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Workers' Comp & Safety

When it comes to workplace safety, ignorance is no defense. OSHA safety and health regulations often apply to all businesses, regardless of size. [October 2018, 180 word article]

Workers’ comp policies usually include a special section for employers’ liability. What additional coverages does it provide and why do you need them? [October 2018, 664 word article]

There is progress in efforts to reduce opioid use in workers, despite the hurdles. [October 2018, 678 word article]

Only a small percentage of workers’ comp claims are fraudulent but letting them go undetected can cost a lot. [October 2018, 662 word article]

Some experts think technology offers the best solutions for reducing distracted driving. [August 2018, 203 word article]

The percentage of vehicle-related workers compensation claims are increasing, both in count and in percent of total claims, according to data from AF Group. [August 2018, 537 word article]

Your agent can help explain in more detail and show you how to get the best rates for the coverage you need. [August 2018, 941 word article]

Cyberattacks have completely shutdown a number of businesses in the past and likely will in the future. What can you do to avoid or reduce your risk? [August 2018, 703 word article]

According to insurance authority IRMI, there are several different kinds of TPAs. They differ, depending on their area of claims administration specialization: [June 2018, 289 word article] 

Some insurers use a third-party administrator (TPA) to handle workers’ comp claims. Why do they use TPAs? How do they work? [June 2018, 448 word article]

These eight steps will help you create an effective workers’ compensation claims management procedure. But getting the first step right is probably the most important thing you can do to ensure you get all the other steps right, too. [June 2018, 670 word article] 

Two experts recently gave their opinions on the future of workers’ comp costs. One expert is pessimistic, the other one is optimistic. What do you think? [June 2018, 954 word article]

Once a worker suffers an occupational injury while working for you, he or she becomes your responsibility for life. [April 2018, 255 word article]

Texas was the first state to experience a decrease in opioid prescriptions and significant savings in overall drug costs. [April 2018, 501 word article]

Approximately one out of five workers reported being bullied in the workplace in a recent survey by the Workplace Bullying Institute of Bellingham, Washington. [April 2018, 725 word article]

“Opioids could kill nearly half a million people across America over the next decade as the crisis of addiction and overdose accelerates.” [April 2018, 824 word article]

11 Simple Steps to Reduce Telecommuting-Related Risks [February 2018, 232 word article]

As conscientious as you and your company may be about federal OSHA compliance and keeping employees safe, you may need to undergo an OSHA inspection. [February 2018, 429 word article]

As telecommuting increases, your obligation to compensate employees for work-related injuries does not decrease. [February 2018, 748 word article]

New techniques and technologies are providing alternatives for rehabilitation. [February 2018, 698 word article]

Retros make sense when you believe your future workers’ comp claims will be significantly less than your current claims. [December 2017, 193 word article]

Retro rating plans have been around for years. Many employers like them because they offer an opportunity for big savings — if things go right with your loss experience. How do they work? [December 2017, 475 word article]

Wearable technology is rapidly moving beyond smartwatches and fitness trackers. The devices offer great rewards and increased risks. [December 2017, 781 word article]

Fraud in all U.S. lines of insurance is responsible for approximately $80 billion per year in losses. Several billion dollars of that is workers comp fraud. In the past few years, however, some of those loses have been reduced thanks to technology.  [December 2017, 755 word article]

Insurance authority IRMI cites several examples of when employers’ liability coverage applies: [October 2017, 231 word article]

A standard workers’ comp policy can leave employers vulnerable to lawsuits in certain cases. [October 2017, 459 word article]

What Do Courts Say “Course of Employment” Means? [October 2017, 793 word article]

The key is advance planning. [October 2017, 859 word article]

When it comes to workplace safety, ignorance is no defense. OSHA safety and health regulations often apply to all businesses, regardless of size. [August 2017, 180 word article]

More than half of all injured workers have a pre-existing condition, according to one expert. When you have an employee with a permanent impairment who suffers a second injury, you are responsible for compensating only the most recent injury. Many employers fail to realize this, often spending thousands of dollars more than they need to. [August 2017, 610 word article]

The extension is being made to give the new administration an opportunity to review reporting requirements. [August 2017, 547 word article]

Technology caused the problem but maybe it has the solution as well. [August 2017, 711 word article]

Serious sleuthing after a workplace injury can not only help you discover the cause of a specific injury, it can also uncover hidden workplace hazards. [June 2017, 469 word article]

The concept of integrated disability — combining the administration of the disability component of workers’ comp and the disability programs in the benefits arena — has been around for a while without having gained traction at most firms. But several factors are motivating employers to take a closer look. [June 2017, 614 word article]

On-demand businesses, including firms like Postmates, Uber, Lyft, Task Rabbit and other businesses where workers and clients are connected by a digital platform, want their workers treated as independent contractors. Judges in states like Washington and California, however, see things differently. [June 2017, 500 word article]

Telemedicine has been around since the 1960s, “When physicians [ran] a microwave line under the Boston Harbor to connect Massachusetts General Hospital with Logan International Airport in order to examine patients at the airport clinic while avoiding Boston traffic,” according to Brian Eastwood, senior editor of CIO.com. [June 2017, 627 word article]

Although office workers face few life-threatening injuries, they can suffer from work-related repetitive strain disorders and other ergonomic injuries. The following quiz can help you spot ergonomic problems before they lead to injury. [April 2017, 277 word article]

Although workers’ compensation may seem complicated, only two factors affect your workers’ compensation costs: your employees’ job classifications and your experience modification factor. [April 2017, 668 word article]

Marijuana is now legal in some form in 28 states and the District of Columbia. What does this mean for your workers’ compensation safety program? [April 2017, 958 word article]

The California Labor Commissioner recently ruled that drivers for Pacific 9 Transportation were misclassified as independent contractors and ordered the company to pay $6.9 million in back wages. [April 2017, 625 word article]

This year, Daylight Savings Time (DST) begins on Sunday, March 12. Most states switch to DST at 2 a.m., although some do not change their clocks. [February 2017, 346 word article]

Dictionary.com defines wearable computers as “miniature electronic devices that are worn by the bearer under, with or on top of clothing.” You might be thinking of futuristic devices such as Google Glass, but many safety “wearables” are much simpler and more common. Here’s a peek at a few technologies that are improving safety. [February 2017, 774 word article]

It's not you, it's me. The instructions you give your insurance carrier and broker can determine how effectively they handle your claims. by Michael B. Stack [February 2017, 575 word article]

 

Rules and regulations promulgated by OSHA, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration, affect employers all over the country. Here are a few new developments you should be aware of. [February 2017, 633 word article]

Whenever temperatures drop and wind speed increases, heat leaves the body more rapidly. This can lead to hypothermia and/or frostbite. [December 2016, 322 word article]

Although terrorism attacks get all the press, Americans traveling or working abroad are far more likely to fall victim to robbery, kidnap or rape. According to the Global Terrorism Database, 80 Americans (including perpetrators) died in terrorist attacks between 2004 to 2013. This excludes deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq, the majority of which are combat-related. [December 2016, 695 word article]

What will Donald Trump’s election mean for workers’ compensation? Although we don’t have a crystal ball, we do expect to see some changes. [December 2016, 736 word article]

In mid-November, OSHA published its long-awaited final rule on slips, trips and falls. The rule becomes effective on Jan. 17, 2017, and will affect approximately 112 million workers at seven million worksites. [December 2016, 702 word article]

More than 200,000 Americans die of sudden cardiac arrest every year. If one of your employees had a heart attack while at work, would someone there know what to do? [October 2016, 309 word article]

Focusing your safety program solely upon reducing reported accidents and injuries or compliance with OSHA regulations means your safety and loss control program will never be completely successful. You’ll be applying all your controls to the tip of the iceberg, while major hazards may lurk unchecked. [October 2016, 473 word article]

Your workers’ compensation policy might include a provision that allows your insurer to conduct a worker’ compensation premium audit. The results of the audit will affect your premiums, so it benefits you to be prepared! [October 2016, 639 word article]

A job hazard analysis can help you identify hazards that can lead to injury. [October 2016, 665 word article]

Especially during summer, employers often encourage employees to participate in fitness activities or company picnics. But what happens if an employee is injured at one of these events—will workers’ comp apply? [August 2016, 316 word article]

EAPs (employee assistance programs) can help employers reduce their workers’ compensation costs in two ways. [August 2016, 624 word article]

Americans took more than 459 million business trips in 2015, according to the U.S. Travel Association. Most trips are 250 miles or less away from home. But even those trips create risk exposures. [August 2016, 623 word article]

The state of California has realized savings of about 8 percent since introducing evidence-based treatment guidelines into its workers’ compensation system in 2012.* What is evidence-based treatment and how can it help employers’ bottom line? [August 2016, 656 word article]

A good workers’ compensation and safety program focuses on prevention. Claims will occur, though. When they do, you can take steps to control their severity. [June 2016, 215 word article]

Although OSHA and workers’ compensation both relate to worker safety, they play different roles. Read on for more information. [June 2016, 938 word article]

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that workers age 55 and older will make up 20 percent of the workforce by 2020, up from 13 percent in 2000. As your workforce ages, what special safety concerns can you expect? [June 2016, 623 word article]

The class action lawsuit brought by retired players of the National Football League against the league has raised awareness of concussions and the seriousness of repeated brain injuries. [June 2016, 684 word article]

Nearly 2 million American workers report having been victims of workplace violence each year. Unfortunately, many more cases go unreported. [April 2016, 313 word article]

Whether you call them musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), repetitive strain injuries or cumulative trauma disorders, they add up to a painful condition for affected workers...and a costly problem for employers. [April 2016, 456 word article]

Fifty-five percent of employers are providing accommodations to assist employees in returning to work. Of these, 54 percent are reporting success. Forty-five percent are providing accommodations to employees with disabilities to stay at work in lieu of absence. Of these, 54 percent are reporting success.1 [April 2016, 742 word article]

You consider your company’s safety incentive program an effective way to promote safe behavior among your employees and reduce injuries. But OSHA could see the very same program as unlawful discrimination and a violation of OSHA recordkeeping regulations and whistleblower protections. [April 2016, 542 word article]

Workers’ compensation insurers and some self-insured employers have employees who examine claims after they are submitted for payment. In workers’ compensation, benefits are mandated by law, so examiners who work for workers’ compensation insurers review a claim to ensure it meets the law’s definition of a compensable work-related claim. If a claim meets that definition, the examiner will review it to ensure claimants receive any lost-time benefits due to them. [February 2016, 250 word article]

From dust mites, mold spores, cockroaches and animal dander, to cotton fibers, acid anhydrides, formaldehyde and latex, the modern workplace is a veritable minefield of substances that trigger asthma, allergies and associated workers’ comp claims. [February 2016, 622 word article]

Do you know that your odds of winning the lottery do not change based on the number of tickets purchased? You are playing the odds based on your number selection, not on the number of players participating. Safety works in somewhat the same way. It doesn’t matter how many employees might “forget” to use safety equipment without suffering consequences. All it takes is one employee to forget at the wrong time. [February 2016, 473 word article]

Deaths from prescription painkiller overdose have skyrocketed over the last decade. This epidemic is triggering a reexamination of how medical providers and insurers handle chronic pain management in workers’ compensation cases. [February 2016, 592 word article]

A study titled “Exploring the Relationship Between Employer Recordkeeping and Underreporting in the BLS Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses” sought to gauge the accuracy of the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ annual Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses.  [December 2015, 235 word article]

More than half of all injured workers have a pre-existing condition, according to one expert. When you have an employee with a permanent impairment who suffers a second injury, you are responsible for compensating only the most recent injury. Many employers fail to realize this, leaving thousands of dollars on the table. [December 2015, 605 word article]

Clinical depression affects about one-fifth of women and one sixth of men in the United States at some point in their lifetimes. Why should employers be aware of this problem? [December 2015, 529 word article]

When an employee suffers a work-related injury, workers’ compensation law obligates the employer to pay for medical treatment. Who gets to choose the treating physician—and why does it matter? [December 2015, 507 word article]

When it comes to workplace safety, ignorance is no defense. OSHA safety and health regulations often apply to all businesses, regardless of size. [October 2015, 181 word article]

Although workers’ compensation may seem complicated, only two factors affect your workers’ compensation costs: your employees’ job classifications and your experience modification factor. [October 2015, 669 word article]

The workforce is aging, so understanding the specific needs of older workers can help you keep them healthy and on the job. Here’s what you should know. [October 2015, 771 word article]

Utilization reviews have saved companies around the country billions of dollars in workers’ compensation costs since California mandated utilization review in 2004. Other techniques, such as using a specialized workers’ compensation medical care network, can also work. Here’s a brief overview. [October 2015, 673 word article]

Employers are responsible for providing workplaces that are safe from excessive heat. Yet every year, thousands of workers become sick from exposure to heat, and some even die. Heat illnesses and deaths are preventable. [August 2015, 327 word article]

Earlier this year, a court ruled that Federal Express drivers should have been classified as employees, when the company had classified them as independent contractors. And the U.S. Department of Labor announced that a five-year investigation in Utah and Arizona yielded $700,000 in back wages, damages, penalties and other guarantees for more than 1,000 construction industry workers. [August 2015, 560 word article]

In a recent scholarly article, David A. North outlines how the Affordable Care Act has changed workers’ compensation, and what we might expect in the future. [August 2015, 639 word article] 

When horseplay occurs in a work environment, does workers’ compensation apply? [August 2015, 520 word article]

Although office workers face few life-threatening injuries, they can suffer from work-related repetitive strain disorders and other ergonomic injuries. The following quiz can help you spot ergonomic problems before they lead to injury. [June 2015, 277 word article]

Workers’ comp policies usually include a special section for employers’ liability. What additional coverages does it provide and why do you need them? [June 2015, 664 word article]

With the jobless rate for people ages 20 to 24 still higher than10 percent, many college students might be willing to trade their time for an unpaid learning experience. But there is a legal difference between an employee and an intern. Knowing the difference can help you avoid breaking the law. [June 2015, 693 word article]

According to the National Center for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (NCPTSD), some 7.8 percent of Americans will experience post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at some point in their lives. How does PTSD impact an employer’s workers’ compensation program? [June 2015, 718 word article]

Under the workers’ compensation bargain, the employer agrees to compensate an employee for any work-related injury or illness…unless the employee was engaged in a “prohibited act” at the time of injury. [April 2015, 285 word article]

Focusing your safety program solely upon reducing reported accidents and injuries or compliance with OSHA regulations means your safety and loss control program will never be completely successful. You’ll be applying all your controls to the tip of the iceberg, while major hazards may lurk unchecked. [April 2015, 470 word article]

Millions of teenagers will soon be leaving school and taking jobs either for the summer or as the start of their permanent integration into the workforce. Here’s what you need to know to protect them. [April 2015, 721 word article]

When researching the effects of alcohol on workplace injuries, you’ll likely stumble across a statistic attributing 38 to 50 percent of all workplace injuries to alcohol or drug abuse. If that sounds shockingly high to you, you’re probably right. [April 2015, 701 word article]

Workers’ compensation insurance differs from other types of insurance in several important ways. [February 2015, 368 word article]

A bully in your workplace can affect morale, increasing stress levels for fellow employees—and possibly increasing your workers’ compensation costs. [February 2015, 734 word article]

Serious sleuthing after a workplace injury can not only help you discover the cause of a specific injury, it can also uncover hidden workplace hazards. [February 2015, 471 word article]

When you think of air pollutants, you probably think of smog, auto exhaust and industrial emissions. But often indoor air can have more pollutants than outdoor air. [February 2015, 812 word article]

In 2008, a retail worker died from being trampled during a holiday sale event. OSHA has sent letters to major retailers to remind employers about the potential hazards of large crowds at retail stores during the holiday season. [December 2014, 344 word article]

As this issue went to press, only a few confirmed cases of Ebola existed in the U.S. What happens if it spreads? [December 2014, 850 word article]

Retro rating plans have been around for years. How do they work, and do they make sense for your company’s workers’ comp program? [December 2014, 707 word article]

So much for office work being safe. In today’s office, many workers can spend more than half of their work day sitting…and scientists are finding that sitting for prolonged periods of time increases health risks. [December 2014, 671 word article] 

Once a worker suffers an occupational injury while working for you, he or she becomes your responsibility for life. [October 2014, 255 word article]

The U.S. Department of Labor reports that slips, trips and falls make up the majority of general industry accidents. They account for 25 percent of all reported claims per year. More than 17 percent of all disabling occupational injuries result from falls. A good housekeeping program can help prevent many of these incidents. [October 2014, 508 word article]

Hiring someone on an independent contractor basis has many advantages for employers. But treating workers like independent contractors when they should be classified as employees instead can cause costly problems. [October 2014, 509 word article]

Now that marijuana use is legal in nine states, what does this mean for your workers’ compensation safety program? [October 2014, 929 word article]

The National Insurance Crime Bureau reported that the number of “questionable” workers’ compensation claims increased, although the total number of claims decreased between January 1, 2011 and June 30, 2013. “Questionable claims” included claims involving claimant fraud, prior injuries unrelated to work and malingering. [August 2014, 368 word article]

Earlier this year, the Alaska state legislature passed House Bill 281, which allows a physician to prescribe drugs without a physical examination. In doing so, it opened the door to telemedicine, at least in remote areas. [August 2014, 608 word article]

Surveillance can help employers manage workers’ compensation claims in three ways: by providing evidence for claim investigations, by influencing employee behavior, and by pointing out safety problems. Here’s what employers need to know. [August 2014, 737 word article]

You might think your workers’ compensation covers all work-related injuries and illnesses. This could prove a costly mistake. [August 2014, 862 word article]

Electrical hazards can cause burns, shocks and electrocution (death). To prevent injury, consider these safety tips from OSHA: [June 2014, 289 word article]

At least 10 major workers’ compensation insurers recently needed to strengthen their workers’ compensation reserves, according to SNL Financial L.C. What do insufficient reserves mean to insureds? [June 2014, 870 word article]

The following suggestions can help you avoid costly auto accidents among your employees who drive for work. [June 2014, 861 word article]

A study released earlier this year by the California Workers’ Compensation Institute (CWCI) found that more than 11.6 percent of all workers’ compensation claims in California between 2005 and 2010 involved an attorney. But when it comes to permanent disability claims, 80 percent involve attorneys. [June 2014, 549 word article]

Permanent partial disability cases account for more than one-half of all workers’ compensation cases. Understanding how these complex claims are paid can help you better manage them. [April 2014, 911 word article]

An estimated 3 to 6 percent of all cancer cases stem from occupational exposures. Based on total cancer numbers, this resulted in 43,695 to 87,390 new occupational-related cancer cases in the U.S. in 2010, the latest year for which data are available. [April 2014, 542 word article]

Today, smartphones account for more than 60 percent of all mobile phones sold in the U.S. Increasing speed, better features and more apps mean people spend more time on them than ever before. Should employers expect a rise in repetitive strain injuries? [April 2014, 1003 word article]

How much do you know about workers’ compensation? The following questions will test your knowledge, and maybe give you a few facts you hadn’t known before. [February 2014, 394 word article]

Each day in the United States, more than 9 people are killed and more than 1,060 people are injured in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver, reports the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. The biggest culprit? Cell phones. [February 2014, 536 word article]

The human spine can do many things. It can bend and twist in a variety of ways. It supports the entire trunk and protects the spinal column. And most people don’t pay it much attention—until something goes wrong. [February 2014, 739 word article]

Workers’ compensation pays injured workers only a portion of their pre-injury salary while they recuperate. And there’s a good reason for that—if an injured worker receives as much for staying at home, why return to work? [February 2014, 868 word article]

Sometimes, an injured worker might have reached maximum medical improvement but be unable to return to work due to loss of strength or a partial disability. [December 2013, 347 word article]

Winter’s temperatures bring risk of hypothermia and frostbite. [December 2013]

U.S. workers suffer more than 190,000 illnesses and 50,000 deaths annually related to chemical exposures. [December 2013, 895 word article]

In November, OSHA proposed rules that would require certain employers who keep injury and illness records to file them electronically. It would also make certain information in these records accessible to the public. [December 2013, 605 word article]

NIOSH, the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, recently established a Center for Workers’ Compensation Studies (CWCS). The CWCS will act as a coordinator center to maximize the use of workers’ compensation data for injury and illness research. [August 2013, 266 word article]

When an employee injured on the job successfully sues a third party in addition to collecting workers’ compensation, the employer’s workers’ compensation insurer may be able to “subrogate” the claim. As dictionary.com defines it, subrogation is “to substitute (one person) for another with reference to a claim or right.” [August 2013, 463 word article]

Carbon monoxide poisoning causes an estimated 15,200 people to visit an emergency room or miss at least one day of work per year. But because carbon monoxide exposure creates nonspecific effects that are easily misdiagnosed, the actual toll of carbon monoxide poisoning is probably much higher.  [August 2013, 810 word article]

Opioid drugs can provide short-term relief to individuals suffering from severe pain. But their high cost and high rates of misuse and abuse can create problems for employers. [August 2013, 864 word article]

Fatigue is a feeling of tiredness, exhaustion or lack of energy. Fatigue diminishes alertness, slows reactions, impairs decision-making abilities and reduces productivity. [June 2013, 251 word article]

A study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine found that nearly 40 percent of U.S. workers experience fatigue. Why should employers care? [June 2013, 617 word article]

Short-lived or infrequent episodes of stress pose little risk. But when stressful situations go unresolved, the body is kept in a constant state of activation, which increases the rate of wear and tear to biological systems. Ultimately, fatigue or damage results, and the ability of the body to repair and defend itself can become seriously compromised. As a result, the risk of injury or disease escalates.—NIOSH [June 2013, 760 word article]

Company picnics, outings and outdoor team-building exercises can help employers build camaraderie and cooperation among employees. But whenever you mix employees and recreation, injuries can occur. When are they compensable? [June 2013, 603 word article]

How does immigration status affect an employee’s rights to workers’ compensation benefits? [February 2013, 348 word article]

Do you know that your odds of winning the lottery do not change based on the number of tickets purchased? You are playing the odds based on your number selection, not on the number of players participating. Safety works in somewhat the same way. It doesn't matter how many employees might “forget” to use safety equipment without suffering consequences. All it takes is one employee to forget at the wrong time. [February 2013, 625 word article]

The Americans with Disabilities Act and its amendments give disabled workers certain legal rights. But sometimes those rights seem to conflict with the employer’s need to maintain a safe workplace. How can you maintain a safe and efficient working environment that also respects all employees and their needs? [February 2013, 779 word article]

When an injury occurs at your worksite, your first responsibility is to ensure your employee receives prompt and proper treatment based on the severity of the injury. Triage systems can help. [February 2013, 500 word article]

If you suspect a workers’ compensation claimant might be malingering or working while disabled, contact your claims adjuster with any evidence you might have. He or she will then likely contact the claimant’s treating physician to get additional information on the claimant’s condition and any physical limitations imposed by the injury. If those inquiries are inconclusive, he or she might bring in an insurance investigator. [October 2012, 365 word article]

Motor vehicle accidents are consistently the leading cause of work-related fatalities in the United States. Thirty-five percent of occupational fatalities reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics are associated with motor vehicles. A safety program can help prevent some of these accidents. [October 2012, 754 word article]

Like Goldilocks testing chairs, a review might find reserves for a workers’ compensation claim too high, too low or just right. This article will discuss the function of reserves and why you want them to be “just right.” [October 2012 ,632 word article]

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, fires and explosions accounted for nearly one million lost-time injuries in 2010 and three percent of workplace fatalities in 2011. The checklists in this article can help you start a fire safety program and identify potential problem areas. [October 2012, 625 word article]

Earlier this year, Dennis C. Mealy, FCAS, MAAA, chief actuary at the National Council on Compensation Insurance, Inc. presented his annual “state of the line” report on the workers’ compensation insurance industry in the U.S. for 2011. Mealy reported that the industry, “…because of its direct connection to employment and the labor markets, has been the property/casualty [insurance] line most significantly impacted by the Great Recession.” [August 2012, 378 word article]

Slips, trips and falls constitute the majority of general industry accidents. They cause 18 percent of workplace injuries and 15 percent of deaths. What can you do to keep your employees as safe as possible? [August 2012, 870 word article]

The work of independent medical examiners can directly affect what you pay for a claim. Their findings may help determine whether an injury or illness is indeed work-related, or the extent of a permanent disability. Here are some pointers for working with independent medical examiners. [August 2012, 919 word article]

You consider your company’s safety incentive program an effective way to promote safe behavior among your employees and reduce injuries. But OSHA could see the very same program as unlawful discrimination and a violation of OSHA recordkeeping regulations and whistleblower protections. Knowing the difference between lawful and unlawful incentives can help you keep an effective prevention tool while avoiding fines and other penalties. [August 2012, 651 word article]

The risk of heat-related illnesses and deaths increases during warm summer months; humidity increases the risk. Heat stroke is the most serious heat-related illness. It occurs when the body becomes unable to control its temperature: body temperature rises rapidly, the sweating mechanism fails, and the body is unable to cool down. Body temperature may rise to 106°F or higher within 10 to 15 minutes. Heat stroke can cause death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not provided. [June 2012, 407 word article]

An onsite weight or exercise room can improve employee wellness by making it inexpensive and convenient for employees to exercise. However, employers considering starting a fitness center might have concerns about their liability. To avoid this problem, we suggest the following guidelines for employer-sponsored onsite facilities: [June 2012, 262 word article]

Whether you call them musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), repetitive strain injuries or cumulative trauma disorders, they add up to a painful condition for affected workers...and a costly problem for employers. [June 2012, 580 word article]

Focusing your safety program solely upon reducing reported accidents and injuries or compliance with OSHA regulations means your safety and loss control program will never be completely successful. You’ll be applying all your controls to the tip of the iceberg, while major hazards may lurk unchecked. [June 2012, 549 word article]

The Yellow Pages for New York City lists 45 law firms in its section on workers’ compensation attorneys. Even tiny Medford, Oregon (population 75,000) boasts five workers’ compensation law firms. It takes a lot of employers to keep all those lawyers busy—here’s how to ensure that your business isn’t one of them. [June 2012, 896 word article]

Flexible and strong muscles in the back, stomach, hips and thighs better support the spine and reduce the chances of injury. And it’s a myth that a person should avoid exercise if experiencing minor back pain or injury. For most back problems, light activity helps speed the healing process. Gradual activity and stretching may reduce back pain and reduce the likelihood of re-injury. [April 2012, 449 word article]

You might think your company has an effective hazard prevention and safety training program. But how effective is it if your workers don’t understand it? [April 2012, 557 word article]

Accidents happen. Someone chokes on an ice cube, gets stung by a bee or shows symptoms of a heart attack or stroke. Does your staff know how to respond? [October 2013, 290 word article]

“Structured settlements have enjoyed widespread acceptance and have become an established part of our legal landscape over the past twenty-five years. More than $6 billion is now paid each year to fund new structured settlements in the United States, and an estimated $100 billion or more has been paid in the aggregate to fund structured settlements that are in force today.”* [October 2013, 545 word article]

As this issue went to press, investigators still did not know what triggered Aaron Alexis to shoot and kill 12 people at the Washington Navy Yard, but he had a history of violence and erratic behavior. Ironically, his security clearance might have made it easier for him to slip through the cracks with untreated mental health issues.  [October 2013, 795 word article]

Occupational hearing loss is the most common work-related illness in the United States, costing U.S. employers an estimated $242 million annually on workers’ compensation disability costs alone.  [October 2013, 820 word article]

When employers want to cut their workers’ compensation costs, they work on improving safety programs or training. But have you thought about improving your employee communications? [April 2013, 432 word article]

Although workers’ compensation may seem complicated, only two factors affect your workers’ compensation costs: your employees’ job classifications and your experience modification factor. [April 2013, 685 word article]

Serious sleuthing after a workplace injury can not only help you discover the cause of a specific injury, it can also uncover hidden workplace hazards. [April 2013, 426 word article]

Clinical depression affects up to 21.3 percent of women and 12.7 percent of men in the United States at some point in their lifetimes. Why should employers be aware of this problem? [April 2013, 598 word article]

You can perform the following exercises at work throughout your day. These exercises can help energize your body and relieve muscle tension. Hand Stretches: Separate and straighten your fingers until you feel the tension of a stretch. Hold 10 seconds. Relax, then bend fingers at the knuckles and hold 10 seconds. Repeat the first stretch once more.

Today, prescription drugs account for about 20 percent of workers’ compensation medical costs. Narcotics account for about one-third of this amount, with many workers’ compensation claimants using narcotic drugs (opiates) for pain relief for five years or more. [December 2012, 304 word article]

What the employer does during the first few days after an employee reports a workplace injury or illness can have a critical effect on the likelihood of that employee returning to work and making a full recovery. Following are some suggested action steps. [December 2012, 585 word article]

EAPs (employee assistance programs) can help employers reduce their workers’ compensation costs in two ways. [December 2012, 576 word article]

Approximately 45 percent of people between the ages of 25 and 64 used a computer at work in 2010, reported the U.S. Census Bureau. Typing on a computer keyboard is probably the most common cause of carpal tunnel syndrome, a painful and potentially disabling condition. The following tips can help you prevent carpal tunnel syndrome. [December 2012, 675 word article]

Earlier this year, the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) reported that all types of ?questionable? insurance claims were up sharply between 2009 and 2011, increasing 19 percent. Studies from 2000 estimated that one to two percent of workers? compensation claims nationwide were fraudulent. If the NICB?s results apply to workers? compensation claims, the percentage of fraudulent workers? compensation claims could be way up. Knowing the signs could save you money. [577 word article, April 2012]

Occupational back injuries are seldom, if ever, fatal, but they cause a significant amount of pain, lost productivity and economic burden. They account for nearly 20 percent of all workplace injuries and illnesses and cost the nation an estimated $20 billion to $50 billion per year. As the average age of the workforce increases and medical costs go up, the incidence and cost of back injuries could increase. [745 word article, April 2012]

The U.S. Department of Labor is stepping up its efforts to identify and correct employee misclassification. According to the Department, “The misclassification of employees as something other than employees, such as independent contractors, presents a serious problem for affected employees, employers, and to the entire economy.”… [319 word article, February 2012]

Workplace violence is a major concern for employers and employees nationwide. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, workplace homicides accounted for 506 (11 percent) of the 4,547 fatal workplace injuries in the United States in 2010. Homicide is the leading cause of death for women in the workplace… [546 word article, February 2012]

Workers’ compensation adjusters play a pivotal role in the claims management process. What are the skills of a top-notch adjuster, and how can you recognize a good one?

Workers’ comp claims are getting more complicated. Workplace fatalities are becoming rarer each year, but cumulative injuries or repeated injuries are becoming more common, particularly with the growing popularity of return-to-work problems… [665 word article, February 2012]

“My workplace doesn’t have a drug problem,” you might think. But among adults aged 18 or older, 8.4 percent of those employed full-time currently use illicit drugs, while 11.2 percent of those employed part-time do so. Legal drugs also have the potential for misuse… [916 word article, February 2012]

Employers’ responsibilities:

1. Provide clear job descriptions, goals and reporting procedures for your telecommuting employees.

2. Ensure your workers’ compensation coverage applies to telecommuters. For example, if you have out-of-state teleworkers, make sure you have “other states” coverage.

Verify that the organization’s general liability policy applies to the acts of telecommuters… [232 word article, December 2011]

The terms “telework,” “telecommuting,” “flexible workplace,” “remote work,” “virtual work” and “mobile work” all refer to work done outside of the traditional on-site work environment. These terms refer to anything from jobs that are completely “virtual” or mobile, to arrangements that enable employees to work from home a few days per week or per month. Regardless of what you call it, telecommuting can raise some problematic workers’ compensation questions… [718 word article, December 2011]

Earlier this year, the Institute of Medicine issued a report estimating that U.S. businesses lost between $297.4 billion and $335.5 billion in productivity due to chronic pain. Chronic pain affects some 116 million Americans—some of whom might be your employees.

Since workers’ compensation claims must start with a work-related injury or illness, reliable estimates of what pain itself costs the workers’ compensation system every year do not exist… [748 word article, December 2011]

Each day about 2,000 U.S. workers have a job-related eye injury that requires medical treatment. About one third of the injuries are treated in hospital emergency departments and more than 100 of these injuries result in one or more days of lost work. Men experienced far more eye injuries than women, and men age 25 to 44 suffered more eye injuries than men in other age groups… [707 word article, December 2011]

More than one-fifth (21 percent) of OSHA inspections stem from employee complaints, according to Safety/News Alert. The publication lists the top ten industries with workplace complaints to OSHA in fiscal years 2009 and 2010, along with the number of complaints… [240 word article, October 2011]

Reviewing your workers’ compensation policy immediately after receipt can help you save money and avoid coverage gaps and problems later. What should you look for? Terminology might vary slightly from state to state and insurer to insurer, but this article describes many of the terms you should look for.

The declarations page of your workers’ compensation policy provides some basic yet vital information on your policy… [806 word article, October 2011]

Permanent partial disability claims can prove the most frustrating type of claim for employers, claims managers and injured workers. They also account for more than half of all cases and cost a median of more than $32,000 (2002 data). Many permanent partial disability cases take years to resolve; in some states, a significant fraction were not closed more than three years after the injury date… [584 word article, October 2011]

In our last issue (August 2011), we discussed the threat of noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) in the workplace. In this issue, we’ll discuss some of the action steps employers can take to reduce the threat of NIHL.

Approximately 15 percent of Americans between the ages of 20 and 69 — or 26 million Americans—have high frequency hearing loss… [770 word article, October 2011]

Under OSHA regulations, businesses must identify employees exposed to noise levels at or above 85 decibels (dB) averaged over eight working hours. This is done by testing and mapping noise levels… [208 word article, August 2011]

What you might have suspected is true: frequent business travel is bad for health. Workers who travel extensively for business report higher rates of poor health and risk factors such as obesity and high blood pressure, found a study recently published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

For the study, researchers from Columbia University looked at health data for 13,000 members of a corporate wellness program… [721 word article, August 2011]

Noise-induced hearing loss is one of the greatest occupational health threats in the United States — a silent threat that can go unnoticed because it develops over time, there are no visible effects and except in very rare cases, there is no pain.

Approximately 30 million workers face occupational exposure to noise levels that could damage their hearing… [749 word article, August 2011]

Workers’ compensation costs the average employer $1.33 per $100 of payroll. That might not sound like much, but one or two injuries can send your costs skyrocketing. Here are some pointers to keep those costs under control.

Check occupational class codes on your policy for accuracy. Workers’ compensation insurers base premiums on occupational class code, which reflects the relative hazards of occupations in your main industry… [486 word article, August 2011]

Fatigue is a feeling of tiredness, exhaustion or lack of energy. Fatigue diminishes alertness, slows reactions, impairs decision-making abilities and reduces productivity.

No accurate measures of fatigue exist, so how can you tell if a worker is becoming dangerously fatigued? Work Safe Alberta, a public/private initiative to reduce injuries and improve safety, lists these physical signs and symptoms of fatigue:… [244 word article, June 2011]

Healthcare reform, the economy, increasing medical costs…how might these macro trends affect your workers’ compensation costs?

Healthcare Reform - Employers have been anxiously monitoring implementation of the federal healthcare reform bill, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), for its effects on group medical costs since the law became effective in March 2010… [609 word article, June 2011]

Starting in 2011, Cal/OSHA, California’s occupational safety and health agency, will began enforcing the country’s strictest rules on preventing heat illness. Even if the regulations do not affect your workplace, Cal/OSHA’s actions point out the seriousness of heat-related illnesses. Heat stroke, the most serious, kills about 50 Americans each year, but many more are affected by other heat-related illnesses, which are easily preventable… [1000 word article, June 2011]

In April, three air traffic controllers in Knoxville, Miami and Seattle were fired for sleeping while working. The incidents prompted the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to allow controllers more time for rest between shifts. Although your workers might not have as many lives in their hands as an air traffic controller, fatigue can cause safety problems at any workplace. Here are some suggestions to reduce fatigue and improve safety… [762 word article, June 2011]

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control define overweight and obesity as “ranges of weight that are greater than what is generally considered healthy for a given height” and that “increase the likelihood of certain diseases and other health problems.” The CDC uses body mass index, a ratio of weight to height, to determine weight ranges for overweight and obesity… [222 word article, April 2011]

“Work-related injuries are far more costly if the injured worker is obese,” reported the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) in December 2010. “The dramatically higher medical costs suggest that the types and nature of injuries sustained by obese workers, especially the ‘morbidly obese,’ are more likely to result in permanent disabilities.”

With two-thirds of American adults now overweight, including one-third who are obese, this news should concern all employers.… [998 word article, April 2011]

Did you know that an injured worker who remains off the job for more than six months has only a 25 percent chance of returning to work at all? Getting a worker back on the job in a productive capacity as quickly as medically feasible makes that worker less likely to become a long-term disability statistic…and saves you money… [606 word article, April 2011]

Summer vacation is nearly here. For many teens, that means their first job. For their employers, it means additional safety responsibilities.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) estimates that in the United States, 200,000 teens aged 14 to 17 are injured on the job every year. The most common injuries suffered by working teens are lacerations, contusions, abrasions, sprains and strains, burns and fractures or dislocations… [686 word article, April 2011]

Our state-based workers’ compensation system turns 100 this year. Although a federal workers’ compensation law passed in 1908, the first state workers’ compensation law covering private employers that survived legal challenges passed in Wisconsin in 1911. Today, every state has workers’ compensation laws that guarantee medical payments to workers injured, sickened or killed on the job  and replace a portion of their lost wages… [251 word article, February 2011]

Hiring a worker as an independent contractor has many advantages for employers—these workers are responsible for their own workers’ compensation, benefits and withholding. But misclassifying regular employees as independent contractors can lead to costly fines and penalties.

As the economy slowly rebounds, employers who have laid off workers may be reluctant to staff up again… [568 word article, February 2011]

“Bedbugs are back in a very big way,” says the National Pest Management Association (NPMA). Members’ calls for bedbug infestations increased 57 percent between 2000 and 2010. You might think of bedbugs as a problem for hotels or big-city apartment dwellers. But they are infesting workplaces as well, with implications for your workers’ compensation and risk management programs… [682 word article, February 2011]

More than half of all injured workers have a pre-existing condition, according to one expert. When you have an employee with a permanent impairment who suffers a second injury, you are responsible for compensating only the most recent injury. Many employers fail to realize this, leaving thousands of dollars on the table… [537 word article, February 2011]

When the weather outside is dreadful, make sure your employees who work outdoors are protected against the elements.

Cold weather poses the direct risks of frostbite and hypothermia. Additionally, cold temperatures exacerbate existing physical conditions such as arthritis, respiratory problems and even hearing loss.

Most people become aware of the symptoms of frostbite — tingling, stinging and numbness — before damage becomes severe. Hypothermia poses a more subtle, but serious, threat… [345 word article, December 2010]

Some insurers use a third-party administrator (TPA) to handle workers’ comp claims. Why do they use TPAs? How do they work?

A third-party administrator (TPA) is a vendor hired to manage claims adjusting and other insurance-related services such as:

·       Medical care management

·       Litigation

·       Loss control

·       Safety programs

·       Cash flow management… [630 word article, December 2010]

Workers’ comp policies usually include a special section for employers’ liability. What additional coverage does it provide and why do you need it?

Your workers’ compensation policy covers the costs associated with an employee’s work-related injury or occupational disease. It pays for the worker’s medical costs, rehabilitation costs, lost wages and any settlement for permanent disability… [635 word article, December 2010]

With layoffs, hiring freezes and frozen wages, workers are under more stress these days. When does normal stress become mental injury? Does workers’ comp cover stress and mental injury? How can you minimize the risk of a claim?

“My job is driving me crazy!”

That’s a phrase that you’re more likely to hear these days.Can your job really drive you crazy, and would it be covered by workers’ comp? That depends… [750 word article, December 2010]

Holiday parties are an engrained tradition for American business. They are also notorious for being cauldrons of bad behavior, especially when liquor is served. In addition to causing headaches for human resources, the revelry can have implications for workers’ comp.

Holiday events are generally considered to be company functions, regardless of where they are held and whether or not attendance is mandatory... [282 word article, December 2009]

Slip-and-fall accidents are a leading cause of workers’ comp injuries, and winter weather increases the risks. What can you do to keep your employees as safe as possible?

It’s 4:30 p.m. on a cold, wet December day. It’s already dark outside, and the rain is turning to snow. The wind is blowing, and clusters of wet, dead leaves swirl in the parking lot and accumulate along the curb... [787 word article, December 2009]

Getting an injured worker back on the job as quickly as possible makes good business sense and improves employee morale. How do you develop a successful return-to-work program? What are the pitfalls to avoid?

A successful return-to-work program starts with a detailed company plan that has management support and has been thoroughly discussed with employees so that they understand their role in getting well and returning to work... [678 word article, December 2009]

How can you tell if an employee might have a substance abuse problem? He or she may have physical symptoms (chills, smell of alcohol, sweating, weight loss, physical deterioration) along with emotional (increased aggression, anxiety, burnout, denial, depression, paranoia) and/or behavioral symptoms (excessive talking, impaired coordination, irritability, lack of energy, limited attention span, poor motivation)... [211 word article, October 2009]

Knowing the factors that affect your premium can help you control them, and maybe even reduce your premiums.

To determine your workers’ compensation premiums, insurers start with a “manual rate.” To develop a manual rate, an insurance rating organization groups businesses in the state with similar operations, or “classifications,” together, and determines average losses and claim costs for the group. It then adds in the insurers’... [491 word article, October 2009]

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that workers age 55 and older will make up 20 percent of the workforce by 2020, up from 13 percent in 2000. As your workforce ages, what special safety concerns can you expect? - FREE article!

Studies indicate that although aging workers overall experience fewer injuries, possibly due to their greater experience and caution, an injury to an older worker requires longer recovery with more serious consequences... [625 word article, October 2009]

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