Archive for June, 2011

Remembering Two Prominant Risk Takers

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

We are about to observe the 235th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. As is so often the case with holidays, the ways we celebrate will not have much to do with the original events. As we indulge in a weekend of family reunions, sporting events, cookouts, libations and fireworks – along with hours sitting in traffic – we are unlikely to give much thought to the conditions that led to the promulgation of that remarkable document. So as we prepare to hit the roads, let’s take a moment to acknowledge two of the remarkable risk takers who helped make this all possible.
Let’s begin with John Adams. He trained at Harvard to become a minister, but chafed at being told what to believe and what to think, so he became a lawyer instead. On March 5, 1770, six years before the formal break from England, an unruly mob gathered in front of Boston’s Customs House. After pelting British troops with snowballs and rocks, the crowd surged forward; the troops fired into the mob, killing five people. From the colonial viewpoint, this was the “Boston Massacre.” As far as the British were concerned, it was a riot. Both views are credible.
Unpopular Cause
Captain Thomas Preston and 12 soldiers were charged with murder. No Boston lawyer would take their case, so the plea was made to John Adams, who at the time was practicing law (not all that successfully) in Quincy, about 15 miles from Boston. Adams took on the case, at considerable personal risk. His words at the time should be taken to heart by any politician seeking a vote:

“Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”

Under Adams’ skillful defense, six of the soldiers were acquitted. Two who had fired directly into the crowd were charged with murder, but were convicted only of manslaughter. Adams was paid eighteen guineas by the British soldiers, or about the cost of a pair of shoes. Beyond the fee, Adams wanted to prove to the world that American justice was balanced and fair.
Self-Evident Truths
Just six years later Thomas Jefferson wrote – and Adams helped edit – the Declaration of Independence. After ratification of the final language (which, to Jefferson’s chagrin, excluded a ban on the importation of slaves), a prayer was said and in silence the delegates to the convention applied their signatures to the document.
In the entire history of risk taking, there are few events of greater magnitude. The document would be considered treason by the most powerful government in the world; should the revolution fail – and that itself must have seemed highly likely – each signer would pay with his life, .
The Perspective of Time
One month before his death, Adams wrote of the upcoming July 4, 1826, festivities:

My best wishes, in the joys, and festivities, and the solemn services of that day on which will be completed the fiftieth year from its birth, of the independence of the United States: a memorable epoch in the annals of the human race, destined in future history to form the brightest or the blackest page, according to the use or the abuse of those political institutions by which they shall, in time to come, be shaped by the human mind.

Somber thoughts from one who was there at the beginning – and who would likely be appalled by some of the subsequent uses and abuses of his work.
As most Insider readers probably know, Adams and Jefferson both died on July 4, 1826, fifty years to the day after the Declaration was issued. Adams desperately wanted to outlive Jefferson; just before he died, he said – perhaps bitterly – “Thomas Jefferson survives.” Ironically, word had already gone out from Monticello that Jefferson had died earlier the same day. It is perhaps reassuring that such great souls could also be small minded and petty. There is still hope for us all.

Cavalcade of Risk #134: Security theatre, zombies, cats ‘n cars & more

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

We’re pleased to be hosting issue #134 of the Cavalcade of Risk. We kick off this issue with an excellent TED presentation by Bruce Schneier on The Security Mirage which talks about how the feeling of security and the reality of security don’t always match. He looks at why we spend billions addressing dramatic but rare risks that make headlines while neglecting more probable risks — and how we can break this pattern.

Schneier is a renowned security technologist and author with an excellent blog. Recently, Morgan Housel of The Motley Fool related the five cognitive biases that Scheir spoke about to lessons for investors.
Our regular roundup
This week, our blogger participants have submitted a tasty smorgasbod of entries on a variety of risk-related topics.
We start with a pair of posts by our fearless leader, Hank Stern, from InsureBlog. Have you heard about the growing practice of personal car sharing? Hank looks at the consumer risks associated with the newly expanding “peer to peer” car sharing services industry in his post Stupid Client Tricks: P & C Edition. It’s a great and informative post, but we would be remiss in leaving his blog without directing you to another post entitled Bark, Screech, Yowl. You’ll have to click through to see the topic but here’s an inducement to click: this post includes a video of a cat driving a car.
While on the topic of insurance, we have a pair of posts that look at other aspects of your personal coverage. For your auto coverage, Philip Taylor asks what’s the catch when it comes to Safe Driver Discounts in a post that examines the fine print of safe driver discounts. And do you know your financial exposure if your home should be destroyed in a disaster? At Canadian Finance Blog, Tom Drake asks if you have enough insurance on your home.
Speaking of disasters, we know that catastrophic weather events are expensive, but rain? At Risk Management Monitor, Jared Wade looks at the the high economic costs of routine weather events. And on the topic of everyday-weather-related risks, we point you to our recent post here at Workers Comp Insider on lightning and lightning strike survivors in what we call “the one in a million club you don’t want to join.”
Businesses & cyber exposure
At Terms + Conditions, Claire Wilkinson posts about the recent spate of cyber attacks, highlighting the exposure that many businesses face. (And we would note that you don’t have to be a bank or financial institution to have exposure. Note this recent item on how employers are vulnerable to a security breach by their own employees’ ignorance of phishing scams.)
Data risks are here to stay. At DePaolo’s Work Comp World , the topic is the convenience and risk of electronic records. He notes that the real real issue is the ease by which sensitive information may be obtained in large quantities, then analyzed and/or utilized for malicious purposes, and underscores the above point that employees rather than hackers likely constitute the biggest risk.
Healthcare related matters
How did one hospital address the increasing risk that nursing home patients will be transferred to a hospital for their end of life care? Jason Shafrin of The Healthcare Economist explores the issue in his post about maximizing utility for end-of-life care.
David Williams of Health Business Blog demonstrates the risk of being an early adapter of online services in his post about the disappearance of Google Health. He also offers a case study in physician risk in a post dissecting a medical malpractice defense related to a paraesophageal hiatal hernia repair and Nissen Fundoplication procedures.
Does providing user-friendly, patient-centric, clear, concise and objective information about the risks, benefits and alternatives of various treatment options enable consumers to choose wisely and forgo risky, dubious and expensive options. Jaan Sidorov posts about Health Advocacy Groups, Evidence-Based Medicine & Shared Decision Making at Disease Management Care Blog .
Safe retirement planning
Variable annuities are often promoted as a risk-free way to receive consistent retirement income. Kevin Mulligan of Retirement Planning Blog looks at the truth of the matter in his post on the risk of variable annuities.
If you plan to retire before Medicare kicks in, what are your healthcare coverage options? Free Money Finance looks at various ways to get retiree health insurance before the age of 65.
Assorted terrifying perils
For our final entry, Consumer Insurance Blog poses the most important question of the day: Are you ready for the Zombie Apocalypse? Find out before it’s too late.
That concludes this week’s edition – thanks to all submitters!
The next issue of Cavalcade of Risk is scheduled for July 13 at the Notwithstanding Blog – see you there!

OSHA puts residential construction employers on notice: gear up for stricter fall protection standards

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

In December of 2010, OSHA introduced stronger worker safeguards to prevent falls in residential construction. Under the prior directive, some employers were able to bypass fall protection requirements. The new standards for residential construction were scheduled to go into effect on June 15, but earlier this month, OSHA announced a three-month phase in to allow employers time to gear up to meet compliance requirements. During the phase in, however, employers must be fully compliant with the old directive.
OSHA estimates that 1.6 million Americans are employed in the construction industry, half of which work in residential construction. Each year, roughly 38,000 construction injuries are reported. Fatalities from falls are the number one cause of death in construction, with an average of 40 workers killed each year as a result of falls from residential roofs. These are preventable deaths.
In April, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit rejected a challenge to OSHA’s directive by the National Roofing Contractors Association. The trade association was seeking to maintain a provision in an earlier directive that allowed certain residential construction employers to bypass some fall protection requirements. “With the issuance of the new directive, all residential construction employers must comply with 29 Code of Federal Regulations 1926.501(b)(13). Where residential builders can demonstrate that traditional fall protection is not feasible, 29 CFR 1926.501(b)(13) still allows for alternative means of providing protection.”
OSHA says that the new directive interprets “residential construction” as construction work that satisfies both of the following elements:

  • The end-use of the structure being built must be as a home, i.e., a dwelling.
  • The structure being built must be constructed using traditional wood frame construction materials and methods. The limited use of structural steel in a predominantly wood-framed home, such as a steel I-beam to help support wood framing, does not disqualify a structure from being considered residential construction.

OSHA has provided a site that offers resources and training materials about the new directive: Residential Fall Protection.
Additional materials can be found at OSHA’s OSHA’s Fall Protection – Construction page.

Health Wonk Review: Hockey, hoodlums and hot rod angels edition

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011

Tinker Ready posts Health Wonk Review: Hockey, hoodlums and hot rod angels at Boston Health News
There’s a lot of good reading in this issue – check it out!
Health Wonkery on Twitter
If you just can’t wait a few weeks to get the next update of HWR, here are links to some of the HWR bloggers who are active on Twitter:

Managing Chronic Pain, Revisited:

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

We posted earlier this week on draft guidelines for pain management issued by the Massachusetts Department of Industrial Accidents. While we found much to like in the draft, our colleague Peter Rousmaniere, proprietor of his own blog on immigration issues, finds that the guidelines leave much to be desired. He views them as somewhat of a mincing mini-step in an area where rather big strides are needed.
Here are his thoughts on ways to make pain guidelines more effective:

Workers Comp Insider alerted us on Monday to the publication of draft chronic pain guidelines by Massachusetts DIA.
Medical treatment guidelines are helpful where clinicians, payers and courts desire an authoritative third party to say if and when a treatment is appropriate. But the value of guidelines really strikes home not only in the details but in how they pick their topics. Only so much can be covered proficiently. Guidelines need to focus on pressing matters of protecting lives and husbanding scarce resources. Then even the non-clinician in workers comp can say, “I may not understand all the medical details, but I know that these guidelines speak to my top concerns, and I will respect them and promote them accordingly.”
Perhaps because workers comp chronic pain treatment guidelines tend to avoid some of the most pressing issues for claims payers, they are not as useful as they could be. Perhaps also because claims payers feel free to ignore them, which they regularly do, we don’t see a visible, sustained effort within the claims payer community to improve the management of chronic pain cases.
Something for the Pain
One thing the guidelines have done laudably is to alert their readers to the very important patient safety issue when opioids are prescribed. This is very important: claims payers usually don’t require periodic drug tests for injured workers who have been prescribed opiates and they rarely are trained to respond when a test shows that the patient’s urine has no trace of the prescribed drug.
On balance, the Massachusetts guidelines, like other chronic pain guidelines used in the workers compensation community, are rather narrowly focused to the point where their usefulness is compromised. These various guidelines focus on non-surgical treatment of patients after they reach the stage at which they can be called chronic pain cases, and before they become extended, multi-year dependents on pain medication.The proposed guidelines devote just a few summary paragraphs to a challenge of the highest importance to claims payers: knowing the specific steps physicians can take to help their extended treatment patients improve their pain experience and function.
Predicting Pain
None of the current guidelines invest any time in describing the quite rich and fertile topic of chronic pain prevention among newly injured workers. Prediction and prevention are areas in which only a few occupational medicine doctors and nurses have achieved proficiency. Claims payers should focus on the need to identify chronic pain risk and encourage doctors to intervene as early as possible, when chronic pain risk, having been identified, can be addressed before the downward cycle begins. Unfortunately, you won’t learn about these best practices in these or in other state-promulgated guidelines. (I have proposed that chronic pain predictive models, matured through the wisdom of many, be placed in the public domain and inserted in treatment guidelines.)
Why these gaps? I wonder if the claims community has taken the time to communicate its concerns about chronic pain, so that guideline editors might address them? I imagine that they were back at the office, unaware of guidelines being drafted, and deeply involved in the deep stack of files that welcome them every working day.
Let’s Talk!
An inconvenient truth for workers comp claims payers is the universal endorsement of counseling intervention. Virtually all the chronic pain guidelines share a high regard for the psychological dimension of non-cancer chronic pain, which surfaces in pain perceptions and beliefs, catastrophizing, poor locus of control, and other traits that can be both measured and altered. The guidelines recommend time-limited cognitive behavioral therapy, the kind used to help you, say, overcome your anxiety about elevators, re-injury, or perpetual pain. The Massachusetts guidelines contain within their relatively thin girth a full-throated endorsement of psychological intervention – and that’s a good thing.
Unfortunately, most claims adjusters refuse to recognize the importance of cognitive therapy. They will have none of it and will deny treatment if the word “psychology” is attached to a request for treatment. The adjusters argue that once they allow psychological treatment, the workers comp courts will require them to pay for a lifetime of counseling intervention. I’ve heard this argument a lot. I wonder if the claims community and treatment guideline editors have ever had an extended discussion about psychological services and how to frame the issue to be most useful in a workers comp setting.
While the proposed pain guidelines leave a lot to be desired, I believe that an effective strategy for controlling chronic pain risk is within reach. Pain management is an essential element of any cost reduction strategy. If states can begin to draft chronic pain treatment guidelines that are more prescriptive, more specific and more focused on prediction and prevention, we would take a giant step toward bringing the costs of many large comp claims under control.
Submitted by Peter Rousmaniere

The one in a million club you don’t want to join

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

A restaurant manager taking out the trash in Virginia, a tree trimmer in Ohio and an Alabama school coach sitting inside at a desk are all workers who inadvertently joined a unique club this year: lightning strike survivors. In any given year, the odds of being struck by lightning are about one in a million, but the lifetime odds (over 80 years) are 1 in 10,000. About 90% of all lightning strike victims survive. About 25% of the survivors suffer major medical after effects.
This week is Lightning Strike Awareness Week – and the National Weather Service wants to remind you to be safe. Public awareness campaigns appear to be working because lightning-related fatalities have been trending down in recent years. While there are 55 fatal lightning strikes in an average year, in 2010 there were 29 fatalities, which occurred in 19 states in 2010; in 2009, there were 34 fatalities; in 2008, there were 28 fatalities.
There have been 5 lightning-related fatalities in 2011, one each in LA, MO, MT, NC, PA. Three deaths occurred during agricultural work, one was related to tornado search-and-rescue, and one occurred during golf. While lightning strikes can occur in any month, they spike in the summer months.
When it comes to geographical risks, not all locations are equal – some states are riskier than others. Florida has often been called the “lightning capital of the world,” and although NASA scientists have clarified that Rwanda actually holds this dubious title, Florida still holds the North American title. Rounding out to the top five states for lightning-related fatalities, we have Colorado, Texas, Georgia, and North Carolina.
Are lightning strikes compensable under workers comp?
The answer to that question is a clear and resounding “maybe.” As with so many issues in workers comp, the devil is in the details: state law, where and when the injury occurred, and the nature of the work involved all are factors that come into play. Injuries related to lightning and other weather-related events fall under the murky area of “acts of God” or “neutral risks,” which are generally not considered to be the responsibility or liability of the employer. However, if a worker is exposed to heightened risk due to the nature of their work responsibilities, an injury related to a lightning strike could be compensable.
Often, the burden is on the employee to establish a causal link between their injury and their work or to prove that their job exposed them to increased or heightened risk. Recently, however, the North Carolina Court of Appeals upheld benefits for a framer who suffered injuries related to a lightning strike that occurred while he was at work. The court established that he did not have to provide expert testimony to establish increased risk. “The court concluded that the description of the physical characteristics of the jobsite supported a finding that the framer was at an increased risk of a lightning strike.”
Employers certainly can’t insulate their workers from “acts of God” but there are steps that employers can take to mitigate risk. It’s a good idea to review weather-related hazards with your employees seasonally to raise their awareness about safety best practices both on the job and off. And it is important to take particular care with workers who have outdoor responsibilities or work that might put them at heightened risk. Here are some tools & resources:

Managing Chronic Pain

Monday, June 20th, 2011

In the world of workers comp, chronic pain is a major cost driver. When pain persists beyond expected healing times, the prognosis is grim: injured workers suffering from prolonged pain often drift into anxiety and depression and may even become addicted to powerful pain medications. In the downward spiral of relentless pain, it becomes increasingly difficult to separate physical and psychological issues. The prospect of return to work disappears, the injured worker’s life disintegrates and the cost of the claim goes through the roof.
The claims adjusters who are responsible for managing chronic pain injuries usually resist any recommendations for psychological counseling; they avoid such interventions because treatment – whether individual or group therapy – cannot and should not be limited to what is “work related.” Pain subsumes the worker’s entire life. Yet counseling is often an essential part of what is needed: injured workers talking through their many difficulties and sharing their experience with others.
So is it possible to develop a chronic pain program that limits financial exposures, narrows the treatment options and sets reasonable time frames for completing the treatment cycle? And can pain management encompass at least some focused counseling?
A Guide for the Perplexed?
Massachusetts has taken a shot. The state’s Department of Industrial Accidents(DIA) Health Care Services Board has issued draft guidelines (PDF) for managing chronic pain. Under the leadership of Dean Hashimoto, who holds both medical and legal degrees, the draft protocol tiptoes through a minefield populated with poppy plants, doctors with prescription pads and long needles, chiropractors, acupuncturists, counselors and biofeed back practitioners – not to mention the ever-present drug salespeople. The draft guidelines could well serve as a Guide for the Perplexed.
Beginning with the caveat that 10 percent of all chronic pain cases will fall outside of the protocol, Hashimoto’s task force tries to set parameters for all types of treatment: the number and type of diagnostic and therapeutic injections permissible; the goal-oriented use of mental health counseling, with specified durations (6 to 12 months); “very limited” use of opioid analgesics, with referral to pain specialists, if needed, and including a detailed list of specific actions designed to avoid addiction.
A Work in Progress
The DIA is soliciting comments on these guidelines. Alas, they are unlikely to hear from the relatively small portion of stakeholders who are profiting from the current chaos: the pill-happy doctors, the attorneys who discourage injured workers from returning to work, the physical therapists and chiropractors who believe that treatment, once begun, should go on forever, and the pharma sales folk who encourage use of the most powerful opiates for what is usually short-term pain.
The draft guidelines are comprehensive and reasonable. As the final guidelines will not and cannot have the force of law, they will not eliminate the abuse that currently exists. But if they help motivated treatment practitioners to offer more effective services, and if they open the door to at least some counseling for injured workers, the guidelines will surely save both lives and careers. That in itself will validate the admirable and essential work of Hashimoto’s board.

News roundup: Cavalcade of Risk, massive fraud scheme, investigator deaths, premium hardening & more

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

Cavalcade of Risk – for the biweekly smorgasbord of risk-related news from the blogosphere, check out the new edition of Cavalcade of Risk hosted at Political Calculations.
The $17 million fraud – not chump change – Most employers and insurers get very heated on the topic of work comp fraud – as well they should. But while keeping an eye on the front door for shoplifting, some thieves are loading up the company safe from the back door. This week, four members of a California doctor mill were indicted in a $17 million workers’ comp fraud. This stunning scheme bilked the city of Los Angeles and 19 insurance companies. Joe Wheeler talks more about the fraud and how it exposes a weakness in the system. He rightly notes, “That this relatively small fraud provider ring offering obscure medical procedures could make off with millions of dollars before being caught should make anyone involved in workers’ comp benefits take a breath.” Note to employers: it’s not enough to think your insurer will manage everything – you need to take an active interest in managing and questioning claims, too.
In the line of duty – Louisiana flags are flying at half mast this week for two insurance investigators who were shot to death by an agent last week while investigating fraud. According to Insurance Times, investigators Kim Sledge and Rhett Jeansonne “…had gone to the Ville Platte office of suspended insurance agent John Melvin Lavergne to collect records. Lavergne shot the investigators and then killed himself.” Louisiana is now looking into whether fraud investigators should be able to carry guns.
Is the soft market finally hardening? – Joe Paduda talks about recent reports from Towers Perrin and Fitch Ratings pointing to firming work comp premiums. No, really!
Dollars for doctors – ProPublica has been featuring an ongoing series that investigates the financial ties between the medical community and the drug and device industry. You can follow the entire series from the above link. In addition to several feature stories, there were frequent updates in made in May, several of which discuss drug industry ties to medical societies. In October, ProPublica also rolled out a searchable database of physicians who have received drug money, gleaned from public disclosures of seven large pharma companies. For a sampling, here is Massachusetts.
Ferreting out the more obscure news… – Among all the informative and useful information he posts over at Comp Time, Roberto Ceniceros also manages to ferret out some of the quirkier workers comp stories. This week, he posted about Palin’s emails and the workers comp connection and last week, it was porn industry hazmat suits.
Confined space videosWorkSafeBC produces a lot of great safety resources. Recently, a three-part video series on confined space came to our attention – worth checking them out. Part 1: Safe Yesterday, Deadly Today; Part 2: Test to Live; and Part 3: Rescue: Just Calling 911 Doesn’t Cut It.

Retaliation in Ohio: Fire in Haste, Repent at Leisure

Monday, June 13th, 2011

DeWayne Sutton worked for Tomco Machining in Dayton, Ohio. When he hurt his back while dismantling some equipment, he followed “best practices” and reported the injury immediately to company owner Jim Tomasiak. The boss pulled a “Trump” – deviating 180 degrees from “best practices” by firing Sutton immediately. No reason was given for the termination. As you would expect, Sutton was able to collect comp benefits (termination is no bar to eligibility), but could he also sue for wrongful termination? In other words, was the termination retaliation for reporting the claim?
Under the Ohio statute, employers are prohibited from firing, demoting or taking punitive action against an employee who files a workers comp claim. The question at issue is one of timing: the claim had been reported to the employer, but not yet filed with the insurer. So did Tomasiak violate the law by firing Sutton in the interval between the injury and the report to the insurer?
Begging to Differ
In a sharply divided opinion (4-3), the Supreme Court of Ohio found in Sutton’s favor, sending the case back to the lower court for reconsideration. Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor, writing for the majority, notes:

We find that the General Assembly did not intend to leave a gap in protection during which time employers are permitted to retaliate against employees who might pursue workers’ compensation benefits.
The alternative interpretation – that the legislature intentionally left the gap – is at odds with the basic purpose of the anti-retaliation provision, which is “to enable employees to freely exercise their rights without fear of retribution from their employers.”

The court minority noted that Sutton was able to collect comp benefits – kind of “no harm, no foul.” Then, as Justice Terrence O’Donnell notes:

The majority has today expanded the public policy behind the provisions of (state law) to apply to those persons discharged before filing, instituting or pursuing a workers’ compensation claim. This allowance is a legislative prerogative, and in my view, we should follow the law as written and defer to the General Assembly, instead of stretching the extent of protection to fit situations not addressed by the statute.

This is familiar territory in the world of law: liberal interpretation (the majority) versus strict construction (the minority). One vote determined the outcome.
The Biggest Loser
Business owner Tomasiak comes away with a double whammy: he is liable for the comp claim through the experience rating process; having fired Sutton, he is unable to lower the cost of the claim by bringing Sutton back to work on modified duty. Then he faces a wrongful termination lawsuit, which he is probably going to lose. The timing of his action, along with the absence of any stated rationale, reak of retaliation.
Tomasiak’s impulsive response to Sutton’s injury violated Rule Number One for employers: if employees are not working out, fire them before they get hurt. Once they are injured, comp laws pretty much assume that any firing would be retaliation. For Tomasiak, just trying to run his machine shop in Dayton, Ohio, this is a tough – and expensive – lesson in best practices.

Health Wonk Review, Illinois reform, Missouri SIF, mobile risks & more news notes

Thursday, June 9th, 2011

Health Wonk Review – John Irvine & Matthew Holt host a hefty edition of Health Wonk Review over at The Health Care Blog – lots of good health wonkery there!
Illinois work comp reform – After all the sturm und drang in the Illinois reform process, we’ve had a breakthrough … a reform bill finally passed on the last day of the legislative session. In a Tale of Persuasion, AP’s Zachary Colman takes you step by step through the painful process. And at Managed Care Matters, Joe Paduda offers an excellent rundown of some of the key provisions in the Illinois work comp reform bill.
In other Illinois news, the matter of $10 million in repetitive stress claims filed by Menard County prison guards has taken some new twists. The Illinois house recently passed a bill requiring the release of the related workers’ comp test records in compliance with the Freedom of Information Act. A report obtained through the FOIA shows that locking and unlocking prison cells didn’t injure the guards.
Missouri’s second injury fund woesInjured workers in Missouri are being left in the lurch, according to a story in about the state’s troubled Second Injury Fund Roberto Ceniceros posts more about Missouri’s financially-ill second injury fund.
Mobile risks – Andrew Simpson writes about the increased workers comp exposure as more workers go mobile in Insurane Journal. In the past, the workplace was a clearly defined place and the hours of operation were also clearly defined, but as more and more workers go mobile, things are much less clearly defined – the lines between professional and personal life are blurring. Plus, employers are often supplying the mobile devices to workers, increasing their exposure to claims that occur when off site or off the clock. “Insurance claims professionals say claims made by workers injured while doing things where the relation to their employment is unclear are on the rise and the increasing use of mobile devices is challenging traditional notions of work-related injuries.”
Workplace violence factorsThe Workplace Violence Blog posts about the prevalence of workplace violence as evidenced by a Society of Human Resource Management survey, and states that “Approximately $55 billion a year is lost to litigation awards, property damage and lost productivity from workplace violence. It is estimated that productivity can drop as much as 50% in the six to eight weeks following a workplace violence incident.” The post includes seven common organizational factors that contribute tow workplace violence.
Industry growth – Insurance is one industry that is poised for growth. According to a recent research report issued by IBISWorld, employment in TPAs and and claims adjusting is set to grow 5.7% annually between now and 2016. “Other industries in the IBISWorld top 10 fastest-growing for the next few years include sustainable building material manufacturers, multi-family home builders, used car dealers, remediation and environmental cleanup services.”
MRSA facts from the CDC – From the CDC, MRSA and the workplace, including a list of frequently asked questions. Staph infections, including antibiotic resistant MRSA, MRSA skin infections can occur anywhere. However, the CDC notes that some settings have factors that make it easier for MRSA to be transmitted. These factors, referred to as the 5 C’s, are as follows: Crowding, frequent skin-to-skin Contact, Compromised skin (i.e., cuts or abrasions), Contaminated items and surfaces, and lack of Cleanliness. Locations where the 5 C’s are common include schools, dormitories, military barracks, households, correctional facilities, and daycare centers.