, 2011
NEW WORKERS COMP CODE TAKES EFFECT TODAY
Senator Sykes marks historic day in Oklahoma
August 26 is an important date in the history of workers'
compensation in Oklahoma. It is the day that a new Workers' Compensation
Code goes into effect. The Code is the result of legislative passage
of SB 878, authored by Sen.
Anthony Sykes, the first full rewriting of Oklahoma's workers'
compensation laws in 31 years.
Some experts believe that the more than 200 changes in the workers'
compensation laws will save Oklahoma businesses anywhere from $75
million to $100 million a year. The new law provides a fair playing
field for both employers and injured workers. It makes both accountable
for their actions. For example, there are penalties for employers
who do not provide quick and quality medical care for workers injured
on the job. On the other hand, injured workers who habitually miss
medical appointments, fail to abide by the doctor's instructions,
or refuse to report for a light duty assignment will lose substantial
Some of the highlights of the new Workers' Compensation Code are:
1. The cost of medical treatment will be reduced under a new Oklahoma
2. The maximum time for injured workers to be off the job with an
injury is cut in half;
3. The liberal use of independent medical examiners should prevent
unnecessary surgeries and get workers back on the job quicker;
4. Expanded mediation and informational programs will allow more
workers to access benefits under the system without an attorney;
Perhaps the greatest savings for business will be the implementation
of strict national guidelines that govern both the type and length
of medical treatment due an injured worker. Oklahoma is the sixth
state to adopt the Official Disability Guidelines (ODG) that will
determine what medical treatment is reasonable and necessary. Texas
and Ohio adopted ODG several years ago and have seen a significant
reduction of neck and back surgeries and less time off for workers
recovering from an injury.
This re-working of the workers' compensation laws was a cooperative
effort of Governor Fallin and leaders of both houses of the Oklahoma
For more information, contact:
Sen. Sykes: (405) 521-5569