"In the midst of this much-needed overhaul of the workers' comp system, it's vital that we ensure injured workers get the help they need," California Division of Workers' Compensation Administrative Director Andrea Hoch said. "These workshops will allow us to answer workers' questions, as well as advise them about their rights and options under the law."
In recent years, most workshops for injured workers were suspended due to a lack of adequate funding, a lack of proper staffing levels and outdated materials. Hoch, however, has committed the financial resources necessary to revitalize the program.
"Getting these workshops up and running has been a high priority for me, and it's required several steps," Hoch said. "First, we had to hire enough staff in our local offices to run the workshops. Then we had to update the materials and tools our people will use to get timely and relevant information to injured workers. I have a team working on that now. Lastly, and most importantly, we need to get the information and assistance to those who need it most -- injured workers."
These free, 1-hour workshops will consist of a structured presentation followed by a question-and-answer session, and will be held on a regular basis at local Division of Workers' Compensation Information and Assistance Unit offices around the state, during hours workers can easily attend.
"As of today, eight offices are conducting the workshops. My goal is to have all 24 local offices conducting workshops as quickly as possible," Hoch said.
To find out about an injured worker workshop, visit the California Division of Workers' Compensation Web site at http://www.dir.ca.gov/dwc/IandA.html, or call the Information and Assistance Unit office listed in the government pages of the [California] phone book, under state government, Industrial Relations Department, workers' compensation.