Workers' comp reform builds strong foundation for Oklahoma's future

May 6, 2013

When OCPA was founded in 1993, we began to discuss the need for workers’ compensation reform in Oklahoma, with the most necessary reform being a move to an administrative system that was not adversarial to business owners or employees.

We are proud that our state’s policymakers have seen the merit in this concept, and we are optimistic that the proposal signed into law by Gov. Mary Fallin creates a strong foundation for the future. This reform should encourage Oklahoma employers of all shapes and sizes to create more jobs, which will lead to better opportunities for individuals to provide for themselves and their families within our state’s borders.

For far too long, job creators in Oklahoma have been held back by the way our state’s court system has dominated the process of caring for injured workers. They have seen their competitors in other states have a leg up, since most other states in America don’t place this kind of burden on their job creators. Meanwhile, they have also watched the old system produce terrible health outcomes and uniquely long recovery times for their employees. This obviously limits the number of quality jobs available in Oklahoma.

Many times over the years, Oklahoma employers have had to face reality and either close up shop or move their operations to other states because of the excessive workers’ compensation insurance premiums they’ve faced here. Oklahoma can’t afford to lose any more of the jobs associated with such decisions.

Now, there is the potential for change. By moving contested workers’ compensation claims to a new administrative system, taking the process out of the hands of our adversarial court structure, Oklahoma can free up job creators to achieve a new level of productivity. Based on evidence from other states, this will also benefit current and future workers by leading to safer workplace environments.