What You Need to Know about Workers’ Compensation and Were Afraid to Ask:
The first thing you need to know is workers’ compensation claims can be complicated and the sooner you contact your NATCA OWCP Committee representative the better. Please go to owcp.natca.net to find the name and contact information of your NATCA OWCP representative. It cannot be stressed enough that you should contact the NATCA OWCP representative as soon as you know that you may have a worker’s compensation issue at your facility.
Often the employee’s claim can rise or fall based on the initial steps that are taken or not taken when the injury or illness arises. The NATCA OWCP representatives have training and resources to assist you when a workers compensation issue comes up and can point you in the right direction. Getting in touch with your committee member can make a huge difference in the outcome of the employee’s claim.
Recently, the NATCA OWCP Committee met for its annual refresher training and discussed several important issues concerning the filing of these claims:
What should the FacRep do if a controller is involved in a near miss and is visibly shaken and taken off position, but the controller decides to continue working the next day? If the controller does not file a CA1 Notice of Traumatic Injury Claim until several days or weeks later, the result is that the FAA will use the delay in filing to argue that the claim is self-generated and the employee is not really injured. First, call your NATCA OWCP Committee Rep. who can help you with the wording of the CA1 claim. The NATCA OWCP Committee recommends that if there is a reasonable possibility that the employee has experienced a traumatic stress injury, the CA1 claim should be filed immediately. This is a protective measure to put the Agency on notice that the employee was exposed to a traumatic event and may seek medical attention and will avoid the Agency being able to use the delay in filing to contest the claim.
Exposure to Toxic Fumes or Mold
What should the FacRep do if employees at the facility are exposed to fumes from construction or to mold spores after water has been leaking into the facility? First call your National OWCP Committee Rep.! The Committee recommends that each employee who was exposed to fumes or mold immediately file a CA1 claim stating that the exposure occurred at work. This is a protective measure to put the Agency on notice of the exposure so that in the event the employee experiences any related illness or injury, the employee can prove that it was work-related. The OWCP Committee Rep. is available to help you with the wording of the CA1 form.
The FAA has also been calling and showing up unexpectedly at employees’ homes to discuss the employee’s OWCP claim. Please call your NATCA OWCP Rep. if this occurs. NATCA advises employees NOT to talk to these FAA liaisons. They claim to be assisting employees but in reality they are seeking information to contest the employee’s claims. Please let people know who file a claim not to speak to these FAA employees.
Our brothers and sisters who are injured at work have a right to be compensated in a timely manner; don’t let the FAA give you false information! Work with your NATCA OWCP Rep. as soon as possible and you will be better equipped to protect the employee’s rights in the OWCP claims process.