Published on January 22, 2014

N.M. comp bill would deny benefits to workers under the influence

By Sheena Harrison, Crain News Service

SANTA FE, N.M. (Jan. 22, 2014) — New Mexico legislators are considering a bill that would prevent workers compensation benefits from being paid to workers who are injured while intoxicated on the job, and also deny benefits to workers who don’t submit to drug testing.

H.B. 113, introduced Jan. 17 by Republican state Rep. Dennis J. Roch, states that neither indemnity nor medical comp benefits would be payable “when alcohol or drugs contribute to injury or death” of a worker, according to a copy of the bill posted on the New Mexico Legislature website. http://www.nmlegis.gov/lcs/ The state’s 2014 legislative session opened Jan. 21.

Benefits also would not be payable if a worker refuses to take a post-accident alcohol or drug test, or declines to provide the results of such tests to the employer or workers comp insurer, the bill reads.

Currently, New Mexico’s workers comp law specifies some conditions under which workers comp benefits are not payable to intoxicated workers. However, a provision that would be revised in the proposed bill states that workers comp benefits are reduced by 10 percent when an injury is caused by “voluntary intoxication.”

This report appeared in Crain’s Business Insurance magazine, a Chicago-based sister publication of Tire Business.

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