News Roundup: NY construction, CA law, OH fraud, and more

November 27th, 2006 by Julie Ferguson

New York constructionFatal construction accidents have risen sharply over last 12 months, according to an article by Sewell Chan in The New York Times:

Of the 28 incidents in which the 29 workers were killed, 19 involved companies with 10 or fewer workers and 21 involved workers who were immigrants or had limited English proficiency and 24 involved nonunionized workers.
Mr. Mendelson said that unionized workers were not immune from accidents, but had a better safety record. “There’s no reason why nonunion workers should have a lower level of protection,” he said. “Obviously there’s a disparity here.”

Thanks to rawblogXport for pointing us to this item.
Ask Dr J – Our friend and colleague Dr. Jennifer Christian discusses strategies for aligning incentives with physicians (PDF) in response to the reader query “We want to reward the doctors who are willing to work with us to help prevent needless disability. Any ideas on things we might try?”.
Patient safety – Rita Schwab at MSSPNexus Blog posts about a recent Modern Healthcare article on patient safety, an issue that is coming under increasing scrutiny. She discusses how vital it is for the chief executive officer of a hospital to embrace and champion safety – and we would posit that this is true whether the topic is patient or worker safety. In any organization, the CEO sets the priorities. In her post, it is suggested that a portion of executive compensation be linked to measurable safety goals, and that violations of safety policies result in disciplinary action.
Ohio fraud watch – Rare coin dealer Thomas Noe will serve 18 years in jail for his theft of $13 million from The Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation. Joe Paduda reports at Managed Care Matters.
CA case law – Roberto Ceniceros of Business Insurance reports on an Appeals Court ruling that awarded workers compensation benefits to a Home Depot worker for a psychiatric injury. In Aaron B. Matea vs. Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board, the court found that because the injury was caused by a “sudden and extraordinary employment condition” – a shelf-load of lumber falling on him – it met the exception rule to the requirement of 6-month employment.
Occupational injuries drop in 2005 – In another item from Roberto Ceniceros, we learn that the rate of nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses in private industry that required recuperation away from work declined 4% in 2005, according to the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. A PDF of the full report is available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Firefighters and cancer risks – Katherine Torres of Occupational Hazards writes about research conducted by the University of Cincinnati that demonstrates that firefighters may be more likely to develop certain types of cancer than workers in other professions.

“According to findings published in the November edition of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Grace LeMasters, Ph.D., Ash Genaidy, Ph.D., and James Lockey, M.D., found that firefighters are twice as likely to develop testicular cancer and have significantly higher rates of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and prostate cancer than non-firefighters. The researchers also confirmed previous findings that firefighters are at greater risk for multiple myeloma. The University of Cincinnati-led team looked at 32 previously published studies covering 110,000 firefighters – most of them full-time, white, male workers – to determine the comprehensive health effects and correlating cancer risks of their profession.”

Dirty work – Diane Pfadenhauer 0f Strategic HR Lawyer refers us to an item in WebMD about the top 9 jobs where bacteria thrive, part of a larger research project by Gerba on “Germs in the Workplace.” You may or may not want to find out if you are on the list.
In the “unusual worker risk” department – This page is dedicated to analysis of the extent and cause of the injuries suffered by Lord Darth Vader. In Return of the Jedi Obi-Wan Kenobi states that Vader is “more machine now than man.” This page will be concerned with investigating the extent Kenobi’s statement might be literally true and the extent to which it is merely “a certain point of view.”