Sunday, January 31, 2010
Saturday, January 30, 2010
OSHA uses the data to calculate injury and illness incidence rates to guide its strategic management plan and to focus its Site Specific Targeting (SST) Program, which the agency uses to target its inspections.
"Making injury and illness information available to the public is part of OSHA's response to the administration's commitment to make government more transparent to the American people," said David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA. "This effort will improve the public's accessibility to workplace safety and health data and ensure the Agency can function more effectively for American workers."
Information available at the Data.gov and www.osha.gov Websites includes an establishment's name, address, industry, associated Total Case Rate (TCR), Days Away, Restricted, Transfer (DART) case rate, and the Days Away From Work (DAFWII) case rate. The data is specific to the establishments that provided OSHA with valid data through the 2008 data collection (collection of CY 2007 data). This database does not contain rates calculated by OSHA for establishments that submitted suspect or unreliable data.
Data.gov provides expanded public access to valuable workforce-related data generated by the Executive Branch of the federal government. Although the initial launch of Data.gov provides a limited portion of the rich variety of Federal datasets presently available, the public is invited to participate in shaping the future of Data.gov by suggesting additional datasets and site enhancements to provide seamless public access and use of federal data.
More information about the Department of Labor's Open Government Web site is available athttp://www.dol.gov/open/ where there are links to the latest data sets, ways to connect with Department staff, and information about providing public input that will make the Department's site and its work more useful and engaging.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to assure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov
Many employers are currently required to keep a record of workplace injuries and illnesses, including work-related MSDs, on the OSHA Form 300 (Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses). The proposed rule would require employers to place a check mark in a column for all MSDs they have recorded.
The proposed requirements are identical to those contained in the OSHA recordkeeping regulation that was issued in 2001. Prior to 2001, OSHA's injury and illness logs contained a column for repetitive trauma disorders that included noise and MSDs. In 2001, OSHA separated noise and MSDs into two separate columns, but the MSD column was deleted in 2003 before the provision became effective. OSHA is now proposing to restore the MSD column to the OSHA Form 300 log.
"Restoring the MSD column will improve the ability of workers and employers to identify and prevent work-related musculoskeletal disorders by providing simple and easily accessible information," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Dr. David Michaels. "It will also improve the accuracy and completeness of national work-related injury and illness data."
For more information, view OSHA's proposal at:http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=FEDERAL_REGISTER&p_id=21314. This notice will be published in the Jan. 29 edition of theFederal Register.
Interested parties may submit comments on the proposed rule electronically athttp://www.regulations.gov, the federal e-rulemaking portal; or by mailing three copies to the OSHA Docket Office, Room N-2625, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20210; or by fax at 202-693-1648 if the comments and attachments do not exceed 10 pages.
Comments must include the agency name and docket number for this rulemaking (Docket Number OSHA-2009-0044). The deadline for submitting comments is March 15. OSHA will hold a public meeting on the proposed rule March 9.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to assure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.
Friday, January 29, 2010
The 5 substances that TSCA mandates regulations for are all known carcinogens: Asbestos, Hexavalent Chromium, Vinyl Chloride, Trichloethylene, Methyene Chloride and Dicloromethene.
Since 1976 chronic and terminal diseases have increased: Leukemia +20%; Breast Cancer 40% with a risk factor increase from 1 in 10 women to 1 in 8 women; and asthma +200%. Additionally, major increases in conceiving and making pregnancy, birth defects and autism have been reported.
Chronic conditions now result in 70% of all deaths and 75% of all health costs. Direct health care costs from cancer alone, in 2008, was $93.2 Billion of the total health care costs in the US that amounted to $304 Billion.
A recent report reveals the inadequacies of the TSCA and urges an update. As medical science continues to investigate these medical conditions, it is critically important that Congress updates the TSCA and requires better regulation
Dr. Maryann Donovan, associate director of research services for the University of Pittsburgh's Cancer Institute and director of the Center for Environmental Oncology stated, "It's not a matter of whether we test toxic chemicals. It's a matter of how we test them. Right now we test them in the bodies of our children, our consumers, our workers, ourselves. It's time to start testing chemicals in the lab, and to take action before anyone is harmed."
Click here to read more about toxic exposures and workers' compensation.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Monday, January 25, 2010
The transition team has made the following recommendations:
Oppose A-5181 (Egan, Evans) / S-639 (Sarlo, Gill): Increases workers' compensation for loss of hand or foot.
Impact: $20 - $25 million in increased costs to the system.
Oppose A-2846 (Greenstein, DeAngelo) / S-785 (Sweeney, Madden): Extends supplemental disability and dependent benefits for post-1979 claims.
Impact: These added benefits would be paid entirely by employers through an increased surcharge in their Workers' Compensation policy. An analysis by the Office of Special Compensation Funds within the Department of Labor and Workforce Development projects the annual cost to New Jersey employers at $125 million with the potential to be significantly higher if this law change caused New Jersey to lose its "reverse offset" benefit from the Social Security Administration.
Oppose S-1982 (Sweeney): Establishes an ombudsman for injured workers in, but not of, the Department of Labor and Workforce Development.
Impact: This would create an entirely new department within the State government with its incumbent salary and administrative costs. This would also duplicate many of the responsibilities now handled effectively by the Division of Workers' Compensation.
Click here to read more about workers' compensation reform efforts.
The SIF was established to compensate totally disabled workers for their pre-existing disabilities shield the last employer from the total cost of the last compensable injury. The was enacted by NJ prior to the existence of the American With Disabilities Act (ADA) and theoretically was to encourage employers to hire handicapped workers.
Since the enactment of the ADA many states have felt that their was no need to continue the SIFs and the growing trend is to eliminate them. The SIF in NJ currently supports the operating funds on the NJ Division of Workers' Compensation.
The transition report concludes:
"The SIF has been experiencing cash flow problems recently due to diversions from the fund in 2003 and 2004 and also as a result of legislative changes made in 2000 and 2003. Prior to 2000, the assessment against employers and insurance companies that finance the Division of Workers Compensation was determined by estimating the costs incurred to run all programs (including benefits) and multiplying that by 150%. In 2000, this was changed to 125% of estimated benefits and 100% of estimated administrative costs. These changes initially did not cause any significant cash flow issues; however, when the State began diverting money the combination of these factors resulted in an insufficient amount of cash being collected through assessments.
Solutions: Due to the legislative changes to the assessment calculations, the fund will never be able to restore solvency. The only solution requires legislative approval to phase out the $40 million “add back” and adjust the $5 million fund balance cap to a percentage of the prior years’ benefit payments. The only other option would be to find a supplemental appropriation to replenish the diverted money from FY2010."
Historically, surpluses in the NJ SIF have been raided by the Legislature and Governor and the funds diverted to the general treasury of the State. Like other NJ agencies, the NJ Division of Workers' Compensation has been challenged by mandated furloughs and short staffing issues. The fiscal problems of the SIF have compounded Medicare delays in the workers' compensation program in dealing with catastrophic and serious disability claims.
Click here to read more about The Second Injury Fund.
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Ciapinski v Crown Equipment Corp., 2010 WL 183903 (N.J. App. Div.) Decided Jan. 21, 2010.
Click here to read more about evidence and workers' compensation.
Saturday, January 23, 2010
K.S. v Sunnydays Early Childhood Services, 2010 WL 173531 (N.J. Super.A.D.) decided January 20, 2010.
Click here to read more about hostile work environment claims and workers' compensation.
Friday, January 22, 2010
While the court reasoned that the injured worker may have had a viable cause of action against the law firm, the mechanism of a third-party joinder was not an effective method of bringing a claim. The withdrawing defendant-law firm, that had previously presented the worker, was not entitled under the law to join the successor firm for contribution. The court concluded, "...that attorneys in this situation cannot be characterized as joint tortfeasors and that a successor attorney owes no duty to a predecessor attorney to correct the predecessor's errors."
Summary Judgement was granted the third-party defendant firm and it was awarded sanctions $16,622.49) and expenses ($15,555.20) against the defendant firm for filing a frivolous claim.
Arthur v Klitzman & Gallagher v. Ansell, et al. and Schebell, et al., 2010 WL 163194 (N.J.Super.A.D.) Decided November 23, 2009
Click here to read more about workers compensation.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
"We found that persons who die with silicosis are more likely to die with pulmonary mycosis than are those who die without pneumoconiosis or who die with the more common pneumoconioses. Insofar as silica dust impairs cellular defense, silica-exposed workers (without silicosis) may be at increased risk for fungal infections, as they are for mycobacterial infections."
Concurrent Silicosis and Pulmonary Mycosis at Death,Yulia Iossifova, Rachel Bailey, John Wood, and Kathleen Kreiss, DOI: 10.3201/eid1602.090824 Emerg Infect Dis. 2010 Feb
Click here to read more about silicosis litigation.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
The trial court, that was affirmed, had concluded:
"...[t]he aforementioned events cannot be characterized as an honest attempt to ensure that an office is running in an efficient and effective manner. Here, [p]etitioner was subjected, in part, to a resignation rumor, a potentially improper layoff, together with the aforementioned . . . sexual propaganda . . . . [I]t shocks the conscience that same would have occurred over such a long period of time without otherwise being addressed by the employer."
In affirming the Appellate Court held:
"In finding in petitioner's favor, Judge Leslie A. Berich applied correct legal standards. The Workers' Compensation Act is 'humane social legislation designed to place the cost of work connected injury upon the employer who may readily provide for it as an operating expense.'"
Lori Ross v. City of Asbury Park, Docket No. A-0379-08T3
Click here to read more about stressful conditions and workers' compensation.
Monday, January 18, 2010
The Court held that the waiver did not violate public policy and the release was enforceable. The third party workers' compensation release, signed as a condition of pre-employment, was upheld as the guard agreed to extinguish only her right under workers' compensation to recover only amount additional to what she already recovered under workers' compensation.
Sunday, January 17, 2010
The employee was a union office who drove a company car from home to work site. His duties required him to travel to a union hall to discuss future work plans with an official. The official was in am eeting and no coffee was available at the union hall, so the employee decided to drive to a coffee vendor when the motor vehicle accident occurred.
The Court's reasoning, of the so called, "Starbucks Doctrine", expanded compensbility to off-premises injuries where the deviation from employment was minor and reasonable. It was equated by the trial court as encompassed in the "the personal comfort" exception.
"Here, the judge of compensation made comprehensive findings based on credibility determinations. He found that petitioner was an “off-site” employee who, facing an extended wait to consult with an expert concerning a work-related issue, was injured while driving for a cup of coffee. It cannot be expected that he would stand like a statue or remain at the union hall with nothing to do for such a period, particularly when there was no coffee available at the site. We cannot conclude in these circumstances that the injuries were not compensable merely because petitioner chose to take his authorized “coffee break” other than at the closest location. The distance of the coffee shop from respondent's off-site jobsite was reasonable given the rural nature of the community in Winslow Township and the time petitioner had to wait to seek the counsel he sought. The judge found petitioner to be credible, and under Jumpp, accidents occurring during coffee breaks for off-site employees, which are equivalent to those of on-site workers, are minor deviations from employment which permit recovery of workers' compensation benefits."
Cooper v. Barnickel Enterprises, Inc.,
--- A.2d ----, 2010 WL 98866, N.J.Super.A.D., January 13, 2010 (NO. A-1813-08T3)
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
While emphasizing the seriousness of the health hazards of salt intake, he compared the consumption of salt to asbestos and smoking, "Salt and asbestos, clearly both are bad for you," Bloomberg continued. "Modern medicine thinks you shouldn't be smoking if you want to live longer. Modern medicine thinks you shouldn't be eating salt, or sodium."
There is no free lunch in the adoption of this scenario. If an employee is exposed to salty foods in the course of the employment and suffers a medical event associated with the intake of salt, then compensability may follow.
"The New York City Health Department is coordinating a nationwide effort to prevent heart attacks and strokes by reducing the amount of salt in packaged and restaurant foods.Americans consume roughly twice the recommended limit of salt each day – causing widespread high blood pressure and placing millions at risk of heart attack and stroke. This is not a matter of choice. Only 11% of the sodium in our diets comes from our own saltshakers; nearly 80% is added to foods before they are sold. The National Salt Reduction Initiative is a coalition of cities, states and health organizations working to help food manufacturers and restaurants voluntarily reduce the amount of salt in their products. The goal is to reduce Americans’ salt intake by 20% over five years. This will save tens of thousands of lives each year and billions of dollars in health care costs."
More than 40 cities, states and national health organizations have joined the National Salt Reduction Initiative. The goal is to reduce the salt intake of Americans by 20% over the next five years.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Monday, January 11, 2010
An application for NJ TDB must be filed within 30 days of the beginning of disability. Claimants are now advised that Social Security Disability benefits may be available should the disabling medical condition last more than 1 year.
Click here to read more about temporary disability benefits.
Sunday, January 10, 2010
A 1999 settlement of a workers' compensation contained a stipulation that two insurance carriers would share in the cost of medical expenses. One insurance company would manage the claimant's medical care and would seek reimbursement from the other insurance carrier. Eight years after the settlement the managing insurance carriers, New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance Company (NJM) sent a letter to the other carrier, Scibal, requesting reimbursement of 50% of the costs. By then, the costs had amounted to $570,629.03.
The Court rejected the application of the Doctrine of Equitable Estoppel as a defense because Scibal did not met the burden of proof. "Scibal must show that NJM had "engaged in conduct, either intentionally or under circumstances that induced reliance, and that [Scibal] acted or changed [its] position to [its] detriment." The Court also rejected the application of the Doctrine of Laches because the offending party, Scibal, was not prejudiced by the mere passage of time.
Friday, January 8, 2010
The suspected shooter was identified as plaintiff in a lawsuit filed in 2006 against the administrators of the company retirement plan. The law suit alleged that unreasonable fee were charged in administrating the plan.
While workers' compensation may provide a remedy for some victims and their families, the basic question remains on what can be done to make the workplace safer. What signals existed that this was going to occur and what actions could be taken by an employer to assist disgruntled workers from "going postal."
All would agree that certain circumstances are difficult to predict. On the other hand, employers and their insurance carriers should be preemptive in their efforts to create a safer workplace. When Congress looks at work place safety it should broaden its vision to include regulatory preventive tactics so that this situation will not occur.
Monday, January 4, 2010
“People are starting to see it like drunk driving, and that’s the comparison we need to continue to make,” said Steve Farley, an
TheNY Times has reports that 22% of all drivers talk of their phone while driving and DWD accounts for 2,600 deaths per year and 570,000 injuries.
Sunday, January 3, 2010
Silicosis was one of the enumerated occupational diseases that were universally included into workers' compensation statutes about 40 years after the enactment of the initial model acts were adopted, at the behest of Industry, to avoid civil liability actions. Occupational disease claims continue to be problematic for State compensation systems.
Friday, January 1, 2010