Workers Compensation

Workers Compensation Related


The purpose of this schedule is to:

  • Provide all state agencies with uniform guidelines for the retention and disposition of common worker’s compensation (WC) and related records;
  • Ensure that agencies retain WC records as long as needed for internal administration, and to meet legal, fiscal, audit and other state and federal requirements;\
  • Promote cost-effective management of records; and
  • a Provide agencies with legal authorization to dispose of obsolete records on a regularly-scheduled basis after minimum retention periods.


This general schedule applies to all state agencies and campuses. This includes state executive, legislative, and judicial agencies, and all University of Wisconsin agencies and campuses. 

Section-l 02.08, Wis. Stats., provides that the Department of Administration (DOA) has responsibility for administration of worker’s compensation benefits for all state employes. DOA has delegated claims management responsibilities to the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the University of Wisconsin (UW) System-for all UW institutions. These three entities are identified as “DOA, DOT, UW System.” It is not intended that-any further delegation is likely at this time. All state agencies and institutions report WC claims to DOA, except DOT and UW System employes. If agency personnel are not part of DOT or the UW, deal directly with DOA on worker’s compensation issues. 

Each executive, legislative, and judicial state agency unit or campus has designated worker’s compensation coordinators who assist in processing claims and provide direct customer assistance with WC claims within each agency. The WC coordinator is the principal liaison with respective DOA, DOT or UW System claims handlers. 

The Department of Workforce Development (DWD) regulates all worker’s compensation activity under Chapter 102 of the statutes. Records in this series only include those related to DOA’s administration of the program for state employes and do not include DWD records.


This general schedule covers records series that all state agencies create and use to document each “near-miss,” “incident,” “ occupational injury,” and “occupational disease” incidents alleged to have affected a state employe, whether or not incidents result in WC claims. The schedule covers all records contained in incident reports and claim files maintained by state agencies. Records in this series are used to document worker’s compensation occurrences, to document rights to certain benefits, and to maintain accurate payment records.

Records Functions Included: Records series include the following functions:

  • Accident reporting system
  • Benefit accounting and documentation
  • Medical documentation
  • Claims services and management reports and documentation of activities
  • Claims services and benefit invoices
  • Claims payment records
  • Claims correspondence
  • Litigation documents
  • Vocational rehabilitation documents
  • Diaries and notebooks for each claim

Interrelated Records Cross-referenced: Other records related to worker’s compensation are covered by other general schedules. These include payroll, accounting and procurement records.

Records Not Included: This general schedule does -n ot include the following types of records:

  • Worker’s compensation records maintained by the Department of Workforce Development for purposes of regulating worker’s compensation functions under Chapter 102, Wis. Stats., and related rules and statutes.
  • Unemployment compensation records.
  • Risk management property and liability records.

Electronic Records: This schedule applies to electronic data and tapes/cartridges maintained and managed by the DOA Bureau of State Risk Management and its network, including DOT, UW System, and UW-Madison worker’s compensation entities. The system, known as the “Worker’s Compensation Claims System,” (WCCS) is the only official, electronic data system included in this schedule.Agencies and campuses maintaining separate electronic data systems should develop RDA’s for them. Agency systems are not copies of WCCS records.


Identifv the Official Records and Agency and Working Copies: Many WC records are produced in multiple copies, by using multi-ply forms or by photocopying. This schedule covers all copies of the record, including the following:

Official Record: The official record, retained by DOA, DOT, or UW System, is the record that is most likely to be used for claims management purposes. This file is located in the:

  • Department of Administration’s Bureau of State Risk Management;
  • Department of Transportation’s Risk and Safety Management Section; or
  • University of Wisconsin System’s Office of Safety and Loss Prevention.

Agency Copy: The agency should also identify the agency copy and its location in the agency. The agency copy is that copy that must be retained to satisfy any agency-specific management requirement of the agency’s operation. The agency copy usually is maintained by the WC coordinator. Do -n ot send agency copies to the State Record Center.

Working Copies: All other copies of the record are considered working or convenience copies. In the interest of efficiency, do not keep these copies longer than needed or more than 18 months. If you do not need convenience copies in the office, discard them as soon as practical. Do not send working copies to the State Records Center.

NOTE: Working copies should not be retained longer than the official file and agency copies of the record, because of the costs associated with continuing to maintain them. If an agency continues to retain convenience copies beyond the retention periods set for the official file and agency copies, the agency will need to provide appropriate access to these copies in response to audit or legal requests and the Open Records Law.

Records Series Titles and Categories: Titles of records series may not be the exact titles used by an agency for each record or records series. For example, the “Occupational Illness and Injury Report” is now the “Employe Occupational Illness and Injury Report.” This general schedule will apply to both reports. Updated and similar forms will be treated the same for purposes of the general schedule. 

The schedule requires some interpretation and application to specific agency titlesof worker’s compensation records. If agency staff are uncertain about the schedule’s application to a specific group of records or need assistance, see the “For Additional Information and Assistance” section to identify sources for advice. 

Beginning on page 10, each records series is described in narrative detail, including lists of forms, reports and other items included in the series. All items within a series relate to the same topic and have the same retention requirements. For ease of reference you may consult an attached appendix at the end of this document. The appendix lists the various forms, reports, and documents in the worker’s compensation files.

Develop and Maintain Documentation of Worker’s Compensation Policies,Procedures, Transactions and Control: Agencies need to maintain adequate documentation of worker’s compensation transactions and activities to meet internal administrative needs, legal purposes, and program and financial audit requirements. This schedule provides agency staff with a sound basis for adequate program documentation.

Agency Records Management Officers should work with worker’s compensation personnel to implement organized filing systems and design information processes that are consistent with effective, efficient records management principles. Design filing systems to meet staff informational needs and facilitate cross-reference to retention and disposition guidance in this schedule. 

Control Retention and Disposition of Worker's Compensation Records: The agency should use this schedule to dispose of records that are no longer needed on a continuing basis. Implement the retention and disposition policies in this schedule in a timely and efficient manner. To facilitate disposition, agency staff should cut off files periodically and develop methods to mark files when they close. Disposition includes transfer of records to State Records Center storage, when appropriate, and destruction of records through the state’s wastepaper or confidential recycling contract. For most worker’s compensation records, the final disposition is destroy.


Agencies are required to follow this schedule. Retention periods established and disposition directions are state policy requirements for worker’s compensation records. Records may be retained for longer purposes under the conditions listed below.

Delaying Records Destruction: Records should only be retained for periods longer than the retention periods specifled in this schedule if:

  • Particular records are subject to an open audit;
  • Records are needed in a legal action; or
  • An open records request for particular records has been received.

The Wisconsin Open Records Law, s. 19.35(5), Wis. Stats., forbids the destruction of any record after an inspection or copying request until the request is granted, or at least 60 days after the date that the request is denied. Court orders may extend this time period. The agency’s Legal Custodian of records can provide advice. It is the responsibility of the office holding the record to determine if an audit, litigation or an open records request is pending before disposing of that record.

Maintaining Inactive Records: Inactive records that must be retained for an additional period of time before the expiration of their legal retention

requirements should be transferred to a low-cost, inactive records facility, such as the State Records Center.


Agency personnel should also consult with the following resource staff for additional information and assistance with records management concerns.

DOA Records Management Section: The DOA Records Management Section provides free training sessions, as needed, on implementation of general records schedules. They also provide additional copies of this general schedule. Records Officer: Each agency has a designated Records Officer who serves as liaison to the Public Records Board. The Records Officer is responsible for agency-wide records management planning, program development, and assistance on records issues.

Public Records Board: The Public Records Board approves general records schedules establishing statewide policy guidance for retention of these types of records. Retention periods specified in the general schedule are sufficient to meet administrative, fiscal, and legal needs.

State Historical Society: The State Historical Society of Wisconsin assists agencies with records management, particularly in identifying the small percentage of records that have historical value. Few records covered in the general schedule for worker’s compensation have secondary historical or research value.