IAIABC Excellence Award 

Excellence Award

The IAIABC is pleased to recognize the New York State Workers' Compensation Board with the 2019 IAIABC Excellence Award for their virtual hearings center. 

New York's Virtual Hearing Center eases the burden of travel for injured workers, and gives workers, employers, and attorneys the option of appearing at hearings remotely in a secure, reliable, and convenient manner. Each year, the New York State Workers' Compensation Board conducts approximately 275,000 workers' compensation hearings statewide, with many hearings lasting less than 10 minutes long. Through extensive stakeholder training and buy-in as well as significant investments in administrative changes and technology, the Board has conducted over 209,000 virtual hearings since 2017, at a 45% virtual participation rate.

Press Release

The IAIABC Excellence Award, formerly the Innovation Award, recognizes jurisdictions for the development of successful solutions to reduce harm and aid recovery from occupational injuries and illnesses. These solutions address policy and program challenges jurisdictions face while regulating and administering workers' compensation. Solution could include specific programs, policies, initiatives,  or projects that seek to improve worker and employer outcomes or ease administrative burdens.


The New York State Workers' Compensation Board is invited to present their Virtual Hearings program during the Awards Luncheon on October 23, 2019 at the IAIABC 105th Convention in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The New York State Workers' Compensation Board's Virtual Hearings will also be featured in the December 2019 issue of the IAIABC's digital magazine, Perspectives.

Thank You to the IAIABC Excellence Award Sponsor

WorkComp Strategies





Previous Winners

3rd Annual Innovation Award (2018)

The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board received the 3rd Annual Innovation Award for its Health and Safety Index, a new tool used to measure the overall safety and health of Ontario’s workplaces.

The Health and Safety Index is an aggregate measure that includes components for prevention, worker empowerment, workplace culture, enforcement, and injuries. Great effort was taken in the development of the Health and Safety Index so it could be easily adopted by other jurisdictions.

The first results of the Health and Safety Index were released on May 8, 2018, and indicated a 1.6% improvement in Ontario’s overall workplace health and safety. 

2nd Annual Innovation Award (2017)

The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation was recognized as the winner of the 2017 IAIABC Innovation Award for its innovation and impressive results in building and implementing its pharmacy program.

Through multi-stakeholder partnerships, the Ohio BWC created dependency thresholds, collected prescriber information and tracked and monitored utilization, developed a formulary, and in 2016, became the first state to move their prescribing guidelines into state code.

The initiatives undertaken led to new claim opioid utilization decrease by 48% over 4 years; a decrease of 19.5 million doses prescribed between 2010 and 2016; and opioid use for chronic pain dropped by 11% over 4 years. The Ohio BWC also reports a 50:1 return on investment in the program.

Inaugural Innovation Award (2016)

In 2016, the IAIABC awarded two jurisdictional agencies with the Innovation Award: the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries, and the Virginia Workers' Compensation Commission. 

The Washington State Department of Labor and Industries was recognized for its “Return to Work Partnerships Program,” and their initiatives to help workers heal and return to work following a work injury. Over the past two years, the Department changed the culture of its system and vocational services to ensure return to work is its primary focus, enhancing the coordination of care and maintaining engagement of injured workers in the workforce. 

The Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission was recognized for “Innovation and Automation of ADR in Virginia,” an initiative to enhance the efficiency of mediation services within the agency. The project effectively integrated the Commission’s mediation efforts creating a streamlined electronic process for case assessment, issue identification, scheduling, and resolution.