The State Industrial Commission has increased the maximum amount allowed for burial expenses for people killed on the job from $1,800 to $4,000 but also retained the right to increase the amount under special circumstances.

Earlier this year, the Legislature directed the commission to establish a rule that would set the maximum allowed for burial expenses in work-related deaths, according to Joyce A. Sewell, director of the commission's Industrial Accidents Division.Sewell said she contacted funeral directors in all portions of the state to determine what reasonable burial expenses would cost. They ranged from $2,000 to $7,000, and she determined $4,000 is an average for a no-frills burial.

Larry Bunkall, president of the Utah Manufacturers Association, said the proposed statute should specify what is included in the burial expense. Does it include the funeral services, the casket, concrete vault, cemetery plot and headstone? he asked.

Sewell said it usually covers the services, a casket and vault. Commission Chairman Stephen M. Hadley said the commission will propose another rule specifying exactly what will be paid for.

Jinks Dabney, an attorney who represents injured workers before the commission, couldn't attend the meeting when the burial rule was adopted, but sent a letter saying he objected to the dollar amount applying to all work-related death cases.

He said putting a dollar figure on burial expenses will require the commission to periodically review the rule to keep up with inflation. He suggested tying the burial expenses to an inflationary index or other factor.