US Department of Labor proposes revised procedures for civil penalty assessments to better protect longshore, harbor workers, employers
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Labor today announced a notice of proposed rulemaking to revise current procedures for imposing and appealing civil money penalties established by the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act.
The act protects workers disabled by on-the-job injuries that occur in U.S. waters or in areas used for loading, unloading, repairing or building vessels by providing for compensation, medical care and occupational rehabilitation services. The law also provides for payment of survivor benefits to dependents in the event a worker’s injuries cause or contribute to their death.
The proposed rulemaking by the department’s Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs focuses on the process used to assess civil penalties to entities that fail to report worker injuries accurately and timely. The changes will help clarify the process, provide individualized failure notices and allow additional opportunities to contest penalties.
The proposal also enhances procedures for contesting OWCP’s penalty determinations by protecting the rights of employers and insurance carriers to challenge agency actions before final penalties are set, ensuring transparency and fairness in the enforcement process. In addition, the changes will establish clear guidelines for penalty assessments to improve OWCP’s ability to enforce penalties that can withstand legal challenges.
The department encourages the public and other stakeholders to submit written comments as part of the rulemaking process. Comments must be submitted by Nov. 13, 2023.