Posts Tagged ‘winter’

The WCRI Annual Conference: May The Weather Gods Cooperate

Thursday, February 12th, 2015

As Bostonians try to dig out from the most snow ever recorded in a 30-day period in Boston, we look forward to the WCRI’s upcoming Annual Conference at the Westin Copley Place Hotel on Thursday and Friday, March 5th and 6th.

More about the snow a little later, but first the conference.

This year, the conference theme’s title is Resilience or Renovation. However, we won’t get the resilience and renovation until Friday, Day Two. Day One is devoted to updates on all things medical, starting with Dr. Richard Victor, the Institute’s Executive Director, discussing the impact of the ACA on case shifting, which promises to be interesting, indeed. From there we move on to physician dispensing and the perverse effects of low fee schedules.

When the boat docks at Resilience and Renovation on Day Two, we begin with a session titled Resilience: Lessons From Two Decades of Reforms. The panel will discuss reforms in Texas, Pennsylvania, Oregon and Florida. While I am sure this discussion will be stimulating, as well as engaging, I find it curious that conference planners skipped over the greatest reform in the history of workers compensation. It happened in 1992 right where conference attendees will be sitting – the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

“Renovation” is a good way to describe a couple of late morning sessions on Day Two, one on Opt Out and the other on challenges to the constitutionality of workers comp. You might think that a bit wonky, but I think attendees will find it thought provoking. It’s interesting that the Opt Out session will focus on the Texas perspective, not the Oklahoman. You may recall that the Texas Opt Out provision has what I consider to be flaws of the first order. Those flaws were corrected when Oklahoma adopted its version of Opt out.

All in all, the conference is an excellent opportunity for workers comp professionals to stay in front of the research curve and to connect with some of the leading lights in the field. I hope to see you there.
Now, the weather. Here’s a Fenway Park snow sellout. Seats full of snow fans.

Speaking for all Bostonians, I think we’ve had enough. Really. Monday night, during our third major snowstorm within a week and a half, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh announced there would be no public transportation the following day. None. A gazillion people ride what we affectionately refer to as “The T” to get to work every day in and around Boston. Not Tuesday. Shortly after that, standing in front of the TV cameras, Governor 5-weeks-in-office Charley Baker said the 100-year-old MBTA’s performance is “not acceptable.” I guess the bloom is off his rose. We have entered the “find a scapegoat” phase.

Yesterday, the first head rolled – Dr. Beverly Scott, the T’s General Manager. She won’t be the only one.
The rest of us will be fine, but, my God, I’m looking at more than five feet of snow outside my door, and it’s not a drift! And Boston has nothing on Worcester, just 35 miles to the west where nearly 100 inches, that’s more than eight feet, have already fallen at about the halfway point of the snow season. Mother Nature has now gifted Worcester with more snow than any other city in America. Take that, Fargo! You,too, Buffalo! When this stuff melts (please, God, make it melt) we’ll probably have a new lake to rival Michigan in Central Massachusetts. Oh, and our friendly local meteorologists, never happier than when they’re forecasting impending doom, now predict that beginning tonight we’ll descend into the coldest weather of the year. High temps will be in the single digits. Human digits will freeze and fall off. And Saturday night through Sunday there’s a foot more of the fluffy white stuff headed our way just in time for Valentine’s Day. The Lord just keeps showering us with his tender mercies.

But here’s the good news: Spring training is right around the corner. Pitchers and catchers report in three days. By the time the WCRI Conference rolls around Fenway South will be in full bloom. And here in Boston the sun will be shining, the snow will be gone, temperatures will be balmy and the T will be running on time.

And pigs will be seen flying in formation outside the windows of the Westin Copley Place Hotel.

12 Winter storm-related hazards & a tool kit for preventing problems

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

This storm is a whopper of potentially historic proportion, with warnings and advisories covering a 2,000+ mile swathe from New Mexico and the Southern Plains to the upper Mid-Atlantic and New England. Four states – Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri and Illinois – have already declared a state of emergency. More than one million square miles of the country are expected to be affected. And even if you live in a balmy state that is not directly affected, expect travel and business disruptions to spill over. (Or maybe the correct term is “snowball?”)
If you get confused about the difference, here’s a handy guide to how the National Weather Service defines Storm Warnings, Watches and Advisories and here is further clarification for winter weather terminology.
According to National Weather Service, about 70% of the injuries during winter storms result from vehicle accidents, and about 25% of injuries result from being caught out in the storm. Emergency workers who are out and about during the storm and in storm cleanup face additional risks.
Here are some of the most common winter workplace injuries and a toolkit of resources for prevention.
1. Driving accidents on slippery roadways or due to obstructed vision; Being struck by vehicles while working in roadways or while pulled over in roadways
CCOHS: Winter Driving Tips
OSHA: Safe Winter Driving
Mass. DOT: Safe Winter Driving Tips
2. Slips and falls on snowy or ice-covered outdoor walkways and wet indoor floors from snow or ice being carried in.
Winterize your workplace
7 Tips for Winter Slip and Fall Prevention
3. Hypothermia and frostbite due to cold weather exposure
CDC winter weather exposure
NIOSH: Cold Stress
Extreme cold prevention
In case you are stranded while driving in winter
4. Being struck by falling objects such as icicles, tree limbs, and utility poles
Natural disaster response: safety for cleanup workers
5. Falls from heights (roofs, ladders, lifts) while removing snow
OSHA Fall Protection
Safe snow removal
Safe work practices on snow covered roofs
6. Electrocution and burns from downed power lines, downed objects in contact with power lines, or ungrounded electrical equipment.
OSHA: Working Safely Among Downed Power Lines
OSHA Overhead Power Lines
Powerline Safety
NIOSH: Electrical safety
Electrical burns: first aid
7. Lacerations and amputations from unguarded or improperly operated snow blowers, chain saws and power tools
Practice snowblower safety
Mind the machinery while you work
8. Injuries from roof collapse under weight of snow
Preventing roof collapse in winter
Some roofs more prone to collapse
9. Exhaustion from working extended shifts
OSHA: Extended/unusual work shifts
10. Dehydration
Preventing dehydration in winter
11. Back injuries or heart attack while shoveling or removing snow
Snow shoveling is risky
Snow shoveling and snow removal safety
12. Carbon monoxide poisoning from generators used in improperly ventilated areas or from idling vehicles
Occupational Safety and Health Guideline for Carbon Monoxide

Cavalcade of Risk #94 and general workers comp news notes

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

Cavalcade of Risk #94 is posted at My Wealth Builder. Among the many good posts, our friend Hank Stern offers some good news for the holiday season.
Our fellow blogger Joe Paduda was recently speaking at the Casualty Actuarial Society’s annual meeting on the topic of health reform and its impact on workers comp, and his remarks were covered by Insurance Journal. Paduda noted that, whether or not it gets enacted, health care reform is already having a major impact on workers’ comp. On the same topic, Roberto Ceniceros has a post about how healthcare reform is stalling some return-to-work advancements.
Jon Gelman on Genetics and Workers’ Compensation Claims. Also see our past posts on the topic: Brave new World and Genetic Testing And Workers Comp
Risk & Insurance has posted some interesting case law: In Michigan, a worker establishes asthma as compensable disability and in Colorado, a claim for a bad faith denial of benefits is considered to be separate and distinct from the underlying workers’ compensation entitlement claim and therefore is not precluded. However, an insurer can preclude certain issues in a subsequent proceeding.
We recently touted Mark Wall’s WC forum on LinkedIn as an excellent resource – but one feature that we neglected to mention is an active job board, where members can post a job or find a job. That’s a natural use for LinkedIn, particularly in today’s tough times – register for the Forum.
Winter safety tips from BLR Daily Advisor: Cold Weather Hazards: Are Your Workers at Risk? and Brrr-ing Down the Risk of Cold-Related Injuries
Finally, this item made us wonder if the North Pole’s workers’ comp coverage includes stress?