16 Percent of Nonfatal Workplace Injuries or Illnesses Occurred Midnight – 8 AM in 2014

By WorkersCompensation.com 06/27/2016

Washington, DC – In 2014, 67 percent of nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses occurred during the hours of 8:01 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Of the injuries and illnesses during these hours, 331,390 occurred in morning hours, and 249,890 occurred in the afternoon.
Workplace injuries and illnesses requiring days away from work by time of day and event or exposure
During most times of the day or night, overexertion involving outside sources is the most common cause of workplace injuries or illnesses for which people miss work to recuperate. During the early morning hours of 4:01 to 8:00, falls to the same level were also a leading cause of workplace injuries or illnesses.

During the nighttime hours of midnight to 8:00 a.m., 16 percent of workplace injuries or illnesses occurred. Intentional injury by a person makes up 4 percent of the injuries or illnesses between the hours of midnight and 4:00 a.m.


Eric Clapton album cover for After Midnight

Insurers Want to Develop Value-Based Approach to Paying for Drugs

By Ed Silverman @Pharmalot
June 21, 2016

graph that shows what factors can determine prescription drug costsAs angst mounts over prescription drug costs, a survey finds that most health plans would like to pay for many of the highest-priced medicines based on patient outcomes. The findings suggest that insurers hope to get tougher with drug makers as prescription medicines, by some estimates, account for more than one-fifth of overall health care costs.

In these arrangements, a health plan may get an extra discount from a drug maker if a medicine does not help patients as much as expected, or a drug maker may get a credit toward a rebate provided to a health plan. The survey, released last week, found interest was particularly strong for hepatitis C and oncology drugs, although plans have started to use these arrangements for other types of drugs, as well.

Specifically, the survey found that 63 percent of health plans had strong interest in outcomes-based contracts for hepatitis C treatments, according to Avalere Health, a consulting firm that last year queried 42 US health plans representing 161 million insured people. Continue reading Insurers Want to Develop Value-Based Approach to Paying for Drugs

OSHA’s Safety Stand-Down Throughout Southeast for Heat-Related Illness &, Injury Awareness

By WorkersCompensation.com

NOAA weather service heat index



For the summer season, OSHA offers tools to assist employers and workers:

• Heat-illness educational materials in English and Spanish, and a curriculum to be used for workplace training.

• Online tools such as OSHA worker heat safety tips in a blog, Twitter posts, and at an newly updated heat campaign web page that now includes illustrations of heat exhaustion and heat stroke, an animated video, training resources, and links to an updated heat safety phone app.

#WaterRestShade, the official hashtag of the campaign, encourages employers to provide their workers with drinking water, ample breaks, and a shaded area while working outdoors.

• OSHA continues to work with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to raise awareness on the dangers of working in the heat through its Weather-Ready Nation campaign.

Atlanta, GA- In 2014, 2,630 workers suffered from heat illness while 18 died from heat stroke and related causes on the job – all of which was preventable.

To raise awareness about these dangers, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, employers and trade associations will conduct a one-hour Safety Stand-Down at construction sites and workplaces in eight Southern states from June 27 to July 1, 2016. Continue reading OSHA’s Safety Stand-Down Throughout Southeast for Heat-Related Illness &, Injury Awareness

Rotator Cuff Tear May Be A Covered Disability Under ADA

By John Geaney

rotator exercise chartMichael Cannon applied for a job with Jacobs Field Services (hereinafter JFS) as a field engineer for a Colorado mining site.
The company made him a job offer conditioned on his passing a post-offer medical examination.

During the post-offer exam, Cannon revealed to the doctor that he had an inoperable rotator cuff tear and had taken Ultram (a brand name version of the opioid Tramadol).  He said he still had the prescription but was no longer taking it. In fact, he passed the drug test portion of the post-offer examination.

The doctor cleared Cannon provided that JFS offered accommodations of no driving company vehicles, no lifting, pushing, or pulling more than 10 pounds and no working with his hands above shoulder level.

Less than two hours after receiving the doctor’s report, the company’s technical operations officer at the mining project wrote that the job offer should be rescinded because a field engineer must be capable of driving and lifting.  Ladder climbing was an essential function of the job.

Further, the job site was located in the mountains with rocky terrain over several miles, so driving was essential.  This decision to revoke the job offer was not communicated immediately to Cannon.

A Human Resources Manager later contacted Cannon, expressing concerns about his ability to perform the essential functions of the job.  Cannon offered to contact the Occupational Health Department to address concerns that he was still taking Ultram (he said he was not).  He also brought a note from his doctor stating that he could climb ladders by maintaining three point contact with either arm. Continue reading Rotator Cuff Tear May Be A Covered Disability Under ADA

Goose-inator Blamed for Golf Course Injury

“I wouldn’t have believed it unless I saw it,” greenskeeper said.

By Robert Kahn

New Brunswick, NJ (WorkersCompensation.com) – In an odd lawsuit in New Jersey, a golf course worker claims that a remote control Goose-inator, designed to scare geese off greens, turned on him and sliced his ulnar nerve, tendon and artery.

Alfred Parcells III sued Tech Hobbies aka 3DX Hobbies and its owner, Paul Gentile, on June 3 in Middlesex County Court.

Golf course operators hate geese because they defecate on greens and use the short-cut bentgrass to wipe their bottoms.

“It’s the damndest thing,” a greenskeeper told Courthouse News. “I wouldn’t have believed it unless I saw it.” The greenskeeper asked that his name be withheld for fear of protests should the public know, or inquire, how his boss fights the geese.
Continue reading Goose-inator Blamed for Golf Course Injury

Obesity Is Not An Impairment Unless…

It Results From An Underlying Physiological Disorder

By John Geaney 4 hours 12 minutes ago

giant fat man in a Mini CooperAn important ADA decision has come from the Court of Appeals in the Eighth Circuit in Morriss v. BNSF Railway Company, 817 F.3d 1104 (8th Cir. 2016).  The case stems from a post-offer medical examination.

Melvin Morriss applied for a machinist position and received a conditional offer of employment.  He was required to undergo a medical review because the position was safety sensitive.  He noted on the medical questionnaire that he weighed 270 pounds and stood 5’10” tall.  He was not currently a diabetic and did not have any health concerns.  He noted no limitations in daily activities.

BNSF doctors examined Morriss and noted that he weighed 281 pounds and had a body mass index of 40.9 in the first exam and 40.4 in the second exam.  Because his BMI exceeded the company’s qualification standards, the company’s medical department advised Morriss that he was not currently qualified due to significant health and safety risks related to Class 3 obesity, which entailed a BMI of 40 or greater.  BNSF then revoked the job offer, and Morriss sued alleging discrimination under the ADA.

Morriss lost in the district court, which noted that Morriss had denied suffering from any medical impairment on BNSF’s medical questionnaire.  His personal doctor said he did not suffer from any medical condition which caused his obesity.  He had no limitations at all.  The court therefore dismissed his case and Morriss appealed.
Continue reading Obesity Is Not An Impairment Unless…

“Occupational Complexity” Linked to Better Cognitive Performance

By WorkersCompensation.com 06/13/2016

Intellectual Incitement warning signRosemont, IL (WorkersCompensation.com) – Working in a more intellectually challenging job is associated with better memory and other aspects of cognitive functioning, reports a study in the June Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, official publication of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM).

In addition, more physically hazardous work is linked to lower cognitive performance, according to the new research by Joseph G. Grzywacz, PhD, of Florida State University and colleagues. They analyzed data on work characteristics and cognitive function tests in nearly 2,000 US workers, drawn from a national study of health and aging.

Each participant’s job was assessed in terms of “occupational complexity,” referring to the intellectual challenges of daily work. Both psychosocial and physical workplace factors were evaluated for association with measures of cognitive functioning.

Higher occupational complexity was related to better self-perceived memory for both women and men. For women only, occupational complexity was linked to higher scores on tests for episodic memory and for executive functioning (skills such as planning and executing tasks). 

In both sexes, those with more physically hazardous jobs had lower episodic memory and executive functioning.

 Continue reading “Occupational Complexity” Linked to Better Cognitive Performance

New California Tobacco Laws Go Into Effect

California 21 tobacco law signEffective June 9, 2016, the minimum age of sale for tobacco products in California increases from 18 to 21, and for the first time e-cigarettes are added to the existing definition of tobacco products. California is the second state in the nation, following Hawaii, to raise the minimum age for tobacco sales to 21.

“Today marks a significant moment in California history as new tobacco control laws go into effect statewide. This is the first time the Golden State has raised the age of sale for tobacco since the law first took effect 144 years ago,” said Dr. Karen Smith, California Department of Public Health (CDPH) director and state health officer. “

Our focus is on reaching more than 34,000 retailers with tobacco licenses and vape shops to provide them the information and resources needed to comply with the new tobacco 21 law.”

To help retailers comply with these new laws, CDPH developed a series of educational materials, including age-of-sale warning signs, window clings reminding customers of the new law and tips to help clerks check identification.

About 34,000 Californians die each year from tobacco use. In addition, tobacco-related diseases cost Californians $18.1 billion each year in both direct and indirect healthcare costs due to premature death and low productivity due to illness.


The Whole Enchilada: Comprehensive School Climate Change

By Safety National 06/07/2016

anti bullying poster drawn by kidsThis PRIMA 2016 session was presented by William Grace Frost, Director of Strategic Relations, Community Matters.

Community Matters is a national leader in student‐centered school safety programs and school climate improvement since 2000 Founders of the evidence‐based Safe School Ambassadors Program implemented in over 2000 schools nationwide and in Canada, Puerto Rico and Japan.

The intent of this session was to provide a school climate improvement framework and assessment process, designed to implement an effective and sustainable risk reduction strategy. To do this, one must think outside of the box.

Bullying and cyber bullying are becoming more prevalent, much more pervasive and often difficult to identify. In response to this, schools have found it necessary to boost safety and security. The zero-tolerance policies and “outside-in” approaches, however, have been found to be ineffective in reducing school violence. 163,000 students stay home every day due to bullying fears or issues.

There is a need for a balanced approach between security and climate. Climate is important in creating familiarity, trust, connectivity and ultimately safety. Strong connections will lead to a healthier school climate.

For school climate improvement to occur, positive characteristics must be present such as:

• A strong sense of belonging

• Positive relationships between students and staff

• Discipline using formative or restorative consequences

• Engagement, recognition and leadership opportunities for   students in a variety of activities

Is Psych a 4-letter word in Workers’ Compensation?

By Safety National 

depressed employee in a wheel chairAt the 2016 PRIMA Annual Conference, Dr Michael Lacroix, Director of Behavioral Health Services with Coventry Workers’ Comp Services, presented a session examining questions on the presence, role and the impact of psychological factors on the susceptibility to, the reaction to and the recovery from workers’ compensation injuries.

Back in 1977 a study published by Engel talked about the bio-psycho-social model of disease and that these factors were something that needed to be considered when evaluating patients. This study was ahead of its time and was not widely accepted at the time it was published. Over time, this study has become the foundation for the bio-psycho social model which is now a big part of standard medical practice.

Stress is the 2nd largest occupational disease after musculoskeletal conditions. 90 million lost work days annually are attributed to stress. Mental disorders account for 9% of medical absences, and 35% of SSDI recipients have a mental disorder. Mental illness accounts for around 15% of cost of disease. About 25% of adults experience some type of mental disorder each year. The issue of mental illness is something that cannot be ignored in the treatment of patients.

Without question, a workers’ compensation injury can have psychological consequences. Loss of income, loss of status as the breadwinner, change of routine, and loss of fitness are some of the areas that can lead to mental stress.

Other elements that can lead to mental stress include anger (at employer, co-workers, insurer) and fears (associated with treatment and job loss). Other complicating factors that can impact the case are marital difficulties, medication dependency, or even post-traumatic stress. Over time the patient can develop a chronic pain cycle, focus on secondary gain issues, and develop a disability identity.

One question often asked is whether the work injury triggered the psychological disorder or was that pre exiting and possibly dormant until after the injury. Continue reading Is Psych a 4-letter word in Workers’ Compensation?