News roundup: Ohio BWC, insurer competition, terminations, teen safety, and more

July 10th, 2006 by Julie Ferguson

Ohio BWC report out – the Office of the Inspector General of Ohio has issued a report on the its fiduciary review of the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation. Essentially, the report states that, since the BWC’s restructuring in the mid 1990s, too much power has been vested in the Governor’s office, resulting in a the potential for abuse of power. The report calls for the Bureau’s Oversight Commission to play a stronger role and too be more independent from the Governor’s office. Also, any investment decisions should be made “in the sunshine” in public meetings. News reports can be found at The Toledo Blade and The Columbus Dispatch. The full report and fiduciary review can be accessed here as a series of PDFs.
We have met the enemy and he is usSpecialty Insurance Blog discusses a recent Standard & Poor’s survey in which executives point to irresponsible competition as the single biggest risk facing insurers. Pricing too low? Those of us in workers comp have certainly seen that dynamic play out more than once.
The weekly toll – Thanks to Tammy at Confined Space, who has compiled the latest report on deaths in the workplace – a grim reminder of just how common these events are. And, sadly, how often they are preventable. Are your workers safe this week?
Teen safety – Thanks to rawblogXport for pointing us to Clocking in for Trouble: Teens and Unsafe Work, a report issued by the National Consumers League that discusses the five worst teen jobs:
1. Agriculture: Fieldwork and Processing
2. Construction and Work in Heights
3. Outside Helper: Landscaping, Groundskeeping, and Lawn Service
4. Driver/Operator: Forklifts, Tractors, and ATVs
5. Traveling Youth Crews
Employee communication – Diane Pfadenhauer of Strategic HR Lawyer discusses a recent Watson Wyatt Communication ROI study, which reports that, among other things, communication effectiveness is a leading indicator of a company’s financial performance.
Layoffs and terminations – Guy Kawasaki discusses The Art of the Layoff and Michael Fitzgibbon adds his thoughts on the matter, including his advice on minimizing risk in his post on 12 Thoughts on Employee Terminations.
Immigrant workers and wages – a hat tip to our friend Peter Rousmaniere at Working Immigrants for pointing us to The Immigration Equation, an lengthy article in the New York Times Magazine that discusses the issue of whether immigration has depressed wages in the United States.
Wisconsin: Tab for uninsured workers rises 13% – Wisconsin’s lawmakers are looking for ways to ensure that the state’s largest employers bear a share of health care costs for the uninsured, costs that are currently being financed by tax dollars. A recent analysis of BadgerCare recipients – a program for low-income families to access health insurance if they don’t have an employer-sponsored plan – shows the number of recipients who are employed by the state’s 18 largest employers is growing. According to The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the total number of employees and their spouses and dependents enrolled in the program was 5,573 in March 2006, up from 4,923 in April 2005. This issue is not isolated to Wisconsin. We’ve discussed this trend – the growing share of uninsured workers employed by large firms – several times in the past, including the impact that the uninsured can have on workers comp before.