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USL&H amendments
Caution advised

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) amends the Longshore & Harbor Workers' Compensation Act by excluding from the Longshore Act coverage for all workers engaged in recreational vessel repair, provided they are subject to coverage under a state Workers' Compensation law. The previous language excluded only those workers who repaired recreational vessels under 65 feet in length and were subject to state Workers' Compensation coverage.

Even though the new exclusion is now in effect, employers who believe they are affected by the new definition of exempt employees should be cautious about canceling their Longshore coverage.
  • An employee can still allege eligibility under Longshore. Having Longshore coverage obligates the insurer to defend those claims.
  • Any work, however incidental, on commercial vessels of any size remains Longshore.
  • Any work building or manufacturing recreational vessels over 65 ft remains Longshore.
Congress created the Benefits Review Board (BRB) in 1972 to review and issue decisions on appeals of USL&H claims. In the past, the BRB has narrowly construed all exclusions from Longshore coverage and has found coverage for injured workers where the statutory language is unclear.

Until Administrative Law Judges and the BRB have tested this new provision and until the Office of Workers' Compensation Programs interpretation is advanced, we cannot accurately measure the overall impact of this change.