REPORT TITLE:
Workers' Compensation; Hearing


DESCRIPTION:
Excludes permanent and complete loss of hearing from the 5-year
statute of limitations for asserting a claim under the workers'
compensation law.  Requires the awarding of permanent partial
disability benefits for hearing loss to be made without regard to
the age of an injured worker.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
                                                        
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES                H.B. NO.669        
TWENTIETH LEGISLATURE, 1999                                
STATE OF HAWAII                                            
                                                             
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                   A  BILL  FOR  AN  ACT

RELATING TO WORKERS' COMPENSATION.



BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:

 1      SECTION 1.  Section 386-32, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is
 
 2 amended by amending subsection (a) to read as follows:
 
 3      "(a)  Permanent partial disability.  Where a work injury
 
 4 causes permanent partial disability, the employer shall pay the
 
 5 injured worker compensation in an amount determined by
 
 6 multiplying the effective maximum weekly benefit rate prescribed
 
 7 in section 386-31 by the number of weeks specified for the
 
 8 disability as follow:
 
 9      Thumb.  For the loss of thumb, seventy-five weeks;
 
10      First finger.  For the loss of a first finger, commonly
 
11 called index finger, forty-six weeks;
 
12      Second finger.  For the loss of a second finger, commonly
 
13 called the middle finger, thirty weeks;
 
14      Third finger.  For the loss of a third finger, commonly
 
15 called the ring finger, twenty-five weeks;
 
16      Fourth finger.  For the loss of a fourth finger, commonly
 
17 called the little finger, fifteen weeks;
 
18      Phalanx of thumb or finger.  Loss of the first phalanx of
 
19 the thumb shall be equal to the loss of three-fourths of the
 

 
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                                     H.B. NO.669        
                                                        
                                                        

 
 1 thumb, and compensation shall be three-fourths of the amount
 
 2 above specified for the loss of the thumb.  The loss of the first
 
 3 phalanx of any finger shall be equal to the loss of one-half of
 
 4 the finger, and compensation shall be one-half of the amount
 
 5 above specified for loss of the finger.  The loss of more than
 
 6 one phalanx of the thumb or any finger shall be considered as
 
 7 loss of the entire thumb or finger;
 
 8      Great toe.  For the loss of a great toe, thirty-eight weeks;
 
 9      Other toes.  For the loss of one of the toes other than the
 
10 great toe, sixteen weeks;
 
11      Phalanx of toe.  Loss of the first phalanx of any toe shall
 
12 be equal to the loss of one-half of the toe, and the compensation
 
13 shall be one-half of the amount specified for the loss of the
 
14 toe.  The loss of more than one phalanx of any toe shall be
 
15 considered as the loss of the entire toe;
 
16      Hand.  For the loss of a hand, two hundred forty-four weeks;
 
17      Arm.  For the loss of an arm, three hundred twelve weeks;
 
18      Foot.  For the loss of a foot, two hundred five weeks;
 
19      Leg.  For the loss of a leg, two hundred eighty-eight weeks;
 
20      Eye.  For the loss of an eye by enucleation, one hundred
 
21 sixty weeks.  For the loss of vision in an eye, one hundred forty
 
22 weeks.  Loss of binocular vision or of eighty per cent of the
 

 
 
 
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                                     H.B. NO.669        
                                                        
                                                        

 
 1 vision of an eye shall be considered loss of vision of the eye;
 
 2      Ear.  For the permanent and complete loss of hearing in both
 
 3 ears, two hundred weeks[.]; provided that in determining
 
 4 permanent and complete loss of hearing, no consideration shall be
 
 5 given to the age of the injured worker.  For the permanent and
 
 6 complete loss of hearing in one ear, fifty-two weeks[.]; provided
 
 7 that in determining permanent and complete loss of hearing, no
 
 8 consideration shall be given to the age of the injured worker.
 
 9 For the loss of both ears, eighty weeks.  For the loss of one
 
10 ear, forty weeks;
 
11      Loss of use.  Permanent loss of the use of a hand, arm,
 
12 foot, leg, thumb, finger, toe, or phalanx shall be equal to and
 
13 compensated as the loss of a hand, arm, foot, leg, thumb, finger,
 
14 toe, or phalanx;
 
15      Partial loss or loss of use of member named in schedule.
 
16 Where a work injury causes permanent partial disability resulting
 
17 from partial loss of use of a member named in this schedule, and
 
18 where the disability is not otherwise compensated in this
 
19 schedule, compensation shall be paid for a period that stands in
 
20 the same proportion to the period specified for the total loss or
 
21 loss of use of the member as the partial loss or loss of use of
 
22 that member stands to the total loss or loss of use thereof;
 

 
 
 
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                                     H.B. NO.669        
                                                        
                                                        

 
 1      More than one finger or toe of same hand or foot.  In cases
 
 2 of permanent partial disability resulting from simultaneous
 
 3 injury to the thumb and one or more fingers of one hand, or to
 
 4 two or more fingers of one hand, or to the great toe and one or
 
 5 more toes other than the great toe of one foot, or to two or more
 
 6 toes other than the great toe of one foot, the disability may be
 
 7 rated as a partial loss or loss of use of the hand or the foot
 
 8 and the period of benefit payments shall be measured accordingly.
 
 9 In no case shall the compensation for loss or loss of use of more
 
10 than one finger or toe of the same hand or foot exceed the amount
 
11 provided in this schedule for the loss of a hand or foot;
 
12      Amputation.  Amputation between the elbow and the wrist
 
13 shall be rated as the equivalent of the loss of a hand.
 
14 Amputation between the knee and the ankle shall be rated as the
 
15 equivalent of the loss of a foot.  Amputation at or above the
 
16 elbow shall be rated as the loss of an arm.  Amputation at or
 
17 above the knee shall be rated as the loss of a leg;
 
18      Disfigurement.  In cases of personal injury resulting in
 
19 disfigurement the director may award compensation not to exceed
 
20 $30,000 as the director deems proper and equitable in view of the
 
21 disfigurement.  Disfigurement shall be separate from other
 
22 permanent partial disabilities and shall include scarring and
 

 
 
 
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                                     H.B. NO.669        
                                                        
                                                        

 
 1 other disfiguring consequences caused by medical, surgical, and
 
 2 hospital treatment of the employee;
 
 3      Other cases.  In all other cases of permanent partial
 
 4 disability resulting from the loss or loss of use of a part of
 
 5 the body or from the impairment of any physical function, weekly
 
 6 benefits shall be paid at the rate and subject to the limitations
 
 7 specified in this subsection for a period that bears the same
 
 8 relation to a period named in the schedule as the disability
 
 9 sustained bears to a comparable disability named in the schedule.
 
10 In cases in which the permanent partial disability must be rated
 
11 as a percentage of the total loss or impairment of a physical or
 
12 mental function of the whole person, the maximum compensation
 
13 shall be computed on the basis of the corresponding percentage of
 
14 the product of three hundred twelve times the effective maximum
 
15 weekly benefit rate prescribed in section 386-31.
 
16      Payment of compensation for permanent partial disability.
 
17 Compensation for permanent partial disability shall be paid in
 
18 weekly installments at the rate of sixty-six and two-thirds per
 
19 cent of the worker's average weekly wage, subject to the
 
20 limitations on weekly benefit rates prescribed in section 386-31.
 
21      Unconditional nature and time of commencement of payment.
 
22 Compensation for permanent partial disability shall be paid
 

 
 
 
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                                     H.B. NO.669        
                                                        
                                                        

 
 1 regardless of the earnings of the disabled employee subsequent to
 
 2 the injury.  Payments shall not commence until after termination
 
 3 of any temporary total disability that may be caused by the
 
 4 injury."
 
 5      SECTION 2.  Section 386-82, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is
 
 6 amended to read as follows:
 
 7      "386-82  Claim for compensation; limitation of time.  The
 
 8 right to compensation under this chapter shall be barred unless a
 
 9 written claim therefor is made to the director of labor and
 
10 industrial relations (1) within two years after the date at which
 
11 the effects of the injury for which the employee is entitled to
 
12 compensation have become manifest, and (2) within five years
 
13 after the date of the accident or occurrence which caused the
 
14 injury.
 
15      The foregoing limitations of time shall not apply to a claim
 
16 for permanent and complete loss of hearing or to a claim for
 
17 injury caused by compressed air or due to occupational exposure
 
18 to, or contact with, arsenic, asbestos, benzol, beryllium,
 
19 zirconium, cadmium, chrome, lead, fluorine, or other mineral or
 
20 substance with carcinogenic properties, as incorporated in the
 
21 Hawaii Occupational Safety and Health Standards, or to exposure
 
22 to X-rays, radium, ionizing radiation, or radioactive substances,
 

 
 
 
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                                     H.B. NO.669        
                                                        
                                                        

 
 1 but such claim shall be barred unless it is made to the director,
 
 2 in writing, within two years after knowledge that the injury was
 
 3 proximately caused by, or resulted from the nature of, the
 
 4 employment.  The claim may be made by the injured employee or the
 
 5 employee's dependents or by some other person on the employee's
 
 6 or their behalf.  The claim shall state in ordinary language the
 
 7 time, place, nature, and cause of the injury."
 
 8      SECTION 3.  This Act does not affect rights and duties that
 
 9 matured, penalties that were incurred, and proceedings that were
 
10 begun, before its effective date.
 
11      SECTION 4.  Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed.
 
12 New statutory material is underscored.
 
13      SECTION 5.  This Act shall take effect upon its approval.
 
14 
 
15                           INTRODUCED BY:_________________________