Stephen Verotsky

Join SBH at the 2017 Oregon PRIMA Annual Conference

stephen verotskyJoin SBH attorneys Steve Verotsky and Krishna Balasubramani at the 2017 annual Oregon PRIMA Conference. The conference will be held at Salishan Lodge in Gleneden Beach September 27-29. Steve and Krishna will discuss recent workers’ compensation and employment law cases including the recent supreme court decision in Brown v. SAIF. Their presentation will focus on case law with practical advice for public entities. To register for the conference click here.

New OSHA Rules Address Post-Accident Drug Testing, Retaliation Claims, and Electronic Injury/Illness Reporting

stephen verotskyRecently, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) finalized new rules regarding recordkeeping/reporting and discrimination as it relates to drug testing employees following an injury. 81 Fed. Reg 29624. The new anti-discrimination/retaliation rule goes into effect on August 10, 2016. There is a longer phase-in period for electronic submission of injury data. The rule, adopted by federal OSHA, also applies to employers located in State Plan states, such as Oregon and Washington. Electronic Submission Injury and Illness Data The rule does not change the types of injuries or illnesses employers are already required to record. Covered employers already maintain records of their workplace injuries and illnesses. However, the majority of this data is not shared outside the… Continue reading

Join SBH Attorneys at the first PWC Lunch of the Season

stephen verotskyJoin SBH Attorneys Lauren Oda and Steve Verotsky at the first PWC lunch of the season on October 20, 2015. The Lunch is held at the Crowne Plaza in Lake Oswego. Lauren and Steve will be providing a Course & Scope Legal Update. Their discussion will include recent Board and Court of appeals decisions addressing common course and scope injury scenarios. They will provide tips for investigation and processing claims when its unclear whether they occurred with the course of scope of employment. Register and RSVP at

Supreme Court allows personal estate to pursue Workers’ Compensation Claims

Verostsky-Stephen_160x222-e1364595326840By: Steve Verotsky Recently, the Oregon Supreme Court reversed the Workers’ Compensation Board and Court of Appeals and determined that a worker’s estate is authorized to pursue the hearing request to its final conclusion Gary D. Sather v. SAIF, 357 Or 122 (2015). If a worker files a request for hearing and then dies before the matter is resolved, leaving no beneficiaries, the worker’s estate is authorized to pursue the hearing request to its final conclusion. In making this ruling, the court interpreted the word “person” in ORS 656.218(3) and (5) to include the worker’s “estate,” and interpreted the phrase “unpaid balance of the award” in subsection (5) to include an unresolved hearing request on a compensation issue. The… Continue reading

Oregon OSHA Backtracks on Confined Space Rule

Stephen VerotskyIn September 2012 the Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Division (Oregon OSHA) adopted a new confined space rule. Confined spaces, such as tanks, wells, or tunnels, have limited ability to exit, may contain potentially harmful material, and are not intended for human habitation. Workplace safety rules require employers take proper precautions when their employees must work in such spaces. The rules adopted by Oregon OSHA in 2012 made changes to the permitting process and added more restrictions concerning rescue, decontamination, alternate entry and evacuation. On September 4, 2013 Oregon OSHA issued a statement indicating it was withdrawing the rule. Oregon OSHA Administrator Michael Wood explained: “We received questions about certain provisions of the rule and their impacts… Continue reading

Wednesday May 8, 2012 WCCA Luncheon – Work Disability: Strategies for Securing a Release or Return to Regular Work

Stephen VerotskyInjured workers have become more aggressive and creative in their pursuit of work disability awards because there is a lot of money at stake. If there is permanent impairment and an employer is unable to establish the worker was released or returned to “regular work,” then the worker is entitled to an enhanced award. A work disability award can result in a significant increase in permanent disability benefits. These work disability awards can and often do exceed $25,000. Work disability disputes focus on an injured worker’s regular job at the time of injury. The process of defining regular job duties is not easy. It starts with a written job description but… Continue reading

OSHA – Potential Employer Knowledge Rule – A Solution in Search of Problem.

Stephen VerotskyThis morning, Michael Wood, the Administrator of Oregon OSHA, convened an “informal gathering” of employers and other stake holders to discuss whether a rule is needed to “help clarify the issue of employer knowledge” when a serious safety violation is issued. The meeting was well attended by various construction trades, private and public entities. Many employers were concerned OSHA had already drafted a rule and was only convening these meetings as “window dressing.” Mr. Wood stated there was no formal rulemaking proposal at this time. Assuming rulemaking goes forward following a series of public forums, Oregon OSHA anticipates a stakeholder advisory group will be assembled in February 2013 with a formal rulemaking proposal occurring some time after… Continue reading


Stephen VerotskyOregon OSHA is developing an administrative rule which has the potential to significantly change what it must prove to establish a violation of a safety rule. Currently, to establish a valid citation, OR-OSHA must prove the employer knew (actual knowledge) or could have known (constructive knowledge) of the condition giving rise to the violation. Since 1999, the Oregon appellate courts have found constructive knowledge does not exist where the alleged violation resulted from the “bad acts” of a “rogue supervisor.” A rogue supervisor is a supervisor who acts contrary to an established safety program and such actions were not foreseeable. Notwithstanding the decisions from the Oregon appellate courts, OR-OSHA has continued to argue an employer is… Continue reading