5 Ways to Avoid Industrial Commission* Hearings

Employers and adjusters often inadvertently drive up the cost of workers compensation by not controlling the cost of litigated work comp claims that go before the judicial arm of the state’s work comp system.  A small portion of the workers compensation claims account for a disproportionate large amount of the cost of work comp.  These high cost claims almost always include an element of litigation. 

 
1- Avoid Lawyers 
Lawyers for employees are normally paid a percentage of the amount the employee receives.  This builds into the system an incentive for the lawyers to push up the cost of workers compensation. [WCx]
 
 
Employees do not normally hire attorneys out of greed (although a small percentage do). The usual reason an employee hires an attorney is the fear factor of not being able to support themselves and the family. Will the employer keep the job open for them, will the employer treat them differently from other employees, will the worker be able to get the medical care they need?
 
The best way to avoid attorneys is to communicate often and thoroughly with injured employees. Have an employee brochure, lanyard card instructions, weekly meetings, transitional duty meetings, include employees on transitional duty to office functions such as safety meetings, picnics, etc. Communicate, communicate, communicate – the more the better.  Medical triage nurses will convey a feeling of caring and compassion, as well as competency in the necessary medical information.
 
 
2- Get the Right Level of Medical Care QUICKLY
The employer who quickly arranges medical care for an injured employee and stays in contact with the injured employee throughout the medical recovery period has a much lower percentage of litigated workers compensation claims than the employer who abandons the employee when an injury occurs.  When the employer and the adjuster both answer all the questions of the injured employee quickly and honestly, the employee’s level of frustration, fear, uncertainty and anger all are diminished or eliminated.  This greatly reduces the employee’s perceived need to “hire a lawyer”.  If the employer does not answer all the employee’s questions when they are injured, the Yellow Pages are packed with attorneys willing to offer free consultations to answer those questions.
 
 
3- Invite the Employee Back to Work
In addition to complete and on-going communications with the employee, a solid Return to Work program will reduce the number of litigated claims.  Return to Work programs reduces litigated cases in two ways.  First, they remove the concern over the employee keeping his job and keeping his rate of pay.  Second, by keeping the employee physically active up to the limits of the medical provider’s imposed limitations, the employee is able to self-monitor the physical improvement, eliminating the concern about being able to return to the job.  Additionally, return to work programs keeps the employee from sitting at home watching TV and all the commercials for attorneys trying to play on the fears or the greed.
 
 
4- Make Sure Medical Bills Are Paid 
Employees are often concerned about the little things in the workers compensation claim that the employer takes for granted.  A lot of employees, especially younger employees and those who work in businesses that have few workers comp claims, may not know that all the medical expenses will be paid for by workers compensation. The injured employee should be told that all of the medical expenses, including prescriptions and diagnostic tests will be paid for them. The injured employee needs the reassurance that the medical cost will not come out of the pocket.  The injured employee should also be advised that the medical transportation cost will be reimbursed at the state’s set mileage reimbursement rate.
 
 
5-Don't Settle Too Quickly
One way employers inadvertently encourage employees to get an attorney is by paying a quick settlement to injured employees “to get rid of” the work comp claims.  A settlement that is larger than it should be is like blood in the water to sharks.  It will encourage employees to exaggerate legitimate claims and it will encourage employees of lower moral standards to make bogus claims.  Also, the quick settlement, especially if it is higher than it should be, will result in the employee boasting about how easy it was.  The best approach to the settlement of litigated claims is to pay what is fair and reasonable, even if requires higher defense attorney fees. [WCx]
 
 
While not being able to avoid all litigation in workers compensation, we recommend the use of these methods to significantly decrease the number of employees who file for a hearing before the judicial arm of your state work comp system.

*Also known as the Workers Compensation Bureau, the Department of Labor, the Department of Insurance, the Board of Workers Compensation, and other names


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

Lockout Tagout Violation Results in Crush Death at New York Company

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Metalico Rochester Inc. for alleged repeat and serious violations of workplace safety standards following the death of an employee at its 50 Portland Ave. recycling facility in Rochester, N.Y.
 
 
According to an OSHA report, the worker, who operated a large baler, was fatally crushed on June 4 when the machine unexpectedly activated while he was clearing material and he became caught between the baler's pusher block/ram and its return cavity.
 
 
The inspection by OSHA's Buffalo Area Office found that the company had not developed and used procedures to lock out the baler's power source and also did not provide workers with the required training on those procedures. OSHA's hazardous energy control standard requires that machines be shut down and their power sources locked or tagged out to prevent them from activating while workers are cleaning or performing maintenance on them. (WCxKit)
 
 
OSHA had cited Metalico Rochester Inc. in March 2010 for similar hazards at a Pittsburgh, Pa., location. The recurrence of those conditions in this case resulted in citations for two repeat violations. A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. Additionally, one serious violation was cited for not providing safe access to the baler. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
 
 
"One means by which employers can prevent new and recurring hazards is for them to work proactively and cooperatively with their employees to develop, implement and effectively maintain an illness and injury prevention program," said Robert Kulick, OSHA's regional director in New York. [WCx]
 
 
Detailed information on controlling hazardous energy, including an interactive E Tool, is available for workers and employers online at: http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/controlhazardousenergy/index.html.
 
 
Proposed penalties total $73,300. Metalico Rochester Inc. has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply with OSHA's Buffalo area director or contest the findings to the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
 
Product liability issues: In cases such as this involving lack of machine guarding and lack of warnings and/or training, adjusters must look carefully for potential to bring in additional parties to cover the loss costs such as machinery manufacturer's with potential responsibility for designing unsafe or defective equipment. If a safer design is available for a machine or it's guarding system, the manufacturer has the responsibility to do so; they must  "design out" the defects not just issue a warning about the defect. Simply slapping a warning on a product with inherent defects will not save the responsible party from being held responsible.
 


Author Robert Elliott
, executive vice president, Amaxx Risk 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. He is an editor and contributor to Workers Compensation Management Program: Reduce Costs 20% to 50%. Contact: Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

 


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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.

 

©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.

OSHA Finds Two Employers Exposed with Hazards

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports it cited American Railcar Industries. Inc., headquartered in Saint Charles, Mo., for 10 serious safety violations after an employee was electrocuted while performing repair work on a tanker-style railcar July 25 at the company's work site near Marmaduke, Ark.


"Exposing workers to electrocution hazards without proper safeguards and training is inexcusable," said Carlos Reynolds, the agency's area director in Little Rock. "It is the employer's responsibility to create a safe and healthful workplace where preventable hazards don't cost workers their lives."(WcxKitz)


Upon receiving a fatality report from the employer, OSHA's Little Rock Area Office initiated an investigation July 26 at the company's facility on Highway 34 East and found that workers were being exposed to electrical shocks from welding equipment.


The violations include failing to provide personal protection for employees conducting cutting and welding operations; properly mark the power supply and control boxes for voltage, current and wattage; use fixed wiring instead of flexible cords and protect the wiring from possible damage; remove defective electrical equipment from service; and inspect and mark web slings. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known. Proposed penalties total $61,400


American Railcar Industries, which employs about 260 workers at the Marmaduke facility and about 1,500 workers nationwide, designs and manufactures railcars.(WcxKitz)


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

 

 

Pennsylvania Employer Fined for Exposing Workers to Hazards 

 

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently cited QG LLC for eight serious violations of the process safety management standards at its Atglen facility in response to an employee complaint. Proposed penalties total $54,000.

 
"Process safety management prevents the unexpected release of toxic, reactive or flammable liquids and gases in processes involving highly hazardous chemicals," said Albert D'Imperio, OSHA's area director in Philadelphia. "It's vital that QG ensure safeguards are in place to protect the safety of workers at this facility." (WCxKit)
 

The serious citations issued for the process safety management standard violations include failing to provide information pertaining to the equipment being used, establish written operating procedures and safe work practices, conduct employee training, conduct a pre-start up safety review, implement written procedures for ongoing integrity, develop procedures for management of change, certify that compliance was evaluated at least every three years, and ensure that installations of equipment in hazardous locations were intrinsically safe or approved for the hazardous location.

 

A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
 

OSHA's standards contain specific requirements for the management of hazards associated with processes using dangerous chemicals. Additional information is available online at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/processsafetymanagement/index.html.
 

Headquartered in North Haven, Conn., QG LLC is a web offset printing company with approximately 240 employees at its Atglen site. (WCxKit)
 

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

 
 
Author Robert Elliott, executive vice president, Amaxx Risk 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. He is an editor and contributor to Workers Compensation Management Program: Reduce Costs 20% to 50%. Contact: Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.
 
 
 
2012 NEW WORKERS COMP MANAGEMENT GUIDEBOOK:  www.WCManual.com
 
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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.
 
©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.

OSHA Review Upholds Citations against Connecticut Contractor

The independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission has upheld willful and serious citations and $137,200 in fines issued by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Commission to Sand Cut Properties LLC, a Danbury, Conn., contractor.
 
 
According to information from OSHA, the agency cited Sand Cut Properties in November 2008 after inspectors at a Brookfield, Conn., work site found an employee working in a collapsing 6- to 9-foot-deep excavation that lacked cave-in protection and had piles of excavated materials overhanging its edge as well as water seeping into its bottom. The employee was exposed to an additional crushing hazard when he exited the excavation by riding in the bucket of an excavator. The citations and fines reflected the seriousness of the violations and the employer's knowledge of and failure to prevent the cave-in hazards. (WCxKit)
 
 
The company contested the willful violations cited and accompanying fines to the review commission in December 2008. A hearing was held before Administrative Law Judge Dennis Phillips on June 28, 2011. On Sept. 22, Judge Phillips issued a decision affirming the citations and ordering Sand Cut Properties to pay $137,200 in fines. The decision will become a final order on Nov. 10 if Sand Cut does not appeal to the commission.
 
 
"This was an imminent danger situation that could have resulted in a fatality and should not have existed in the first place," said Marthe Kent, OSHA's New England regional administrator. "This decision should remind employers in Connecticut and elsewhere that failing to supply basic, common sense and legally required safeguards will result in financial and legal consequences, just as employees face the consequences of death or disabling injuries when such safeguards are absent from their workplaces." (WCxKit)
 
 
"The U.S. Department of Labor will actively pursue the appropriate legal measures to protect the lives and well-being of America's workers when their employers fail to do so," added Michael Felsen, the Labor Department's regional solicitor for New England.
 
 
Author Robert Elliott, executive vice president, Amaxx Risk 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.
 
 

2012 is here!  WORKERS COMP PROGRAM:  www.WCManual.com
 
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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.
 
©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.

Dept of Labor Proposes Updates to Child Labor Regulations

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is proposing revisions to child labor laws that will strengthen safety requirements for young workers in agriculture and related fields. The regulations that bar them from certain tasks under the Fair Labor Standards Act have not been updated since they were created in 1970.
 
 
According to a report from the DOL, the plan would strengthen current child labor regulations prohibiting agricultural work with animals and in pesticide handling, timber operations, manure pits, and storage bins. It would prohibit farm workers under 16 from participating in the cultivation, harvesting, and curing of tobacco. And it would ban youth in agricultural and nonagricultural employment from using electronic devices while operating power-driven equipment. (WCxKit)
 
 
The Department is also proposing to prevent children under 18 from storing, marketing, and transporting farm product raw materials. Prohibited places of employment would include grain elevators, grain bins, silos, stockyards, and livestock exchanges and auction. The revisions would prohibit farm workers under 16 from operating almost all power-driven equipment.
 
 
Noting the vulnerability of children working in agriculture Labor Secretary Hilda Solis stated, “Ensuring their welfare is a priority of the department, and this proposal is another element of our comprehensive approach.”
 

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.
 
Our WORKERS COMP BOOK:  www.WCManual.com
 
WORK COMP CALCULATOR:  www.LowerWC.com/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.
 
©2011 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact

Reduction Seen in U.S. Workplace and Illnesses

The U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported non-fatal workplace injuries and illnesses among private industry employers declined in 2010 to a rate of 3.5 cases per 100 equivalent full-time workers, down from a total case rate of 3.6 in 2009.
 
 
According to the Department’s report, nearly 3.1 million injuries and illnesses were reported among private sector industry employers in 2010, down from 3.3 million reported in 2009. (WCxKit)
 
 
Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis noted, "We are encouraged by the reported decline in incidence rates for workplace injuries and illnesses, which is reflective of the joint effort of government, business, unions, and other organizations. Nevertheless, 3.1 million injuries and illnesses in the workplace are too high. Serious injuries and illnesses can knock a working family out of the middle class. Workers should not have to sacrifice their health and safety to earn a paycheck.
 
 
"We remain concerned that more workers are injured in the health care and social assistance industry sector than in any other, including construction and manufacturing, and this group of workers had one of the highest rates of injuries and illness at 5.2 cases for every 100 workers. The Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration will continue to work with employers, workers and unions in this industry to reduce these risks.”
 
 
According to Solis, illness and injury rates for public sector workers also continue to be alarmingly high at 5.7 cases for every 100 workers, which is more than 60 percent higher than the private sector rate. (WCxKit)
 
 
"A report like this also highlights the importance of accurate record keeping,” Solis added. “Employers must know what injuries and illnesses are occurring in their workplaces in order to identify and correct systemic issues that put their workers at risk. We are concerned with poor record-keeping practices and programs that discourage workers from reporting injuries and illnesses. That's why OSHA is working hard to ensure the completeness and accuracy of these data, which are compiled by the nation's employers.”
 
 
Author Robert Elliott, executive vice president, Amaxx Risk 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.
 
 
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. She is the author of the #1 selling book on cost containment, Manage Your Workers Compensation: Reduce Costs 20-50% . Contact: RShafer@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.
 

WORKERS COMP MANAGEMENT BOOK:  www.WCManual.com
 
WORK COMP CALCULATOR:  www.LowerWC.com/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.
 
©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

OSHA Cites Retail Grocery Chain’s Bakery Section for Unhealthy Worker Conditions

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently cited Wegmans Food Markets Inc. for alleged repeat and serious violations of workplace safety standards at the company's corporate bakery and distribution center in Rochester, N.Y.
 
 
According to a report from OSHA, the retail grocery chain faces a total of $195,200 in proposed fines, chiefly for inadequate safeguards, to prevent the unintended startup of machinery during maintenance. (WCxKit)
 
 
OSHA's hazardous energy control, or lockout/tagout, standard mandates that machines be shut down and the power sources locked out before workers perform maintenance. The standard also requires proper procedures, training and equipment to ensure that machines cannot be unintentionally activated and seriously injure workers performing maintenance on machines.
 
 
Inspections by OSHA's Buffalo area office found that Wegmans failed to develop, utilize and follow lockout/tagout procedures and to adequately train workers on hazards and procedures related to lockout/tagout hazards at this facility. OSHA had cited Wegmans in 2007 and 2010 for similar hazards at Wegmans locations in Rochester, so these recurring hazards resulted in citations for four repeat violations with $140,000 in proposed fines. A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. (WCxKit)
 
 
 
OSHA also identified electrical, machine guarding, mechanical and ventilation hazards related to ovens in the bakery, and a fall hazard in the distribution center. These conditions resulted in citations for nine serious violations with $55,200 in fines. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
 
 
Author Robert Elliott, executive vice president, Amaxx Risk 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.
 
 

Our WORKERS COMP BOOK:  www.WCManual.com
 
WORK COMP CALCULATOR:  www.LowerWC.com/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.
 
©2011 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact

OSHA Cites Employer for Exposing Workers to Lead Hazards

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently cited Crown Battery Manufacturing Co. in Fremont, Ohio for three health violations relating to exposing employees to lead hazards. The company faces penalties totaling $97,000 following an inspection according to an OSHA report.
 
 
"Repeatedly failing to take basic safety precautions to protect workers from known workplace hazards such as lead is unacceptable," said Kimberly Nelson, OSHA's area director in Toledo. "Employers are responsible for knowing what hazards exist in their workplaces and ensuring  workers are not exposed to risks that could result in injury or death." (WCxKit)
 
 
One willful violation, with a proposed penalty of $55,000, was cited for allowing employees to dry sweep in areas where lead is used and processed. OSHA standards require lead to be removed by a vacuum with a High-Efficiency Particulate Air filter or other equally effective method. A willful violation is one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements  or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.
 
 
One repeat violation, with a proposed penalty of $35,000, involves multiple incidents of overexposing employees to lead and lacking engineering controls for lead exposure. A repeat violation exists when an employer previously was cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. Prior to this most recent inspection, Crown Battery Manufacturing was inspected by OSHA 21 times since 1974, and  issued 23 final order citations for violations of the lead standard and four for lack of engineering controls due to lead overexposure. Those four citations were issued in 1980, 1981, 2005 and 2009.
 
 
One serious violation, with a proposed penalty of $7,000, was cited for failing to test the under-the-hook lifting device and mark its capacity. The device is used to lift lead  weighing approximately 330 pounds and not testing or marking the device exposed employees to struck-by hazards. (WCxKit)
 
 
A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
 

Author Robert Elliott, executive vice president, Amaxx Risk 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.


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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.
 
©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.

8 Point 44 Million Dollar Grants for Mine Health and Safety Training Noted by OSHA

The U.S. Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration recently announced that it has allocated $8,441,000 in health and safety training grants for fiscal year 2011.
 
 
According to MSHA, grantees will use the funds to provide federally mandated training to miners. The grants cover training and retraining of miners working at surface and underground coal, and metal and nonmetal, mines, including miners engaged in shell dredging or employed at surface stone, sand and gravel mining operations. (WCxKit)
 
 
Funds have been awarded to 47 states and the Navajo Nation, which had to apply for the grants. They are administered by state mine inspectors offices, state departments of labor, and state-supported colleges and universities. Each recipient tailors the program to the needs of its mines and miners, and also provides technical assistance.
 
 
The state grants program was authorized by the Coal Mine Health and Safety Act of 1969. States first received funding to provide health and safety training to miners in 1971.
 
 
Under these grants, in addition to health and safety training, some states offer training for mine operators specifically on compliance with health and safety standards, as well as training for miners on their rights under the law and for mine rescue teams on being prepared in the event of a mine emergency.
 
 
Author Robert Elliott, executive vice president, Amaxx Risk 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.

Our WORKERS COMP BOOK:  www.WCManual.com
 
 

 

WORK COMP CALCULATOR:  www.LowerWC.com/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.
 
©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.

OSHA Orders Metro North to Promote, Pay Worker Cheated By Injury Misclassification

 
An investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) found the Metro North Commuter Railroad Co. discriminated against an employee by classifying his on-the-job injury as not being work-related and denying him a promotion.
 
 
According to an OSHA report, the agency ordered the railroad, which provides commuter rail service in Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey, to take corrective action by promoting the worker and paying him $125,000 in punitive damages, $5,000 in compensatory damages and $11,651 in legal and medical expenses. The railroad also must pay him the difference between his current rate of pay and that of the new position, plus interest, and correct its records to show his injury as work-related.(WCxKit)
 
 
Additionally, Metro North must post a notice to employees at all 120 of its stations of their protections under the Federal Railroad Safety Act (FRSA) as well as provide all employees with an FRSA fact sheet and information on reporting work-related injuries and illnesses.
 
 
The worker filed a complaint with OSHA in October 2008 after Metro North classified his July 2008 injury as not work-related even though it occurred on the job, which forced him to pay out-of-pocket for injury-related medical expenses. Metro North notified the worker in November 2008 that he was not selected for a promotion for which he had previously applied. That decision was based in part on the worker's injury record, which should not have been considered in evaluating the promotion request. OSHA's investigation determined that both the injury misclassification and the promotion denial constituted discrimination against the worker.
 
 
Metro North and the complainant each have 30 days from receipt of the findings to file an appeal with the Labor Department's Office of Administrative Law Judges.(WCxKit)
 
 
Under the FRSA, employees of a railroad carrier and its contractors and subcontractors are protected against retaliation for reporting on-the-job injuries, reporting certain safety and security violations, and cooperating with investigations by OSHA and other regulatory agencies.

 
Author Robert Elliott, executive vice president, Amaxx Risk 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.

 
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.

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