Seventy Seven’s Workers’ Comp Status Discussed in Executive Session

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A state government agency discussed Seventy Seven Energy Inc.’s pending bankruptcy in executive session on Thursday in an effort to determine what impact it may have on the company’s injured workers.

The Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Commission met on Thursday afternoon to discuss Seventy Seven Energy’s status as an impaired opt-out self-insured under the restructured Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Act.

When the Commission reconvened following the executive session, it decided to take no action at this time.

Nationwide, the oil and gas industry is one sector that has a high volume of on-the-job injuries and workplace fatalities.

In 2013, Senate Bill 1062 overhauled the Oklahoma workers’ compensation court system by switching to an administrative system with the creation of the Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Commission. The bill also established the opt-out provisions allowing qualified employers to forego the state’s workers’ compensation system by establishing their own plan governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).

Several of the Commission’s decisions have been appealed to the Oklahoma Supreme Court. Earlier in February, the Commission made a determination that the opt-out provisions contained in the newly minted statute were unconstitutional.

It remains uncertain how Seventy Seven Energy’s bankruptcy reorganization plan will affect any of the company’s injured workers; however, the Commission will revisit the issue as developments unfold.

 

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