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

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Google Honors Cesar Chavez


Today Google is honoring Cesar Chavez. In recognition of Cesar Chavez Day the logo of Google displays his photo.
Cesar Chavez Day is an official state holiday in the U.S. states of California, Colorado and Texas. The day is commemorated to promote service to the community in honor of Cesar Chavez's life and work. 
Although it is not a federal holiday, President Barack Obama proclaims March 31 as Cesar Chavez Day in the United States, with Americans being urged to "observe this day with appropriate service, community, and educational programs to honor Cesar Chavez's enduring legacy." In addition, there are celebrations in his honor in ArizonaMichiganNebraska, and New Mexico and has been observed in California since 1995, in Texas since 2000 and in Colorado since 2003 as state holidays (optional in Texas and Colorado).
As a senator, Barack Obama made a call in 2008 for a national holiday in Chavez's honor, saying: "Chavez left a legacy as an educator, environmentalist, and a civil rights leader. And his cause lives on. As farm workers and laborers across America continue to struggle for fair treatment and fair wages, we find strength in what Cesar Chavez accomplished so many years ago. And we should honor him for what he's taught us about making America a stronger, more just, and more prosperous nation. That's why I support the call to make Cesar Chavez's birthday a national holiday. It's time to recognize the contributions of this American icon to the ongoing efforts to perfect our union." (Senator Barack Obama March 31, 2008) Grassroots organizations continue to advocate to create a national holiday. On March 30, 2011, President Obama reiterated his support for the cause: "Cesar Chavez's legacy provides lessons from which all Americans can learn."

Presidential Proclamation -- Cesar Chavez Day

CESAR CHAVEZ DAY, 2013
- - - - - - -
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
A PROCLAMATION
Every year, Americans all across our country pause on March 31 to remember a man who made justice his life's calling. Growing up the son of migrant farm workers who lost everything in the Great Depression, Cesar Chavez knew hard work and hardship from an early age. He labored long hours for little pay, taking odd jobs to help his family get by and forgoing a formal education to follow the crop cycles. But where others might have given up or given in, Cesar Chavez never lost hope in the power of opportunity. He lived each day by a belief as old as America itself -- the idea that with courage and determination, any of us can reach beyond our circumstances and leave our children something better.
More than anything, we remember Cesar Chavez for lending voice to the voiceless. When no one seemed to care about the invisible farm workers who picked our Nation's food, beset by poverty and cheated by growers, a courageous man dedicated to dignity stood up and spoke out. Alongside Dolores Huerta and fellow organizers, he rallied a generation of workers around "La Causa," marching and fasting and boycotting for fair pay and protections on the job. They fought through decades of setbacks and fierce resistance. But through every trial, Cesar Chavez refused to curb his ambitions or scale back his hope. Step by step, march by march, he helped lead a community of farm workers to make the change they sought.
Cesar Chavez's legacy lives on at Nuestra Señora Reina de la Paz, his home and workplace, which I was proud to designate a National Monument last October. It also lives on in those who remember his central teaching: that when workers are treated fairly and humanely, our country grows more just, opportunity becomes more equal, and all of us do better. Because even with the strides we have made, we know there is more left to do when working men and women toil in poverty without adequate protections or simple respect. We know there is more to do when our broken immigration system forces workers into a shadow economy where companies can ignore labor laws and undermine businesses following the rules. Fixing those problems means securing what Cesar Chavez fought for at La Paz. It means taking on injustice, making sure hard work is rewarded, and bringing more Americans into a rising middle class.
In 1966, when Cesar Chavez was struggling to bring attention to his cause, he received a telegram from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. "As brothers in the fight for equality, I extend the hand of fellowship and goodwill," he wrote. "We are with you in spirit and in determination that our dreams for a better tomorrow will be realized." It is a story that reminds us how here in America, we are bound together not by the colors of our skin or the languages we speak, but by the values we share and the brighter future we seek for our children. So today, as we honor a man who risked everything to stand up for what he believed in, let us reflect on our common cause and recommit to moving forward together -- as one Nation and one people.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim March 31, 2013, as Cesar Chavez Day. I call upon all Americans to observe this day with appropriate service, community, and education programs to honor Cesar Chavez's enduring legacy.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this
twenty-ninth day of March, in the year of our Lord two thousand thirteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-seventh.
BARACK OBAMA

OSHA Needs To Be Strengthened

If workplaces were safer then there would be no reason to have a workers' compensation program at all. OSHA, The Occupational Safety and Head Health Administration (OSHA), does just that, but its enforcement powers are lacking.

OSHA was created legislatively by Congress in 1970. In the years following  The National
Commission on Workmen's Compensation Laws in 1972 reported that safety should be encouraged, and that, "....Economic incentives in the program should reduce the number of work-related· injuries

and diseases." 

Today, The New York Times reports that "Occupational illness and injuries ....cost the American economy $250 Billion per year due to medical expenses and lost productivity."

English: A picture of David Michaels, Assistan...
English: A picture of David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
"OSHA devotes most of its budget and attention to responding to here-and-now dangers rather than preventing the silent, slow killers that, in the end, take far more lives. Over the past four decades, the agency has written new standards with exposure limits for 16 of the most deadly workplace hazards, including lead, asbestos and arsenic. But for the tens of thousands of other dangerous substances American workers handle each day, employers are largely left to decide what exposure level is safe.

***

“"I’m the first to admit this [OSHA] is broken,' said David Michaels, the OSHA director, referring to the agency’s record on dealing with workplace health threats. 'Meanwhile, tens of thousands of people end up on the gurney.'"


Click here to read the complete article,  As OSHA Emphasizes Safety, Long-Term Health Risks Fester

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Employer Fined $185,000 for Exposing Employees to Toxic Substances and Other Safety Isues


Even products that are fit for human consumption are made with chemicals, that are used in the manufacturing process with greater concentration, are health hazards. A company in NJ failed to protect its workers from those concentrations and as a result are facing serious charges by OSHA. The precaution to a workers' compensation claim is maintaining a safe work environment so that accidents, injuries and toxic exposures to not occur.

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited eSmoke LLC, an electronic 
cigarette manufacturer based in Lakewood, with 20 workplace safety and health violations. OSHA's inspection was prompted by a complaint alleging serious safety and health hazards throughout the facility, resulting in $184,500 in proposed penalties.

Friday, March 29, 2013

The National Association of Workers' Compensation Judiciary College


Founded approximately 5 years ago, The National Association of Workers' Compensation Judiciary (NAWCJ) (www.nawcj.org), is an outstanding organization that every adjudicator of compensation claims should join. NAWCJ provides support and guidance in both procedural and substantive issues that members of the compensation judiciary faced with on a daily basis.

In a recent blog post, David Langham, the Deputy Chief Judge of Compensation Claims for
the Florida Office of Judges of Compensation Claims and Division of Administrative Hearings, commented,"...the job of a workers' compensation adjudicator is unique and challenging. " Judge Langham, an avid blogger, reflects that NAWCJ fills the void in educating adjudicators with stellar resources, including: ongoing seminars, newsletters, conferences and an annual educational seminar.

I have had the opportunity of meeting some of the members of NAWCJ at The College of Workers' Compensation Lawyers and the annual American Bar Association Workers' Compensation programs. Their passion for workers' compensation is glowing, their knowledge of the subject matter is very impressive, and their dedication to advance and elevate the compensation bench and bar to a high level of achievement is amazing.


Disclaimer:  My comments are based upon an independent academic interest in workers' compensation matters. I have no pecuniary interest in the NAWCJ, and I do not appear before any adjudicator affiliated with the NAWCJ.

CMS Publishes Brand New Reference Guide for Medicare Set-Aside Arrangements


A new Workers’ Compensation Medicare Set-Aside Arrangement (WCMSA) Reference Guide has been posted and is available to be downloaded on the CMS (Centers for Medicare & Medicad Services) website.This reference guide was created to consolidate  information currently found within the Workers’ Compensation Agency Services webpages and CMS Regional Office Program Memorandums, while providing WCMSA information to attorneys, Medicare beneficiaries, claimants, insurance carriers, representative payees, and
WCMSA vendors.   

CMS cautions that parties should continue to visit their website for future updates to the reference guide, including additional details regarding the Workers’ Compensation Review Contractor’s review process.


Read more about WCMSA and workers' Compensation:
Feb 21, 2013
Effective immediately, if a WCMSA proposal amount was originally submitted via the web-portal, a re-evaluation of an approved WCMSA amount can be requested through the WCMSA web portal, if the claimant or submitter ...

Toxic Lead Exposure Results in OSHA Fines for NJ Company

Exposure to lead can cause serious medical problem in both children and adults. Strict safety precautions must be observed when working with lead.

Many initial occupational exposure claims in workers' compensation resulted from the
exposure to lead in factories. Lead pigment was used in paints for many years leading to a many serious blood disorders and neurological conditions.

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Henry RAC Holding Corp. with four repeat and four serious safety and health violations, including workers exposed to lead hazards, at the company's Bayonne facility. The inspection was initiated in September 2012 after health hazards were discovered during an earlier OSHA safety inspection at the facility. Proposed penalties total $72,000.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Official Disabilities Guidelines Now Covers Diabetes

Today's post comes from guest author Paul J. McAndrew, Jr. from Paul McAndrew Law Firm.

While diabetes is not a work injury or illness, it can have a serious impact on the rate at which an injured worker recovers. For instance, people with diabetes may have a much harder time healing from a foot or leg injury.

The latest edition of the annual Official Disabilities Guidelines (ODG) has been released, including the latest ODG volume on treating patients. ODG Treatment is the nationally recognized standard for medicine in determining the scope and duration of medical treatment in workers’ compensation.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Should Employers Hire Smokers?

Workers' Compensation claims seem to increase with both complexity and severity when a worker is a smoker and suffers an occupational exposure. The class case is the synergistic effect that smoking has with some carcinogenic substance such as asbestos.

The ethical implications are reviewed this week in the New England Journal of Medicine
 where the authors seem to take the position that smokers should not be punished, but rather reformed.

"Finding employment is becoming increasingly difficult for smokers. Twenty-nine U.S. states have passed legislation prohibiting employers from refusing to hire job candidates because they smoke, but 21 states have no such restrictions. Many health care organizations, such as the Cleveland Clinic and Baylor Health Care System, and some large non–health care employers, including Scotts Miracle-Gro, Union Pacific Railroad, and Alaska Airlines, now have a policy of not hiring smokers — a practice opposed by 65% of Americans, according to a 2012 poll by Harris International. We agree with those polled, believing that categorically refusing to hire smokers is unethical: it results in a failure to care for people, places an additional burden on already-disadvantaged populations, and preempts interventions that more effectively promote smoking cessation."

Monday, March 25, 2013

Employee Wellness Programs And Workers' Compensation


Injuries incurred in an employee wellness or health fitness program, event or activity may not be covered by workers' compensation

Today's post comes from guest author Tom Domer of the Wisconsin Bar. Wellness programs have been described as the potential catalyst for the next iteration of Workers' Compensation systems in the US. Wellness programs challenge: obesity, pre-existing medical conditions, exercise, tobacco smoking and genetic factors, in an effort to make the workplace healthier and safe. The Affordable Care Act (ACT), Obama Care, has been a cutting edge issue, and has received serious attention at the recent American Bar Association meeting in Coral Gables FL last month. Tom Domer provides additional insight into this unfolding change in the delivery of workers' compensation benefits. Wellness are a critical element in the future of workers' compensation. On Wisconsin!, lead the way....

Wisconsin-based employers like:
have found that investment in onsite training facilities pays off for their employees in terms of lower worker’s compensation claims and health insurance claims. Companies interviewed noted on-site training facilities drastically reduced the number of on the job injuries, partly from attention given to fitness and preventative health care. Many Wisconsin-based have well-established employee fitness centers. A Journal/Sentinel article referred to exercise classes, water polo, swimming lessons, bike races and even a triathlon where participants received a turkey for their efforts.

Such “wellness” programs pose some interesting issues for worker’s compensation in Wisconsin. And as a lawyer representing injured workers, I look at almost everything I read through this prism. Injuries incurred in an employee wellness or health fitness program, event or activity designed to improve the physical well-being of the employee are not considered in the course of employment. That means they aren't covered under workers’ compensation unless the program, event or activity is mandatory or compensated. That mandatory or compensated requirement applies whether the program is on or off premises.

Our Court of Appeals, however, found compensable injury when an on-duty firefighter was injured while playing basketball at a nearby park not on the employee premises. Courts have interpreted ‘mandatory’ to include

Ciba, Toms RIver NJ and a Cancer Epidemic

Early in my workers' compensation career, during the 1980's, I was asked by a local attorney to participate in the prosecution of 3 brain cancer workers' compensation claims. The cases arose out of an alleged exposure to toxic substances while working at the Ciba-Geigy's chemical plant in Toms River, NJ. 

Being a notoriously zealous attorney, I undertook the claims. They were being defended personally by named partner in a mega-NJ liability firm. After several hearing dates, and my motion being granted for an on-site inspection of the premises with Judge being present, the claims were ended to the satisfaction of my clients.

The story of Ciba-Geigy and the plight of the employees and the community is now the subject of an insightful book, Toms River, A story of Science and Salvation authored by Dan Fagin.

Click here to hear the NPR Story - For Toms River, An Imperfect Salvation

Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Going and Coming Rule: Parking Lot Injury Held Not Compensable

English: Symbol of interchange parking. Italia...

A NJ appellate court ruled that an employee who was severely injured in a parking lot as a result of a slip and fall was not entitled to workers’ compensation benefits since the injury occurred “off the premises” and the employer did not control the employee’s parking.

The Court also ruled, that even though a separate corporation that owned the parking lot, the corporate veil could not be pierced in absence of the proof of fraud by the employer. The employer merely rented the store premises and not the parking lot. 

Cottone v Medical Supply Corp. and NJ Manufacturers (Intervener) 
2013 WL 1136114 (N.J.Super.A.D.) Decided March 20, 2013

Friday, March 22, 2013

California: Million Dollar Verdict Reinstated in Asbestos Case

Court rules granting a Motion Not Withstanding the Verdict was premature in mesothelioma / asbestos exposure case.

"The trial court erred, both procedurally and substantively, by granting judgment notwithstanding the jury’s verdict.  The judgment must be reversed, automatically reinstating the original judgment entered on the jury’s verdict.  


"Because the judgment must be reinstated in the Webbs’ favor, we do not consider their appeal from the jury’s verdict denying their consumer-expectation products-liability claim, which they made expressly contingent on this court’s failure to “otherwise reverse and order judgment” on the failure-to-warn or general negligence claims.


Webb v Special Electric Company Inc. 

www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/B233189.DOC

Related articles

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Laundry in Paterson NJ Fined $165,000 by OSHA for Safety and Health Violations


Commercial laundries are the cause of many workers' compensation claims from toxic exposures and machine accidents. Enforce of safety and health laws goes a long way to prevent accidents at commercial laundry facilities.

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Brite Services Inc., doing business as Star Laundry, for 39 serious safety and health violations found at its commercial laundry facility in Paterson. Inspectors were prompted by a complaint alleging the company would not allow workers to leave the building during an emergency. Proposed penalties total $164,700.

OSHA found electrical hazards and an obstructed and improperly marked exit route. Additional violations include: allowing employees to potentially be struck by traffic while transporting laundry bins from one building to another while crossing a public street; failing to provide a cover and guardrails for open pits; provide a handrail for the stairway; evaluate the workplace for permit-required confined spaces; post signs informing workers of confined spaces; and develop a written confined space permit program. Other violations include failing to establish an energy control program for performing maintenance/servicing work; train power industrial truck operators; take powered industrial trucks in need of repair out-of-service; insulate or cover steam pipes less than 7 feet from the floor; properly guard machines; implement a hearing conservation program for workers exposed to noise levels at 88 and 89 decibels; ensure safety goggle usage; provide an unblocked eyewash station; develop a written hazard communication program; and provide hazard communication training.

"The vast number and range of safety and health hazards observed by OSHA at this facility indicates the lack of a functioning safety and health management system," said Lisa Levy, director of OSHA's area office in Hasbrouck Heights. "Each employer is responsible for ensuring a safe and healthful work environment, which Brite Services did not do. This company has the opportunity now to educate itself, correct these hazards and protect its workers."

Brite Services Inc. has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with the OSHA area director in Hasbrouck Heights, or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Hazards of Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizers

Alcohol-based hand sanitizers now proliferate the workplace. Concern has been raised over medical issues created by their use, especially for pregnant women who are health care workers. Additionally the fragrances used may be toxic.

Virginia Evans and Peter Orris from the University of Illinois authored a Letter to the Editor on this topic in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine ( Vol 54(1):3, Jan 2012).

“…exposure to alcohol-based hand sanitizers would, at most, lead to very low blood alcohol levels… if an additional risk reduction is desired by pregnant health care workers, work practices should be modified to allow the use of soap and water as a substitute for the alcohol-based hand sanitizer.”

OSHA Cites NJ Recycling Company for Safety Violations Following Worker Amputation

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Lieze Associates, doing business as Eagle Recycling of New Jersey, with one repeat and three serious safety violations after a worker's fingers were amputated in December 2012 at the company's North Bergen recycling transfer station. OSHA's investigation was initiated in response to a referral by the North Bergen Police Department and has resulted in proposed fines of $70,070.

"This incident should have been prevented by simply locking out the machine's power source," said Kris Hoffman, director of OSHA's Parsippany Area Office. "Eagle Recycling of New Jersey's continued disregard for complying with OSHA safety standards will not be tolerated."

OSHA inspectors found that procedures were not used to lock out the energy source of a conveyor belt system while the worker was clearing a cardboard jam, which resulted in the amputation. OSHA cited the company with a serious violation for failing to implement a lockout/tagout program to control potentially hazardous energy. Another violation includes failing to ensure a ladder placed with the two top rails was supported and placed with secure footing. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

The repeat violation was cited for exposing workers to 8-foot fall hazards while working on unguarded platforms. A repeat violation is issued when an employer previously has been cited for the same or similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcements states within the last five years. A similar violation was cited in 2009 and 2010.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, ask for an informal conference with OSHA's area director in Parsippany, or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Monday, March 18, 2013

“Mental-Mental” Workers' Comp Claims Following Connecticut School Shooting Injuries


Today's post comes from guest author Tom Domer from The Domer Law Firm.

Following the Connecticut school shootings, unions representing police and firefighters and school employees have held discussions about laws to expand situations under which worker’s comp benefits would be available for mental health issues. Stress claims have been permitted under most of nations' workers' compensation programs.

Connecticut worker’s compensation law does not provide for “Mental-Mental” claims, which are claims for psychological disabilities that do not stem from an original physical injury. Police officers, firefighters, and school officials do not meet the requirements of Connecticut’s Statute for psychological counseling or time lost benefits in the event they are unable to work because of psychological disability in the wake of the shootings.

Since the mid-1970s Wisconsin has recognized non-traumatic mental injury (“Mental-Mental”) in worker’s compensation. Before 1974, compensable mental injuries were limited to post-traumatic injuries, mental disorders occurring after and due to a physical accident. The statute then defined injury as “mental or physical harm to an employee caused by accident.”

The Wisconsin Supreme Court set a new “Extraordinary Stress” standard for compensability, indicating if the mental injury resulted from situation of greater dimensions than the day to day stress, which all employees must experience, benefits and medical expenses could be paid.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Workers' Compensation is Riding on the Road to Wellville with Obama Care

As Obama Care [The Affordable Care Act] launches, workers' compensation programs will start to undergo subtle changes   The innovation of wellness programs and new treatment protocols will eventually cause major shifts to the delivery of workplace medicine.

Workers' compensation's future, ironically, has actually been viewed primarily in a rearview mirror. The shift to break with old habits has been a major struggle. The inertia will give way to a creative future based on new technologies and socio-economic challenges.

In a recent article by The Honorable David B. Torrey, Judge of Workers' Compensation ["The Affordable Care Act and Effects on the Workers' Compensation System, (7 PAWCSNL 114 at 30, March 2013)], the significance of  Obama Care is reported.  Judge Torrey recognizes that even those with major pecuniary interests in the compensation business have been unable to halt the momentum of change.

The Painful Knee: A Genetic Issue

Recent reports indicate that the pace at which aging knees deteriorate maybe a function genetics and that conservative treatment might indeed be the best approach.

"But in the end, genetics, and the kind of cartilage you got from your parents, may play the biggest role. It is a little like buying tires, said Dr. Frederick M. Azar, chief of staff of the Campbell Clinic in Memphis and an official with the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. “You can get nice treads or you can get retreads,” he said."

Read the complete report: Why Do My Knees Hurt? (NYTimes 3.15.13)

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Poisoned Water: Chromium IV - What the EPA Hasn't Done


Corporate water pollution in the US is the subject of a current PBS-TV (Public Broadcasting Network) series.

In part one of a two-part series, PBS NewsHour Science Correspondent Miles O'Brien travels to Hinkley, CA -- the town whose multi-million dollar settlement for groundwater contamination was featured in the movie "Erin Brockovich." Now, almost 30 years later, O'Brien explores the reasons why the groundwater in Hinkley still has dangerous levels of the chemical chromium and its link to cancer.

Seattle Shooting - Another Case of Workplace Gun Violence, and Another Call to Action


By working together we can bring an end to gun violence in America
Today's post comes from guest author Kit Case from Causey Law Firm, Seattle, Washington.
    

     A man entered a Seattle bar late Sunday night, January 27, 2013, and confronted his ex-girlfriend, brandishing a gun.  The gunman shot both his ex-girlfriend and the doorman before the gunman was fatally shot by Seattle police.  

Both the ex-girlfriend and the doorman were taken to Harborview Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.  Both were victims of senseless gun violence, but the doorman is also a workers’ compensation claimant due to this occurring while he was on-the-job.


2012 has been the worst year for these events in modern US history, with 151 victims injured and killed.

       Quoting an article published by Mother Jones (Mother Jones Investigates: The NRA Myth of Arming the Good Guys), Washington CeaseFire shared that there have been at least 62 mass shootings in the last three decades, attacks in which the killer took the lives of four or more people (the FBI's baseline for mass murder) in a public place—a school, a workplace, a mall, a religious building. Seven of them have occurred this year alone. Along with three other similar though less lethal rampages—at a Portland shopping mall, a Milwaukee spa, and a Cleveland high school—2012 has been the worst year for these events in modern US history, with 151 victims injured and killed.

    On Tuesday, January 22nd, Washington CeaseFire presented the results of a statewide poll conducted by Alison Peters Consulting. The poll of 600 randomly selected registered Washington voters reveals a strong preference for stronger gun safety laws on both Eastern and Western sides of the state. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent. Findings included :

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

FDA Warns Zithromax® / Zmax® Antibiotics Potential Risk of Fatal Heart Rhythms

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning the public that azithromycin (Zithromax or Zmax) can cause abnormal changes in the electrical activity of the heart that may lead to a potentially fatal irregular heart rhythm. Patients at particular risk for developing this condition include those with known risk factors such as existing QT interval prolongation, low blood levels of potassium or magnesium, a slower than normal heart rate, or use of certain drugs used to treat abnormal heart rhythms, or arrhythmias. 


This communication is a result of the FDA's review of a study by medical researchers as well as another study by a manufacturer of the drug that assessed the potential for azithromycin to cause abnormal changes in the electrical activity of the heart.
The azithromycin drug labels have been updated to strengthen the Warnings and Precautions section with information related to the risk of QT interval prolongation and torsades de pointes, a specific, rare heart rhythm abnormality. Information has also been added regarding the results of a clinical QT study which showed that azithromycin can prolong the QTc interval. (see Data Summary)
Health care professionals should consider the risk of fatal heart rhythms with azithromycin when considering treatment options for patients who are already at risk for cardiovascular events (see Additional Information for Health Care Professionals below).  FDA notes that the potential risk of QT prolongation with azithromycin should be placed in appropriate context when choosing an antibacterial drug: Alternative drugs in the macrolide class, or non-macrolides such as the fluoroquinolones, also have the potential for QT prolongation or other significant side effects that should be considered when choosing an antibacterial drug.

Proposed Asbestos Legislation Called "A Subterfuge" to Alter the Civil Justice System


H.R. 982, the “Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency (FACT) Act of 2013.


"Asbestos defendants and insurance companies, under the guise of creating increased 
“transparency,” are introducing proposed legislation in state legislatures to grant solvent asbestos  defendants new rights and advantages to be used against asbestos victims in court. Some of these  bills would also burden the asbestos trusts with unnecessary reporting requirements, slowing  their ability to pay claims, and further draining them of the resources needed to make their  already diminished payments. In general, the bills are an attempt to change the rules of the tort system to provide defendants with an advantage, using the existence of the trusts and claims of a lack of “transparency” as a subterfuge."

Elihu Inselbuch, Member, Caplin & Drysdale, Chartered, Testimony, Hearing: March 13, 2013
H.R. 982, the “Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency (FACT) Act of 2013”
COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY SUBCOMMITTEE ON REGULATORY REFORM, COMMERCIAL AND ANTITRUST LAW

Failure to Remove Asbestos Property Results in Guilty Plea

California contractos who failed to properly remove asbestos construction material from a job site plead guilty in Federal Court to a a violation of the asbestos work-practice standards of the National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants. Asbestos is a know cancer causing substance. It is linked to: asbestos, lung caner and mesothelioma.

Joseph Cuellar, 73, of Fresno, Calif.; Patrick Bowman, 46, of Los Banos, Calif.; and Rudolph Buendia III, 50, of Planada, Calif., each pleaded guilty today to a violation of the asbestos work-practice standards of the National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.

According to the indictment, Joseph Cuellar was the administrative manager of Firm Build Inc., Patrick Bowman was its president, and Rudolph Buendia was its construction project site supervisor. From September 2005 to March 2006, Firm Build operated a demolition and renovation project in the former Castle Air Force Base in Atwater, California. They were to turn Building 325 into a mechanic training center for the Merced County Board of Education. The defendants hired local high school students from the Workplace Learning Academy in Merced to perform some of the renovation.

Workers' Compensation Injuries Must Be Reported in a Timely Matter

In order to file a valid workers' compensation claim, an injured worker must report the accident within 90 days to his or her employer. The NJ Appellate Division affirmed the trial court's ruling dismissing a case of a volunteer emergency medical technician who failed to give timely notice of his injury.

The worker, captain of the rescue squad, alleged an injury occurred when he responded to a one care motor vehicle accident when minor injuries had occurred and he allegedly jumped off a flat bed truck some 3-4 feet off the ground injuring his back. The worker was 42 years old, 6.25 feet tall and weighed 325 pounds who was previously being treated for an arthritic condition.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Stucco Contractor in NJ Receives OSHA Fines $70,000+ for Scaffolding Violations


Some of the most serious workplace injuries occur because of falls from scaffolding. Those construction site injuries result in major workers' compensation cases.

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Paterson-based F&G Sons Contractors Inc., doing business as F&G Contractors Inc., with five repeat and one serious violation, including scaffolding and fall hazards, found at a Kinnelon work site. OSHA's October 2012 investigation was initiated in response to an imminent danger complaint and resulted in $70,840 in penalties.

The repeat violations, with a $67,760 penalty, include an unsecured scaffold missing cross braces, exposing workers to scaffold collapse and failing to fully plank and provide guardrails or other means of fall protection on scaffolds. A repeat violation is issued when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. Similar violations were cited in 2009 and 2010.

AAJ Responds To WSJ Report About Rising Asbestos Claims

Workers' Compensation claimant's attorneys have lived through decades of denial and delay of asbestos disease claims by the asbestos industry and their suppliers, manufacturers and distributors of asbestos products. Asbestos, a known carcinogen, was marketed throughout the US for decades and still is not banned in the US. 

Click here to read
The energies and economies of the asbestos / insurance industry have been misplaced, for what now seems like generations. Instead of trying to defeat the claims, the asbestos industry, which gained enormous profit from trading in a deadly product, would best serve public health by supporting a total ban on asbestos manufacturing/importation and use in the US and support medical research for a cure for the rare and fatal malignancies it causes, ie. mesothelioma and lung cancer.

The following is a statement from American Association for Justice President Mary Alice McLarty, in response to theWall Street Journal story “As Asbestos Claims Rise, So Do Worries About Fraud:”

“Asbestos has killed hundreds of thousands of Americans and 10,000 more will die this year.

“Countless lives could have been saved and lawsuits prevented if Big Asbestos had been transparent and disclosed the dangers of asbestos decades ago.  Instead, as more Americans die, this industry continues to invest massive resources into evading accountability, vilifying the victims and opposing a ban on asbestos. 

“The Wall Street Journal and Congress should not be aiding this campaign to let Big Asbestos off the hook for killing Americans.”
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As the world's largest trial bar, the American Association for Justice (formerly known as the Association of Trial Lawyers of America) works to make sure people have a fair chance to receive justice through the legal system when they are injured by the negligence or misconduct of others—even when it means taking on the most powerful corporations. Visit http://www.justice.org/newsroom.

Carbon Nanotubes Exposure Linked to Lung Tumor Formation in Mice

"Earlier today, at the annual meeting of the Society of Toxicology, NIOSH researchers reported preliminary findings from a new laboratory study in which mice were exposed by inhalation to multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNT).  The study was designed to investigate whether these tiny particles have potential to initiate or promote cancer.  

By “initiate,” we mean the ability of a substance to cause mutations in DNA that can lead to tumors.  By “promote,” we mean the ability of a substance to cause cells that have already sustained such DNA mutations to then become tumors. "

See the NIOSH Science Blog