News Roundup: trucks, trains, TRIA, and more

December 12th, 2006 by Julie Ferguson

Trucking problems – Jordan Barab of Confined Space comments on a pair of articles on the trucking industry that recently appeared in The New York Times and the Chicago Tribune in his post entitled American Truckers: Sweatshops on Wheels, Adrift In A Tumultuous Sea. He discusses the “race to the bottom” that the trucking industry has become since deregulation in 1980 in terms of pay, safety, and overall working conditions. Since this is also a vital public safety issue, these matters concern us all. See our related post from last year: No bargains to be had in shortchanging trucking safety.
Study relating fatigue and accidents – In another transportation-related news item, Canada’s Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) recently released a study linking worker fatigue to train accidents, stating that human factor errors have been responsible for nearly 40 percent of all train accidents over the past five years. Human factor accidents are also increasing, while accidents related to other causes are decreasing. (Via rawblogXport).
Personal responsibility – While workers comp is essentially no-fault in nature, the cost is inextricably linked to the larger costs of health care, so the trends in that arena are worth following. Joe Paduda of Managed Care Matters has recently featured a series of posts about the issue of personal responsibility as a factor in insurance coverage. One post dealt with a new policy that West Virginia has instituted for Medicaid beneficiaries, enhancing benefits for those who adhere to healthy behaviors and penalizing those who don’t. In the second post, he produced a “synopsis of some of the more trenchant observations” from other blogs on the topic of patient responsibility. Both are worth reading, along with the posted comments.
More Blackberry hazards?Blackberry thumb might be the least of your potential liability woes with new tech devices. Michael Fox of Jottings by an Employers Lawyer blogs about the perils of multitasking as seen by a recent $4.1 million judgement awarded to a woman after a collision with a van driver who was looking down to read directions on his Blackberry.
Employer misconduct – We’ve been following the case of the Station nightclub fire on this blog for a number of years now, and note that the $1.07 million fine against the owners of the club for their failure to carry workers compensation was upheld. Four employees were among the 100 fatalities in the fire. The Derderian brothers were looking for relief related to to their bankruptcy filing last year but the judge found that a penalty could not be waived.
Terrorism Exposure – TRIA is set to expire on December 31, 2007. In preparation for this, RIMS has issued a position on a Long-Term Solution To Terrorism Exposure.
School violence – The Public Entity Risk Institute (PERI) will host a week-long Virtual Symposium to address the growing problem of violence in our nation’s schools. The symposium, entitled “Confronting Violence in Our Schools: Planning, Response, and Recovery,” will be presented on the PERI Website on January 8-12, 2007. The program will be moderated by Lauren Eib, Risk Manager for the Tucson Unified School District in Tucson, AZ.