News roundup: Cavalcade of Risk, air marshals, night workers, and more

September 28th, 2006 by Julie Ferguson

Week of the carnivals – This is a big week for the blog carnivals. Yesterday, we alerted you that this week’s Health Wonk Review is posted. Now we have news that a fresh Cavalcade of Risk compiled by Joe Kristen of Roth & Company Tax Updates blog. it’s a pretty hefty issue – something for just about everyone in the risk spectrum.
Are air marshals being dismissed over work injuries? – Last week, The Washington Times reported on the high number of injuries experienced by federal air marshals, claiming that 2,100, or nearly half the total work force, had been sidelined due to injuries. Many are quitting the Federal Air Marshal Services (FAMS) due to a variety of illnesses, such as deep vein thrombosis and barotrauma, a decompression sickness that causes ruptured eardrums and sinus conditions. Over about a three-year period, nearly 2,500 workers comp claims were filed. Many workers are also reporting that they are being fired or demoted because of this. The issue is significant enough to come to the attention of Congress.
Top workers comp drug problem – Joe Paduda at Managed care Matters discusses how Actiq is emerging as one of the most problematic drugs in workers comp. Actiq is a powerful pain narcotic that is used in cancer treatment, but has not been approved by the FDA for use with musculoskeletal injuries, yet it is one of the most frequently prescribed drugs in workers comp. Joe suggests that part of the reason for the increase is the inability of many physicians to adequately deal with pain.
Night workers at high risk – Diane Pfadenhauer of Strategic HR Lawyer features a post discussing the perils of the graveyard shift. According to a cited article, night workers are 20 percent more likely to have a work-related injury than day workers, and are also prone to higher rates of cancer, heart disease and gastrointestinal disorders.
State reform initiatives – In Ohio, labor groups that were seeking to overturn many of the reform provisions enacted last year failed to get enough signatures to get a ballot initiative in the upcoming election. In South Carolina, business leaders are pressing legislators to make workers compensation reform a priority in the next session. One of the key issues in that reform is the potential elimination of the state’s second injury fund.