Why A Simple Slip And Fall Claim Is Not So Simple

By ReduceYourWorkersComp

slip and fall hazards signI think a lot of adjusters believe that a slip and fall injury is an open/closed kind of case. The worker was ambling along during work duties and then slip/fell and was injured. Pretty easy!

There is a lot more to the story. Many claims professionals who do not thoroughly investigate a slip and fall are losing out on a potential subrogation chance. They are also potentially accepting a claim that they do not have to, depending on the jurisdiction.

Double Check Legal Defense Options

In some states, you have an idiopathic fall claim defense, loosely meaning that if you fell because you are clumsy then that is not exactly in the course and scope of your employment. There is no mechanism that caused the injury, such as water on the floor or a coworker that bumped in to you. This defense does not fly in all states, so be sure to check with local legal Counsel before accepting a claim where a worker just fell and has no idea how or why they fell.

What kind of shoes or boots were they wearing? Did the worker have the proper approved footwear for the workstation or area that they were working in? If not, this could be a company policy violation or a safety violation. This also is not applicable in all states so confirm with Counsel again if there are issues in this area that contributed to the fall.

Subrogation Options

Did Floor Cleaning Company Post Adequate Signage?

Did the worker fall due to the negligence of a vendor that was on premises at the time? If so, you have a clear subrogation case to pursue. For example, if a floor cleaning company was in the area and did not properly rope the area off or they failed to adequately post proper signage that the floors were wet, this is an issue. If that is the case, the vendor has a duty to properly protect and advise other workers in the area that they are cleaning and that floors are wet. Failure to do so is a pretty big deal and presents an avenue to fight the causal relation of the case in general.


Survey: Consumers’ Top 3 Online Sources for Health Information

Written by Helen Gregg (Twitter | Google+)  | April 29, 2014

The vast majority of American adults look online for health information, according to a survey from healthcare research and marketing firms Makovsky Health and Kelton.

The survey of 1,001 adults revealed consumers’ top three go-to websites:

  • WebMD (53 percent)
  • Wikipedia (22 percent)
  • Advocacy group websites, such as American Heart Association or American Cancer Society (16 percent)

This reliance on online sources reveals consumers who are motivated to take control of their own health and who expect to be able to find answers in real time. “When health concerns strike, people want information almost immediately,” said Gil Bashe, executive vice president and practice director of Makovsky Health, in the news release.

Chart of Top 10 health and medical info websites

First Study Unveiled to Focus on Occupation and Obesity

By ReduceYourWorkersComp 05/14/2014 08:30:00

photo; half of all employers saved money with workplace wellness programAccording to a recent study from the State of Washington, certain occupations can be downright hazardous to your health, along with increasing the chances for potential injury in the workplace.

Truckers, movers, and police and firefighters are likeliest to be obese. Doctors, scientists and teachers are the healthiest.

Those are the results of a first-of-its-type study the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries sponsored connecting what you do for work with obesity. The study also examined the percentage of workers in specific occupations who smoke, have adequate fruit and vegetable servings, participate in leisure time exercise and report high physical demands of their job.

“The objective of the research was to identify occupations in need of workplace obesity prevention programs,” said Dr. David Bonauto, associate medical director for L&I’s research division. “Employers, policy makers and health practitioners can use our results to target and prioritize prevention and health behavior promotions.”

The study, “Obesity Prevalence by Occupation in Washington State, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System,” was published earlier this year by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The study was based on more than 88,000 participants the CDC contacted in the state in odd years from 2003-2009. It found that nearly 1-in-4 workers statewide were obese.

Obesity Poses Threat to Public Safety

“We know obesity poses a threat to public health,” Dr. Bonauto said. “This is the first state-level study using the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System data to estimate occupation-specific obesity.


Telematics Might Be the Answer to Beef About Auto Insurance Rating

 Timothy DodgeNo presence information  Category: Auto insurance

Which would auto insurance consumers prefer?

  • Insurance companies charging them more or less, depending on whether they went to college and the type of job they have; or
  • Insurance companies using a device installed in their cars to monitor their driving
photo of EMS vehicle
Small fleets are cutting insurance costs with telematics. Some have enjoyed savings of 15 percent or more.

The answer to that question goes to the heart of a new controversy regarding auto insurance premiums in the Empire State. The New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG) two weeks ago issued a stinging report, accusing some insurers of charging higher premiums for those without college educations and those working in blue-collar occupations. The study examined sample pricing from four of the five companies with the largest market share in New York – GEICO, State Farm, Liberty Mutual and Progressive. (NYPIRG was unable to get quotes from Allstate, the number two carrier, without submitting to a credit score check.) The group found premium differentials based on education, occupation or both ranging from 19 to 41 percent.

NYPIRG sent a letter to the state Department of Financial Services urging it to conduct an immediate and thorough review of the rate-setting practices of auto insurers in New York. Decrying the use of education and occupation as rating factors, a NYPIRG spokesman said, “Auto insurance rates should be based on how you drive, not who you are.”

Interestingly, there is an alternative available that does look at how people drive and not who they are. It’s called telematics. This technology involves a small device plugged into a vehicle’s on-board data port. The device wirelessly transmits information on how the vehicle is used to the insurance company. To paraphrase a popular holiday song, it sees you when you’re speeding; it knows how hard you brake; it knows if you’ve been bad or good, so …

Telematics has become very popular in European countries and Canada, and it’s slowly gaining a foothold in the U.S. Progressive has been the most visible proponent of it, widely advertising itsSnapshot® program, but a few other carriers have dipped their toes in the pool as well. To date, IIABNY has not heard of many independent agency companies testing it, at least in this market. It seems to be only a matter of time before that situation changes.


The Heat is On … for Safety Planning

screen shot of OSHA Heat app
Click graphic to download app


As the weather warms up, employers also need to make sure their safety plans and trainings reflect appropriate issues for their climate, especially if they have employees who work outdoors or may be traveling on the job.


Sunlight contains harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation that can cause cancer. Melanoma, or skin cancer, is a common yet preventable form of cancer that can be deadly if left untreated. Encourage your employees to have all suspicious moles, skin patches and sores checked out by a dermatologist.

Sunscreen should be used year round, not just in summer. However, it is especially important for your employees to apply sunscreen when outside more in warmer weather. Sunscreen should be applied to all exposed skin. People frequently forget to apply sunscreen to areas such as ears and backs of hands.

Choose a sunscreen with a broad spectrum protection factor (SPF) value of 30 or higher. No sunscreen is completely waterproof so it should be frequently reapplied, especially when sweating or getting wet. Make sure that the expiration date has not passed so that the active ingredients are still effective.

Avoiding UV Rays

Besides sunscreen, OSHA has the following tips to block out UV rays:

Cover up. Wear tightly-woven clothing that blocks out light.

Wear a hat. A wide brim hat (not a baseball cap) is ideal because it protects the neck, ears, eyes, forehead, nose and scalp.

Wear UV-absorbent shades.

Limit exposure. UV rays are most intense between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

OSHA has a free downloadable card with practical tips for guarding against UV radiation and skin cancer called “Protecting Yourself in the Sun” available at https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3166/osha3166.html

FULL STORY: http://www.workerscompensation.com/compnewsnetwork/workers-comp-blogwire/18873-safety-planning-for-warmer-weather.html

Mobile Users Get Apps for Abs

Goal tracking is the primary reason for health and fitness app usage.

graph showing frequency of use for fitness apps

Smartphones moved on from being more than phone call and texting devices several years ago, and research suggests that they’re taking on a new role: personal trainer.

In a March 2014 study conducted by Research Now for Mobiquity, 70% of US internet users said they used health and fitness apps at least daily, and 63% of respondents planned to use such apps more frequently over the next five years.

Goal tracking was the No. 1 reason internet users accessed mobile health and fitness apps, cited by three in 10. Being aware of health issues and motivation were also primary usage drivers.

Respondents weren’t using apps to learn about unhealthy habits (7%), and they had little interest in competing with others, indicating that getting fit with mobile may often be a personal matter.

As consumers get used to tracking fitness while on the go, they’re adopting more than apps: Wearable devices—such as pedometers, smartbands and smartwatches—are also expected to explode in the coming years. According to Mobiquity, the majority of health and fitness app users planned to use wearable devices to track health and fitness, while around two-thirds said they would use wearables daily.

November 2013 Nielsen data cited by MobiHealthNews suggested that older US millennials—those ages 25 to 34—were the age demographic most likely to own fitness bands, likely because this is a group of early adopters with more disposable income than younger millennials.

Nearly two-thirds of fitness band owners in the US belonged to households on the lower end of the income range, possibly because fitness bands could be cheaper than gym memberships in the long run.

– See more at: http://www.emarketer.com/Article.aspx?R=1010795#sthash.wGRYHomh.dpuf


Too Much Alcohol: Making Screening and Counseling Routine

CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD, MPH

TTom Frieden, MD, MPH, Director, US Centers for Disease Control and Preventionhe Issue: Excessive Drinking and Injuries

When people drink too much, they increase the chances that they’ll injure themselves and others. In fact,  excessive drinking is the leading risk factor for injury in the United States and the third leading cause of preventable death, accounting for more than 75,000 deaths annually – that’s one death every 7 minutes.

Broadening our Impact: Redefining the Problem

The problem extends beyond the 4% of the U.S. population that is addicted to alcohol. Another 25% of the population also drinks in excess, but is not addicted. Both groups are at significant risk for becoming injured. The drinking patterns of both groups contribute to the significant alcohol-related mortality burden in the United States.

To reduce alcohol-related injuries and deaths, public health strategies must engage both groups, that is, all people who drink too much. For more than a decade, CDC’s Injury Center has supported research and training in alcohol Screening and Brief Intervention (SBI), a process to identify patients who drink too much and to provide brief, onsite counseling.

Alcohol Screening and Brief Intervention (SBI)

CDC has worked with emergency departments and trauma centers to implement SBI. By uniformly screening all incoming patients, they can identify those who engage in risky drinking behaviors, and provide them with brief counseling onsite. Positive research results—reduced medical costs and hospital readmissions—led the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma (COT) to require all Level I trauma centers to use SBI.

Trauma centers care for patients who are severely injured—many patients were injured because they or someone else drank too much. This makes trauma centers ideal settings for providing SBI to those who need it, and brief interventions delivered in trauma centers and emergency departments have been shown to reduce alcohol-related risky behaviors.

Research Results

  • A research trial of SBI demonstrated lowered health care costs and reduced readmissions to trauma, emergency department, and hospitals by 50%.
  • SBI has been shown to significantly decrease drinks consumed per week and the number of binge drinking episodes.

Here’s Your Brain on Too Little Sleep

If you don’t snooze, you lose. Skimping on sleep can wreak havoc from head to toe. In fact, one study published last year showed that just one week of sleeping fewer than six hours a night resulted in changes to more than 700 genes. That’s alarming news, considering nearly half of Americans don’t bank the recommended seven or more hours of shut-eye a night, according to a recent survey. Read on for the nightmare-inducing truth about what could be happening to your body when you don’t get enough sleep, starting the very first night.

After one night you’re…

Hungrier and Apt to Eat More. Studies have linked short-term sleep deprivation with a propensity to load up on bigger portionsa preference for high-calorie, high-carb foods and a greater likelihood of choosing unhealthy foods while grocery shopping.

More Lkely to Have an Accident. Getting six or fewer hours of shut-eye a night triples your risk of drowsy driving-related accidents,according to the National Sleep Foundation’s Drowsydriving.org. Plus, just one bad night’s sleep can affect a driver’s eye-steering coordination, according to research from Manchester Metropolitan University. And sleep deprivation can just make you generally more clumsy, whether you’re behind the wheel or not, reports Prevention.

info graphic: effects of not enough sleep


Not looking your best — or your most approachable. Beauty sleep is legit. A small study published last year in the journal SLEEP found that sleep deprived study participants were rated as less attractive and sadder, HuffPost reported at the time. A different study from the Medical Institutet Karolinska in Stockholm, Sweden found that exhausted people are also judged to be less approachable. And the problem only gets worse over time: Researchers have linked chronic sleep deprivation with skin aging.

More Likely to Catch a Cold. Proper rest is one of the building blocks of a healthy immune system. In fact, one Carnegie Mellon University study found that sleeping fewer than seven hours a night was associated with a tripled risk of coming down with a cold. What’s more, the Mayo Clinic explains:

During sleep, your immune system releases proteins called cytokines, some of which help promote sleep. Certain cytokines need to increase when you have an infection or inflammation, or when you’re under stress. Sleep deprivation may decrease production of these protective cytokines. In addition, infection-fighting antibodies and cells are reduced during periods when you don’t get enough sleep.