An Open Letter to the Press, Business Community and People of North Dakota

The authors of this letter are journalists, columnists, bloggers and content publishers for the workers' compensation industry across the United States. We are a politically and professionally diverse group. We do not agree on everything, yet find ourselves of one opinion on a highly critical matter. We are competitors who are now colleagues for a common cause; to bring light to a serious injustice being committed within your state.

 
The prosecution of Charles (Sandy) Blunt was, in our view, an outrageous and almost farcical event. It is, in the final analysis, a travesty that has damaged the national view of your state, hampered the operation of a State agency, and ruined the life of a good man wholly undeserving of such results. (WCxKit)
 
Sandy Blunt was Director of North Dakota's Workforce Safety & Insurance from May of 2004 until December of 2007. He was, as you are likely aware, prosecuted by state authorities for “misspending government funds”. Specifically, he was charged and convicted on two counts
 
1.     During his almost 4 year tenure his agency spent approximately $11,000 on employee incentive items, including flowers, trinkets, balloons, decorations and beverages for Workforce Safety and Insurance employee meetings, and on gift certificates and cards in small denominations for restaurants, stores and movie theaters. Blunt personally approved some of these expenditures. Others were made by managers as part of daily operations under his watch. Not a dime went into an employee’s pocket, nor did Blunt personally benefit from any expenditure.  

 
2.     His agency paid $8,000 to an employee, David Spencer, for sick pay when he was not apparently sick, and it also failed to collect $7,000 from Spencer when he left prior to the end of his employment agreement. The $7000 was for moving expenses incurred that prosecutors felt Spencer owed the state. Blunt’s position was that the agency was not entitled to collect these funds, since Spencer’s departure was not voluntary.
 
All told, the state prosecuted Sandy Blunt, and he is now a convicted felon for “misspending” $26,000 of government money.
 
No one has ever alleged that Blunt personally benefited from any of these expenditures. Blunt was acting like other capable, ethical North Dakota executives ‐ in the best interest of customers and of the mission of his employer. In our industry it is considered a best practice to provide employees and supervisors with incentives. It is not frivolous, it's necessary, and what every employer should do.
 
The first of these two charges would be, to many people, laughable if it were not for the damaging consequences associated with them. The notion that buying inexpensive incentive items for your employees could result in a felony conviction is simply stunning. This would not be elevated to a criminal status in most states in the nation. The fact that it is in North Dakota should have a chilling effect on businesses looking to move there.
 
The second and more serious charge, involving the sick pay and moving expenses of employee Spencer, has been fatally undermined by the revelation that the prosecutor in the matter, Cynthia Feland, withheld critical evidence from the defense – evidence that largely clears Blunt in this area. A disciplinary panel for the North Dakota Supreme Court has found on November 7, 2011 that
 
“Cynthia M. Feland did not disclose to Michael Hoffman, defense attorney for Charles Blunt, the Wahl memo, and other documents which were evidence or information known to the prosecutor that tended to negate the guilt of the accused or mitigate the offense.”

Withholding of evidence by prosecutors is one of the most serious acts of prosecutorial misconduct in North Dakota and all other states. In recognition of this, the panel recommended Ms Feland’s license to practice law be suspended. We urge that you read the entire report of the panel, including the penalties the board recommended be imposed on Ms. Feland. For the report, go here.
 
Had the prosecutor not withheld evidence, in all likelihood the case would never have come to trial, and the reputation of Blunt and the WSI would be free of taint. The evidence in question shows that WSI’s auditor’s own findings backed Blunt’s position on payments related with Spencer. However, those findings were not made available to the defense, and the prosecutor was found to have allowed testimony to be given at the trial that directly conflicted with information she had. As we indicated, Feland, now a judge in your state, has been recommended for suspension and a fine over these findings.
 
Yet Sandy Blunt remains a convicted felon. His crime? Buying balloons, trinkets and $5 gift cards – for his employees, not for himself. For that, Blunt, who is married with two children, has had to spend half a decade, and untold thousands of dollars trying to clear his name.
 
Some of us have known Sandy for quite a while. Some have come to know him while learning of his situation. Others of us have never met Sandy, but recognize the tenuous nature of his treatment. Collectively we speak to thousands within our industry every day. Our opinions have been clear; this situation needs the light of truth shone brightly upon it. The time and resources expended prosecuting a man on such questionable grounds should be more closely examined, by the business community, workers compensation professionals and the media in North Dakota. (WCxKit)
 
Sandy Blunt is a good and decent man. He deserves better. So, it would seem, do the people of North Dakota.

Peter Rousmaniere
Consultant & Writer
Working Immigrants
Robert Wilson
President & CEO
workerscompensation.com
Joseph Paduda
Principal, Health Strategy Assoc, LLC
Managed Care Matters


Rebecca Shafer
Lower Your WC Costs
Julie Ferguson
Consultant & Editor
Workers' Comp Insider
David DePaolo
President & CEO
Work Comp Central
Henry Stern, LUTCF, CBC
InsureBlog
Tom Lynch 
Founder & President 
Lynch, Ryan & Associates, Inc.
Jon Coppelman 
Senior Vice President 
Lynch, Ryan & Associates, Inc.

 
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Exploding Toilets Injure Two Federal Workers

 
According to Washington Post reporter Lisa Rein, Sept. 28, the General Services Administration suffered from toilets literally blowing into tiny shards of porcelain, seriously injuring two federal employees.
 
 
Rein’s article said, “The toilet explosions became irresistible web fodder for snickering and bad potty humor. … The rare accident, which started in a water tank on the roof of the agency’s capital region headquarters Monday morning, quickly became representative of Washington’s ills — from the bureaucratic response to the venom it released against the government and its employees.”
 
 
“How many $1,200 toilet seats has the government bought, and here we have a toilet going boom!” mused Chuck White, vice president of technical and code services for the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association in Rein’s article. “I’m sure people think this is just one more example of our government in action.”
 
 
Rein reported the D.C. fire department was called to Seventh and D streets SW at 11:50 a.m. and the crew was told about an injured person on the fourth floor. They were directed to the restroom, where a woman had serious cuts to her leg from “flying debris.” Another toilet on the first floor had exploded within minutes of the first one, injuring another employee using the bathroom at the same time.
 
 
Rein wrote GSA spokesman William Marshall Jr. issued a statement Monday describing a “building mechanical incident” that injured at least one employee. He re-issued the statement 24 hours later, with assurances that the toilets were working again. He declined to be interviewed about what caused the explosion, the identities of the workers, their condition or which agency employs them, she said.
 
 
Apparently, water in a building as old as the General Services Administration, built between 1930 and 1935, needs to flow at a higher pressure to reach top floors, Rein explained. A storage tank boosts the pressure, using air as a spring to push water through the pipes, she wrote. GSA spokeswoman Emily Barocas explained the tank’s control system malfunctioned, plunging the water level below normal and allowing air to seep into the pipes, where it shouldn’t be because it gets compressed, according to Rein. “The air hit the toilet bowls when they were flushed, and the result was not pretty.”
 
 
“You get a geyser,” White said. “A recipe for disaster.” Although the average pressure in a water pipe is about 25 pounds per square inch, the slug of air in the GSA toilets was probably released around 60 pounds, he said in the article.
 
If you have specific questions about federal workers compensation, contact Managed Care Advisors and mention you read about them from us here at Work Comp Roundup.  
 

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 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. See www.LowerWC.com for more information. Contact: RShafer@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.
 
 
Learn about our WORKERS COMP BOOK:  www.WCManual.com
 
 

 

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.

Medicare Secondary Payer Compliance Resource You Should Know About

As an executive committee member of the Larson’s National Workers’ Compensation Advisory Board, I’ve been given a sneak preview of an excellent new handbook on Medicare Secondary Payer compliance to be published by LexisNexis, and it's excellent.
The Complete Guide to Medicare Secondary Payer Compliance, Jennifer C. Jordan, Esq., Editor-in-Chief, is a one-of-a-kind resource, combining analysis and practice tips, statutes, public laws, regulations, case summaries with commentary, MMSEA Sec. 111 User Guide, CMS’ MSP manual and memos, Glossary and Acronyms, Life tables, and more, all in one handbook.
MMSEA Section 111
One of the key chapters in the book focuses on MMSEA Section 111 reporting requirements. Among other things the author provides helpful practice tips and insightful commentary along with an explanation of who is required to report and when reporting is necessary. (WCxKit)
Liability Claims and the MSP
Another key chapter in the book addresses the concept of a liability Medicare set-aside arrangement (“LMSA”) and explains how to assess adequately the need for an LMSA. The author takes a no-nonsense approach by dispelling preconceived notions about MSA’s in general before moving into the heart of the issue to help you understand why and when an LMSA might be needed.
Case Commentaries
This book is the only resource I know of that traces the development of case law pertaining to the MSP and MMSEA. Included with each case write up is commentary by Jennifer C. Jordan, the Editor-in-Chief, whose straight-talk is much appreciated when it comes to this illusive area of the law. One recent case that interested me in particular was Seger v. Tank Connection, the first known case in which a federal district court had an opportunity to evaluate MMSEA issues and ruled in the defendant employer’s favor to compel an injured employer to respond to interrogatories about his eligibility for Medicare.
Taking Control of Insurance Settlements
If you want to take control of your insurance settlements, it’s imperative to understand “why CMS wants what it wants,” says the author. I believe this handbook will help both the novice and seasoned professional in their dealings with CMS and to realize that CMS’ preference is not always going to be the only way to achieve MSP compliance. (WCxKit)
For practitioners and consultants there are “practice points” and “special alerts” calling attention to potential pitfalls.
Pre-orders of the book. Click here to view the flyer and ordering information. According to the publisher, the books are scheduled to ship to customers in late October 2010.

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.
C
ontact:  RShafer@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com or 860-553-6604.  

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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.
 
©2010 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

Washington Coca-Cola Workers File Lawsuit

A group of Washington Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc. workers currently on strike filed a lawsuit stating their employer terminated their health benefits in violation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.

The suit filed in U.S. District Court
for the Western District of Washington in Seattle, claims health benefits were “wrongfully withheld from striking employees after they went on strike August 23, according to BusinessInsurance.com.

On or about August 24, 2010, Coca-Cola unilaterally and without notice or lawful authority ceased to permit or enable the class representatives and putative class members to make the employee contributions toward the cost of their coverage under the plan through monthly payroll deduction,” states the suit, which is looking for class action status on behalf of some 500 full-time Coca-Cola employees.
 
Moreover, Coca-Cola at no time communicated to employees the specific reasons for its termination of benefits and employee contributions, the suit asserts. Coca-Cola did not notify or otherwise inform employees of any right to, or process for, making a claim regarding or otherwise appealing Coca-Cola’s action. The class has therefore been denied access to any claims and/or appeal procedures that may exist under the plan.
 
The suit, filed August 27, also notes provisions of Coca-Cola Enterprises’ summary benefit plan description, it says states: “membership for you and your enrolled family members may be continued as long as you are employed by the employer and meet eligibility requirements. It ceases on the earliest of the date your employment ends, the date you no longer meet eligibility requirements . . . or you fail to make any required contribution toward the cost of your coverage. In any case, your coverage would end at the expiration of the period covered by your last contribution.
 
A notice from Coca-Cola Enterprises dated August 25 attached to the suit claims, We have received questions from some of you about your benefits. Your benefits have been terminated, effective August 24, 2010, because you are not working and thus no longer eligible for benefits. This is because the union has directed you to engage in this work stoppage. You will be receiving COBRA information in the mail this week that will detail how you can continue your benefits if you choose to pay the out-of-pocket cost. COBRA is a federal law that allows you to continue health benefits without interruption, but it will be entirely at your own expense. (WCxKit)
 
A Coke spokesman claims the union is putting out misinformation. Coke states the company is not punishing its employees and the striking workers’ premiums will not be subtracted from their last paycheck.
  \
 
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.

©2010 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact
Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

CANADA Death of Volunteer Firefighter Charged to Supervisor

Following the death of a volunteer firefighter, two supervisors were charged with three safety violations and four other charges each according to Ontario’s Ministry of Labor. (MoL)
The 51-year-old veteran volunteer firefighter died when he became trapped under a large ice flow during an ice-water rescue training exercise as reported by Canadian OH&S News.
Three charges under the Occupational Health and Safety Act were made against the Village of Point Edward, as an employer, for failing to take every reasonable precaution in the circumstances to ensure the protection of a worker, according to MoL spokesman, Matt Blajer. (WCxKit)
The two supervisors were charged with four counts each for failing, as supervisors, to take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances to ensure the protection of a worker.
Specifically, the village of Point Edward and each of the supervisors are charged with the following: failing to ensure adequate pre-training had been completed; failing to ensure there were an adequate number of rescuers on shore and adequate rescue equipment was provided and available; and failing to appoint a safety officer for the training exercise.
In addition, the supervisors have each been charged with failing to have an adequate training plan and an adequate pre-training briefing.
Barry Malmsten, the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs (OAFC's) executive director, points out that firefighter training exercises can be inherently dangerous due to the nature of the job. (WCxKit)
"The only way [firefighters] are really going to be able to cope with it when they hit an emergency and things are not controllable is you have to put them into those situations," Malmsten argues.
  \ 
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.  Contact: Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com  or 860-553-6604.
  
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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.
  
©2010 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact
 Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com 

It Is An Equal Opportunity World – Women Harass Men At Work

If someone said a person was being sexually harassed at work most people would assume it was a man harassing a woman. And, while it may be true for a majority of alleged sexual harassment cases, sometimes women harass men.

A non-profit corporation
, Management of a Mobile County, Ala., unlawfully retaliated against a male employee because he complained about being sexually harassed by a female supervisor, according to a lawsuit filed by the EEOC, filed after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement. (WCxKit)

According to the EEOC’s
lawsuit (Case No. CV-10-403) in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama, Mobile Community Action Inc., fired the man when he resisted sexually harassing behavior by a female supervisor. The male worker was fired after he reported the sexual harassment and requested a transfer in a letter to Executive Director of the corporation.

The EEOC seeks
back pay, compensatory and punitive damages as well as other relief, including a permanent injunction to prevent Mobile Community Action from retaliating against any employee for reporting harassment or discrimination.

“Unfortunately
, we see allegations of retaliation far too often,” said EEOC Birmingham District Director Delner Franklin-Thomas. “We will continue our efforts to let employers know that retaliation for complaining about discrimination violates the law.” (WCxKit)

“The Commission
supports employees being able to complain about conduct believed to be discriminatory without fear of reprisal. Retaliation is illegal,” C. Emanuel Smith, Regional Attorney for the EEOC’s Birmingham District Office, said.
  \ 
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.  Contact: Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com  or 860-553-6604.
  
 
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 Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com 

Arizona Company That Provides Services to Disabled Settles Lawsuit For Discriminating Against the Disabled

Creative Networks LLC, a company providing services to the disabled, agreed to pay $110,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The Arizona corporation with more than 1,000 employees, provides medical, psychological, and educational services to individuals with mental and physical disabilities.

 

The EEOC charged the company unlawfully retaliated against two coordinators on the same day for complaining about national origin and race discrimination and participating in an investigation about it.

 

According to the EEOC suit one coordinator went to the EEOC to file a charge of discrimination based on national origin and race. About 14 days later, the EEOC said, she was fired by the company’s executive director for filing the charge. (Case No. 05-CV-03032-PHX-SMM, filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona, on May 16, 2003).

 

Further, the agency charged, the executive director threatened to fire a second coordinator, who had never been disciplined for anything before, because she was named as a witness in the discrimination charges.

 

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects from retaliation both employees who complain about discrimination and those who serve as witnesses.

 

In addition to, the $110,000 in monetary relief, Creative Networks must adopt an anti-retaliation policy and provide anti-retaliation training to its employees. Creative Networks is also prohibited from engaging in any further retaliation. (workersxzcompxzkit)

Mary Jo O’Neill, regional attorney for the Phoenix District EEOC Office, said, “We will continue to vigorously protect employees who complain about discrimination or serve as witnesses to it because they are the lifeblood to effective enforcement. These civil rights statutes only mean something when people are free to tell the truth about discrimination in the workplace. We have seen an alarming increase in retaliation charges, and we are very concerned that employees know that they can report discrimination without repercussions.”
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, manufacturing, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality and manufacturing. Contact  Robert_Elliott@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com  or 860-553-6604.

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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.

©2010 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com

 

Mandatory Retirement Policy at Canadian University Ruled Discriminatory

A university policy  forcing employees over the age of 65 into mandatory retirement was revoked as age discrimination by a Prince Edward Island human rights panel.

According to the  Canadian OH&S News, on Feb. 18, 2010, the PEI Human Rights Commission (HRC) ruled in the favor of three former University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI) employees, who filed complaints against the institution in late 2005 and early 2006 for age discrimination.

When they turned 65, the three employees, a employed for 23 years; a professor of anthropology and sociology employed for 32 years; and a shipping and receiving worker with a 20-year employment record, were all told their last days of work would be at the end of the year.

The psychology professor  tried to file a complaint against the mandatory retirement policy in the mid-1990s, but was told he was not permitted because the policy did not yet affect him.

In the decision, the university argued that under Section 11 of the province's Human Rights Act (HRA), they were allowed to enforce mandatory retirement as a function of the university's pension plan.

However, the HRC struck down this claim, ruling that the policy "does not affect the operation of the pension plan" and the university failed to show a "mandatory retirement age is a 'genuine occupational qualification' or a 'genuine qualification,'" as required by the HRA. The panel gave the parties 45 days to review the decision and provide submissions for remedy.

"The main purpose  behind (the policy) for the university was one that had to do with our planning process and, more specifically, with the renewal of people in the university setting," said Peggy Leahey, UPEI's director of human resources. "You want new ideas coming through and changes," adding that retired faculty are often invited to stay involved with the university through teaching and research.

However, Jeffrey Goodman, a partner at the Heenan Blaikie law firm in Toronto, commented that this kind of justification for discrimination is why protective legislation exists in the first place. "The whole purpose of a human rights statute is to avoid people applying generalizations," he said. "Just because someone's new doesn't mean they'll have more ideas than a person who's been there for 20 years," he said adding that cases must still be looked at on an individual basis.

Goodman also pointed  to the tenure system in universities as potentially problematic in terms of dismissal, saying — "The tenure system is almost like being in a union," he stated. "It becomes very problematic to actually remove someone once they're a tenured professor, so they almost need to have the ability to make them retire, because the ability to do so for other reasons is almost restricted because of . . . the collective agreement between the professors and university."

One of the professors  said he was happy with the HRC's ruling, and looks forward to his eventual return to work. (workersxzcompxzkit)

"The implications aren't just for the teaching population. I think it's for all of Prince Edward Island – that workers cannot be fired simply because they've reached a certain age," he said. "As far as teaching goes, it means that the university may be able to hold onto its most experienced professors somewhat longer than they otherwise would have."

  \ Contact:  RShafer@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com   or 860-553-6604.

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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.

©2010 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com 

Guidelines to Prevent Workplace Violence and Harassment Added by European Trade Union Organizations

A series of guidelines designed to prevent and reduce cases of third-party violence and harassment in the workplace are endorsed by trade union organizations to help businesses, workers and union representatives implement these policies. The unions represented are public services, education, and services. Employer organizations represent hospitals, towns and regions, education and private security.

 


5 Areas of Consideration

 

  1. Varied violence. Such type of violence and harassment can take different forms, according to the social partners: physical, psychological, verbal or sexual, originate from an individual or a group, be a one-off incident or systematic, in a public or private space at work. It can also be variably serious and have different origins (mental, sexual, emotional unbalance); it can require the intervention of public authorities. The impact on the victims can be deep. Finally, it can occur on the Internet. )
  2. Health and safety policy. The guidelines list a series of measures to adopt to develop appropriate policies to prevent and reduce third-party harassment and violence. First, there is awareness raising among workers and executives. However, the social partners add the best approach is global and involves the social partners at all the stages of the procedure. Thus, employers should provide, within their health and safety policies, for a specific political framework for third-party harassment and violence. The document adds “risk assessments of workplaces and individual job functions should include an action-oriented assessment of the risks posed by third-parties.” Besides, third-party violence requires ad-hoc measures, tailored to each work environment, regularly updated and taking account of recent developments in legislation, technology, etc.
  3. Information. The document provides a clear-cut list of future policies for the prevention of violence and harassment at work. These include on-going information and consultation with managers, workers and their representatives; a clear definition of third-party violence and harassment, giving examples of different forms this can take; information to the public, outlining that harassment and violence towards employees will not be tolerated. There should also be a policy based on risk assessment taking into account the various occupations, locations and working practices, to design appropriate responses in case of known problems. This last point can entail: providing clear information to the public regarding procedures for third parties to express dissatisfaction and for such complaints to be investigated; provide employees with suitable tools for communication channels, monitoring, and security measures; or even sign cooperation agreements with the police, justice, social services and inspectorates. Besides, the guidelines add that training for management and employees may incorporate more specific skills such as techniques to avoid or manage conflict.
  4. Monitoring. The policies will also have to provide for a procedure to monitor and investigate allegations of harassment and/or violence from third parties and clear policies on the support to be provided to employees who are exposed to harassment and/or violence by third parties, medical, legal, and financial. The social partners add that the policies have to define procedures to report a crime or share information regarding perpetrators of third-party violence with the public authorities. Finally, the document focuses on the need to provide for transparent and effective procedures for monitoring and ensuring follow up of the policies put in place to ensure that the policy framework is well known and understood by management, workers and third-parties. (WCxKit)
  5. Follow-up. The European social partners call on the European Commission to actively support these guidelines and to organize workshops on the subject by the end of 2011. They also state that the national social partners will have to promote these guidelines, raise awareness to the issue of third-party violence and promote the exchange of information within their sector.

 

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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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WALES Farmers Warned of Safety Needs as Fatalities Increase in Agricultural Industry

Welsh farmers were urged to look out for themselves and each other during the Royal Welsh Show by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
HSE board member Sandy Blair noted, "Death and injury in farming shouldn't be accepted as 'part of the job'; that's a dangerously old-fashioned view of a modern industry.
"We all recognize how important agriculture is to the Welsh economy and environment, so it goes without saying that the safety of those farmers who dedicate their lives to it needs to be a priority."
His comments come in the wake of new figures from the Health and Safety Executive showing agriculture to be the most dangerous industry in Britain, with proportionately more work-related deaths than any other sector. (WCxKit)
Thirty-eight workers died while carrying out farm work in 2009/10, in contrast to 25 fatalities the previous year – a record low; and, marking a return to average levels of previous years, echoing comments Judith Hackitt, HSE Chair, made in address to the NFU Council., Blair urges agriculture to learn from other industries:
Urging agriculture to learn from other industries, Blair said, "We're very concerned about the performance in agriculture particularly when we look at the improvements we're seeing in every other industry. Ten years ago construction was considered a hazardous industry, but it's made real improvements for the better with the lowest ever level of fatalities this year.
"We alone as regulator cannot make farms safe.  A culture change, led by the industry, is necessary to help unsafe working practices become widely viewed in agricultural communities as unacceptable, not an inevitable part of farming life."
The biggest cause of fatal and major injury in Wales (all preventable) according to one official, are incidents involving the maintenance vehicles like tractors, ATVs, telehandlers and trailers, working at height during building maintenance, and those involving cattle. (WCxKit)
HSE also used the show to encourage farmers to “Make the Promise” to come home safe, as part of a wider program of activity in the agricultural sector to help reduce the numbers of people killed or injured on farms. To date, almost 2,400 Welsh farmers have made that pledge.
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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.
  
©2010 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact
 Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com 

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