Ergonomic Concerns With An Aging Workforce

There has been a lot of industry talk about the risk of an aging workforce and how this can affect your workers compensation program. A main risk is how ergonomics plays into injury prevention, not only for an aging worker but for all workers.

 

Here are several ergonomic issues, and ways to try to trim your exposure:

 

 

Why should employers be concerned about this issue?

 

I recently read in the paper where it is projected that 50% of workers expect to work into their 70s, some into their 80s, and some plan to never retire! The reasons for such a statement would vary per the individual needs of the person, so it is hard to say exactly why this phenomenon is occurring.

 

Truly there are a number of different factors all combined into why this is happening, I do not think it is solely due to financial needs, or solely due to people just liking to work and be out of the house, on so on. The reality is that it seems there are older workers out there who just are not removing themselves from the workforce. Whether or not this will change in the future is unknown, but the current trend is that workers are not in a hurry to retire.

 

 

 

What are the risk factors?

 

Ergonomics are intended to maximize worker productivity while minimizing fatigue and discomfort. When work stations are designed based on production demand and not on the human element, the result will be increased injury. Worker injury exposure should look at the overall ability of the worker performing the job. It could loosely be said that a 75 year old worker cannot perform as quick nor have the physical stamina of a 25 year old worker. But, you have to take into account worker experience, motivation to perform at a high capacity, overall occupational education, and so on. This would be the human factor of a particular job. Job station risks would include repetitive motion, awkward postures such as bending/stooping and overreaching for items are all ergonomic workstation factors.

 

When a worker is manually handling heavy objects, it forces the body to comply and this can cause injury. An aging workforce most likely cannot continue to meet strict production demands that stress the body at a high capacity without experiencing injury at some point.

 

 

 

How can I reduce the risk?

 

The best thing for employers to do is to contact ergonomists and/or risk control professionals for their expertise on how to control and reduce the risk of ergonomically related claims. Many insurance carriers have adequately trained risk professionals that can help, or they can refer you to an outside vendor for further expertise.

Employers can also start to look at work duties and tasks for all of their employees. They should bear in mind necessary accommodations for an aging worker in a high demand, fast-paced work station.

 

Employers can also use loss run data to look for injury trends in order to pinpoint a particular task that could be increasing injury risk. As well as accommodate the needs of older workers by providing increased breaks, job rotations, sitting options, etc.

 

 

Any other ideas that will help out?

 

Depending on the work demand, a key topic that is having proper footwear and using correct body mechanics when handling materials.

 

Workplace footwear should be slip-resistant and designed for standing on concrete or other hard surfaces for long periods of time within the work environment. Anti-fatigue mats used with the correct footwear reduces pain and fatigue to the back and lower extremities, thereby reducing some injury exposure.

 

Establishing proper body mechanics defined by job description help not only an aging workforce, but all employees, on how to properly handle materials with minimal impact to the vulnerable areas of the body.

 

 

Summary

 

The increased presence of an aging workforce presents new exposure to an employer that was not as prevalent in the past. It is important to be proactive, and to become involved in the injury exposure in order to reduce your risk. Talk with your vendors or your carrier about what options you have for reducing your exposure.

 

 

Author Rebecca Shafer, JD, President of Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is a national expert in the field of workers compensation. She is a writer, speaker, and publisher. Her expertise is working with employers to reduce workers compensation costs, and her clients include airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality, and manufacturing. She is the author of the #1 selling book on cost containment, Workers Compensation Management Program: Reduce Costs 20% to 50%. Contact:RShafer@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

 

Editor Michael B. Stack, CPA, Director of Operations, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is an expert in employer communication systems and part of the Amaxx team helping companies reduce their workers compensation costs by 20% to 50%. He is a writer, speaker, and website publisher. www.reduceyourworkerscomp.com. Contact: mstack@reduceyourworkerscomp.com.

 

©2013 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law.

 


Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker, attorney, or qualified professional about workers comp issues.

Family Looking for Appropriate Memorial to Father

Unsuccessful Effort to Save Fellow Officer Lead to Post-Traumatic Stress

 

An effort to include a former staff sergeant’s name on a Toronto Police Service’s memorial wall has been held up.

 

According to the Canadian OH&S News, it was seven years ago that staff sergeant Eddie Adamson took his own life after an unsuccessful effort to save a fellow officer led to a severe case of post-traumatic stress disorder.

 

 

Family Working to Include on Memorial Wall

 

Since that time, his family tried to have his name included on the TPS’s memorial wall to no avail.

 

His daughter Julie Adamson, herself a 19-year veteran of the neighboring York Regional Police force, has been a strong proponent of having his name included on the TPS memorial wall — a roster generally set aside for those officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty — even going as far as to appeal to the Ontario Human Rights Commission.

 

On Mar. 14, 1980, Const. Michael Sweet was on patrol and responded to a robbery, according to a Toronto police spokesperson. After other officers, including Staff-Sgt. Adamson, came on the scene, they discovered that Sweet had been shot and was being held hostage by the robbers.

 

Refused medical treatment, Sweet had lost too much blood by the time police stormed the restaurant 90 minutes later and he passed away in a hospital. Troubled by what happened, Adamson committed suicide in 2005. A subsequent investigation from the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board ruled that his death was due to work-related injury, specifically PTSD.

 

 

Nearly Finalized Plans Appear Unequal

 

However, the Toronto Police Association (TPA), which collaborates with the Toronto Police Service (TPS) to decide whose names should be placed in the municipal memorial wall, have nearly finalized their plans to honor fallen officers who succumbed to work-related injuries in another way.

 

Though officials have stated that the committee’s results would be officially announced in about a month’s time, initial reports have noted a plaque or separate wall.

 

According to Adamson’s legal representative, “We don’t have details of the specific plaque or the criteria or the manner in which it’s presented — whether it’s equal to the memorial wall or subordinate to the memorial wall. Suffice it to say, differential treatment is obviously unequal treatment. If there’s a separate wall for people who have died as a result of mental illness, that’s not acceptable in any way.”

 

As of now, no hearing date has been set at the provincial human rights commission.


Author Michael B. Stack, CPA, Director of Operations, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is an expert in employer communication systems and part of the Amaxx team helping companies reduce their workers compensation costs by 20% to 50%. He is a writer, speaker, and website publisher. www.reduceyourworkerscomp.com. Contact: mstack@reduceyourworkerscomp.com.

 

©2012 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law.

 


Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker, attorney, or qualified professional about workers comp issues.

Employer Fined After Terminating Employee One Day After Health Complaint

Employee Wrongfully Terminated For Raising Health Concerns

 

The U.S. Department of Labor recently won a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida against LOTO Services LLC and owner Allan R. Lochhead.

 

Based on an investigation by its Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the department sued the defendants, alleging that they unlawfully and intentionally terminated an employee of Aquatech Technologies Inc. for raising health concerns about rodent infestations at Aquatech’s facility in Stuart, Fla. LOTO Services LLC owns Aquatech Technologies, which does business as Aquatech Canvas & Consignment.

 

 

Ordered to Pay $34,186 Penalty

 

Judge K. Michael Moore permanently enjoined the defendants from violating the provisions of Section 11(c) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, which prohibits retaliation against employees for raising workplace safety and health concerns. The judge further ordered that the former employee be paid a total of $34,186, comprising $27,072 in back wages, $6,700 in expenses and $414 in interest. The Labor Department was represented in court by its Regional Office of the Solicitor in Atlanta.

 

“OSHA will continue to ensure that every American worker has the right to report workplace hazards without fear of retaliation,” said Cindy Coe, OSHA’s regional administrator in Atlanta. “This judgment is proof that the Labor Department will prosecute, to the fullest extent of the law, employers found violating these basic worker rights.”

 

 

Employee Terminated One Day After Filing Health Complaint

 

The employee had reported concerns to management regarding rodents and rodent droppings in the office, and requested to have these problems corrected. Lochhead placed rodent traps in the office, but the problem continued. The employee complained again, but Lochhead indicated that there was no rodent problem, so the employee filed a health complaint with OSHA. One day after OSHA officials notified the company of the health complaint, the employee was terminated. The employee then submitted a whistleblower complaint, and OSHA’s resulting investigation found merit to it.

 

OSHA enforces the whistleblower provisions of the OSH Act and 21 other statutes protecting employees who report violations of various commercial motor vehicle, airline, nuclear, pipeline, environmental, railroad, public transportation, maritime, consumer product, health care reform, securities, food safety, motor vehicle safety and consumer financial reform regulations.

 

Author Michael B. Stack, CPA, Director of Operations, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is an expert in employer communication systems and part of the Amaxx team helping companies reduce their workers compensation costs by 20% to 50%. He is a writer, speaker, and website publisher. www.reduceyourworkerscomp.com. Contact: mstack@reduceyourworkerscomp.com.

 

©2012 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law.

 


Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker, attorney, or qualified professional about workers comp issues.

Intensive Inspection Regime Uncovers Construction Safety Hazards

Intensive Inspection Regime for Construction Sites

 

There have been dozens of construction sites across Scotland that have been put under the spotlight as part of an intensive inspection regime by the Health and Safety Executive.

 

According to HSE, a total of 78 sites were inspected across Scotland during the first three weeks of September and while the majority were found to be managing health and safety appropriately, work was stopped immediately on several sites. In all 15 Prohibition Notices were served because the proper precautions were not in place for working at height.

 

 

Campaign Response to Continued Loss of Life

 

The targeted campaign was in response to the continued loss of life and serious injury arising from falls from height. In the 12 months to April 2012, 49 workers lost their lives on construction sites in the UK, with falls from height being the most common cause of fatal injuries.

 

Jeanette Reuben, HSE’s head of Unit (Construction) for Scotland, Yorkshire and the North East, noted,  “Whilst the initiative was primarily to raise awareness of the problem of unsafe working practices, it is of serious concern that such a significant proportion of sites visited were undertaking work at height in a dangerous manner.

 

 

No Excuse for Workers Elevated Risk of Danger

 

“Straightforward practical precautions are well known in the industry. Safe access equipment is readily available for purchase or hire and there is no excuse for workers, and the self employed, to put themselves in a position of danger when working at height. “

 

Reuben added that HSE will continue to maintain a strong enforcement profile where there is blatant disregard to safe working practice.

Author Michael B. Stack, CPA, Director of Operations, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is an expert in employer communication systems and part of the Amaxx team helping companies reduce their workers compensation costs by 20% to 50%. He is a writer, speaker, and website publisher. www.reduceyourworkerscomp.com. Contact: mstack@reduceyourworkerscomp.com.

 

©2012 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law.

 


Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker, attorney, or qualified professional about workers comp issues.

Teachers Assistant Never Learned Workers Comp Fraud Does Not Pay

Teachers Assistant Charged with Several Felony Counts

 

It appears someone did not learn the lesson that crime does not pay.

 

According to a report from the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, a teaching assistant was taken into custody for several felony counts of workers compensation fraud.

 

The DA’s office noted that Gerard Padilla, 45, was arrested and charged with five felony counts of comp fraud. Padilla, who has been working with the Los Angeles County Office of Education, reportedly filed a claim alleging that he suffered a back injury while assisting to end a fight in a classroom.

 

 

Made Up Story About Injury from School Fight

 

Authorities learned that Padilla, who was working in the Antelope Valley Principle Administrative Unit, did not suffer any injuries as he claimed, nor did he provide any evidence of a work-related injury.

 

In March of 2009, Padilla reportedly went to a physician for a first evaluation, whereby he again noted he was injured in a school fight. A month later, he reportedly gave false statements related to the injury to an investigator. In December of that year at a deposition, he is alleged to have provided false testimony tied to the injury. In the end, investigators concluded that Padilla made up the story.

 

 

Could Be in State Prison Up to Five Years

 

If Padilla is found guilty on all the counts, he could be in state prison for up to five years.

 

 

Author Michael B. Stack, CPA, Director of Operations, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is an expert in employer communication systems and part of the Amaxx team helping companies reduce their workers compensation costs by 20% to 50%. He is a writer, speaker, and website publisher. www.reduceyourworkerscomp.com. Contact: mstack@reduceyourworkerscomp.com.

 

©2012 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law.

 


Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker, attorney, or qualified professional about workers comp issues.

If You Hate Paying For Workers Comp, You Should Count Your Blessings

 

Early 1900s Railroads Wanted Exemption from Workers Comp
 
In the early 1900s various states were discussing some form of workers’ compensation system. The owners of the large railroad companies did not want to deal with workers’ compensation claims in many states.  The railroad companies lobbied Congress to exempt the railroads from workers’ compensation laws of the various states.  The railroad companies got through Congress a statute where the employee had to prove that the railroad was negligent before the employee could collect any compensation for an injury.  In 1908 Congress passed the Federal Employer’s Liability Act (FELA) exempting railroad companies from state workers’ compensation laws.
 
 
 
FELA Exempted Railroads, Heavily Favored Employers
 
Basically, the FELA law exempted railroad employees from all state workers’ compensation laws and continued the system of tort claims for deciding compensation to an injured employee.  The FELA law in 1908 used contributory negligence and assumption of risk as its guide in determining negligence. If the injured employee could not prove the railroad company was solely at fault for his injury, the employee would not receive any compensation for the injury, even in extreme cases of amputations or death.  If the railroad could prove that 1% of the cause of the injury could be contributed to the employee’s own negligence, the employee was barred from any recovery. 
 
 
1937 Case Brought Major Change
 
In 1937, Eugene Sexton was working for the L&N railroad.  As a part of his job as a switchman he would join together individual railroad cars or strings of railroad cars.  One day as he started to join two railroad cars, the train jerked, hitting him and causing him to fall on the railroad track.  The train rolled over both arms, amputating one arm above the elbow and amputating the other arm below the elbow.  The L&N railroad’s response to the horrendous accident was “too bad, you should have been more careful”.  Mr. Sexton’s and the switchman’s union response was a lawsuit in tort, and a campaign to change the FELA law.  (Mr. Sexton did after several years of litigation receive a life time pension from the railroad).
 
 
The only major change in the FELA law came about as a result of the Sexton case and some other bad injuries and deaths that occurred about the same time.  In 1939 the FELA law was changed removing the defense of assumption of risk and changed the law from contributory negligence to comparative negligence. As a result of 1957 and 1963 Supreme Court decisions, the FELA law now makes it a jury question if the railroad company played any part in causing the injury
 
 
Railroads Still Not Part of Worker Comp, Heavily Favors Employees
 
FELA kept the injury claims of railroad company employees in the tort law system.  Under tort an injured person can recover all their medical bills from the party at fault for their injuries, and can also recovery their full income (not the two-thirds of income as often paid in work comp claims) for both past and future income.  The injured person in tort can also receive compensation for permanent injuries. In addition to being paid for all their medical bills and income loss, the injured person in tort can recover “pain and suffering” compensation from the party at fault. 
 
With comparative negligence and all questions as to the amount of negligence being a jury case, even an employee who negligence was 90% of the cause of the accident could recover 10% of the damages.  The result of this was lawsuits for astronomical amounts of pain and suffering and compromise settlements, even when the injured employee was primarily the cause of his own injuries. Compromise settlements often occur even with minimal or no negligence on the railroad company’s part, as the railroad company knows the jury will see them as the billion dollar corporation and will be sympathetic to the injured employee.
 
The FELA law as it was originally enacted was heavily in favor of the employer and provided very limited benefits to injured workers.  The pendulum now has swung to the other extreme where injured railroad employees’ often obtain substantial settlements for minor injuries. What started out as a law to circumvent workers’ compensation is now an albatross around the financial neck of the railroad companies.
 
 
Legal Liability Crushing for Small Companies
 
The approximate 650 railroad companies in the United States are classified by size into 3 classes.  Class I entails the 7 major railroads serving multiple states.  Class II and III railroads normally serve a single county or multiple counties within a state.  While the major railroads like the CSX and the Burlington Northern have the financial capability to deal with the FELA lawsuits (and pass the cost of the FELA litigation claims on to their customers), the smaller railroad companies are often forced out of business due to a variety of economic circumstances including FELA lawsuits.
 
 
 
Railroad Companies Wish They Had Workers Comp
 
The large railroad companies have been struggling for years to get out from under the FELA burden or to bring it more into balance.  The railroad companies have tried to get FELA repealed and to place their employees’ injury claims in the various state workers’ compensation systems.  The different unions representing various crafts in the railroad industry and the plaintiff attorneys representing injured workers have been able to jointly defeat all attempts to change the current FELA law.
 
The next time you wish your company did not have to have workers’ compensation insurance, stop and think about the smaller railroad companies who, even with liability insurance, are often only one employee injury lawsuit away from being put out of business.
 
 
 

Author Rebecca Shafer, JD, President of Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is a national expert in the field of workers compensation. She is a writer, speaker, and publisher. Her expertise is working with employers to reduce workers compensation costs, and her clients include airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality, and manufacturing. She is the author of the #1 selling book on cost containment, Workers Compensation Management Program: Reduce Costs 20% to 50%. Contact: RShafer@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

 

Editor Michael B. Stack, CPA, Director of Operations, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is an expert in employer communication systems and part of the Amaxx team helping companies reduce their workers compensation costs by 20% to 50%. He is a writer, speaker, and website publisher.  www.reduceyourworkerscomp.com Contact mstack@reduceyourworkerscomp.com

 


WORKERS COMP MANAGEMENT MANUAL:  www.WCManual.com

VIEW SAMPLES PAGES

MODIFIED DUTY CALCULATOR:  www.LowerWC.com/transitional-duty-cost-calculator.php

 

Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.

 

©2012 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact us at: Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

How to Determine if Assaults, Attacks, Horseplay, and Travel Are Covered by Workers Comp

 

Some situations where an employee incurs an injury are not compensable, and some situations are compensable only if the facts surrounding the injury meet the definition of an accident.  The following discussion centers on unusual circumstances that may or may not be compensable.  These unusual circumstances will be compensable in some states, but not in others.  If you have one of these unusual circumstances of injury to occur, consult with your workers’ compensation adjuster or defense attorney to see if the event causing the injury is compensable in your state. [WCx]

 

 

Assaults:

 

When an assault occurs in the workplace, the normal deciding factor is whether the assault is connected to the employment.  If the assault arises out of the employment, the injury is normally covered by workers’ compensation.  For example – the convenience store employee who is assaulted in the course of a robbery.  If the assault is not related to the employment, the injury is normally not covered by workers’ compensation. For example – the truck driver who is hit over the head and robbed.

 

The work status, whether a co-worker or a non-employee,of the person assaulting the employee is usually not a factor. The relationship of the assault to the employment is normally the key factor on whether or not an assault is covered by workers’ compensation.

 

 

Attacks by co-workers:

 

When one employee attacks another, the relationship of the injury to the employment normally determines whether or not the injury is covered by workers’ compensation.  For example – the frustrated employee who punches the supervisor in the face after receiving a poor performance review.  The motivation for the attack was work related.

 

If the motivation for an attack is not work related, then it will normally not be covered by workers’ compensation.  For example – the employee who attacks a co-worker after learning the co-worker has been “dating” his wife.

 

 

Attacks by a third party:

 

When an employee is attacked by a non-employee while on the job, the reason for the attack determines whether or not it is covered by workers’ compensation.  For example:  the cab driver who is shot and robbed when he stops to pick up a “customer”.  In this example, the cab driver would not have been injured if he was not performing his routine job. 

 

When the attack by a third party is unrelated to the employment, the injury is normally not considered workers’ compensation.  An example of this would be an estranged wife who comes to the workplace uninvited and shoots the employee. [WCx]

 

Horseplay:

 

The states vary tremendously on injuries due to horseplay.  Some states consider horseplay normal human conduct, and the resulting injuries as unintentional accidents.  Other states consider whether or not the injured employee was a victim of another employee’s transgression or a willing participant, with the victim being covered by workers’ compensation while the willing participant is not covered.  (It helps to have a published policy forbidding horseplay).

 

 

Coming & Going:

 

Most states do not provide workers’ compensation coverage for employees injured going to work, or returning home after work.  Of course, there are several exceptions to the “coming & going” provisions of the workers’ compensation statutes.  Most notably is the traveling salesperson that is away from both the employer’s premise and the employee’s home.  The salesperson is on the trip for the benefit of the employer and is covered for workers’ compensation.  For example – the salesperson falls in the hotel bathtub.  The injury would not have occurred if the salesperson was not on a trip for the employer.

 

Errands for the employer combined with the employee’s personal travel can be covered by workers’ compensation.  For example:  the secretary who takes the office mail to the post office, which is on her way home, and is injured in a car accident.  If the secretary was between the employer’s premise and the post office when the injury occurs, it will be covered by workers’ compensation as this portion of her trip was for the employer’s benefit.  However, if the car accident occurs after the secretary has dropped the mail at the post office and has resumed her normal route home; the car accident injury would not be covered.

 

The personal vehicle exception to the coming and going rule normally involves a person who travels to multiple work sites during the day.  If the employee is required to use their personal vehicle to accomplish their job, even if paid mileage by the employer, they are covered by workers’ compensation.  For example – the salesperson that leaves her home and is on the way to see a client when an automobile accident occurs.  The trip is for the benefit of the employer, and is therefore covered by workers’ compensation.

 

 

Summary

 

Whenever the employer has a set of unusual circumstances that result in an injury, the employer should document all the available facts surrounding the injury.  The employer should consult with a person knowledgeable of the worker’s compensation statutes in their state.  If there is any question as to whether or not the injury is covered, the employer should report the injury to the claims office and leave the decision of coverage to the workers’ compensation adjuster.

 

 

 

Author Rebecca Shafer, JD, President of Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is a national expert in the field of workers compensation. She is a writer, speaker, and publisher. Her expertise is working with employers to reduce workers compensation costs, and her clients include airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality, and manufacturing. She is the author of the #1 selling book on cost containment, Workers Compensation Management Program: Reduce Costs 20% to 50%Contact: RShafer@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

 

Editor Michael B. Stack, CPA, Director of Operations, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is an expert in employer communication systems and part of the Amaxx team helping companies reduce their workers compensation costs by 20% to 50%. He is a writer, speaker, and website publisher.  www.reduceyourworkerscomp.com Contact mstack@reduceyourworkerscomp.com

 


WORKERS COMP MANAGEMENT MANUAL:  www.WCManual.com

VIEW SAMPLES PAGES

MODIFIED DUTY CALCULATOR:  www.LowerWC.com/transitional-duty-cost-calculator.php

 

Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.

 

©2012 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact us at: Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

 

The Great Debate, Does Employer or Employee Benefit More From Worker Comp

 

Who Benefits More – Employer or Employee?
 
Every year a debate in work comp crops up about whether or not employers derive a benefit from the “exclusive remedy” – a principal that a worker gets no-fault comp, but loses the right to sue for negligence. The debate goes back and forth about who benefits more and seems to assume that the purpose of the exclusive remedy was to benefit the employer, the employee or both. [WCx]
 
 
Has More to Do with History than Who Benefits More
 
In fact, the true purpose has to do with darker underlying forces in the history of the Employers’ Liability laws which preceded comp. The best historian of the Employers’ Liability laws and the reason for their demise was Clarence W. Hobbs, the first head of NCCI and, in the late 1930s, the author of several books on the history of early work comp laws and the demise of Employers’ Liability.
 
 
Attorney Contingency Fees Main Trigger in History of Work Comp
 
The reason for the exclusive remedy was, as will soon be clear, lawyers and contingency fees. Contingency fees (no recovery, no fee) were only accepted grudgingly in US law because, it was correctly believed, that it gave the attorney every reason to exaggerate and manufacture disability.
 
The contingency fee, however, gave the large communities of recent immigrants, working in the most dangerous jobs, access to a lawyer which would have been impossible if they had to pay a fee, win or lose, up front.
 
However, the entire system of contingency fees contained to effective checks on abuse. Cases were openly solicited (read “manufactured”) by “runners”, local bilingual immigrants who fed potential clients to lawyers, for a set finder’s fee. Hobbs described both the runners and lawyers as “a noisome horde of ambulance chasers”. Soon, the courts agreed.
 
 
Courts Overcrowded with Ambulance Chasing Claims
 
The integrity and credibility of courts, judges, juries and verdicts was plunging and the courts themselves, previously rather staid, were becoming packed with mobs of litigants on Employers Liability negligence claims. Waiting in the wings as an alternative was one feature of European and British social law – Workmen’s (sic) Compensation. (The genderless “Worker’s” was a feature of the 1970s.)
 
 
Prime Mover to Work Comp was Civil Courts
 
The prime mover for the change from negligence to worker’s comp was the civil courts. Any benefit to worker or employer was an unintended consequence, although there was no shortage of volunteers to claim credit. In fact, both employer’s groups AND unions simultaneously boasted of their roles. [WCx]
 
Has anything really changed? Contingency fees, a fundamental fixture in work comp, were actually not intended to be part of comp, but they gradually crept back in because the US in the 1930s, alone in the world, assumed they had always been there and made sense.
 
Clarence W. Hobbs, however, strongly disagreed.
 
 
 

Author: Attorney Theodore Ronca is a practicing lawyer from Aquebogue, NY. He is a frequent writer and speaker, and has represented employers in the areas of workers’ compensation, Social Security disability, employee disability plans and subrogation for over 30 years. Attorney Ronca can be reached at 631-722-2100. medsearch7@optonline.net

 

Editor Michael B. Stack, CPA, Director of Operations, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is an expert in employer communication systems and part of the Amaxx team helping companies reduce their workers compensation costs by 20% to 50%. He is a writer, speaker, and website publisher.  www.reduceyourworkerscomp.com Contact mstack@reduceyourworkerscomp.com


WORKERS COMP MANAGEMENT MANUAL:  www.WCManual.com
MODIFIED DUTY CALCULATOR:  www.LowerWC.com/transitional-duty-cost-calculator.php

 

Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.

 

©2012 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact us at: Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

Oregon to Receive 3.6 Million as Part of AIG Settlement

The Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services reported on March 9 that American International Group will pay $100 million in fines under a settlement with all 50 states — which includes $3.6 million for Oregon — over reporting errors for premiums on workers compensation insurance.
 
 
AIG will also pay $46.5 million in taxes and assessments, and could pay added fines, up to $150 million, if it does not adhere to a compliance plan, according to the ODCBS. (WCxKit)
 
 
A two-year review of bailed-insurer and its Chartis insurance unit came to the conclusion that the companies misreported $2.12 billion in workers comp premiums across the U.S.
 
 
The misreporting led to a $2.4 million underpayment to Oregons workers comp premium assessment, which funds workplace safety and workers comp programs in the state.
 
 
In addition to paying that $2.4 million to the consumer agency, AIG will pay a $1.2 million penalty, which will go into Oregons general fund.
 
 
 
Author Robert Elliott, executive vice president, Amaxx Risks Solutions, Inc. has worked successfully for 20 years with many industries to reduce Workers Compensation costs, including airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality and manufacturing. See www.LowerWC.com for more information. Contact:Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com or 860-553-6604.
 
 
 
Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.
 
©2011 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

Florida Workers Compensation Basics 101

Workers Compensation Laws change frequently. This is only a summary; a complete copy of the most up-to-date version can be found at: www.WorkCompResearch.com an excellent service.

In Florida, every employer who has four or more employees, whether full time or part time is required to carry workers compensation insurance. [Corporate officers who have elected to exempt themselves from work comp coverage do not count as an employee]. There are a couple of exceptions to this rule. If you are in the construction industry and have one or more employees, you are required to have work comp coverage. Florida farmers who have more than five regular employees, or twelve or more seasonal workers who are employed for 30 days or more, are required to have work comp coverage.
 
Obtaining Coverage:
To obtain workers compensation coverage in Florida, the employer has several options including:
1.      purchasing a workers compensation insurance policy from a state approved insurance company
2.      qualifying as an approved self-insured employer
3.      contracting with a professional employer organization [employee leasing] that has a group workers compensation policy
4.      purchasing a workers compensation insurance policy from the Joint Underwriting Association, a Florida state agency that sales workers compensation insurance  coverage to employers who are unable to obtain coverage in the open market (WCxKit)
 
Claim Reporting:
The employee must report the injury to the employer within 30 days of the occurrence. If the injury is not reported timely, the insurance carrier has the option to deny the claim. The employer is under a strict time limit of 7 days to report the claim to the insurance carrier. The insurance company then has 3 days to send to the employee an informational brochure which outlines the employees rights and responsibilities under the workers compensation statutes.
 
Medical Benefits:
The employer selects and authorizes the initial medical provider. All subsequent medical treatment must be at a medical provider approved and authorized by the workers compensation insurance carrier. All authorized medical care and associated expenses (prescriptions, prostheses, mileage reimbursements) are covered by workers compensation.
 
Temporary Total Disability Benefits:
The temporary total disability (TTD) benefits are calculated as two-thirds of the employees average weekly wage over the 13 weeks prior to the injury, not counting the week the injury occurred. The maximum amount of TTD benefits that can be paid weekly changes every January 1st. The maximum TTD benefits per week for accidents occurring on or after January 1, 2010 is $772.00 per week. The state minimum weekly benefit is $20, which has not changed since 1972.
 
The first 7 days of disability (the waiting period) is not paid to the injured employee unless the employee is disabled for more than 21 days. TTD benefits can be paid for a maximum of 104 weeks. There is no provision in the Florida law that requires the employer to hold open a job for an employee who is unable to work due to the employee being unable to work. (Holding the position for the employee is the smart thing for the employer to do in most cases).
 
Temporary Partial Disability Benefits:
Florida work comp also provided for temporary partial disability (TPD). An employee will receive TPD if the medical provider releases the employee to work with restrictions on the number of hours the employee can work. If the employee is unable to earn 80% of his wages prior to the injury, the insurance carrier will pay TPD benefits on the hours the employee is unable to work per week.
 
Impairment Benefits:
When an employee reaches maximum medical improvement, the medical provider will determine whether or not the employee has any permanent partial disability. If the employee receives a disability rating, the employee is entitled to Impairment Benefits (IB).   The amount of IB is one-fourth of the TTD rate plus 1 cent. For example if the weekly TTD rate is $600.00, the IB rate would be $150.01. The number of weeks of IB is determined by a disability scale. A 10% rating on the scale is worth 20 weeks of IB; a 25% rating is worth 85 weeks of IB, while a 50% rating is worth 235 weeks of IB.
 
Permanent Total Disability Benefits:
Florida has a unique way of determining if an employee who has reached maximum medical improvement has a permanent total disability (PTD). If the employee can be placed in a sedentary job within 50 miles of his residence, the employee is not PTD, unless he has a severe injury as defined by the Florida work comp statutes. Some of the severe injuries include spinal cord injuries that involve paralysis of an arm, leg or the trunk; amputation of a hand, arm, foot or leg; severe brain injury; and, second or third degree burns over 25% of more of the body. If the employee is classified by the Division of Workers Compensation as PTD, the employee will receive PTD benefits which are the same as TTD benefits until the age of 75. If an employee is drawing social security benefits, the PTD benefits are reduced to the point where the social security benefit plus the PTD benefit equals 80% of the average weekly wage earned prior to the injury.
 
Death Benefits:
If an employee dies as a result of an on-the-job accident within one year of the date of the accident, or if the employee dies as a result of an on-the-job accident within five years with continuous disability, funeral expenses up to $7,500 is covered by workers compensation. The spouse is entitled to 50% of the average weekly wage, not to exceed $772.00 (for calendar year 2010). The spouse plus one child is entitled to two-thirds of the average weekly wage, not to exceed $772 (year 2010).   If the employee leaves behind one child as the only beneficiary of death benefits, the child receives one-third of the average weekly wage, not to exceed $772 (year 2010). There is no time limit on how long benefits can be paid, but the maximum amount of death benefits is $150,000 (not including funeral expenses). If the spouse remarries, the spouse receives a lump sum payment of 26 weeks (as long as the $150,000 cap is not exceeded. The spouse is also eligible for tuition benefits at a vocational technical center or community college. (WCxKit)
 
 Vocational Benefits:
If due to the employees on-the-job injury the employee is unable to return to work because of permanent work restrictions, the employee is entitled to assistance from the Workers Compensation Vocational Rehabilitation Section of the Florida Department of Education. At no cost to the employee, the employee can receive vocational counseling, transferable skill analysis, training on job-seeking skills, job placement, on-the-job training and formal retraining. 

Author Rebecca Shafer, JD, President of Amaxx Risks Solutions, Inc. is a national expert in the field of workers compensation. She is a writer, speaker and website publisher. Her expertise is working with employers to reduce workers compensation costs, and her clients include airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality and manufacturing.
Contact: 
RShafer@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com or 860-553-6604.

 
WORK COMP CALCULATOR:   http://www.LowerWC.com/calculator.php
 
WC GROUP:  http://www.linkedin.com/groups?homeNewMember=&gid=1922050/
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Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.

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