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(c) 2014 Jon L Gelman, All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Drugs, Alcohol and Mauling Bears


Guest Blog by Thomas M. Domer 

I’ve received dozens of emails and phone calls from friends and colleagues railing on the Montana court ruling granting workers’ comp benefits to a man high on pot when a grizzly mauled him at a nature park. “How ridiculous, how unfair!” rings the common theme from almost every caller. 


In response, I remind folks that the court said grizzlies are ”equal opportunity maulers”, and no proof existed that the man provoked the attack because he was high. I also remind everyone that workers’ comp is a no-fault insurance system, where concepts like “fairness” are all very relative. 

Many states, including Wisconsin, hold that if an injury results from intoxication (by alcohol or drugs) benefits are not denied, but reduced (usually by 15%) as an employee safety violation, but intoxication is not evidence of a deviation if the employee is otherwise in the course of employment. The much-heralded “Frozen Fingers” case in Wisconsin confirmed that rule, where a salesman was so drunk he couldn’t open his own door, passed out and has his frostbitten fingers amputated. Benefits were awarded, but reduced by 15%.

Thomas M. Domer practices in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (www.domerlaw.com). He has authored and edited several publications including the legal treatise Wisconsin Workers' Compensation Law (West) and he is the Editor of the national publication, Workers' First Watch. Tom is past chair of the Workers' Compensation Section of the American Association for Justice. He is a charter Fellow in the College of Workers' Compensation Lawyers. He co-authors the nationally recognized Wisconsin Workers' Compensation Experts Blog.



Zadroga Fund Cancer Claims Info Sought by NIOSH

On March 8, 2011, the Director of the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published a notice in the Federal Register (76 FR 12740) requesting information from the public on three questions regarding conditions relating to cancer for consideration under the World Trade Center Health Program. Written comment was to be received by March 31, 2011. NIOSH has received comment about extending the request for information to include persons living and working in the affected area. In consideration of that comment, the Director of NIOSH is modifying one of the questions posed in the Federal Register and extending the public comment period to April 29, 2011.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by docket number NIOSH- 227, by any of the following methods: Mail: NIOSH Docket Office, Robert A. Taft Laboratories, MS-C34, 4676 Columbia Parkway, Cincinnati, OH 45226. Facsimile: (513) 533-8285. E-mail: nioshdocket@cdc.gov.


All information received in response to this notice will be available for public examination and copying at the NIOSH Docket Office, 4676 Columbia Parkway, Cincinnati, Ohio 45226. The comment period for NIOSH- 227 will close on April 29, 2011. All comments received will be available on the NIOSH Docket Web page at http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/ docket, and comments will be available in writing by request. NIOSH includes all comments received without change in the docket and the electronic docket, including any personal information provided.

The Director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) serves as the World Trade Center (WTC) Program Administrator for certain functions related to the WTC Health Program established by the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act (Pub. L. 111-347). In accordance with Section 3312(a)(5)(A) of that Act, the WTC Program Administrator is conducting a review of all available scientific and medical evidence to determine if, based on the scientific evidence, cancer or a certain type of cancer should be added to the applicable list of health conditions covered by the World Trade Center Health Program


The WTC Program Administrator is requesting information on the following: 
  • (1) Relevant reports, publications, and case information of scientific and medical findings where exposure to airborne toxins, any other hazard, or any other adverse condition resulting from the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, is substantially likely to be a significant factor in aggravating, contributing to, or causing cancer or a type of cancer; 
  • (2) clinical findings from the Clinical Centers of Excellence providing monitoring and treatment services to WTC responders (i.e., those persons who performed rescue, recovery, clean- up and remediation work on the WTC disaster sites) and community members directly exposed to the dust cloud, gases and vapors on 9/11/01 and those living and working in the affected area; and 
  • (3) input on the scientific criteria to be used by experts to evaluate the weight of the medical and scientific evidence regarding such potential health conditions.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Symposium on Prevention of Occupationally-Related Distracted Driving

Distracted driving (including texting while driving and cell phone use) is a major cause of motor vehicle crashes. Many workers may be distracted while performing work-related driving or during vehicle operations. Reducing distracted work-related driving and increasing awareness of the risk to employees that result from distracted driving is an important mission for safety and health professionals, employers and employees. This Symposium is designed to bring together a variety of stakeholder groups who are interested in reducing work-related driving distractions and generate recommendations for action, including new directions for research. This Symposium will include didactic presentations, interactive discussions and opportunities for networking, and demonstrations of training materials.

Monday, April 18, 2011
8:30 AM - 4:00 PM

Kossiakoff Conference Center
11100 Johns Hopkins Road
Laurel, Maryland 20723
1-800-548-3647

8:30 - 9:00 am:
Registration and continental breakfast

9:00 - 9:15 am:
Welcome and Review of the Agenda
Mary Doyle, MPH,RN, COHN-S/CM
Director, ERC Continuing Education Program
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Meeting Moderator

9:15 - 9:30 am:
Mission of the Symposium and Call to Action
Christine Branche, PhD
Principal Associate Director
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

9:30 - 9:50 am:
U.S. DOT Perspective on Distracted Driving
Peter Appel
Administrator, Research and Innovative Technology Administration
Department of Transportation

9:50 - 10:10 am:
OSHA’s Perspective on Distracted Driving
David Michaels, PhD, MPH
Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA
Department of Labor

10:10 - 10:40 am:
What Does the Research Tell Us?
Jeffrey S. Hickman, PhD
Virginia Tech Transportation Institute
Center for Truck and Bus Safety
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

10:40 - 11:00 am:
Audience Q & A/Feedback for morning sessions

11:00 – 11:15 am
Break and Networking

11:15 - 12:00 pm:
Panel Discussion: Elements of Model Programs: Implementation Challenges
Moderator: Jack Hanley
Executive Director
Network of Employers for Traffic Safety

Panelists:

Joseph Van Houten, PhD, CSP
Senior Director, Worldwide EHS
Johnson & Johnson

Tom Bennett
SH&E/OIMS Advisor, Fuels Marketing
Downstream & Chemical SSH&E

Amy Lokken, ARM
Group Director, North American Health & Safety
Coca-Cola Refreshments

David Hopps
Vice President, Risk Management Operations & Environment, Safety & Health
ServiceMaster

12:00 – 12:15 pm:
Audience Discussion and Feedback on Model Programs Panel

12:15 - 1:15 pm:
Lunch (provided on-site)

1:15 - 2:00 pm:
Panel Discussion: In-vehicle Technology to Address Distracted Driving
Moderator: Peter Appel
Administrator, Research and Innovative Technology Administration
Department of Transportation

Panelists:

Eric Collins, JD
Chief Operations Officer
Mobile Posse

Michael Petricone, JD
Senior VP, Government Affairs
Consumer Electronics Association

2:00 - 2:15 pm
Audience Discussion and Feedback on In-Vehicle Technology Panel

2:15 - 3:00 pm:
Panel Discussion: Worker Perspectives
Moderator: James August, MPH
Health and Safety Consultant

Panelists:

LaMont Byrd
Director, Safety and Health Department
International Brotherhood of Teamsters

Rich Duffy
Assistant to the General President for Occupational Health, Safety and Medicine
International Association of Fire Fighters – AFL/CIO

Ed Watt, MS
Director of Health and Safety
Transportation Workers Union of America

3:00 - 3:15 pm
Audience Discussion and Feedback on Workers’ Perspective Panel

3:15 - 3:45 pm:
Facilitated Discussion with Audience
Leslie Nickels, PhD, MEd
Senior Health Communications Fellow
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

3:45 - 4:00 pm:
Closing
Mary Doyle, Meeting Moderator

4:00 - 5:00 pm: 
Reception (on site)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Colorado Court Allows RICO Case to Proceed Against Wal-Mart

A partial summary judgment motion was denied by Judge Robert E. Blackburn in a pending Colorado case against Wal-Mart where the plaintiff alleged that the employer,  working in concert with other defendants "dictated and interfered unlawfully " with employees who were entitle to medical treatment flowing from occupational accidents. 

The Court stated that, "The plaintiffs allege that the defendants improperly required, and continue to require, treatment providers to follow protocol notes that improperly direct and/or restrict the medical treatment provided to injured Wal-Mart workers under the Act. The plaintiffs allege that the policies implemented by the defendants result in delays in the injured workers' receipt of treatment, denial of prescribed medical treatment, withholding of benefits, and/or the inability of the injured workers to obtain prescribed medical treatment."

The case involves a certified class of plaintiffs. The defendants had sought to limit the number of claimants by shortening the statute of limitations for the viability of the claims under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), 18 U.S.C. § 1961-1968. Since the relevant time periods were not evident on the face of the complaint, and the defendants did not offer proof to establish it, the Court denied the motion.

Gianzero v. Wal-Mart Stores Inc., 2011 WL 1085647 (D. Colo. 2011) Decided March 24, 2011.


US Detects Low Levels of Radioactivity in Eastern States


The Federal government has established a plan to monitor radiation from the failing Japanese nuclear reactor and initially respond to increased radiation levels. An official health advisory has been issued by the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) through its Health Alert Network (HAN).

"As a result of the incident with the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan, highly sensitive radiation monitors operated by EPA and others are detecting very low levels of radioactive material in the air in the United States. These levels were expected and consistent with estimated releases from the damaged nuclear reactors and are far below levels of public health concern.
"Elevated levels of radioactive material in rainwater have also been expected as a result of the nuclear incident after the events in Japan, since radiation is known to travel in the atmosphere. There have been reports received that several states including Pennsylvania and Massachusetts have detected elevated levels of radiation in rainwater following recent precipitation events."

As a result of the incident with the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan, several EPA monitors have detected very low levels of radioactive material in the United States consistent with estimates from the damaged nuclear reactors. These detections were expected and the levels detected are far below levels of public-health concern.

Elevated levels of radioactive material in rainwater have been expected as a result of the nuclear incident after the events in Japan since radiation is known to travel in the atmosphere. There have been reports received that the states of Pennsylvania and Massachusetts have seen elevated levels of radiation in recent precipitation events. EPA is reviewing this data – however, in both cases these are levels above the normal background levels historically reported in these areas.

While short-term elevations such as these do not raise health concerns – and the levels seen in rainwater are expected to be relatively short in duration – the U.S. EPA has taken steps to increase the level of nationwide monitoring of precipitation, drinking water, and other potential exposure routes to continue to verify that. EPA’s only recommendation to state and local governments is to continue to coordinate closely with EPA, CDC and FDA – EPA will continue to communicate our nationwide sampling results as they come in.

In addition to air quality issues, the Federal government is monitoring food safety, and ships and cargo from Japan. The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued a recommendation at this time not to take potassium Iodine (KI) supplements in response to the damaged nuclear reactors in Japan unless advised by your physician, emergency management officials, or public health officials.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Professional Athletes Deserve Fair Workers Compensation


Guest Blog by Jon Rehm 

A recent Louisiana ruling on the calculation of the average weekly wage for an injured New Orleans Saints player making the league minimum calls, out for a legislative remedy.

In Hoffman v. New Orleans Saints, No. 10-CA-391(La.Ct.App. 1/25/11) the plaintiff broke his ankle in a voluntary practice where he was being paid $110 per practice per the league’s collective bargaining agreement. Plaintiff’s total salary for the season was $175,000. However the court found plaintiff had an average weekly wage of $440 per week, because he was only actually earning $440 per week at the time of the injury. The plaintiff argued that his average weekly wage should be based on a weekly average of his annual salary.

The court’s reasoning lead to an unfavorable result for the player in Hoffman, however the reasoning the Louisiana court used calculating average weekly wage benefits a much larger class of workers – school employees. School employees are often paid out over 12 months for wages that are actually earned over the nine months they earn during the school year.

This reasoning sets school employees and professional athletes in conflict. NFL players should seek out legislative exemptions for calculating the average weekly of its injured players. A recent study shows that nearly half of NFL players are injured during a given season. Head and neck injuries are particularly prevalent and especially serious as exemplified by the recent death of former Chicago Bears safety Dave Duerson. The average career in the NFL is 2-3 years. Marginal players, like the plaintiff in Hoffman, are most vulnerable because their careers are too short and their salaries are too low to mitigate the effects of their football-related injuries. Allowing NFL players to base their workers' compensation payments based on a weekly average of their annual salary, would be a small-step towards fairly compensating athletes who entertain millions of fans and financially enrich team owners and television networks.


Jon Rehm practices in Lincoln, Nebraska (Rehm, Bennett & Moore, PC, LLO). He concentrates his practice on representing injured workers and their families. He hold a  degree in journalism from Northwestern University(B.S.) and a law degree from Nebraska College of Law(J.D.).  Jon is a member of the Nebraska State Bar Association, the Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys and the Workplace Injury Law Advocacy Group.

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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Occupational Chemical Exposures Continue to Take an Enormous on Human Life

Chemical exposures continue to impact health and result in an enormous burden on human life. Over 4.9 million deaths world-wide and 86 million Disability-Adjusted Life Years were attributed to environmental exposure and the management of chemicals.

See: Knowns and unknowns on burden of disease due to chemicals: a systematic review Environmental Health 2011, 10:9 doi:10.1186/1476-069X-10-9

Friday, March 25, 2011

Grizzly Bear Attack Does Not Deter Benefits Even Though Employee Was Using Marjuana

The Montana Supreme Court ordered the Uninsured Fund to pay workers' compensation benefits to an employee who was mauled by an grizzly bear even, though the worker was under the influence of marijuana at the time of the accident.

The Court held that the marjuana was not a major contributing cause of the employee's injuries.

"Non-prescription drug consumption will preclude an injured employee’s benefits if consumption was the leading cause contributing to the result, when compared to all othersSection 39-71-407(4), and -407(13), MCA. No evidence was presented regarding Hopkins’ level of impairment. The WCC [Workers' Compensation Court] aptly noted, “Hopkins’ use of marijuana to kick off a day of working around grizzly bears was ill-advised to say the least and mind-bogglingly stupid to say the most.” However, the WCC further noted that grizzlies are “equal opportunity maulers,” without regard to marijuana consumption. Without evidence of Hopkins’ level of impairment, the WCC correctly concluded that marijuana was not the major contributing cause of Hopkins’ injuries."

The majority of states permit the payment of workers' compensation benefits where the use  was not the sole cause of the accident. Usually Uninsured Funds are able to obtain reimbursement directly for the employer who failed to carry workers' compensation benefits.

Hopkins v. Uninsured Employers Fund, et al., Docket 2011 MT 49 (MT 2011) Decided March 22, 2011

Thursday, March 24, 2011

NIOSH Issues "Roadmap" Document Suggesting Asbestos Research Strategy


The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) announces the availability of “Current Intelligence Bulletin: Asbestos Fibers and Other Elongate Mineral Particles: State of the Science and Roadmap for Research.” The document contains NIOSH’s recommended framework for a national research strategy to address current scientific uncertainties about occupational exposure and toxicity issues relating to asbestos fibers and other elongate mineral particles.
The Current Intelligence Bulletin is available online at www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2011-159/.
It is well documented that asbestos fibers can cause lung cancer and other types of serious lung disease in workers when inhaled. Since the passage of the Occupational Safety and Health Act in 1970, considerable progress has been made in preventing harmful exposures and protecting workers from risks of illness. However, many scientific uncertainties remain as to the health risks associated with exposure to other elongate mineral particles, including those with mineralogical compositions identical or similar to the asbestos minerals and those that have already been documented to cause asbestos-like disease, as well as the physical and chemical characteristics that determine toxicity.
The new NIOSH document incorporates extensive public comment and scientific peer review, including review by an independent committee of the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council. The document does not set any new NIOSH policy regarding asbestos fibers and other elongate mineral particles.
“The NIOSH roadmap outlines a strategic framework for designing, conducting, and applying the research that will best serve the need to address persistent scientific uncertainties about occupational health and elongate mineral particles,” said NIOSH Director John Howard, M.D. “We look forward to working with our partners to advance this research, building on today’s state-of-the-art scientific tools and methodologies.”
Priority areas for research, as proposed by the roadmap, include:
  • Developing a broader understanding of the factors that determine the toxicity of asbestos fibers and other elongate mineral particles.
  • Developing information and knowledge on occupational exposures to asbestos fibers and other elongate mineral particles, and related health outcomes.
  • Development of improved sampling and analytical methods for asbestos fibers and other elongate mineral particles.
  • Applying research outcomes to improve public policy.
NIOSH is the federal agency that conducts research and makes recommendations for preventing work-related injury, illness, and death. NIOSH has a longstanding program of research and health surveillance to prevent asbestos-related disease, and its scientific findings and recommendations have contributed significantly to national policies for eliminating or minimizing harmful exposures. Further information is available at www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/asbestos/.
For over 3 decades the Law Offices of Jon L. Gelman  1.973.696.7900  jon@gelmans.com have been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered asbestos related disease.

MIssouri Mulls More Work Comp Reform

Guest Blog by B. Michael Korte


The Missouri legislature is again considering a number of proposals to change its workers’ compensation system. Every year brings various efforts to continue to ratchet down the benefits provided to injured workers, but this year is the first since 2005 that any change is expected. That year, extensive changes were passed, including a requirement that cases be construed "strictly" rather than liberally. 

Strict construction has proven to be a two-edged sword, with courts recently strictly construing Missouri law to allow more civil lawsuits against fellow employees, and perhaps excluding occupational diseases from the workers’ compensation system and allowing them to proceed in the civil court system. 

Legislation will almost certainly pass in the pro-business-dominated legislature to close these loopholes. What remains to be seen is whether the legislature will finally act to save the state’s second injury fund

The 2005 legislation placed a hard cap on funding for the fund, which has left it nearly bankrupt. The fund stopped making settlement offers in 2009, but now is finding itself unable to pay arrearages on permanent total disability awards. Although numerous independent audits agree that lifting the cap would solve the problem, legislative proposals are focusing instead on limiting or eliminating the fund.

The legislature will have until its adjournment on May 13 to solve the problem, but will also be consumed with budgetary and other problems in the meantime.

B. Michael Korte practices in Kirkwood, Missouri (The Korte Law Firm). B. Michael Korte is the author of Missouri Practice Vol. 29, Workers Compensation Law and Practice. He previously served as president of the Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys, and  has been awarded its Outstanding Service Award. He previously served as president of the Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys, and has been awarded its Outstanding Service Award. He frequently lectures statewide at seminars sponsored by the Missouri Division of Workers’ Compensation, bar associations, and other groups. He has served as the chair of the Missouri Bar Association Workers’ Compensation Committee and as President of Kids’ Chance, Inc., a workers compensation charity.

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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

OSHA Advances Recording of Musculoskeletal Disorders

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration, in partnership with the Small Business Administration's Office of Advocacy, today announced a series of three teleconferences to reach out to the small business community for input on OSHA's proposal to add a column for work-related musculoskeletal disorders on employer injury and illness logs. This proposal would require those employers already mandated to keep injury and illness records to add the step of checking a column when recording work-related musculoskeletal disorders.
Small businesses from around the country are encouraged to participate in the teleconferences. The first will be held on Monday, April 11 at 1:30 p.m. EDT. The second and third will be held Tuesday, April 12, 2011, at 9 a.m. EDT and 1:30 p.m. EDT. Participants may provide input about their experiences in recording work-related MSDs and how they believe the proposed rule would impact them.
The proposed rule only covers MSDs that employers are already required to record under the longstanding OSHA rule on recordkeeping. Prior to 2001, OSHA's injury and illness logs contained a column for repetitive trauma disorders that included hearing loss and many kinds of MSDs. In 2001, OSHA proposed separating hearing loss and MSDs into two columns, but the MSD column was deleted in 2003 before the provision became effective. OSHA's proposal would restore the MSD column to the Form 300.
Interested businesses that wish to participate in one of the teleconferences should contact Regina Powers at powers.regina@dol.gov by April 4, and indicate the teleconference in which they wish to participate. For more information, contact Robert Burt, director of OSHA's Office of Regulatory Analysis, at 202-693-1952 or Bruce Lundegren, assistant chief counsel for SBA Advocacy, at 202-205-6144.
Additional information is available online at http://www.osha.gov/recordkeeping/MSD_Column_Meeting_General_Info.html.

TRIANGLE'S ECHOES: The Unfinished Struggle for Worker Protection, Safety and Health

How far have we really come the since 1911, when the Triangle shirtwaist factory fire killed 146 people, most of them immigrant women, nearly half still in their teens? This film was commissioned by the National Consumers League and the planning Committee for the 
Washington DC Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire 100th Anniversary symposium.


Click here to view the film: http://youtu.be/xN8cjH5qfRk


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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Playing the TSA Cancer Lottery


The Japanesse nuclear reactor radiation leak and the risk taken by the Fukusima workers, as well as in food contamination, has focussed increased concern about the unsafe use of radiation equipment used by the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) in x-ray machines to scan passengers at airports. David Brenner, Phd,DSr, a researcher at The Center for Radiological Research at Columbia University in New York, reports that TSA's use of the machines will create an increase risk to passenger by causing an additional 100 cancers in the population each year. He calls for the use of different equipment to screen passengers.

At a US Senate hearing last week, Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) revealed that TSA had made reporting errors in the statistics it has compiled in defense of the use of body scanners. "That is completely unacceptable when it comes to monitoring radiation," Collins said. "If TSA contractors reporting on the radiation levels have done such a poor job, how can airline passengers and crew have confidence in the data used by the TSA to reassure the public?"


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RICO Issues Can Be Cured With A Single Payer Medical System


Guest Blog by Jon Rehm

Vermont's proposed single payer system would seperate medical care from indemnity. Vermont's single proposed single-payer system would likely also provide a primary care doctor to every resident of Vermont. This would benefit injured workers because employees would have more control over their medical care and their employers and the employers workers comp insurance companies would have less control.

In my practice, I often hear my clients who don't have insurance going to doctor's reccomended by their employers or insurance companies. These are occupational doctors. My client's with insurance are often steered away from their family doctor's to occupational medicine doctors. A leading blog written from the perpective of workers comp insurers, Workers Comp Insider states occupational doctors have a "return to work" focus. However in Colorado, Concentra, a nationwide occupational health provider is being sued under the Civil RICO statute for conspiring with Wal-Mart to unlawfully limit the medical care of Wal-Mart's employees. A "return to work focus" is a eupheism for letting employers and insuers do whatever they want in regards to the medical care of their workers. Irregardless of whether a court finds relationship between Concentra and Wal-Mart lawful, it's undeniable that employers and insurer's have a close relationship with occupational medicine doctors. By giving everyone a family doctor, the worker's doctor, not the employer's doctor will direct the workers medical payment.

The insurance industry argues that letting family doctor's control medical care will increase indemnity costs because family doctors will try to make their patient's happy by allowing them to "vacation" while collecting indemnity. But if an employee is able to work, many doctor's will tell you that working is good for over all well-being. The insurance industry also seems to assume that all doctors are bleeing heart patient advocates. This ignores the fact that doctors often share the widespread perception that injured workers are somehow "milking the system."
While the insurance companies fear of how a single payer system could change the workers' compensation system is overblown, I believe that employers would have less ability to wrongfully manipulate the care of their injured workers under a single-payer system.

Jon Rehm practices in Lincoln, Nebraska (Rehm, Bennett & Moore, PC, LLO). He concentrates his practice on representing injured workers and their families. He hold a  degree in journalism from Northwestern University(B.S.) and a law degree from Nebraska College of Law(J.D.).  Jon is a member of the Nebraska State Bar Association, the Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys and the Workplace Injury Law Advocacy Group.

Monday, March 21, 2011

US Labor Department Launches Mobile-Optimized Website to Commemorate 100th Anniversary of Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire

Mobile site features audio tour and background of historic event

WASHINGTON — In commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the deadly fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in New York City, the U.S. Department of Labor today announced a new website and audio tour optimized for smartphones documenting that milestone in labor's history.
With audio narrated by Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis and other senior Labor Department officials, the website highlights 21 locations throughout the New York City metropolitan area that played a role in the March 25, 1911, fire. Users can read and hear about the events that led up to the fire, its victims and the aftermath. The fire killed 146 workers and was an early tipping point in the struggle to ensure basic health and safety precautions in the 20th century workplace.
"The events of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire and their impact over the last 100 years are chilling reminders of the importance of the work of the Labor Department," said Secretary Solis. "As we continue to ensure that every company takes responsibility for the safety and health of its workers, we must also remember that although much has improved over the last 100 years, these images are still relevant today."
The website is http://m.dol.gov/shirtwaist. Audio recordings of the narration are also available by calling 866-487-2365.
On Friday, March 25, at approximately noon EDT, Secretary Solis is expected to deliver keynote remarks at the 100th anniversary commemoration of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire sponsored by the Service Employees International Union in Greenwich Village (Washington and Green Streets) in Manhattan.
The Labor Department's mobile tour is one of many commemorative efforts organized by nonprofit groups; labor unions; academia; and local, state and federal entities surrounding the 100th anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory tragedy.
Note: If you are not on a mobile device, please visit the tour on the full website