Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A post about workers' compensation ... hey, pay attention!

To many people in the animation biz, workers'-comp may seem like a remote issue. After all, we never get injured on the job ... do we?

Well, yes, we do -- maybe not as frequently or severely as in other more hazardous occupations, but enough that the issue of workers' compensation ought to be as important to us as to other working people. (If you don't believe this, we have three words for you -- carpal tunnel syndrome ...)

In 2004, Governor Schwarzenegger signed into California state law an extensive overhaul of the state's workers'-compensation system. Under the law, your employer has the right to designate which physicians you can use under your worker's-comp claim. However, if you work for an employer that offers group health insurance (union or non-union), you can retain your choice of doctor by pre-designating in writing your choice of physician.

Here is a form that you can use to do just that. Remember, this form can be used for any employer (union or non-union) that offers group health insurance. Also remember that the form goes to your employer's H.R. department and not to the Guild.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

I've spent the last two years recovering from work-related tendinitis in my elbow. Yeah, you CAN be injured on the job...

Anonymous said...

This is a sensitive issue, I know, and Im sure it legitimately affects some people...

But, I cant help noticing that a lot of the people who complain about carpal tunnel either:

A) Dont exercise
B) Are chronic complainers (the rigs are too slow, this tool and that tool doesnt work, Im not respected enough)
C) Use it as a crutch to hide doing poorly in their animation

I know it seems like b.s, and Im sure some people will be offended, but this has been my experience almost every time I hear someone complain about Carpal Tunnel.

Just my 2 cents...

Anonymous said...

You can have your ill-informed worthless two cents back.

TAG - Thank you for bringing up this topic. What exactly does TAG cover with regard to compensation for injury from years of improving shitty production scripts?

I know we're not digging ditches, but years of pencil mileage takes its toll.

Of course, I'm not sure what percentage of our membership actually knows how to draw anymore. A survey would be informative, and at least we could judge how many of my our union members actually give a crap about the downside drawing too much. If we're all just mouse-pushers, then I will search elsewhere for insuring the physical limits of my professional talent.

Anonymous said...

"You can have your ill-informed worthless two cents back."

I wouldnt jump to conclusions too quickly anon # 3, Ive been doing this for over 20 years and Ive noticed the same thing. I rarely (if ever) see talented animators complain about sore wrists or carpal tunnel syndrome.

Besides, it seems like you are biased against "mouse-pushers," which, in itself already discredits your opinion.

Jeff Massie said...

The TAG CBA does not address workers'-comp issues; that issue is covered by state law. In California your employer (union or non-union) is supposed to offer workers'-comp insurance.

Any health issues that can be shown to be caused by on-the-job injuries should be covered by workers'-comp. To apply for workers'-comp, contact your employer's human resources. department.

IMPORTANT: You're not supposed to use MPIPHP health insurance for work-related injuries. You might end up having your claim denied and having to pay the bills yourself.

If you have specific questions about workers’-comp issues, contact us at (818) 766-7151 or info@animationguild.org.

Anonymous said...

Carpal Tunnel is real...but it's usually related to bad posture or something as simple as swapping out a mouse for a tablet. I wouldn't suggest pawning it off as someone being lazy.

Anonymous said...

--But, I cant help noticing that a lot of the people who complain about carpal tunnel either:

A) Dont exercise
B) Are chronic complainers (the rigs are too slow, this tool and that tool doesnt work, Im not respected enough)
C) Use it as a crutch to hide doing poorly in their animation

Nice. Taken right from the Phil Gramm playbook. You could do well as a writer/producer in this town. You are definitely an a-hole.

Anonymous said...

Well, when you consider we have some pretty cushy jobs making cartoons all day, when there's people out there doing serious physical labor and sustain serious injuries from decades of intense work, its not hard to see how it could be considered a bit whiny to complain about carpal tunnel when its an easy condition to avoid. ie: minimal exercise.

I think the bigger point he was trying to make is that comparing a debilitating condition such as back injuries or broken bones or diseases caused by work deserve compensation, as opposed to tendonitis or carpal tunnel which could have easily been avoided, and do not necessarily hinder your productivity. I cant imagine an animator collecting disability because of tendonitis. Talk about taking advantage of the system.

Phil Gramm did have one thing right, we ARE a nation of whiners, and pointing it out doesnt make you an a-hole.

Anonymous said...

"Phil Gramm did have one thing right, we ARE a nation of whiners, and pointing it out doesnt make you an a-hole."

Suggesting that people are whiners because they are "whining" about a bad situation you (Gramm) helped create does make you an a-hole...and defending Gramm gets you pretty damn close as well

Kevin said...

Actually, being in shape will not prevent repetitive use syndromes. It might make it a tad less likely you'll be afflicted, but it isn't a panacea at all.

My experience is that good animators who start to develop repetitive use syndromes become more likely to complain about slow rigs or will start having trouble hitting quota BECAUSE of their injury, not the other way around.

Smart employers and smart employees take steps proactively to try to minimize the likelihood of repetitive stress injuries, but they still happen, and blaming the victim is no way to deal with the problem.

Anonymous said...

Well said, Kevin

Anonymous said...

He's a doctor. Actually, the criterion for being qualified for workers comp, as far as I know, is no longer being able to specifically do your job. That's why, if you draw for a living, repetitive stress hand injuries are as devastating as a more obviously crippling injury or disease in another profession. Workman's comp is not reserved for "ditch diggers."

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