News roundup: hotel workers, certificates of insurance, productivity, and more

April 25th, 2006 by Julie Ferguson

Hotel worker risks – Your comfort is a pain in the neck for many hotel workers – literally. Jordan Barab at Confined Space posts on how the increasingly plush bedding that hotels use to lure guests – duvets, double mattresses, down pillows – are adding to the injuries experienced by hotel workers.

“Still other research, by Orr Consulting, a firm dealing in ergonomics, found that the strain of making 12 or more king-size beds a day — many with 115-pound mattresses, 14-pound duvets and three sheets instead of two — exceeded federal occupational safety guidelines on lifting. And in a recent Unite Here survey of 622 housekeepers in Boston, Los Angeles and Toronto, 91 percent said they had work-related pain, 67 percent had gone to doctors because of that pain and 66 percent took medication for it.

More on popcorn lung – Artificial flavorings added to popcorn and other snack foods pose a serious threat to workers in the food industry and government watchdog agencies offer little in the way of protection, instead leaving the industry police itself. Francisco Herrera, a 32 year-old worker and father of two who suffers from disease that has destroyed 70 percent of his lungs wonders why, when everyone knew that the diacetyl was harmful. no one told the workers who handled it. In a must-read special report entitled Disease is swift, response is slow, The Baltimore Sun discusses this issue at length. Found via Jordan Barab at Confined Space, who has been blogging the popcorn lung issue thoroughly for several years now.
Kudos – to B. Jannell Grenier for the 3-year blogiversary of Benefitsblog, an excellent resource for tax, benefits, and ERISA law. Because the blog’s topic matter is somewhat peripheral to workers comp, we don’t pick up stories often, but it is a quality resource and a frequent read. Don’t miss the wealth of carefully-chosen links at the end of the page!
Certificates of insuranceSpecialty Insurance Blog highlights recent litigation that illustrates why the proper handling of certificates of insurance can be so important to agents and brokers.
More on WTC deaths – Federal authorities are taking note of the deaths of workers affiliated with the WTC cleanup, seeing an autopsy linking detective’s death to ground zero’s toxic dust a warning sign:

“The government’s point man on Sept. 11 health programs said he is worried that an autopsy linking a retired detective’s death to recovery work at ground zero may be a warning sign of other life-threatening cases.

Dr. John Howard also said it will take time to determine whether there is a scientific link between deaths and exposure to toxic dust. Some epidemiologists have said it will take 20 years or more to prove such a link.”

Meeting productivity – Our fellow bloggers seem concerned about the productivity of meetings lately. Specialty Insurance Blog notes that insurance presentations aren’t always scintillating, and to that, he serves up several excellent links on how improving presentations. And to ensure that your meetings attain their objectives, MSSPNexus offers tips for
making meetings valuable

Keep choice on the Internet – Beyond workers comp, we don’t editorialize too often, but this is a topic near and dear to us, and if you are a blog reader, probably to you too. Is open access to the Internet important to you? Do you want the choice of independent sites or would you prefer to have your ISP slice, dice & package the Web much like cable TV? If you prefer choice and broad access, you may want to let your congressman know today. Pending legislation deals with abandoning “network neutrality” and there aren’t too many lobbyists on the side of the individual web user. Here’s a video clip that explains the issue, and here’s an overview from Josh Marshall with some links for further action.
Short takesJudge: Worker can’t be fired for web surfing
100 Years Later: State of the Art Business Response and Recovery Plans (PDF) (via Thoughts from a Management Lawyer
When a business travel bargain may not be a bargain.
How to put a band-aid on so it stays on all day Video clip via