Posts Tagged ‘PPE’

Thanksgiving Cavalcade Of Risk, social media, pigeon poop & more

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

For your biweekly risk roundup, check out the Thanksgiving Cavalcade Of Risk posted by Louise at Colorado Health Insurance Insider. Louise always does a great job curating the carnivals.
Is claim frequency on the upswing? – At Comp Time, Roberto Ceniceros says that claims data gathered by Liberty Mutual Group shows frequency trending up.
Another extension for Medicare Secondary Payer requirementsNational Underwriter reports that The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has agreed to delay certain mandatory reporting requirements for workers’ compensation cases under the Medicare Secondary Payer law until January 2012. These requirements had previously been extended to January 2011. The exemption is for liability claims that do not involve on-going medical responsibility, according to officials at the American Insurance Association.
Wheelchair checklist – at Complex Care Blog, Zack Craft offers checklist for wheelchair accessibility in the home for adjusters, nurse case managers and others who are involved in managing the care of injured workers. It’s intended to be used as a starting point for a review at the onset of a claim to to ensure the claimant’s needs are met and to minimize costs and legal issues over the life of the claim.
10 years of preventing needlestick injuries – Over at The Pump Handle, Liz Borkowski informs us that it is the 10th anniversary of the Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act. Her post includes links to current standards as well as an update of progress since the act’s passage.
Collision course At Today’s Workplace, Roger Bybee has posted a great article on an issue that is heating up: NFL Collision: Management Control vs. Player Safety. He tackles the issue of chronic brain injuries vs an industry with a culture that has touted its violent collisions as a feature. One interesting aspect that Bybee points out is that as advanced helmets got harder, the collisions became more dangerous, not less.
Cool tool of the week – If you’ve been frustrated that you can never access American Medical Association studies, research, and news directly, there’s some good news. Last week, the AMA announced it will open its 10 years of American Medical News archives to the general public. They say: “It represents a rich resource on issues confronting physicians and trends in medicine. Content includes in-depth reporting on the business and regulatory sides of health care, practice management and hot issues in public health and patient care.”
Pigeon poop safety – We admit that pigeon poop is a safety hazard we have never given much thought to, but that doesn’t mean it’s not an important issue. Safety Daily Advisor recommends proper personal protective equipment to protect workers from exposure to serious conditions, including histoplasmosis and cryptococcosis.
Florida’s Sinkhole Belt – OK, it’s not comp-related – at least not so far, but Emily Holbrook of Risk Management Monitor has a fascinating post on how Florida sinkhole claims are skyrocketing. “According to a new state report, for the years 2006 through 2010, sinkhole claims have cost Florida property insurers $1.4 billion — a number that could reach $2 billion by the end of this year.” She links to the state report and a video clip that offer more info about this problem which is one of the state’s major premium cost drivers. Yikes. (We confess that we have been inordinately fascinated with sinkholes since seeing reports of this Guatemalan monster last spring.)
Tweet this – Claire Wilkinson of III’s Insurance Industry Blog posts about a recent research report that notes a big uptick in Fortune-500 insurers who are using Twitter – up from 13 in 2009 to 20 in 2010. That’s either a sign that Twitter is here to stay or that it has jumped the shark, you be the judge. If you aren’t on Twitter yet, what are you waiting for? The following video is more than a year old so already outdated, but it is elucidating about the speed of change in the way we are communicating.

Donning and Doffing Quashed

Monday, January 4th, 2010

Way back in November 2005 we blogged the interesting issue of donning and doffing: whether the time meatpackers spend at the beginning of work putting on protective gear and taking it off at the end of the shift is time on task and compensable. The 2005 ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court went in favor of the workers, but other courts have split on the issue. Now 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond has once again ruled against the workers.
The court held that putting on and taking off the gear is “changing clothes” and thus is not necessarily compensable under the Federal Labor Standards Act.
“This sort of fact-intensive determination has classically been grist for the mill of collective bargaining, and Congress ensured that employers and unions could keep it that way by enacting Section 203 (o),” Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III wrote for the three-judge panel. We assume that the salaried Judge Wilkinson was amply paid during the time he donned his robes to issue the ruling.
Clothes Make the Man
The district court has a rather expansive view of what comprises clothing: workers, members of United Food & Commercial Workers Local 27, each must wear steel-toe shoes, a smock, a plastic apron, safety glasses, ear plugs, a “bump cap,” a hair net, rubber gloves, mesh sleeves and arm shields to do the work, which includes the hanging, eviscerating and de-boning of chickens.
“Because many work clothes are protective to some extent, the distinction urged upon us by the employees would be difficult, if not impossible, for courts to administer in a consistent and coherent manner,” the judge wrote, before also rejecting the plaintiffs’ argument about the definition of “changing.”
What is at stake here is fifteen minutes of pay twice each shift, presumably at or near minimum wage. Call it four bucks per shift per worker. With 250 workers involved in the class action suit, that’s a total of about $1,000 per workforce shift. Having lost the suit, the workers will be paid only for their gruesome “time on task.”
As most of the workers are non-English speaking, the union stewards will have to translate the court’s ruling into their native tongue(s). I trust that the workers will be dressed for the occasion in street clothes: it’s pretty difficult to understand the court’s subtle distinctions when you are encased in steel-toe shoes, a smock, a plastic apron, safety glasses, ear plugs, a “bump cap,” a hair net, rubber gloves, mesh sleeves and arm shields. Then again, perhaps their attorney should have made his case in court while dressed in full slaughterhouse regalia: the visual evidence distinguishing ordinary clothing from personal protective equipment might have been compelling enough for even a judge to understand.

OSHA rule on Personal Protective Equipment in effect January 12, 2009

Tuesday, December 16th, 2008

Last week, OSHA unveiled its final rule on Clarification of Employer Duty To Provide Personal Protective Equipment and Train Each Employee. To comply with this standard, beginning January 12, 2009, employers must provide personal protective equipment and hazards training for each employee covered by the standards. According to OSHA:

“The amendments add no new compliance obligations. Employers are not required to provide any new type of PPE or training, to provide PPE or training to any employee not already covered by the existing requirements, or to provide PPE or training in a different manner than that already required. The amendments simply clarify that the standards apply to each employee.”

The Pump Handle offers a good post about why a clarification of the OSHA PPE rule was necessary. Essentially, it was needed to eliminate ambiguity and to ensure a consistent approach in OSH review decisions. The post cites an egregious violation by a Texas employer who failed to equip or train a number of undocumented workers who were hired to remove asbestos from a building. it was a flagrant violation – the employer began operating secretly at night behind locked gates after being ordered to shut down by a city building inspector. In OSHA citations, there was ambiguity about whether his conduct should result in one aggregate violation or individual violations for each employee who was exposed.