For immediate release: October 2, 2001
Contact: Steve Corson, 503-947-7868


(Salem) State officials today announced two rates and a recommendation for a third that together will determine what Oregon employers pay for workers' compensation insurance and to support workers' compensation and workplace safety programs in calendar year 2002.

The combined effect of these rates is that, on average, employers' workers' compensation costs for the year will essentially remain flat. Cumulative premium savings to employers since 1990, however, amount to approximately $6.3 billion.

Oregon's national ranking in workers' compensation costs moved from sixth most expensive in the nation in 1986 to 34th by 2000. At the same time, maximum benefits for permanently disabled workers in Oregon have been increased to a compensation level close to the national median.

Workplace injury and illness rates in Oregon have declined by over 43 percent in the private sector and nearly 36 percent in the public sector since 1988. This includes all work-related injuries and illnesses recordable under OSHA standards, regardless of whether they later resulted in accepted claims for workers' compensation benefits. During the same period, the total number of employees subject to workers' compensation coverage has increased substantially.

The new rates – for pure premiums, the Workers' Benefit Fund assessment, and the premium assessment – will go into effect January 1, 2002. A notice describing the rates will be mailed before the end of October to employers who are required to carry workers' compensation insurance.