Cavalcade of Risk and a few news notes

November 6th, 2008 by Julie Ferguson

Cavalcade of Risk #64 is posted and awaiting your perusal at SuperSaver.
OSHA – three new safety bulletins are available from OSHA:
Compactor Rollover Hazard
Hazards of Transporting, Unloading, Storing and Handling Granite,Marble and Stone Slabs
Hazards of Using Flammable Liquids in Cutting Laminated Glass
Violence at work not always compensable – Roberto Ceniceros of Business Insurance reports on an Alabama Supreme Court ruling that sided with a lower court in denying workers comp benefits to a Burger King manager who was sexually assaulted as she arrived at work and was unlocking the restaurant. A random or neutral act of violence is generally not compensable, even if it occurs in the workplace. To be compensable, injuries must “arise out of and in the course of employment.” Injuries can occur “in the course of employment,” which generally relates to the time, place and circumstances, while not meeting the “arising out of the employment” standard, which generally refers to the work-relatedness. If the act of violence had been perpetrated by a co-worker or was directly related to the discharge of duties – such as an assault to a convenience store clerk during a robbery – the injury might be deemed compensable. Victims of random violence might have other redress through civil suits, but generally not through the workers compensation system.
Fatalities among landscape workers – The Centers for Disease Control recently issued a fact sheet on fatal injuries among landscape service workers (PDF) noting that, on average, “…197 landscape workers died from on-the-job injuries each year between 2003 and 2006. The fatality rate for the landscape services industry, about 25 deaths per 100,000 workers, is similar to that for more recognized high-risk industries such as agriculture and mining. Although landscape services workers make up 0.8% of the U.S. workforce, they experienced 3.5% of the total occupational fatalities.”
Employment law issues in the new administration – With the recent change in guard, it is likely that there will be some measure of labor and employment law reform in the near future. Paul Secunda of Workplace Prof Blog offers his suggestions for four broad areas of employment law reform that should be addressed: labor rights, workplace anti-discrimination and civil rights, employee benefit rights, and public employee rights. Pre-election, John Phillips of The Employment Law Post looked at a half dozen pending bills related to employment law and Michael Fox of Jottings by an Employers Lawyer added his thoughts on pending employment law issues.