Published Date: 09/22/2014
By Pat Rountree
Under the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation law (NCGS 97-12), employers may submit their safety rules and policies to the North Carolina Industrial Commission for approval and reduce workers’ compensation costs if an employee willfully violates the policy.
According to NCGS 97-12:
When the injury or death is caused by the willful failure of the employee to use a safety appliance or perform a statutory duty or by the willful breach of any rule or regulation adopted by the employer and approved by the Commission and brought to the knowledge of the employee prior to the injury compensation shall be reduced ten percent (10%). The burden of proof shall be upon him who claims an exemption or forfeiture under this section.
The workers’ compensation law reinforces employers’ efforts to provide a safe workplace and penalizes employees who have received safety training and been made aware of policies requiring the use of personal protective equipment and safety rules but choose to ignore them.
The statute makes the distinction between willful violation and negligence. Injury through negligence would not be subject to reduce compensation payments for the employee.
This same statute bars recovery of workers’ compensation costs when an employee violates an employer’s substance abuse policy supported by positive tests results, and the employee’s intoxication is determined to be the cause of the injury.
If you would like to take advantage of potential workers’ compensation savings, submit safety standards/policies to:
Mr. Bryan Strickland
North Carolina Industrial Commission
4333 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-4333