If No Light Duty Is Available, Can The Employer Terminate Employment?

We had very successful webinar recently on the New ADA Return to Work Interpretations.  There were many questions from the audience.  Find below the responses to the questions related to the Interactive Process given by Aaron Konopasky, Senior Attorney Advisor, US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and Michael Stack, Risk Consultant, Co-Author Your Ultimate Guide to Mastering Workers Comp Costs

 

 

If someone is pregnant and on light duty, but light duty is not available, can the employer terminate the employment?

 

The inclusion of pregnancy makes this much more complicated.  The Supreme Court just decided a case called Young v. UPS that addresses this issue, and it’s complicated enough that I won’t address it here.

 

So let’s assume that someone is put on light duty because of a disability.  (A pregnancy-related illness or injury can be a disability too.  It only gets more complicated if the pregnant person needs light duty based only on the fact that she is pregnant, without any associated medical condition.)

 

If no light duty is available, I would first make sure that the employee really can’t do his or her normal job, even with a reasonable accommodation.  (Could he or she do the regular job on an alternative schedule?  With special equipment?  From home? …)  Sometimes doctors aren’t thinking about the possibility of reasonable accommodation when they decide whether someone can return to “full duty.”

 

If there really is no way that the employee can do her original job, the employee should be allowed to use accrued leave or FMLA leave, if any.  (Employers with 50 or more employees are required to provide unpaid leave for up to 12 weeks under FMLA, provided that certain other requirements are met.)

 

If the employee has no accrued leave or FMLA leave available, but additional unpaid leave would allow the employee to return eventually, and would not cause significant difficulty or expense to the employer, then the leave should be provided as a reasonable accommodation.

 

If leave would not allow the person return eventually, or if it would cause significant difficulty or expense, then the employer needs to consider reassignment.  If there is a vacant position, and the employee is qualified, and reassignment would not cause significant difficulty or expense, then the reassignment must be provided as a reasonable accommodation.

 

If none of the above options are available, then the person can be terminated.

 

 

If we have a transitional duty program, are we in jeopardy of being sued by employees if we terminate them because we cannot provide a reasonable accommodation?

 

Whether you have a transitional work program or not, employers must provide reasonable accommodations that allow an employee to do his or her regular job, unless doing so would cause significant difficulty or expense.  If the employer fails to do this, then the employee could sue.

 

So, before terminating someone, the employer must ask whether a reasonable accommodation would allow the person to accomplish what the job requires.  If so, then the employer has to provide the accommodation.  (The employer is not required to offer additional transitional work, which is different from a reasonable accommodation, but it could choose to do so as a workers comp cost containment best practice).

 

If an on-the-job-accommodation wouldn’t help, or would cause significant difficulty or expense, the employer would need to consider unpaid leave as a possible accommodation (Employers with greater than 50 employees are required to provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave under FMLA).  If additional leave would allow the person to return eventually, and would not cause significant difficulty or expense, then the employer should provide the leave.

 

If unpaid leave would not allow the person to return eventually, or would cause significant difficulty or expense, then the employer should consider reassignment to a vacant position for which the employee is qualified (if one exists), as a reasonable accommodation.  If none of those options are available, then the employee can be terminated.

 

 

What if an employee, during the interactive process, says no, he or she is not aware of a reasonable accommodation?

 

If an employee who is having trouble at work because of a disability can’t think of an accommodation that would allow him/her to remain on full duty, the next step is to look for possible solutions together.  Calling the Job Accommodation Network, for example, might be helpful.  There is no cost.

 

If, after searching for an accommodation, you decide that there just isn’t one that allows the person to work at full capacity, then you would need to explore the possibility of leave or reduced work responsibilities.  If the person has accrued leave available, or is eligible for FMLA leave, then he or she should be allowed to use it.  (Employers with 50 or more employees are required to provide up to 12 weeks leave under FMLA, provided that certain other requirements are met.)

 

If the employee has no accrued leave or FMLA leave available (because the employer has less than 50 employees, because it has already been used, or for any other reason), unpaid leave could be a reasonable accommodation if it would allow the person to eventually return and would not cause undue hardship.  The employer also has the option of voluntarily offering a transitional work assignment.

 

If the employee is expected to never be able to return to his or her original job, then the employer needs to consider reassignment.  If there is a vacant position, and the employee is qualified, and reassignment would not cause significant difficulty or expense, then the reassignment must be provided as a reasonable accommodation.

 

 

What about union contracts that stipulate “no light duty?”

 

The ideas of light duty and reasonable accommodation need to be kept separate.  The union contract could not be interpreted to mean “no reasonable accommodations,” because then the contract would violate federal law.  What this means is that, if an employee has a disability, and can’t do his or her normal job, the employer still needs to figure out whether a reasonable accommodation would allow the person to do the essential functions of the job without causing significant difficulty or expense.  The employer would also need to consider leave and reassignment as reasonable accommodations, when appropriate.

 

The contract is addressing a different sort of solution: creating a temporary new job for the person that isn’t as physically demanding.  It’s the difference between finding a different way for the employee to meet the usual demands of his or her job, versus giving the employee a different job temporarily.

 

 

What about employees in transitional duty that are literally counting paper clips or just sitting in a break room?

 

[Publisher’s note: What you are referring to is a very ineffective return to work program as counting paper clips is not productive for the employee or employer.  This practice occurs when the employer has not properly prepared for Return to Work.  A more effective strategy is to create a transitional duty job bank prior to injury that contains a list of productive light duty positions. Ask supervisors to create a ‘wish list’ of tasks they need completed, but have not had time to complete. Another strategy is to create a Job Demands Library working with an expert in physical therapy or ergonomics to more easily place employees in positions that can accommodate their physical restrictions.]

 

The ADA does not require the employer to provide transitional duty where the employee cannot meet the usual demands.  So, in this case, the counting paper clips could not be required by the ADA.

 

However, the employer should determine whether a reasonable accommodation would allow the person to return to his or her regular job.  If so, the employer is required to provide it unless it would cause significant difficulty or expense.  If not, the employer would also need to consider leave and reassignment as reasonable accommodations, when appropriate.

 

 

Author:

Aaron Konopasky is a Senior Attorney Advisor in the ADA/GINA Policy Division at the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) headquarters in Washington, D.C.  He assists the Commission in interpreting and applying the statutes it enforces, and participates in drafting regulations, policy guidance, and other publications.

 

Dr. Konopasky joined EEOC after receiving his J.D. from Stanford Law School.  Prior to law school, he received his Ph.D. in philosophy from Princeton University, and served as an adjunct professor of philosophy at Rutgers University, Tulane University, and the University of New Orleans.

 

 

Author:

Michael B. Stack, Principal, Amaxx Work Comp Solutions. He is an expert in employer communication systems and helps employers reduce their workers comp costs by 20% to 50%. He resides in the Boston area and works as a Qualified Loss Management Program provider working with high experience modification factor companies in the Massachusetts State Risk Pool.  He is co-author of the #1 selling book on cost containment, Your Ultimate Guide To Mastering Workers Comp Costs www.reduceyourworkerscomp.com. Contact: mstack@reduceyourworkerscomp.com.

Santa Clara County D.A. Charges 3 with Comp Fraud

Three California individuals ended up recently on the wrong side of the law.

 
A lab worker, a housekeeper at a local mall and a roofer were each charged with felony insurance fraud in individual cases whereby they reportedly claimed that their workplace injuries prohibited them from going back to work.

 
Cosme Cortes-Alva, 39, of San Jose, Nancy Benitez, 28, of San Jose, and Ajitender Singh Chadha, 53, of Union City, were looking at the possibility of prison, if convicted. All have been arraigned and will be forced to pay full restitution.

 
The three allegedly noted debilitating injuries and were later caught doing physical activities beyond their stated limitations, this while taking in thousands of dollars in insurance benefits.

 

All Play and No Work

 
In one instance, a man was videotaped for two hours clambering up and down from a roof, this despite claiming he was too injured to work and that he was terrified by ladders.

 
Alva, who fell off of a roof and suffered injuries to his back in 2013, falsely testified at a deposition that he had been unemployed since his fall.

 
Benitez; who was hurt while on the job doing housekeeping tasks at a store in the Valley Fair Mall four years ago; informed the insurer that she could not walk or drive minus extreme pain. She was later seen behind the wheel of a car, shopping and caring for a child.

 
Lastly, Chadha indicated he was injured during a 2011 accident at the lab where he worked.

 
Claiming he could no longer work and was dependent on his wife’s income, he was later found to be the owner and operator of a gas station, and that he was concealing his income.

 

 

 

Author Kori Shafer-Stack, Editor, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is an expert in post-injury response procedures and part of the Amaxx team helping companies reduce their workers compensation costs by 20% to 50%. www.reduceyourworkerscomp.com.  Contact: kstack@reduceyourworkerscomp.com.

 

©2014 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law.

 

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COMPClub Offers Expert Training to Slash Workers’ Comp Costs

New Service from Amaxx, Leader in Cost Control, Provides Unique Training Community

 

COMPClub, offering training, community and knowledge- for everyone who needs to help their organization or clients reduce workers’ compensation costs has been unveiled by Amaxx Work Comp Solutions, a training firm and publisher.

 

“This is a new way for risk managers, adjusters, vendors, attorneys, brokers, carriers, and employers with an interest in controlling workers’ compensation costs to increase their knowledge and apply it,” said Rebecca Shafer, a renowned workers’ comp expert who heads Amaxx. Shafer’s pioneering methods have been proven to slash workers’ comp costs by 20 percent to 50 percent.

 
COMPClub offers a full menu of benefits free with membership:

 

 

  • Live quarterly workshops. One-day workshops on key cost containment topics will be held in different regions of the US. These will give COMPClub members a deeper level of interaction with experts and each other in a hands-on, interactive classroom setting.

 

  • Best Practices monthly webinars on topics such as return-to-work, post-injury response, and medical management. Led by Shafer or another top expert, the webinars will give attendees state-of-the art knowledge on best practices and creative solutions.

 

  • Monthly small-group mastermind calls offer the opportunity for interactive learning. A group of up to 10 peers will share their challenges and successes implementing the training material in the spirit of collaboration where participation is encouraged and solutions are discovered.

 

  • The monthly CompClub newsletter will summarize, highlight, and simplify the discussions on the topic of the month. Members will receive practical tips to implement into their organizations immediately.

 

  • Members-only events networking events at the annual RIMS and National Workers’ Comp and Disability conference.

 

  • A members-only LinkedIn group and CompClub members directory.

 

  • Opportunity to private-label Amaxx products and publications at a discount.

 

 

 

Workers’ Comp Newcomers

 

For those that are new to workers’ compensation there is a special subgroup designed to get quickly to speed. This program focuses on workers’ comp 101 topics and is a safe place to answer all the questions newcomers are too afraid to ask.

 

 

Sign up Now for Risk-Free Trial and Receive 40% Off First Year Membership

 

COMPClub membership is $99 per month, with the first month FREE. People who pre-register will get 40% off first-year membership dues for a limited time.

 

“There’s no cost and no commitment sign up. Our risk-free trial allows users to try out the COMPClub experience,” said Amaxx president Michael Stack.

 

To find out more or sign up for COMPClub, visit www.workerscompclub.com.

 

Texas’ DWC to Host Annual Workplace Safety Event

Employers in Texas looking to learn more about safe workplaces will get the chance in May during a three-day event.

 
The Division of Workers Compensation (DWC) will host the 19th Annual Workplace Safety and Health Conference, the Texas Safety Summit May 19-21, 2015 in Austin at the Doubletree Hotel Austin, located at 6505 IH-35 North.

 
The DWC is hosting the summit to help employers reduce injuries and associated costs through training in workplace safety and return-to-work programs. The summit is open to all segments of the Texas workforce, including small and large employers, public and private sector employers, and workers compensation subscribers and non-subscribers.

 
This year’s general sessions include the following presentations:

 

  • National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Approach to Meeting Future Safety and Health Challenges by Steve Wurzelbacher of NIOSH;
  • Understanding the Distracted Brain “Why We Can’t Hang Up: The Connection Between Cell Phone Addiction, the Brain’s Inability to Multitask, and Distracted Driving” by Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke of the University of Texas;
  • The Human Factor: Using Integrity and Safety Related Personality Assessments to Screen out High Risk by Dennis Fox of The Client Development Group; and
  • Motor Vehicle Safety: Steering Clear of the Leading Cause of Workplace Fatalities by Jeremy Hansen of Texas Mutual Insurance Company.

 

The Texas Safety Summit will also offer four optional pre-conference sessions and 25 breakout sessions covering a variety of workplace safety and health related topics including effective safety management processes and systems, workplace violence prevention, hazardous materials and communication standards, transportation safety, and regulatory compliance.

 

The Texas Safety Summit is a learning opportunity for professionals in an array of industries who play a role in safeguarding Texas employees.

 
The registration fee for the conference is $275 per person if registered by May 1, 2015, and $300 per person if registered on or after May 2, 2015. Discounted rates are available for groups or employers that send five or more participants.

 
Texas State Technical College in Waco will provide continuing education credits (CEUs). Attendees will be eligible to receive 0.1 CEU per hour of attendance on May 19, 20, and 21.

 
For additional conference information, call 512-804-4610, e-mail safetytraining@tdi.texas.gov or visit the DWC website at http://www.tdi.texas.gov/wc/safety/summithome.html.

 

 

 

Author Kori Shafer-Stack, Editor, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is an expert in post-injury response procedures and part of the Amaxx team helping companies reduce their workers compensation costs by 20% to 50%. www.reduceyourworkerscomp.com.  Contact: kstack@reduceyourworkerscomp.com.

 

©2014 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law.

 

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Washington’s L&I Cites, Fines Pair of Employers

Multiple serious safety and health violations at a worksite in Fife have resulted in Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) citations and fines for two Western Washington State businesses — Smarttalent LLC of Kirkland and Innovative Repairs LLC of Fife.

 

An investigation found that temporary workers were entering fuel tanks with no controls in place to ensure their health and safety. Entering confined spaces like fuel tanks without safety precautions in place can be deadly to workers and would-be rescuers. These types of incidents are fully preventable.

 

Smarttalent was cited for 19 serious violations and fined $120,400. Innovative Repairs was also cited for 19 serious violations and fined $46,200. The difference in the penalty amounts reflects the size of the employers, the number of workers exposed and the employer’s good faith efforts to comply.

 

Smarttalent is a staffing agency that provides temporary workers to Innovative Repairs, which services fuel tanks and containers for mining operations in Alaska.

 

Inspections Began When Safety Procedures Weren’t Followed

 

The inspections began in October last year after the state Department of Ecology notified L&I that workers were entering the fuel tanks to clean and service them and that no safety procedures were being used.

 

The fuel tanks were 20 feet long by 8 feet wide and 8 feet tall, with a 20-inch entry hatch on top. To clean inside the tanks, the workers climbed through the hatch and down a 6-foot stepladder.

 

Entering fuel tanks exposes workers to “confined space” hazards that can include suffocation, toxic atmospheres, engulfment, entrapment or other dangerous conditions. It also puts rescuers in danger.

 

When a confined space has one or more hazardous characteristics that could harm workers, it’s considered a “permit-required” confined space. That means employers must control access to the area and use a permit system to prevent unauthorized entry. Anyone working in or around a permit-required confined space must be trained and there must be safety measures and rescue procedures in place.

 

The companies were also cited for violations related to hazardous chemical recognition and training.

 

Innovative Repairs has appealed the citation, and Smart talent has 15 working days to appeal.

 

Penalty money paid in connection with a citation is placed in the workers compensation supplemental pension fund, helping workers and families of those who have died on the job.

 

 

 

Author Kori Shafer-Stack, Editor, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is an expert in post-injury response procedures and part of the Amaxx team helping companies reduce their workers compensation costs by 20% to 50%. www.reduceyourworkerscomp.com.  Contact: kstack@reduceyourworkerscomp.com.

 

©2014 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law.

 

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Workers Comp Roundtable Roundup

The Workers Comp Roundtable was started on Linked In as a place where colleges can collaborate and share ideas on workers comp cost containment best practices.  Today the group has grown to over 14,000 members.  The Roundtable Roundup features the most active discussions, highlights and summary of all the action on the Roundtable last week.  We appreciate members thoughts, comments, and participation in the WC Roundtable. If you are a member, join in the discussion, if you are not a member, join here!

 

 

Want a Great Risk Management Program – Develop A Great Claims Management Program

 

Posted by Jeff Marshall

 

I have written that risk management programs must be top down- only when you have a true and palpable commitment from the highest levels of the organization will everyone understands that risk intelligence is central to the organization’s Core Mission. I have blogged that risk management must be a grass-roots function – having a shared appreciation of risk management is central to maintaining a risk intelligent culture. These allusions to the center or core of the program are merely road signs. The true epicenter of any great program is the claims management program.

 

Weigh In On This Discussion

 

 

 

Monday Muses -the downward spiral continues

 

Posted by David DePaolo

 

We never know what the phone call coming into the Centre will require, we just know that for the majority of calls it will be calls for help: such was the case last week: the first call was hard to take, the lady calling was sobbing, the kind of deep sobs that come from the bottom of a very broken heart and from pride that has been shattered.

 

Weigh In On This Discussion

 

 

 

CMS Alert: New Conditional Payment Appeals Process

 

Posted by Aaron Frederickson

 

Final rules are in place regarding the new conditional payment appeals process. This new process will impact all workers’ compensation and personal injury claims on or after April 28, 2015. It is important to all impacted stakeholders to take new of this new rule and adjust their best practices accordingly.

 

Weigh In On This Discussion

 

 

 

Prescription Drug Costs Rose Faster Than Ever for Many Americans: Report

 

Posted by Mary Ann Lubeskie

 

The prices for new hepatitis C and cancer treatments are driving the cost of prescription drugs to new highs for more Americans, according to a new report.

Specifically, the estimated number of people in the U.S. who took medicines worth more than $50,000 annually rose 63% last year, to 576,000, up from 352,000 the year before.

 

Weigh in on this discussion

 

 

 

The Roundtable Roundup is brought to you by your group managers:

 

Michael Stack & Rebecca Shafer; Founders of COMPClub; Authors of Amaxx Workers Comp Resource Center  and Your Ultimate Guide to Mastering Workers Comp Costs

 

Bob Wilson; Author of Bob’s Cluttered Desk and CEO of Workerscompensation.com – The Workers Comp Compliance Center

Cal/OSHA Urges Employers on Outdoor Working Conditions

With summertime not too far down the road, officials in California are noting the needed preparations when it comes to protecting outdoor workers.

 
Cal/OSHA is urging employers with outdoor workers to prepare for high heat now.

 
According to the National Climatic Data Center, 2014 was the hottest calendar year on record since 1895 in California, and the Center has already recorded similarly record-breaking temperatures over the last two months.

 
Preparation is essential to prevent heat illness which can include headaches, fatigue, excessive sweating and muscle cramps in the early stages, and can rapidly progress to mental confusion, vomiting, fainting, seizures and death.

 
“Employers must ensure they take the steps necessary to protect outdoor workers, especially during times of high heat,” said Christine Baker, director of the Department of Industrial Relations.

 
Employers are required to take the following minimum, basic steps:

 
• Train all employees and supervisors about heat illness prevention.
• Provide employees with enough cool, fresh water to drink at least 1 quart per hour, and encourage them to do so.
• Provide access to shaded areas, and encourage employees to take rest breaks of at least five minutes – before they feel any sickness.
• Develop and implement written procedures – in English and other languages as necessary – for complying with Cal/OSHA’s Heat Illness Prevention Standard.

 
Goal to Make Sure Workers Don’t Risk Health

 
“California has the most extensive heat illness prevention requirements in the country,” said Cal/OSHA Chief Juliann Sum. “The goal is to ensure that outdoor workers are not risking their health.”

 
Employers must also take special protective measures when temperatures reach 95 degrees or above. Supervisors must:

 
• Observe workers for signs of heat illness.
• Provide close supervision of workers in their first 14 days of employment (to ensure acclimatization).
• Have effective communication systems in place for calling emergency responders if necessary.

 
An amended heat regulation has been proposed by the Occupational Safety & Health Standards Board. The board has requested that the amendments be approved by the Office of Administrative Law with an effective date of May 1, 2015 – in time for this year’s growing season.

 

 

 

Author Kori Shafer-Stack, Editor, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is an expert in post-injury response procedures and part of the Amaxx team helping companies reduce their workers compensation costs by 20% to 50%. www.reduceyourworkerscomp.com.  Contact: kstack@reduceyourworkerscomp.com.

 

©2014 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law.

 

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CDC Wants Public To Understand And Avoid Misuse Of Antibiotics

Antibiotics are designed for the treatment of bacterial infections. If used in an attempt to combat viral infections, like colds or the flu, the medications do nothing to treat these conditions. In fact, it may harm your body’s own immune system by killing off so-called “good” or protective bacteria. (Photo courtesy of cdc.gov.)

Antibiotics are designed for the treatment of bacterial infections. If used in an attempt to combat viral infections, like colds or the flu, the medications do nothing to treat these conditions. In fact, it may harm your body’s own immune system by killing off so-called “good” or protective bacteria. (Photo courtesy of cdc.gov.)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) wants everyone to know that taking antibiotics when they are unwarranted can be harmful.

 

Antibiotics are drugs that treat only bacterial infections. Viral illnesses and their symptoms cannot and should not be treated with antibiotics.

 

 

Why should you care? 

 

Improper use of antibiotics promotes the spread of antibiotic resistant strains of germs. Resistant germs are stronger, and much more difficult to destroy.

 

This means that when antibiotics are ultimately needed, it may require more of them, or far more expensive varieties of antibiotics, injections or even hospital-ization in order to combat these resistant strains. These resistant strains are collections of super germs that, formerly, could have readily been handled through conventional antibiotic treatments.

 

In some cases, antibiotic resistant infections can cause severe illnesses that can no longer be treated with antibiotics.

 

Antibiotics can also upset the body’s natural balance by killing off the protective (good) bacteria. This results in complications like diarrhea, yeast infections and other dangerous infections.

 

 

Question…

 

Can antibiotics be used in an attempt to knock out a runny nose (yellow and/or green mucus)?

 

 

Answer…

 

No.  Here’s why—when colds infect the nose and sinuses, the body produces clear mucus to help to get rid of the germs. When your body sends out an army of biological germ fighters called immune cells to attack the germs in the affected area, the mucus changes to a white or yellow color.

 

So, if that is the case, then where does the green-colored mucus come from?

 

When bacteria that typically live in the nose grow back, their arrival is marked by the greenish colored mucus.

 

Antibiotics will NOT…

 

  • Cure viral illness. Viral illness causes colds, flu, some ear infections and most coughs, bronchitis, sore throats and sinus infections.
  • Help you feel better.
  • Help you get back to work faster.
  • Stop the spread of viral illness.

 

 

Author Gregg Cognac, PA-C, Clinical Affairs Director, Medcor is a certified Physician Assistant, and works with Medcor’s medical directors to provide oversight and support for on-site clinic staff in more than 170 locations nationwide.  Gregg earned his degree in PA studies from Midwest University in 1999, then completed post-graduate training in Emergency Medicine culminating in a Master’s degree.  Gregg’s clinical experienced has been in Emergency Medicine, Occupational Medicine and Cardiology.  Gregg contributes to policy and service development, QA, training, and other clinical support for clinic staff operating in a wide range of industries. http://medcor.com.  Contact: gregg.cognac@medcor.com

Officials Deliver Bad News for Postal Service

Officials recently delivered some bad news for the U.S. Postal Service at one of its locations in Chicago (2643 N. Clark).

 
Earlier this year,the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Chicago North Area Office initiated an inspection of the mail sorting facility after receiving a complaint alleging unsafe working conditions.

 
OSHA found workers were exposed to various electrical hazards and issued two repeated, four serious and one other-than-serious violation with proposed penalties of $63,540.

 
“The Postal Service has a responsibility to make sure equipment is maintained in good working order,” said Angeline Loftus, OSHA’s area director in Des Plaines. “Each year hundreds of workers are injured by electrical hazards in the workplace. The Postal Service needs to re-evaluate this facility and correct these hazards immediately.”

 

Workers Exposed to Electrical Hazards

 
Investigators found workers were exposed to electrical hazards because electrical power taps were not used in accordance with manufacturer’s recommendations and electrical equipment such as an industrial fan were not grounded properly, resulting in the two repeated violations.

 
OSHA issues repeated violations when an employer has been previously cited for the same or a similar violation in the past five years. The Postal Service was cited for similar hazards in 2014 in Groton, Connecticut and Ludington, Michigan.

 
The four serious violations involved the use of unapproved electrical equipment, use of improperly spliced cords, and not providing strain relief for all electrical cords.

 
The Postal Service also failed to mark permanent aisles resulting in an other-than-serious violation.

 

 

 

Author Kori Shafer-Stack, Editor, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is an expert in post-injury response procedures and part of the Amaxx team helping companies reduce their workers compensation costs by 20% to 50%. www.reduceyourworkerscomp.com.  Contact: kstack@reduceyourworkerscomp.com.

 

©2014 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law.

 

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Former Ohio Resident Convicted of Comp Fraud

For one former Ohio resident, leaving the Buckeye State doesn’t mean authorities there are done with him.

 
A Crested Butte, Colorado, man was convicted in March in Franklin County Municipal Court for submitting false payroll checks to obtain workers compensation benefits.

 
Charles D. Murray, formerly of Hudson (Summit County), pleaded guilty to one count of workers comp fraud, a first-degree misdemeanor.

 
“We rely on internal and external tips for anything that seems out of the ordinary, and in this case, a BWC claims service specialist reported what appeared to be suspicious payroll records,” said BWC Administrator/CEO Steve Buehrer. “Tips help us put an end to fraud and ultimately aid in our efforts to protect employers’ premium dollars and keep their workers compensation costs as low as possible.”

 
Investigators learned that Murray lived outside of Ohio, but submitted pay stubs for employment from Ohio businesses in order to receive wage loss working benefits from BWC.

 
This type of benefit provides compensation for claimants experiencing wage loss as a result of workplace injuries. Investigators confirmed the payroll records Murray submitted between 2011 and 2013 were false. In November 2014, the Industrial Commission of Ohio issued a finding of overpayment in the amount of $17,771.99.

 
Prior to entering his plea, Murray issued a cashier’s check to BWC totaling $21,927.09, including full restitution and investigative costs. He was ordered to pay court costs.

 

 

 

Author Kori Shafer-Stack, Editor, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is an expert in post-injury response procedures and part of the Amaxx team helping companies reduce their workers compensation costs by 20% to 50%. www.reduceyourworkerscomp.com.  Contact: kstack@reduceyourworkerscomp.com.

 

©2014 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law.

 

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