Health & Safety Division Introduces
HandS System

 
Take the "H" in Health, the "S" in Safety, and
put "and" in the middle: you have HandS.
 

HandS user information:

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This Web site is designed to keep our customers and other members of the health and safety community up to date about developments in our new data processing and management system, HandS, which was implemented in April 2007. This site will provide revised forms and outline new ways of filing forms and interacting with the Health & Safety Division.
 
Our goal is to provide you with as much information as possible so that your interactions with the HandS system will be smooth. We have worked hard over the years to establish solid and productive working relationships with you, and we plan to continue to do the best job we can to serve our customers as we move to new and more efficient ways of processing information and communicating.

HandS To Better Serve You

Since the 1993 inclusion of the health and safety provisions in the Workers' Compensation Act, health and safety related filings and information had been managed using an outdated mainframe system and a proliferation of stand-alone desktop applications developed by the Bureau of Workers' Compensation Health and Safety Division personnel. Data was stored in separate databases and duplication of data was common. Retrieval of data to efficiently respond to customers was time consuming. In order to better and more efficiently serve the workers' compensation community, the division and Office of Information Technology personnel have developed HandS, a new Web-based information-management system. This system was implemented in April 2007.
 
The need for HandS had been apparent for some time as the number of health and safety customers continued to grow, and feedback from customer surveys conducted over a two-year period revealed a strong customer desire for online filing and electronic information exchange. The division's clients also said that they had to "dust off typewriters" to complete all of the health and safety reports and certification forms. The annual "Accident and Illness Prevention Program/Services" reports required from self-insured employers and workers' compensation insurers are now available for online filing. Electronic filing of Initial and Renewal applications for workplace safety committee certification is now also possible.
 
Online filing capability means that when individuals log on to file forms, the system provides definitions of the data that is requested and conducts edit checks of the data as it is entered. Information filed electronically is "cleaner," requiring less review and allowing for quicker decisions and faster customer feedback. Also, questions or areas in need of clarification are handled electronically, meaning less paper shuffling and fewer time delays for all involved parties.
 
Almost all health and safety information filings are time sensitive. Electronic filing and follow-up communication will eliminate many delays that had been experienced, and speedier problem resolution is another big advantage of electronic exchange.
 
The Health and Safety Division can be contacted directly by e-mailing: RA-LI-BWC-Safety@pa.gov or by calling (717) 772-1917.
 

HandS Questions and Answers

Do I have to file electronically?
 
The option for continuing to file annual reports and committee certification forms via paper will continue for the immediate future. It is hoped that most customers will sign on for electronic data exchange for its convenience of use, speed and accuracy.
 
Do I have to have a special computer to use HandS?
 
No. Users can log on from any computer with an Internet connection.
 
If I file electronically, will my data be secure?
 
Absolutely. Users establish a user account, including their own unique password, giving them sole access to their information. In addition, all data is fully encrypted during electronic transmission.
 
Can I save entered data if I'm in the middle of completing a form electronically?
 
Yes. Stop and restart capabilities are built in so that entered data is saved for a period of time.
 
Have any filing requirements changed?
 
Electronic and paper forms have been totally revised, and in many cases streamlined. Some supporting documentation that had been requested was eliminated in conjunction with the ability to enter data online. Some additional information may be requested -- largely information that is required to be kept by customers under the health and safety regulations.
 
Can I print copies of my completed electronic forms?
 
Yes. Print and save capabilities are part of the system's design.
 
Where can I go for help using HandS?
 
There are a variety of help sources including Web site information, the Health and Safety Division, and information technology personnel. The construction of the Web pages to include definitions and edits has been designed to lead users through the various processes.
 
Will forms be automatically sent to me electronically as they were in paper form?
 
First, the current filing timeframes for certification applications, certification renewals and annual reports will remain the same. You will continue to be notified well in advance of the due dates. If you elect to file forms electronically (as we hope you will), you'll be completing the "forms" via your computer using screens similar to those you probably are using now for other applications. If you still want to complete paper forms, they will be sent to you in advance. You will also be able to download certain forms from the HandS Web site, complete them on your computer, print and mail them to us.
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