Division of Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation (DLHWC)
Chapter 0-400 ORGANIZATION AND FUNCTION
- Purpose and Scope. This Chapter describes the organization, function, and objectives of the Division of Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation (DLHWC); lists established delegations of authority; and describes the relationships of the Longshore Division within the Employment Standards Division (ESA).
- National Office The OWCP is an office within ESA responsible for the administration of LHWCA as well as two other Federal workers' compensation laws (Federal Employees' Compensation Act (FECA) and Black Lung Benefits Act (BLBA)). The OWCP organization structure is depicted in Exhibit 1, PM 10-300 and its overall mission consists of planning and directing the LHWCA program, as well as the activities of the two other compensation programs. The main role of the Division of Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation (DLHWC) NO is to establish policies, regulations, and procedures for the administration and operation of the program. The Division's responsibilities also include: administration of the Special Fund; providing technical guidance and direction for the evaluation/adjudication of claims and benefits; conducting Accountability Reviews of DOs; and providing ADP technical support for the Longshore Case Management System (LCMS). Both OWCP and DLHWC interface with the Office of Management, Administration and Planning (OMAP) on matters of ESA objectives and program evaluations, and with the Solicitor's Office on such matters as legal advice, assistance, and opinions.
- Field Organization. In the field, there are 12 District Offices (DOs) headed by District Directors and 1 Sub-District Office. The District Director (DD) reports to the Regional Director (RD), OWCP, for the Region in which the office is located. The RD is responsible for the administration of the LHWCA and DO operations in their Regions. The role of the DOs is to ensure that the provisions of LHWCA are carried out, to monitor and mediate claims made under the Act's provisions, and to provide outreach and educational services to program participants. A list of addresses and telephone numbers of DLHWC DOs along with their territorial jurisdiction appears in Exhibit 2, PM 10-300.
- Delegations of Authority
- The Assistant Secretary, ESA, has the delegation of authority for the LHWCA program as set forth in Secretary's Order (S.O.) 16-75. Employment Standards Administrative Order 78-1 redelegated authority for the execution of the program and activities of the LHWCA, as amended and extended, to the Director, OWCP.
- The Regional Directors are assigned responsibility for all OWCP programs within their geographic jurisdictions.
- The Assistant Secretary, ESA, retains authority for administrative management (ESA Order 1-75).
- The Claims Examiner's (CE) activities involve the processing,
monitoring, and adjudication of claims, and educational services. More
specifically, they perform the following tasks:
- Review and respond to lost-time and no-lost-time injury reports, jacketed cases, and associated correspondence;
- Provide medical supervision and advise the DD concerning appropriate resolution of contested issues with respect to medical-benefits liability;
- Refer claimants for impartial medical examinations;
- Conduct informal conferences for controverted claims; make recommendations for solutions of unresolved issues;
- Prepare compensation orders for signature of the DD;
- Prepare unresolved controverted claims for referral to the OALJ;
- Inform carriers/employers of LHWCA requirements; and
- Provide education for participants through seminars and
The DD has the ultimate and final responsibility for efficient operation of the LHWCA DO, including the day-to-day case flow and quality of the adjudicative process by the CE.
- The overall objectives of the DLHWC are to administer the LHWCA, to insure that the provisions of the Act regarding benefits for injured employees are properly applied, to promptly and impartially assist in the resolution of any disputes which may arise, and to refer cases for a formal hearing in a timely manner when a dispute subject to hearing cannot be informally resolved. In this regard, output goals and performance standards are established by the DLHWC to permit the evaluation of individual and DO performance toward the achievement of objectives (PM Part 9).
- The Office of Management, Administration and Planning (OMAP) has primary staff responsibility for evaluation of ESA program operations and conducts regular reviews of such programs to assure quality control. On the other hand, the DLHWC conducts Accountability Reviews of DLHWC activities in DOs to ensure that uniform standards are being applied in the determination of entitlement and the provision of benefits and services.
- Performance Standards. A full account of the DLHWC program of performance evaluation, periodic report requirements, and a detail listing of performance standards appears in Part 9 of the LHWCA PM.
- Functional Statements.
- National Office. In connection with job-related injuries and deaths sustained by employees eligible for benefits of the LHWCA and its extensions, the NO establishes program policies, regulations and procedures; and provides professional and technical guidance for claims and benefit payments, administration of the Special Fund, and technical assistance programs.
- District Offices administer the LHWCA and its extensions, within the geographic boundaries as shown in Exhibit 2, PM 10-300. Specific functions and procedures are set forth in the PM pages that follow this Introduction.
- Administrative Management. The Functions of budget,
accounting, personnel, management systems, etc., are centralized within ESA and
exercised in the DLHWC district offices through the DOL regional offices, the
NO and OMAP. The functions encompass all operations of the DLHWC that are not
directly concerned with the administration of the LHWCA, and include, among
others, the following:
- Correspondence Management. The DOL Correspondence Guide
(DLMS Handbook 1-2) is to be used as a guide throughout the Department. For
more detailed information concerning style and grammar, refer to the U.S.
Government Printing Office (GPO) Style Manual. See the Word Division
Supplement to the GPO Style Manual for quick reference regarding
spelling and word division.
- Stationery for use by all DOL offices has been designed to provide a uniform style and format consistent with the Graphic Communications Standards Manual.
- A DLHWC correspondence guide covering written communications and frequently used forms is contained in Part 10 of the LHWCA Procedure Manual.
- A standard filing pattern has been developed and is to be used by all elements of the OWCP. Copies of the pattern are available from the Office of the Director, OWCP.
- Forms Management. The DOL forms management program is described in Chapter 200 of the Departmental Directives System (DLMS 1). It requires the proper design and accurate use and the elimination of unnecessary or duplicate forms. It also prohibits the use of unauthorized forms or form letters. Forms, form letters and other formats approved for use within the DLHWC are described and illustrated in appropriate sections of the LHWCA PM.
- Records Disposition. A records disposal schedule for the
program records of the OWCP has been prepared by ESA. The DLHWC portion of this
schedule is discussed in PM 1-502 and an extract from the schedule has been
included as Exhibit 7, PM 10-300 to be used as a guide by Mail and Records
personnel in the DOs in the disposition of records of DLHWC field
- Program Records are to be disposed of only in accordance with the schedule described above.
- Administrative Records are to be disposed of only in accordance
with the GSA General Schedules with other instructions provided by ESA.
- Correspondence Management. The DOL Correspondence Guide (DLMS Handbook 1-2) is to be used as a guide throughout the Department. For more detailed information concerning style and grammar, refer to the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) Style Manual. See the Word Division Supplement to the GPO Style Manual for quick reference regarding spelling and word division.