News roundup: McCain guest worker bill, Rx repackaging, trench deaths, chromium exposure, and more

February 27th, 2006 by Julie Ferguson

Peter Rousmaniere is watching the developments in the McCain guest worker bill, along with a rundown of the bill’s supporters and opponents. How big is the issue of immigrant workers? Check out his recent posting on an estimate of the number of undocumented workers by state and their workforce share.
Joe Paduda covers the latest in the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation coingate scandal. Now Sotheby’s is involved in trying to assess the value of the rare coins. Also, if you operate in California and didn’t catch his recent posting on drug repackagers’ margins, go read it now – there’s a loophole in the fee schedule that is costing payers a lot of money.
Jordan Barab follows two important stories: First, he notes how trench deaths and near deaths are occurring at a rapid clip, despite being preventable with appropriate safety standards. Yet, all too often, companies that violate these standards get little more than a wrist-slap when workers die on the job. He also covers the rising death toll for 9/11 rescue and recovery workers – at least a dozen have succumbed to respiratory disease. They won’t be the last. “… Of the roughly 70,000 people currently enrolled in Mount Sinai’s World Trade Center health study, more than 60,000 suffer some kind of respiratory problem.”
Today’s Insurance Journal includes a story on a report that shows that the chromium industry withheld key data from the government involving the health risks of workers exposed to the carcinogenic metal in an attempt to influence OSHA’s rulemaking and standards for the industry. Also of note: an update of workers compensation reform legislation in South Carolina. Among other things, the new law would abolish the state’s Second Injury Fund and would address issues to reduce litigation.
The Actuarial Outpost discusses why companies hire actuaries, with a resulting mix of serious and not so serious commentary. My favorite quote: “Actuaries are the people who enter the battlefield after the battle is over and bayonet the wounded.”
Hat tip to Jottings By an Employer’s Lawyer for consistently excellent postings on issues of employment law. While generally not directly related to workers comp issues, they are often peripheral – or just plain interesting – workplace issues. Drop by if you’ve never been there. And in the HR department, another regular read George’s Employment Blawg.
… and while on the HR issue, I just noticed that BusinessWeek Online has added a Working Parents blog to its growing roster of weblogs. Good idea. BW now has a baker’s dozen of blogs on various topics (look in the top left of the sidebar on the Working Parents blog) – one of the mainstream business publications that seems to be successfully integrating the blog format into its regular news lineup.