Important Fatalities Number Shows Decline, Overall Injuries Increase in Singapore

Fatalities, Major Injuries, Days Lost All See Decreases

 

A new report on Singapore indicates the number of workplace fatalities and major injuries has dropped in the first half this year.

 

According to the latest Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Statistics Report, there were 26 workplace fatalities over the first six months of 2012, a decrease from 31 in the same period last year.

 

There were 246 cases of major injuries, a slight decrease of 3 percent compared to the same period last year. This contributed to a 6 percent dip in man-days lost due to work incidents.

 

 

Minor Injuries See 11.3% Increase

 

As for minor injuries, there were 5,001 cases, or a 11.3 percent jump compared to the same period last year.

 

Overall workplace injuries – which includes fatalities – grew by 10.4 percent.

 

Occupational diseases (ODs) also increased by nearly 67 percent to 603, from 360 over the same period last year. The most common OD (89 percent) is noise-induced deafness followed by occupational skin diseases. The manufacturing sector continued to tally the largest number of OD cases, accounting for 51 percent of total ODs, up from 39 percent of cases as at end June last year.

 

 

Construction, Marine, and Manufacturing See Decreases in Fatalities

 

The Construction, Marine and Manufacturing sectors saw a drop in the number of fatalities.

 

There were 17 fatalities, compared to 25 in the same period last year. However these three sectors saw an increase in major injuries (8 percent) and minor injuries (25 percent).

 

Other sectors (including accommodation, food services, waste management, logistics and transport) contributed to about 35 percent of total work fatalities in the first half of this year, up from 19 percent in the same period last year.

 

Many of these cases were slips, trips and falls from heights as well as workers struck by moving or falling objects.

 

As for major injuries, these sectors witnessed a 14 percent decline while minor injuries saw a marginal 2 percent increase. The logistics and transport, accommodation and food services as well as health sectors accounted for 13 percent of major injuries.

 

 

<pAuthor 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.

 


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©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.

 

Is Playing Cards Like Having Sex on The Job

The Australian News reports a public servant injured while having sex with an acquaintance on a business trip is allowed workers’ compensation. The article, here, notes the woman was in a motel room and suffered facial and psychological injuries when a glass light fitting came away from the wall above the bed as she was having sex in November 2007. An article on aoljobs, details the woman injured her face, nose and tooth.
 
 
In the report, the News notes, Sydney Federal Court Justice John Nicholas concluded that the injuries were suffered by the woman in the course of her employment. “The judge set aside the decision made by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, which upheld the rejection by ComCare, the federal government workplace safety body. He said the tribunal erred in finding it was necessary for the woman to show she had been taking part in an activity which led to her injury ‘which was expressly or impliedly induced or encouraged by her employer.’"
 
 
 
“If the applicant had been injured while playing a game of cards in her motel room she would have been entitled to compensation," the News article goes on to say, "even though it could not be said her employer induced or encouraged that activity. In the absence of any misconduct or an intentionally self-inflicted injury, the fact that the applicant was engaged in sexual activity rather than some other lawful recreational activity does not lead to any different result.”
 
 
The aol article by reporter Claire Gordon says the worker filed for workers' compensation with Australia's federal government's safety agency ComCore, which says its compensation scheme ‘covers any injury or illness arising ‘out of and in the course of employment. .. This includes coverage for journeys and for ordinary recesses and breaks."  [WCx]
 
 
Gordon writes, “But that doesn't mean employees in this country should go out and have vigorous sex on business trips, in the hope of a paid vacation. U.S. worker's compensation law is a little more strict, covering only injuries that occur while a person is carrying out their job duties.”
 


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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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.

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Pair of Australian Employers Fined after Man Suffers Permanent Fall Injuries

Two Australian companies and two of their directors have been fined a total of $512,500 and ordered to pay WorkCover New South Wales’ legal costs after a man fell from the roof of a large shopping center redevelopment in Merrylands, sustaining severe and permanent injuries.
 
 
H Hassarati and Co Pty Ltd (Hassarati) was a demolition and excavation company and BU Hazardous Material and Demolition Pty Ltd (BU Hazardous) was an asbestos and general demolition company, both based in Sydney. The companies were part of the major redevelopment of the Stockland Shopping Centre in Merrylands. (WCxKit)
 
 
The construction company engaged for the redevelopment subcontracted the demolition works to Hassarati, who then subcontracted BU Hazardous to help it with some of the work, including the removal of roof sheeting and insulation.
 
 
The accident occurred when a 56-year-old worker was manually removing roof sheeting and insulation from a building without a harness when he slipped and fell almost eight meters, hitting an air-conditioning duct before landing on the concrete floor below. The man sustained serious and permanent injuries.
 
The investigation found:
 
1.     The defendant did not have enough safety harnesses and inertia reels harnesses for all of the employees required to work on the roof. As a result BU Hazardous did not provide the injured person or other employees working on the inner section of the roof with harnesses.
2.     There were no adequate safety instructions or training provided for working from heights to employees.
3.     There was no system in place to make sure all workers were provided with a harness at all times while on the roof.
4.     Both companies had failed to properly supervise and instruct their staff. (WCxKit)
 
Both companies were charged with breaches to the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2000.
 
BU Hazardous was convicted and fined $300,000 and its director Bo Ung was convicted and fined $30,000. Hassarati was convicted and fined $175,000 and its director Paul John Hassarati was convicted and fined $7,500.

 

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 WORKERS COMP MANAGEMENT GUIDEBOOK is here:  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.

Manitoba Focuses in on Workplace Violence

Workplace safety is set to get a boost as changes to Manitoba's occupational health and safety provisions will soon make it mandatory for employers to implement violence-prevention policies, according to a report from Canada OH&S News.
 
 
Employers in specific sectors will be required to monitor, track, and report annually on violent incidents in the workplace. They will have to put in place procedures enabling employees to get immediate help when a violent or threatening situation occurs. Employers can also release personal information when deemed necessary to protect employees from the risk of violence, according to Joe Czech, a spokesman for Manitoba Labour and Immigration in Winnipeg.(WCxKit)
 
 
The changes cover the following sectors: health care, security, policing, corrections, crisis counseling and intervention, financial, pharmaceutical, education, and public transit and taxicab services. Workplaces that are not included in the elevated risk category will still be required to assess the risk of violence. "If a risk is identified, the employer must put in place measures to protect their workers," Czech said.
 
 
The new rules are based on recommendations from the Minister's Advisory Council on Workplace Safety and Health, and consultations with a number of stakeholders, including representatives from the health care sector.
 
 
Sandi Mowat, president of the Manitoba Nurses Union (MNU) in Winnipeg – which partnered with the provincial labor department to address the issue of workplace violence in health care facilities – said she is "very pleased with the changes." Findings from MNU focus groups investigating the extent of workplace violence incidents in the sector indicates many of these incidents are underreported, Mowat said.
 
 
In her blog entry for Working Families Manitoba, a community campaign launched by the Manitoba Federation of Labor to raise awareness of issues of concern to workers and their families, Mowat cites research that health care providers are victims of violence at an increasing rate. National studies also show that 48 percent of all non-fatal injuries from occupational assaults and violent acts occur in health care and social service settings.
 
 
"This fact is extremely alarming to us, since nurses were identified as the most likely of all health care workers to be assaulted," she writes.
 
 
With the regulatory amendments, it becomes clear that health care providers can flag a patient’s file who has exhibited violent behavior in the past. This measure, which also applies to mental health patients, will make information more readily available to the caregivers concerned, Mowat said.
 
 
"Health care workers, and in particular nurses, have a right to know if this individual has put a health care provider at risk in the past," she said. While existing regulations have provisions enabling health care providers to flag patients with violent tendencies, "most employers didn't do it because they believe that it was a breach of confidentiality," Mowat said.
 
 
A system to annually review and report violent incidents, which will include results of investigations and the measures taken, will help ensure that such occurrences cannot be ignored. "Literature does say that in places where the incidents were tracked, there was a decrease in those incidents," Mowat said.(WCxKit)
 
 
In addition, changes to the provincial employment standards regulation will require police services to provide adequate transportation home, within the boundaries of a city or town, to members who have to work after midnight and before 6 a.m. The move, notes Czech, is aimed at reducing the risk to law enforcement members from potentially violent situations while commuting to or from work during late-night shifts.

 
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.


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©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.

Occupational Low Back Pain Causes, Workplace Solutions and Treatment Options

Authors: Brian Anderson DC, CCN, MPH and David C. Radford, DC, MSc

 

 

Employers are unlikely to find another issue that leads to more absenteeism and detracts from productivity in the workplace more than occupational low back pain (LBP). This, the first in a series of articles, introduces the ubiquity of this problem in the workplace, what solutions are effective in addressing it, and what treatment options can be most successfully employed when workers do injure their low backs.

 

 

In order to understand the scope of this problem, it is worthwhile to discuss some statistics related to occupational LBP.

 

  • Occupational LBP is the largest single health problem related to work absenteeism, and the  most common cause of incapacity among workers younger than forty-five years old.
  • Worldwide, 37% of LBP was attributed to occupation.
  • 1% of the US population is permanently disabled from this problem.
  • Occupational LBP accounts for 68% of sick days and 76% of sick leave payment costs in some industries.

 

As is obvious from the above statistics, LBP consistently creates huge expenditures and time loss from work. Employees whose job involves lifting, bending, twisting or repetitive spinal movements are most at risk for these injuries. This type of LBP is classified as kinetic or dynamic overload injury. Due to the nature of LBP, these workers are also more likely to need extended time off work when suffering a low back injury. Transitionally, they may also need modified duty for a period of time on their return to work.

 


Ergonomic interventions
, which will be addressed in part two of this series, are crucial for the prevention of occupational LBP. Acute LBP is almost never related to one specific event, but rather is the culmination of a long history of improper mechanics and micro-trauma to the spine. As apposed to kinetic injury, static or postural LBP is also a huge problem for “desk jockeys,” or those who sit for prolonged periods of time. Lack of movement can sometimes be as detrimental as too much movement.

 

To summarize, the risk factors for occupational LBP are:

 

  • cumulative traumas;
  • dynamic activity-trunk flexion and rotation, heavy physical work, bending or squatting, lifting or carrying loads;
  • long work shifts without pauses;
  • static and inadequate postures.

 

 

Workers suffering low back injuries can be divided into three groups: work being the primary cause of LBP; work being one of many contributing factors related to LBP; and those with a preexisting back injury which may be aggravated by work. Those workers who fall into the latter category should be very carefully monitored. There will always be cases of occupational LBP that cannot be predicted or even prevented, but a worker with a previous history of LBP does not fall into this category. Matching the worker to the job is a crucial prevention strategy, which will be discussed in part two of this series.

 

 

What should be most concerning to employers, and is likely the most important reason for intervention, is preventing acute low back pain from becoming a chronic problem. There is plenty of data to suggest that most acute low back pain is self-limiting. With or without treatment, many cases of acute low back pain resolve in a few weeks. There are, however, two issues that should be of concern regarding occupational LBP; recurrence and chronicity. The recurrence rate of low back pain is 30-60% within 1-2 years.

 

 

There are also some documented risk factors for developing chronic LBP after an acute injury which employers and health care providers should be aware of. These are:

 

  • dissatisfaction with work
  • physical inactivity/obesity
  • low vitamin D levels
  • smoking
  • performing heavy lifting
  • depression
  • being involved in litigation
  • educational level

 

 

In part three of this series, we will discuss treatment options designed to prevent chronic low back pain.

 

 

If employers are not actively working with their company nurses and doctors developing strategies and programs to address and prevent occupational LBP, hopefully they will after reading this series of articles. Next time we will address programs and interventions targeting primary and secondary prevention of occupational LBP. Stay tuned!

 

 

Resources:

 

  1. Estimating the global burden of low back pain attributable to combined occupational exposures – http://www.who.int/quantifying_ehimpacts/global/5lowbackpain.pdf
  2. Occupational low back pain: Rev Assoc Med Bras 2010; 56(5): 583-9
  3. Preventing Occupational Low-Back Pain. West J Med 1988 Feb; 148:235
  4. Can We Identify People at Risk of Non-recovery after Acute Occupational Low Back Pain? Results of a Review and Higher-Order Analysis. Physiother Can. 2010;62:9 –16
  5. Designing a workplace return to work program for occupational low back pain: an intervention mapping approach. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2009 10:65
  6. Liebenson, C. Rehabilitation of the Spine- A Practitioners manual, 2ndedition. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

 

 

Dr. Anderson works as a supervising clinician and instructor at National University of Health Sciences in Lombard IL. He has been in private practice, as well as part of a team in a University based Integrative Medicine setting. In addition, Dr. Anderson has experience in the medico-legal field, serving as an expert for various insurance companies and legal firms. He earned a Masters Degree in Public Health, as well as a Certified Clinical Nutritionist designation. He is currently working toward a specialty diplomate in Functional Rehabilitation. Contact Dr. Anderson for more information at banderson@nuhs.edu

 

 

Dr. Radford is in private practice. He is a third generation Doctor of Chiropractic Medicine. He earned a Master’s Degree in Advanced Clinical Practice and he provides conservative primary care. He has treated work related injuries for more than 30 years. Dr. Radford has found that treating the co-morbidities that often accompany injured workers like obesity, medication overuse, and addiction lead to a more complete recovery. He was a founding member of the Cleveland Orthopaedic and Spine Hospital, Cleveland, Ohio. Contact for more information at DCR8888@aol.com or (440)-248-8888.

 

 

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©2011 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact

 

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.

Asian Workplace Deaths Up Slightly and Noise Induced Deafness Has Increased Reporting

Workplace fatalities increased slightly over the first half of the year as compared to the same period last year, according to the latest Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Report released by the Singapore-based WSH Council.
 
 
From 25 during the first half of 2010, 30 fatalities were recorded from January to June 2011. Fall from height remained the leading type of incident since 2006, which resulted in 13 fatalities, followed by being struck by moving objects, which killed five. Three fatalities were attributed to being struck by a falling object caused by a collapse or failure of structure and equipment. (WCxKit)
 
 
Other causes of death are being caught in/between objects, fires and explosions, crane-related accidents, electrocution, and oxygen deficiency in a confined space.
 
 
Seventy-seven percent of fatalities came from the three traditional sectors – Marine, Construction and Manufacturing. These sectors also accounted for about 78 per cent of permanent disablements and occupational diseases. However, in terms of less serious injuries or temporary disablements (TD), they account for about 41 percent of 4,697 cases.
 
 
Meanwhile, the overall number of workplace injuries fell by 8 percent and permanent disablements fell by 37 percent. Some 43 percent of temporary disablements, which decreased slightly, include incidents like employees tripping in cluttered work areas and sustaining injuries or being struck by heavy objects while retrieving them from shelves.
 
 
Chairman of the WSH Council, Lee Tzu Yang, noted "Although the number of workplace injuries has been declining by 5 percent to 8 percent over the last two years, we can see that we cannot afford to relax. … The Council is committed to getting everyone on board, and we can only succeed if employers want to ensure their employees' safety and take concrete measures to improve.
 
 
"Employees in turn need to follow the safety rules, learn to be aware of risks and look out for each other. Everyone must put safety first, and I include offices, wholesale and retail companies, which form part of the new sectors that account for 40 percent of workplace incidents."
 
 
The number of occupational diseases went up from 124 in 2010 to 361 in 2011, primarily due to the increased reporting of Noise-Induced Deafness (NID) related cases. More NID cases were reported following an island-wide audit exercise by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM).
 
 
Of the 315 NID cases reported, only one was in the advanced stage. The other 314 cases are in their early stages. Excluding NID cases, the number of occupational diseases in the first half of 2011 was 46 compared to 37 over the same period last year. (WCxKit)
 
 
In response to this, the WSH Council has developed materials to assist employers of workers who may be exposed to noisy work environments.

 
 
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
 
 

 

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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.

5 Ways an Aging Workforce Can Lead to Risk and Reward

 

According to data on labor-force participation from the U.S. Current Population Survey available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics between 2005 and 2010, the number of employees in the U.S. aged 55 to 64 increased 52%. So if an employer has a majority of its workforce in this age range, it is reasonable to say there is an associated risk. But there are positives as well. Below we discuss these issues — positive and negative.
 
 
1. An older workforce at your plant can lead to fewer claims
Many smaller employers and plants can have a great loss run report. Workplaces with a loyal workforce and little turnover in a smaller facility can run well. A smaller plant may have only two to three dozen employees. A majority of these workers likely have been employees for over 15-20 years and remain loyal. They have survived buyouts, layoffs, decreased demand, and economic woes. They took the layoffs and returned back to work when needed. They did whatever tasks  were asked of them. They know how to do multiple jobs, run multiple machines, and handle different orders as needed. (WCxKit)
 
 
These senior-level workers are reliable. They do the safety checks. They can run and maintain their machines in their sleep. They rarely get injured because of years of practicing safety standards. They know not to cut corners.  When one of these workers is injured, they want to get back to work. But often this generation of worker has complicated injuries.
 
 
2. But when older workers are injured it leads to longer, more severe claims
This senior-level workforce often makes high wages.  When they get injured, the wage loss component can account for a big cost associated with lost-time comp claims. Being off work for a month can cost two to three times more than the associated medical costs. By keeping a light duty work program in place, employers can save some expenses.
 
 
Shoulder, knee, and back injuries can be particularly severe and often  require surgery. These body parts withstand decades of work-related wear and tear. The adjuster has to determine if the injury is work related or due to non-occupational factors. Levels of arthritis, degenerative disc disease, and degenerative ligament tearing are factors. What the employee was doing during the injury is also key. Is this a repetitive motion injury or an acute injury? Or is this an injury related to age that happens to occur in the workplace? The golden rule of workers comp is “Just because an injury happens at work does not mean it is actually caused by work duties.”
 
 
If an employee’s back gives out at work, this does not necessarily equate to full granted workers compensation benefits. The adjuster must do a complete, thorough, and often long investigation to maintain ethical accuracy. As long as the adjuster is given all the information needed and questions answered, the correct judgment will be made.
 
 
Older employees may feel an injury is work related. After all they have never had a claim or a surgery until now. Now they are off work and frustrated with the recovery process. They are afraid of surgery. And if the claim is denied, legal costs can mount. This high level of employee will fight, and  will not take a workers compensation denial lightly. Especially if the employee feels entitled to benefits after all the years on the job. These employees will often obtain legal counsel to explore options, so the adjuster must cover all bases.  
 
 
3. Identify issues and reduce risk
While older workers generally have fewer workplace injuries, they are often more costly to treat. In addition, they tend to be away from work almost twice as long as their younger coworkers. By understanding the aging process and its impact on workers comp claims, adjusters and employers can help better protect employees from injury. Risks and trends should be identified on the work floor. As previously mentioned, tailoring workstations to your workers to encourage safety and production is crucial. Talking to workers to help the employer identify issues before they become a potential hazard is a positive way to use worker feedback.
 
 
4. New technology can spike claims so focus on retraining and safety
New technology can cause frustration and disruption to a daily work routine the worker has done for years. The employee may not be open to this at first. So training and safety are even more crucial. Without it, injuries can and will occur. Follow up with consistent training to reduce the risk and threat of injury.(WCxKit)
 
 
Summary
The most experienced workers can be an employer’s greatest asset. But if they become injured, they can become the greatest insurance cost. By keeping them involved, keeping them trained, and keeping them focused on safety, employers can avoid and prevent injury while and keep older workers on the work floor working.
 

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.


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.

Yale University Student Dies on Unguarded Machinery

Missing required safeguards on a piece of lab machinery led to the death of a Yale University student.  Michelle Dufault, a physics and astronomy major from Massachusetts, who was close to graduating, was working alone in the lab when her hair was snared into a fast-spinning lathe. Police report they got a call at 2:30 a.m. local time, though the time of the accident was not evident.

 
 
The accident exposed problems regarding the school safety policies, federal safety investigators stated in a letter to the school. The lathe, built nearly 50 years ago, lacked an emergency stop button that could shut off power and was missing physical guards to protect the operator, OSHA stated in the letter.
 
 
According to information from the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA),the agency did not fine Yale, claiming it lacked jurisdiction due to the fact there was no employer-employee relationship. But in a letter obtained by The Associated Press, OSHA informed school officials that it found a number of problems in the machine shop where Michele Dufault died on April 12. (WCxKit).
 
 
The OSHA letter claims rules for using the equipment, including warnings, were not posted. Yale also should ensure students don’t work alone, establish specific hours of operation and provide a formal training program; the letter went on to state. Yale challenged the letter, claiming the machinery did meet national safety standards.
 
 
Surveys of personal protective equipment were not completed and documented, and safety inspections did not address machine safeguarding, according to the letter. (WCxKit)
 
 
According to Yale officials, the school provided extensive machine tool training and personal protective equipment, and students were repeatedly reminded not to use machinery without someone else in the room. Yale says staff inspected and maintained machines on a regular basis. Yale added that Dufault had undergone a safety course that included instructions to tie back long hair. 

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.

Obesity Drives the Cost of Work Injuries Sky High

If you were the producer of a Broadway show, would your hire a 300-pound ballerina? The idea seems absurd, but most employers shy away from hiring and retaining obese employees. (Obesity discrimination is illegal in Michigan, the District of Columbia, San Francisco, and Santa Cruz, CA). Obesity is not a disability that falls under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) unless is has a proven physiological cause. We do not advocate obesity discrimination, but feel you should be aware that the more obese people you hire and employ, the higher the cost of your workers compensation insurance will be. This is also true in life insurance, one must fall into the appropriate body weight range to qualify for reasonably priced life insurance. Sad but true. And there may be ample justification for such increase in rates.
 

There are many ways to define obesity. To most people, a “fat person” is someone who weights 50 or 100 pounds more than they do.  Medically speaking, a person with a body mass index – BMI (a weight-to-height ratio, calculated by dividing one's weight in kilograms by the square of one's height in meters) of 18.5 to 24.9 is considered to be of normal weight, 25 to 29.9 is considered to be overweight, with 30 and above is considered obese. The doctor once told my husband he was obese which was very surprising because I don't view him as obese — a beer tummy maybe, but certainly not obese to my way of thinking.

 
In a often-cited Duke University study based on 100 full-time employees with a body mass index of 40, the impact of obesity on the cost of workers compensation is tremendous. Statistics show the impact on workers compensation cost of obese employees who are injured on the job including:
 
 
1.  Claims: Obese employees have twice as many workers compensation claims (11.65 claims vs. 5.8 claims for non-obese employees.)
 
2. Lost days from work: Obese employees lose 13 times more work days for their injury (183.63 days vs 14.19 days).
 
3. Medical cost: Obese employees medical cost is seven times higher ($51,901 vs. $7,503).
 
4. Indemnity Cost: Obese employees indemnity cost is 11 times higher ($59,178 vs. $5,396).
 
 
Another study by researchers at John Hopkins found similar results with a direct correlation between the number of injuries and the amount of obesity, with the odds of injury at work increasing with the waistline. The more obese the employee, the greater the odds the employee would be hurt on the job.
 
 
With nearly two-thirds of all American adults either overweight or obese, obesity is now being divided into subgroups with their own definitions including:
 
1.      Overweight – 1 to 29 pounds above normal
 
2.      Obese – 30 to 59 pounds overweight
 
3.      Severely obese – 60 to 99 pounds overweight
 
4.      Morbidly obese – at least 100 pounds overweight
 
5.      Super obese – 200 or more pounds overweight
 
 
Per the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2007 about one-fourth (26 percent) of all employees were in the obese or a higher category. It is projected that by the year 2020, 40 percent of men and 43 percent of women will be classified as obese or higher. When you include the overweight people with the obese, by 2020 it is predicted that 70 percent of all employees will be overweight, with the number of overweight people continuing to grow (no pun intended).
 
 
What does this mean for workers compensation? Well, any one who has been involved with or who has handled their share of workers compensation claims know the injuries most common to obese employees involve their back, lower extremities (knees and ankles primarily), wrist (carpal tunnel claims and women with obesity “go hand-in-hand”) and hands. Obese employees generally hurt their back when trying to lift heavy weights or lift any weight improperly, and the obese employees hurt their backs, knees and ankles more severely when they slip and fall. Due to their obesity, obese employees have a significantly higher percentage of musculoskeletal injuries than non-obese employees.
 
 
The additional strain placed on the employee's musculoskeletal system by the additional weight is only one factor that delays the employee's recovery from an injury. Obese employee's often have other comorbidity problems besides their weight that delays their recovery from injury. Other medical issues among obese employee's interfering with their recovery include hypertension, heart disease and diabetes. open-ended According to the National Counsel on Compensation Insurance, these comorbidity issues can increase the cost of a work comp claim by an astounding 30 times.
 
 
As an employer, there are some steps you can take to reduce the cost of workers compensation related to obesity. The following are some approaches employers have taken to deal with this issue:
 
1.      Health insurance premium discounts for employees with a BMI of 18 to 25.
 
2.      A weight-reduction program offered through your human resources department.
 
3.      Encourage physical activity at work whether it is taking the steps instead of the elevator or parking at the far end of the parking lot.
 
4.      Use weight loss seminars from Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig.
 
5.      On-site or off site fitness centers with free membership or reduced price membership.
 
6.      A fitness program that includes healthy eating, health improvement seminars, exercise classes, and company sponsored athletic teams.
 
7.      Use of the company intranet to post weight loss guides, cooking light suggestions, and any topic on good health.
 
8.      A recognition program for employees who meet a weight-loss goal.
 
 
Encouraging your employees to be healthy pays off in lower workers compensation cost and provides for a healthier, happier work force.  Insurance companies – yes – the very same ones selling life insurance and workers compensation need to get in line to promote wellness, health and fitness just as much as any other employer. My daughter worked for an insurance company and the supervisor had a candy dish on her desks, ice-cream sundae Wednesday, birthday cakes often and pot luck Friday once a month. Ice Cream Sundae Wednesday? Ya think everyone was bringing in Frozen Yogurt?
 

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. See www.LowerWC.com for more information. Contact:RShafer@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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