Cal/OSHA Cites Company Operating 1,500-Foot-Long Zip Lines with No Emergency Brakes

By WorkersCompensation.com 09/15/2016

Zip Line Danger SignSan Bernardino, CA – Cal/OSHA has cited Big Pines Ziplines $85,000 for serious and willful safety violations uncovered following an unreported rider accident that resulted in a major injury.

Cal/OSHA investigators found that Big Pines let riders reach speeds of up to 55 mph on lines more than a quarter-mile long that had no effective emergency braking system. Cal/OSHA also learned that Big Pines continued to operate unsafe zip lines even after the division ordered them to stop.

On August 9, 2014, a member of the public suffered a broken leg while riding one of Big Pines’ zip lines in Wrightwood. Wrightwood Canopy Tour LLC, doing business as Big Pines Ziplines, never reported the injury to Cal/OSHA, as is required by law. Cal/OSHA learned about the injury in February of this year when contacted by an attorney for the injured rider. Also in February, a second patron riding the zip lines suffered a broken leg.

When Cal/OSHA contacted the business, the owner acknowledged the first accident and told investigators the zip lines were shut down. However, Cal/OSHA subsequently learned that the lines were in fact open to the public and operating. In March, Cal/OSHA opened an investigation and found numerous safety and regulatory violations.

“When zip line owners operate without appropriate safeguards in place, they jeopardize the health and safety of their patrons and their workers,” said Cal/OSHA Chief Juliann Sum. “California law is clear about the requirements for zip line safety, and shortcuts are unacceptable.”
Continue reading Cal/OSHA Cites Company Operating 1,500-Foot-Long Zip Lines with No Emergency Brakes

Antimicrobial Companion App: Promotes Antibiotic Stewardship

Douglas Maurer, DO/MPH/FAAFP | August 29, 2016

anti bacaterial helper app for prescribing physiciansAntibiotic resistance is a growing problem. According to the CDC, over 2 million each year becomes infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics. Over 23,000 of these people die of their infections due to the lack of an effective antimicrobial.

We have recently seen the discovery of so-called “superbugs” such as colistin-resistant E. coli in multiple facilities across the United States that makes methicillin-resistant Staph aureus look like a harmless fly. Multiple studies have shown that antibiotic

overprescribing is a common problem in primary care, where over 90% of antibiotics are prescribed. In the US, the CDC is leading the charge promoting antibiotic stewardship. The CDC has launched numerous online tools as part of a playbook of core elements to combat antimicrobial resistance. The Joint Commission is evaluating hospitals on their antibiotic stewardship programs as part of their accreditation processes. Continue reading Antimicrobial Companion App: Promotes Antibiotic Stewardship

Key Strategies to Minimize the Impact of Diabetes on Workers’ Comp

Hint: Early Identification and Proactive Management

By WorkersCompensation.com 09/20/2016

blood sugar meter with a saladJacksonville, FL – Diabetes—and its growing prevalence across the nation—is a top concern for workers’ compensation programs due to the medical complications and increased costs that the condition brings to claims.

A study published in 2015 by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found that nearly 50 percent of adults in the U.S. either have diabetes or pre-diabetes,[1] a condition in which elevated blood sugar levels already exist making it highly likely that diabetes will follow.

To help risk and insurance professionals understand the impact that diabetes has on workers’ compensation claims, Eric Patten, RN, Regional Clinical Director at One Call Care Management (“One Call”), delivered the educational session, “Diabetes: Avoiding & Managing Its Adverse Impact on Claimant Recovery,” at the 2016 CAJPA Conference, September 13-16 in South Lake Tahoe, California.

It’s estimated that 29.1 million Americans have diabetes.
The speaker Eric Patten, RN, is one of them. From his personal experience with diabetes, with more than 12 years of experience as a catastrophic nurse case manager and 23 years of overall nursing experience, he explained the condition—and how diabetes can adversely affect the recovery process for injured workers.
Continue reading Key Strategies to Minimize the Impact of Diabetes on Workers’ Comp

Antimicrobial Companion: App Promotes Antibiotic Stewardship

Douglas Maurer, DO/MPH/FAAFP | August 29, 2016

Antibiotic resistance is a growing problem. According to the CDC, over 2 million each year becomes infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics.

Over 23,000 of these people die of their infections due to the lack of an effective antimicrobial. We have recently seen the discovery of so-called “superbugs” such as colistin-resistant E. coli in multiple facilities across the United States that makes methicillin-resistant Staph aureus look like a harmless fly.

Multiple studies have shown that antibiotic overprescribing is a common problem in primary care, where over 90% of antibiotics are prescribed. In the US, the CDC is leading the charge promoting antibiotic stewardship. The CDC has launched numerous online tools as part of a playbook of core elements to combat antimicrobial resistance.

The Joint Commission is evaluating hospitals on their antibiotic stewardship programs as part of their accreditation processes.

Here on iMedicalApps we have reviewed several apps from the NHS Scotland including Polypharmacy Guidance and have favorably reviewed many others. The NHS is even giving away millions of medical and health apps and devices to patients to promote population health.

The newest medical app from the National Health Service (NHS) Scotland is called Antimicrobial Companion. The purpose of Antimicrobial Companion is to assist NHS Scotland providers in the proper prescribing of antimicrobials. The medical app includes tools such as vancomycin and gentamicin dosage calculators, an entire primary care antibiotic guide, customizable toolkits for regional variance and the ability to collect data to submit antibiotic prescribing audits to NHS.

Study: 40 Percent Of Children Exposed To Secondhand Smoke

smoking baby photoDALLAS, Sept. 12 (UPI) — Even with drastic decreases in the number of Americans who smoke, four out of ten children are still exposed to secondhand smoke, at least partially because it remains prevalent in public spaces and apartment buildings, according to a study published in the journal Circulation.

More than two-thirds of black children, more than one-third of white children and just under one-third of Hispanic children are exposed to secondhand smoke, researchers report in the American Heart Association-sponsored study.

The study recommends more be done to discourage smoking, including raising taxes on cigarettes, banning smoking in more areas and increasing funding to tobacco cessation programs.

Just 15 percent of Americans smoke cigarettes, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but Raghuveer said exposure to smoke outside the home, for the most part, is to blame for the continued exposure.
Continue reading Study: 40 Percent Of Children Exposed To Secondhand Smoke

Overweight and Obesity Linked to High Workers’ Compensation Costs

Elk Grove Village, IL (WorkersCompensation.com) –

obesity chart graphicObese and overweight workers are more likely to incur high costs related to workers’ compensation claims for major injuries, reports a study in the September Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, official publication of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM).

Dr. Edward J. Bernacki of University of Texas at Austin and colleagues analyzed data on about 2,300 injured workers in Louisiana. Workers’ compensation costs and outcomes were compared for obese, overweight, or normal-weight workers. Obesity was defined as a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher and overweight as a BMI between 25 and 30.

After three years, about 11 percent of claims for major injuries (for example, fractures or complete tendon tears) were still open—indicating that the worker had not yet returned to work. Obesity and overweight weren’t associated with a delayed return to work.

But for workers with major injuries, high BMI was associated with higher workers’ compensation costs. In this group, costs averaged about $470,000 for obese and $270,000 for overweight workers, compared to $180,000 for normal-weight workers.
Continue reading Overweight and Obesity Linked to High Workers’ Compensation Costs

Chronic Pain: A Double Dose of Trouble

September 13, 2016 by Michael B. Stack

chronic pain instagraphicDealing with “chronic pain” is an issue the workers’ compensation claims management team deals with on a daily basis.

This is highlighted by the daily dose of news about the prescription drug epidemic and the countless Americans who are either addicted to these legal medications, or become addicted to street drugs as the result of using them to deal with work-related injuries.  It is important to claim handlers to be proactive on this issue for the benefit of the injured employee and the bottom line.

What is Chronic Pain?

From a clinical standpoint, “chronic pain” is pain symptomology that lasts from three to six months following the onset of injury.  This can be the result of a specific incident such as a slip/fall injury, an aggravation or acceleration of an underlying condition or an injury resulting from workplace exposure or repetitive activity.

In most incidents, healthcare professionals in the United States deal with chronic pain by prescribing opioid-based pain medications.  These medications come in many forms and names people have come to know.  They include:

•  Codeine (available in generic form)
•  Fentanyl (Actiq, Duragesic, Fentora)
•  Hydrocodone (Hysingla ER, Zohydro ER)
•  Hydrocodone/acetaminophen (Lorcet, Lortab, Norco, Vicodin)

These prescriptions are useful as they relieve pain for a period and allow a person to recover from injury.  They are derived from opium, which is commonly processed into the street drug known as heroin. |

Quick Facts on Opioid Addiction

•  From 2000 – 2013, the drug screening industry grew by $1.2 billion.Workers’ compensation insurers in California alone spend about $100 million per year for opioid-based pain medications.

[READ FULL STORY HERE]

Defensive Driving: Five Keys to Keeping Employees Safe on the Road

By WorkersCompensation.com

Jroad sign collageefferson City, MO – Driving from one location to another is a routine part of most employees’ daily activities. Unfortunately, it is also one of the most hazardous.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration reports that more fatal work injuries resulted from roadway incidents than from any other event in 2014.

Despite this sobering statistic, the fact remains that many traffic-related accidents can be avoided when drivers and employers make safe driving practices a part of their day-to-day routine.

Understanding the importance of defensive driving and committing to a safety program can go a long way towards preventing and reducing injuries on the road.

Lead the way
Getting your workforce to practice safe driving techniques requires a clear commitment from the top. All levels of management must provide leadership, policies and resources to create a safety culture.
•  Respond to reports of hazards made by employees and remove hazards.
•  Make repairs in a timely manner.
•  Walk the talk: Ensure managers wear their seat belts, drive according to company rules and participate in safety meetings.

Put it in writing and into action
Once you’ve committed to making defensive driving guidelines a part of your safety program, develop, distribute and enforce policies that address the five key components of defensive driving.

Distracted Driving
•  Stop if you become tired while driving. A short nap (15-45 minutes) and consuming caffeine can help temporarily.
•  Take a break every two hours to stretch and walk briskly.
•  Set a realistic goal for the number of miles you can safely drive each day.

Vehicle Maintenance
•  Perform regular maintenance consistent with the manufacturer’s recommendations.
•  Ensure a trained mechanic performs a thorough inspection of each vehicle at least annually and it is documented.
•  Provide employees with forms for requesting maintenance or repairs.

Controlled Driving
•  Obey the speed limit.
•  Concentrate on the road, other cars and conditions.
•  Reduce speed in construction zones.
•  Maintain at least a three-second gap behind other vehicles.

[READ FULL STORY HERE]

Online Tools Help People Improve Their Health …

… But Need More Study

By Madeline Kennedy

grid of health app icons(Reuters Health) – Mobile apps and web-based programs do help people reach health goals like exercising more, losing weight and quitting smoking, but studies need to follow-up longer to see how sustainable these interventions are, according to a recent review of existing research.

Lifestyle choices like poor diet and smoking are a major cause of death and disease worldwide, the researchers write in the Journal of the American Heart Association, and digital tools may be a low-cost and more accessible option for people looking to improve their health.

“Our results suggest internet-based and mobile-based interventions can be effective tools for behavioral modification,” said lead author Dr. Ashkan Afshin, the Assistant Professor of Global Health at the University of Washington in Seattle.

“We also found these programs were more effective if they included some interactions with healthcare providers,” Afshin added by email.
Continue reading Online Tools Help People Improve Their Health …

How Can I Help You Do Your Job Better?

 A question employees love to hear: How can I help you do your job better?

That is one of the most potent questions in management for a senior executive to put to an employee. Offering such assistance is recognition by the executive that his job is to help others do their jobs better.

When you hire people who are motivated to stretch themselves to reach goals for themselves and their teams, providing support for them stokes the fire of their engines.

Failure to acknowledge them, or worse, failure to support them with resources, is what is demotivating. Not words of praise.

A leader who believes his or her job is to help others is a leader who knows what it takes to inspire others to do their best work.

[READ FULL STORY HERE]