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Stop Workplace Falls While Decking the Halls!

November 30, 2017 by 

Workplace safety is important during the holiday season.  Stressing this topic can also reduce workers’ compensation program expenses.  This is especially true as employees are decking the workplace halls — you want to avoid falla falls, falla falls, falls, falls falls!

slips, trips and falls graphic for aritcle, Stop Workplace Falls While Decking the Halls!

The Real Expense of Workplace Safety

Failing to have a safe workplace impacts, everyone.  Employees get injured; overtime costs go up; all employees get stressed.  It also reduces productivity and adds unnecessary costs to the hiring and replacement of talented individuals who cannot return to work.  It adds to healthcare costs in the United States and places an unnecessary burden on emergency rooms.  Now is the time to prevent workplace injuries.

Slip, Trips and Falls in the Workplace

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) tracks injuries and deaths that occur in the American workplace.  Approximately 15% of all deaths in workers’ compensation settings occur when someone falls in a same level or multi-level incident.  Only motor vehicle accidents account for more workplace deaths.

The economic impact of slip/fall injuries is astronomical.  The National Safety Council estimates these types of injuries cost American industry over $13 billion per year.  This averages out to be about $40,000 per incident.  The consequence of poor training and safety compliance continues to grow.  Interested and proactive claims management teams can make a difference and reverse this troubling trend.  It also starts with educating insured on fall avoidance and other safety issues.

Creating a Culture of Safety

OSHA does require training for all employees subject to slip/fall dangers.  Those interested in making a difference in their workplace need to go beyond the minimum requirements

Prevent same level slip and fall injuries:

  • Keep work areas free of clutter, dust and other debris;
  • Require employees to wear low-heeled shoes with no-slip surfaces;
  • Ensure that rugs and mats have skid-proof backing;
  • Avoid having non-tracked flooring installed in workspaces;
  • Discourage horseplay in the workplace. This can include specifically prohibiting conduct that can result in slips, falls or other related injuries;
  • Keep rooms free of clutter, especially on floors; and
  • Use correct lighting in stairwells and hallways.

Employees working at heights such as catwalks, ladders, and scaffolding are in extreme danger for severe injury from falls.  Important measures to implement in the workplace should include:

  • Development and implementation of a fall protection program. This includes training and ongoing evaluation of safety measures for employees and management to use daily;
  • Avoid unprotected side and openings. When these settings are unavoidable, use of a guardrail, safety net or fall arrest systems are paramount;
  • Provide instruction on the safe posting and use of ladders;
  • Purchase and require the use of OSHA compliant ladders when engaging in workplace activities; and
  • Inspection of ladders and scaffolding before and after all use.

While this list is not all-inclusive, there needs to be a proactive approach to employee safety when working at heights.  It is also important to engage management on these issues and foster a culture of compliance with safety procedures and injury avoidance.

Conclusions

The holiday season should be a time of joy and gratitude—not emergency room visits.  While slip/fall injuries will never be eliminated, they can be avoided.  Taking a proactive approach reduces workers’ compensation costs and allows people to focus on the holiday season.

Read more: www.ReduceYourWorkersComp.com Stop the Workplace Falls While Decking the Halls! http://blog.reduceyourworkerscomp.com/2017/11/stop-the-workplace-falls-while-decking-the-halls/#ixzz50QdWkZ1s
Copyright Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc.
Under Creative Commons License: Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives

Transitional Duty Tips… Always a Hot Topic

man cleaning giant clock faces
Clocking in is a win win

Probably the topic that raises the most eyebrows whenever we mention it; transitional duty programs. All the research we’ve seen from the medical profession side of things indicates that transitional duty not only benefits the employers bottom line but is also beneficial to the employee’s mental and physical health.

Successfully returning employees to work is one of the best ways to reduce workers compensation costs because … the longer an employee is out of work, the more the claim will cost! Medical bills will increase, and so will lost wages.

Several Tips for Transitional Duty are:

• Have the employee work their regular shift so no transportation or childcare problems occur.

• Consider paying full earnings temporarily, even for partial work hours, to avoid paying lost wage benefits.

• Obtain employee’s feedback about the transitional duty position.

We have even more tips at our blog posting here: http://ccindustrialcare.com/?p=460

California Workers’ Compensation Benefits Decline

WASHINGTON, /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ —
Workers’ compensation benefits for workers injured on the job in California decreased 1.6 percent to $9.3 billion in 2009, according to a study released today by the National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI). In 2009 (the most recent year with complete data), the number of covered workers in California fell to 14.4 million, a 5.7 percent drop from the previous year, due in large part to the economic downturn.

Workers’ compensation benefits for medical care in California declined by 1.8 percent to $5.1 billion and cash benefits declined by 1.4 percent to $4.2 billion. Spending on medical care continued to make up more than half of total benefits in California.

Nationally, workers’ compensation benefits increased 0.4 percent to $58.3 billion. This change included both a 1.1 percent decrease in medical benefits and 1.9 percent increase in cash benefits. Employment of covered workers fell by 4.4 percent, while employer costs declined by 7.6 percent; both numbers represent the biggest percentage declines in over 20 years.

The new report, Workers’ Compensation: Benefits, Coverage and Costs, 2009 (PDF), is the fourteenth in the series which provides the only comprehensive data on workers’ compensation benefits for the nation, the states, the District of Columbia, and federal programs.

California Workers’ Compensation Payers Need to Take Immediate Action To Address New Medical Bill Data Capture Rule

Woman in panic holding an alarm clockCONCORD, Calif., June 16, 2011 /PRNewswire

Jopari Solutions, Inc., a leading supplier of Workers’ Compensation and Auto Medical eBilling and ePayment products, explained today that the impact of the October 15, 2011 deadline under the state’s recently released Electronic and Standardized Billing Regulations may not be fully understood by California workers’ compensation payers.  On and after that date, all medical bills must conform to a set of well-defined coding and billing standards.

According to Jopari, because the new California rules do not set forth any waiver provision for delayed implementation criteria, payers failing to comply with the October 15, 2011 paper bill requirements will be subject to Audit exposure and related fines and penalties.  Said Steve Stevens, CEO of Jopari, “Our intention in pointing this out is to ensure that payers are focusing on the dual implementation dates these new regulations have presented the industry. Many payers we have been in contact with have primarily been focused on October, 2012 when the eBill requirements go into effect, while in fact, many of the eBill implementation requirements needs to be done by October 15 of this year.”

Mr. Stevens explained, “Workflows, data capture, and reporting systems will need to be changed, without exception.”

Jopari elaborated on the most pressing of the factors payers should consider in light of California’s new rules:

Payers are required to determine if a submitted bill meets all standard bill criteria; and must reject or accept the bill based on the criteria
Payers must make payment within 45 days (60 days if governmental entity) of receipt of properly completed bills or be subjected to self-imposed 15% penalties and 10% interest.
New data elements are required to be captured by Payers, and must be included in state reporting so as to provide this specific new data under WCIS reporting requirements

Jopari advocates that payers not wait for October 2012, but proceed to implement eBilling immediately. In an eBill environment, these new criteria are evaluated electronically, and a definitive audit trail is established.

“Early implementation of eBilling eliminates financial and human asset stresses associated with a two-tier paper and electronic compliance management approach.  Equally important, pro-active acquisition of eBilling acceptance capabilities will allow payers to hone their workflows and processes, and, in many cases, create competitively differentiating service offerings for knowledgeable California employers who are aware of the new rules,” added Mr. Stevens.

Jopari provides eBilling processing nationwide for a number of the largest workers’ compensation payers in the marketplace and manages integration and services agreements with some of the largest and most important technology vendors for providers.

Top 5 Ways To Push Your Injured Workers to Attorneys

Gavel and law books with 800-SUE-THEM
Free initial consultation!

As long as there are workers compensation claims and ways for attorneys to make money from workers comp claims, attorneys will be involved in the processing of some of these claims. There will always be employees enticed by television commercials with the attorney holding fistfuls of money and saying, “Call me. I will make you rich.” or words to that effect.

To significantly reduce the number of employees hiring an attorney avoid making these five mistakes driving an employee into the arms of a waiting workers comp attorney.

1. Failing to Provide Immediate Medical Care
Being lazy about providing medical care to the injured employee is one of the biggest mistakes an employer makes when an employee is hurt. When an unknowing or untrained supervisor does not want to bother with the workers comp claim and tells the employee to “give it a few days,” it is almost a guarantee the employee is going to hire an attorney.

Think! – The employee is in pain, medical care is not being provided, the employee’s attitude quickly becomes “they don’t care about me” which quickly switches to “I don’t care about them either.” The only remaining question for the employee is whether to go to a doctor on their own or not. To answer that question they turn to the Internet/TV attorney or the yellow pages attorney. Keep in mind these cases are taken on contingency so the injured worker does not have to come up with a retainer for attorney fees. If the employee “wins” the case, the employer pays the attorney.

The solution – Everyone in the company, including employees, should know immediate medical care is to be provided on all work-related injuries. Every supervisor and manager must ensure medical care is provided immediately upon learning an injury occurred. Of course, if your company used nurse triage, this would go a long way toward allevaiting this issue because employees would call the triage nurse immediately.
Continue reading Top 5 Ways To Push Your Injured Workers to Attorneys

INCREASED INFLUENZA ACTIVITY in CALIFORNIA

“Flu has the potential to cause serious illness and even death,” said CDPH Director Dr. Mark Horton. “But there is something people can influenza virus blow up with lung illustration
do about it. I urge all Californians to get a flu shot and take other preventive measures to reduce exposure to influenza.”

This year CDPH is recommending flu vaccine for everyone six months of age and older. Vaccine is plentiful and available
throughout the state.

To stop the spread of flu and other respiratory illnesses, Californians should:
• Stay home when sick. Limiting contact limits the spread of disease.
• Cover your cough or sneeze. By using your elbow or a tissue and properly disposing of the used tissue, a person reduces the spread of disease.
• Wash hands thoroughly. Using soap and warm water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, and avoiding contact with your eyes, nose and mouth, limits disease.
• Stay healthy. Everyone benefits from eating a balanced diet, drinking plenty of water, not smoking, and getting adequate rest and exercise.

Flu activity levels are within the expected range for this time of the year. Current flu activity in California is “regional,” which is defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as having “outbreaks of influenza or increases in influenza-like illness and recent laboratory confirmed influenza in at least two but less than half the regions of the state.”  Every year, more than 225,000 people are hospitalized and more than 35,000 die in the United States due to the flu and its complications.

Click here to watch State Epidemiologist Dr. Gil Chavez discussing current flu activity.

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) reports overall influenza activity is on the increase and cases are now present in both Southern California and Northern California.

Five Apps to Help Prevent Illness This Flu Season

Flu season mightscreenshot of smartphone app called Outbreaks be upon us, but that doesn’t mean you have to get sick. Here are five apps to fight off the flu.
As temperatures continue to drop during the autumn season, a familiar sound fills the air: the drone of people coughing and sneezing in offices, homes and public transportation. Although your smartphone might be covered with disease-carrying bacteria, it can also contain many useful tools to help prevent illness. Here are our favorite apps to survive flu season:

Outbreaks Near Me
Hygienic practices such as hand washing are always a good starting place for disease prevention. But knowing that the flu virus is going around in your community might encourage you to practice even better habits.

HealthMap’s Outbreaks Near Me app, available for both Android and iPhone, tracks real-time disease outbreak information throughout the world. Outbreaks Near Me tracks local cases of a wide range of dangerous diseases.

The tool will alert you when contagious illnesses have been found in your community, and even lets you post about your own diagnosis. The app tracks both human and animal diseases—everything from swine flu to chickenpox to West Nile virus.

The Swine Flu App
During last year’s swine flu epidemic, researchers from Harvard Medical School released this comprehensive, reliable app equipped with everything you need to know about the dangerous disease, including diagnostic tests and prevention tips. It also provides location-based hotlines and emergency telephone numbers.

Harvard’s app is particularly useful to businesses. It has an entire section devoted to helping employers educate employees about flu prevention, and learn how to create a pandemic business plan.

Medslogscreenshot of smartphone app called "Home Remedies"
If you catch a bacterial infection or have a high fever, your doctor is likely to prescribe medications to help you get well. But certain drugs, especially antibiotics, require frequent and long-term dosages. The Medslog app helps you track all of your medications and reminds you when to take them. Users can simply enter items like prescription drugs or eye drops, as well as the dose and time. The app also lets users input data such as blood pressure and blood sugar. Users can even choose to e-mail their data to a doctor.

FluShotter
One of the simplest ways to prevent getting the flu this year is to get an annual flu shot. But during times of high demand, shot locations can be hard to find, especially in rural areas. The FluShotter app makes getting a flu shot easy. FluShotter contains information about thousands of locations where users can receive flu shots. The app tracks your shot history and can contain the records for multiple users—ensuring that the whole family is equipped to fight the flu this year.

101 Home Remedies
Luckily, there are even apps for the thousands of people who do end up getting sick this flu season. One of our favorites is 101 Home Remedies, which provides quick, natural remedies for many common ailments.

In addition to containing soothing treatments for the flu, the app has information about how to lessen its symptoms, like coughs and muscle cramps. 101 Home Remedies contains quick and natural remedies for everything from asthma to unexpected weight loss.

CDPH DIRECTOR URGES CALIFORNIANS TO GET SMART ABOUT ANTIBIOTICS

Get Smart About Antibiotcis Week, logoAs part of “Get Smart About Antibiotics Week,” California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Director Dr. Mark Horton is reminding health care professionals and patients this week about the importance of proper antibiotic use. Antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections. They are often prescribed, yet do not work, for viral infections such as the flu or common cold.  Overuse of antibiotics can lead to severe antibiotic-resistant, life-threatening infections by “super bugs” that are more difficult to treat.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that half of all antibiotics prescribed are unnecessary or inappropriate.

“In the United States, antibiotic-resistant infections cause $20 billion in excess health care cost,” said Horton. “California has the nation’s only statewide initiative focused on the safe and effective use of antibiotics in hospitals.

“California Senate Bill 739 requires all acute care hospitals to develop a process for evaluating the use of antibiotics,” Horton explained. “We’re encouraging all health care facilities to implement similar practices that have been proven to improve patient care decrease the inappropriate use of antibiotics, decrease antibiotic resistance and save health care dollars.”

Horton added that people should not share unused prescription medicine with others and they should not save unused prescriptions for future illnesses.

November 15-21 is Get Smart About Antibiotics Week, a collaborative effort with CDC, CDPH and other professional organizations. The campaign’s goal is to educate consumers and health care providers about appropriate use of antibiotics.

Methods for Designing a Wellness Incentive Program

chart showing Best Wellness Incentives by Age
Best Wellness Incentives by Age

According to Dr. Robert H. Haveman of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the following basic principles should guide the development of any incentive arrangement:
1. Identify the desired outcome.
2. Identify the behavior change that will lead to the outcome.
3. Determine the potential effectiveness of the incentive in achieving the behavior change.
4. Link a financial incentive directly to this outcome or behavior.
5. Identify the possible adverse effects of the incentive.
6. Evaluate and report changes in the behavior or outcome in response to the incentive.

Similar steps are recommended by the Wellness Councils of America:

1. Determine what actions or behaviors you want to increase or decrease.
2. Research the values that would hinder adoption of the desired actions or behaviors.
3. Research and select formal and informal rewards that are feasible for inclusion in the incentive design while producing the largest behavioral change effect.
4. Develop incentive rules and examine them for unintended consequences.
5. Use focus groups of randomly selected employees picked to test the incentive system.
6. Develop a communications plan for the incentive program.
7. Field-test the incentive system.
8. Evaluate the field test, modify the design and implement organization-wide.
9. Follow-through as planned in implementation of the incentive program.
10. Periodically, at least annually, evaluate the effects of the incentive system and revise it.

Popular Rewards
In terms of the most commonly used incentives, the types of wellness programs or activities being offered plays an influential role:

1. Completion of a health risk assessment (HRA): The trend is moving away from a voluntary, non-rewarded approach to HRA completion and toward continued health benefit eligibility or use of a differential premium contribution for health plan coverage and modest cash rewards for completion.
2. On-site Activities: Participation in on-site wellness activities typically features rewards involving material goods or merchandise coupons.
3. Long-term Involvement: Overall program participation, completion of biometric and/or preventive screening tests, attainment of particular health goals, seat belt use and other personal health and safety measures are related to satisfying certain criteria. In turn, these criteria are associated with a point system linked to reduced health plan premiums and/or deposits in health savings accounts.