News roundup: Cavalcade of Risk, disease mongering, claims adjusting, crane safety, and more

June 5th, 2008 by Julie Ferguson

Congratulations to Hank Stern of InsureBlog on the the second anniversary of Cavalcade of Risk – check out some of the best of the web’s risk management posts from the last few weeks. Kudos to Hank for keeping this biweekly “best of” carnival going – it’s a great way to be introduced to new blogs.
Disease mongeringHealthLawProf Blog features an interesting item on the topic of disease mongering, defined as “the selling of sickness that widens the boundaries of illness in order to grow markets for those who sell and deliver treatments” or the corporate-sponsored creation of a disease. Apparently, this is an area of increasing concern in global public health circles.
Claims adjusting as a commodity – Joe Paduda at Managed Care Matters has a good post on high claims caseloads and why they should be important to an employer. Joe warns that employers who buy claims adjusting services on the cheap get what they pay for. A veteran claims adjuster adds remarks about how the profession is changing in the comments.
Crane deaths – Last week’s crane collapse in NY killed two workers, following quickly on the heels of a crane collapse in March that claimed the lives of 6 workers. According to OSHA, as many as 82 crane-related deaths occur each year. Celeste Monforton of The Pump Handle discusses the outdated OSHA crane safety standard and the political foot-dragging that has stalled any revisions to the standard:

“It’s a very sorry state of affairs for our national worker safety and health protection program when you have a representative committee of crane safety users and manufacturers who put together a CONSENSUS regulatory text to vastly improve protections for workers and the public, and the responsible agency can’t maneuver it through the bowels of the Department of Labor. This is really pathetic.”

WC costs – Iraq contractors – Richard Eskow of The Sentinel Effect discusses a recent congressional hearing on the Pentagon’s workers’ compensation program for civilian workers in Iraq and Afghanistan, which blasts AIG and other unnamed carriers for excessive profits.
Subrogation – In a recent subrogation case, the Massachusetts Supreme Court denied a suit by a company seeking to collect the increased cost of workers compensation from a third party. R.L. Whipple successfully recovered money for medical and wage replacement benefits that it paid to an employee who was injured when a dumpster owned by Pondview Excavation Corporation rolled off a truck. Whipple also sued Pondview for negligence to recoup a dividend that it lost from its insurer, as well as to cover the increases in the cost of workers compensation insurance it incurred in the wake of the injury claim. The Court denied this suit following the traditional rule “that purely economic losses are unrecoverable in tort … actions in the absence of personal injury or property damage.”
Heat stress – Some 4,000 Americans die each year from heatstroke, and many more are made ill from heat-related illnesses. BLR Safety Daily Advisor offers 6 ways to prevent heat stress at work.
Teen worker injuries – As a follow-up to our recent post on teen worker injuries, we recently found this report from Minnesota on teen worker injuries from 2003-2005 (PDF), which breaks down data on the most common industries for teen injuries, common injury characteristics, and the most common type of injuries. The five highest occupations for teen injuries by percent of claims were: food preparing and serving (21%), laborers/material movers (16%), health care support (10%), construction (9%), and production/assembly (8%).