The Illinois Trial Lawyers Association is pursing legislation that would make it more expensive for small businesses to use safety consultants in trying to make their workplace safer and bring their workers’ compensation costs down.
SB 3287 eliminates the workers’ compensation exclusive remedy/immunity enjoyed by service companies that provide safety consulting unless those companies are wholly-owned by the employer, insurance broker or the insurer.
NFIB and other business groups believe the bill would undermine workplace safety.
At a time when Illinois’ injury rate is 16% lower than the national median, SB 3287 will no doubt have a negative effect on workplace safety, exposing more workers to injury.
Small employers especially will be adversely impacted because they typically cannot afford or need a full-time safety professional on their staff to address safety issues. They use consulting firms which provide expertise to help keep their business in compliance with OSHA standards and limit their workers’ compensation exposure to employee injury.
The erosion of the exclusive remedy provision will only create more litigation and higher costs for employers, both public and private. This new liability exposure with no limits on damages will cause an explosion in new litigation. It will increase defense costs for employers and will increase liability insurance costs for safety consultants which will be passed onto employers.
The bill has passed the Senate and is now in the Illinois House. Please contact your House member and ask them to vote NO on SB 3287.