Workers Compensation

Workers' Compensation provides income and medical benefits to employees who sustain a work-related injury or illness when that employee is disabled from performing his or her job. The University's Workers' Compensation insurer is Commonwealth of Massachusetts Workers Compensation Unit.

Seeking Medical Treatment

If emergency care is required call 9-1-1 for immediate treatment. If less urgent medical care is required, an employee may seek treatment from your own health care provider or receive initial treatment from the University Health Services (UHS). The University’s Workers Compensation (WC) insurance carrier will pay for any costs associated with your approved WC claim. The employee or his/her medical provider must call the state insurer’s Utilization Review Agent (tel 800-266-7991) for pre-approval of treatment or within 24 hours after seeking emergency treatment and for pre-approval of treatment thereafter. The Injured Workers' Guide to Workers' Compensation provides additional important information for seeking care under the WC policy.

Reporting a Work-Related Injury or Illness

1. Notify Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S)

If the injury is serious, contact EH&S as soon as the employee/student has sought medical attention.  EH&S can be reached 24/7 at 413-545-2682 . If there is no answer please leave a detailed message and someone will return your call. Examples of serious injuries include:

  • Injuries involving hospital treatment, ambulance transport or time away from work
  • Incidents where multiple employees are injured
  • Biological exposures (needle sticks, exposure to blood or other bodily fluids, etc.)
  • Chemical exposures/poisonings
  • Work related illnesses
  • Severe lacerations or punctures requiring stitches  
  • Amputations
  • Broken bones
  • Incidents resulting in a concussion or loss of consciousness

2. A Notice of Injury form must be filed with Human Resources and sumbitted to the University's WC insurer within 48 hours of the injury/illness. Every injury or work-related illness must be reported, regardless of whether it might seem relatively minor or insignificant. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts's Division of Human Resources WC Unit reviews and makes determination on WC claims.

Authorizing the Release of Medical Records

As part of the Notice of Injury report an employee must sign an Authorization for Release of Medical Records [WORD] form. This form authorizes hospitals and medical providers to release any and all information relating to the employee's injury/illness to persons and/or institutions involved in the WC process. The Commonwealth's WC Unit will not pay medical bills related to the injury unless it has received this authorization form. If you are seriously injured and/or not immediately available to sign the form, your department will mail the Authorization to your home. Return the completed Authorization for Release of Medical Records form to Human Resources.

Absence from Work for Five (5) or More Days

If an employee will be absent from work for five (5) or more calendar days, the employee and his/her supervisor must follow the standard leave application process. In addition:

Workers Compensation Income

If you are unable to work, and while awaiting determination on a workers’ compensation claim, a benefited employee may use his or her own accrued time (sick, vacation, personal, compensatory) to secure income. Alternatively an employee may request to be on an unpaid leave, have no accrued time to submit or hold a non-benefited position. In these latter cases the employee does not receive pay from the Commonwealth while awaiting determination on the claim. If approved, Workers Compensation income benefits begin effective the 6th calendar day of absence and replace 60% of the employee’s average earnings over the 12 months preceding the illness/injury (within certain minimum and maximum benefits). If an employee is disabled for more than 21 days, workers’ compensation income is made retroactive to the first day of absence. If an employee receives income from the University during a period later covered by Workers' Compensation (eg, by using sick, vacation, personal or compensatory time to secure income) the employee may not retain both payments in full (which would total more than 100% of regular income). In these circumstances Human Resources works with the employee to restore the duplicate payment to the University, restoring corresponding accruals the employee’s future use.