The three-minute videos helping your employees receive better medical care

The health care industry is evolving every day with rapid growth particularly in digital health technologies like smart watches, calorie counter apps and pedometers. Patients can benefit from this transition when there is a united front between quality care and digital innovation.

Workplace diagnosis body map and logoKnowing how to diagnose a workplace injury like trigger finger requires training and experience in occupational medicine. That’s why Texas Mutual is addressing the need for innovation in the treatment of workplace injuries. Texas Mutual’s medical director, Dr. Nicholas Tsourmas, is helping to lead this effort, and one of the ways he is doing so is through Workplace Diagnosis. The tool is the first online, real-time patient diagnosis video tool for physicians treating workers’ comp patients.

By visiting texasmutual.com or using our mobile app, physicians can select an area of the body to watch a video and learn about specific injuries. Each video averages three minutes and features Dr. Tsourmas with a patient discussing a common workplace injury and offering tips on how to diagnose it.

Dr. TsourmasDr. Tsourmas was recently recognized for his achievements in the workers’ compensation health care field when he received the Medical Professional of the year award at Work Comp Central’s Comp Laude Awards. His work is helping ensure that Texans with occupational injuries are accurately diagnosed and treated, and have options for modified job duties during recovery.

Dr. Tsourmas has been with Texas Mutual since 1993. Since then, he has traveled throughout the state to give onsite training to our network providers and educate the medical community on workers’ comp and musculoskeletal ailments. The same training he shares with providers throughout the state is shared with Texas Mutual’s team of adjusters to improve the claim process for injured workers and give our team the tools to understand doctors’ recommendations.

At Texas Mutual, we put a lot of effort into preventing workplace injuries, but when they do occur, we are dedicated to making sure that the injured workers we cover receive the quality care they need. Innovative resources like Workplace Diagnosis are a part of that collective effort. Dr. Tsourmas’ recognition is reflective of his leadership in these areas and speaks to our ongoing commitment to creating a stronger, safer Texas.

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Regulatory Roundup, November 17

Regulatory Roundup is a weekly compilation of employee wellness and safety news.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

Acosta speaks to silica lawsuit and other OSHA rulings

During an appearance before the House Education and Workforce Committee, Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta said that a lawsuit against OSHA’s respirable crystalline silica rule is “close to a resolution.” Acosta reportedly hopes that there will be a sensible outcome to the rule. He also commented that the agency is balancing the issue of privacy regarding the online recordkeeping rule…MORE

Studies, resources, trends, news

Tips for fall prevention

An estimated 800 falls result in death each year and while the construction industry experiences the majority of these, other industries see a higher number of nonfatal falls. An article posted in EHS Daily Advisor states that the first step to prevention is determining which areas in your facility provide a high risk of falls. Once you understand the danger, then controls, maintenance and inspections can be put into place…MORE

2016 injury and illness rates for Texas are available

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released workplace injury and illness rate data and Texas remains lower than the nation. The Texas incidence rate for nonfatal injuries and illnesses in 2016 was 2.2 cases per 100 full-time workers, versus the national rate of 2.9. This is also a slight improvement over the 2015 rate of 2.3 and shows a continuing trend of improvement…MORE

New legislation seeks to ban asbestos

The number of deaths from asbestos exposure in the U.S. is estimated at 13,500 to 16,000 deaths per year. The Alan Reinstein Ban Asbestos Now Act of 2017, introduced Nov. 2, would amend the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to eliminate exposure to asbestos. Specifically, it would ban the manufacturing of commerce asbestos within 12 months and would require the Environmental Protection Agency to identify all uses and exposures to asbestos and impose restrictions on use within 18 months…MORE

Regulatory Roundup, November 11

Regulatory Roundup is a weekly compilation of employee wellness and safety news.              

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

Crane operator certification ruling is officially delayed

OSHA published a final rule to delay crane operator certification requirements by one year. The agency intends to propose a removal of the capacity component of certification, which was one of the two unresolved issues in the initial requirements. OSHA stated that it is not prepared to make a determination on the second issue: that a certification does not necessarily mean that an operator is competent or experienced enough to operate a crane…MORE

Department of Labor (DOL)

DOL released Strategic Plan draft

The Department of Labor is pushing to expand OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Programs in the coming years and is seeking comments on its draft of a strategic plan. The draft includes three overall goals, including supporting Americans who are looking for jobs, ensuring safe workplaces and promoting workers’ compensation and benefits programs. Comments are due by Dec. 7…MORE

Studies, resources, trends, news

Nonfatal injury and illness rates decrease

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released 2016 data showing that the nonfatal injury and illness rates for the private sector decreased slightly from the previous year. Additionally, nonfatal injuries and illnesses requiring days away from work decreased slightly as well. The construction, manufacturing and trade industries experienced significant rate decreases, while the finance and insurance industries experienced the lowest rates…MORE

CPWR says construction related electrocutions are ‘unacceptably high’

Construction workers represented 61 percent of electrocution fatalities in 2015. Although construction industry electrocution deaths are down 39 percent since 2003, the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) called the 82 deaths in 2015 “unacceptably high.” The report pointed to solutions such as personal protective equipment, tool inspection, maintenance and proper equipment such as nonconductive ladders…MORE

Preparing workers for cold weather

Employees who work outdoors could be at risk of cold stress, which can lead to serious health problems. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has educational resources, training materials and recommendations to prepare employers and workers for winter temperatures…MORE

Regulatory Roundup, November 3

Regulatory Roundup is a weekly compilation of employee wellness and safety news.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

Assistant Secretary of Labor nomination in announced

President Trump nominated Scott Mugno for the position of Assistant Secretary of Labor. Mugno is currently the VP of Safety, Sustainability and Vehicle Management with FedEx Ground and he has also served on multiple American Trucking Association committees…MORE

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)

FMCSANew FMCSA administrator faces the Senate

Raymond Martinez, head of FMCSA, appeared before the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee for the first time. One mandate in question was electronic logging devices in commercial motor vehicles, which is scheduled to go into effect Dec. 18 and has received mixed reviews…MORE

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

SmokingCDC researches tobacco users across industries

The CDC released a report showing that the highest number of workers using tobacco products reside in the construction, mining, transportation and warehousing industries. The agency recommends that employers have coverage for cessation treatment and adopt smoke-free policies…MORE

Studies, resources, trends, news

Training on drowsy driving prevention

With the end of Daylight Saving Time approaching, it’s a good time to have a refresher on drowsy driving. The Texas Department of Insurance has a quick five tip presentation to help…MORE

Visualizing safety in your workplace

A recent article from Occupational Health & Safety magazine discusses the importance of your workplace understanding a clear definition of safety. The article presents questions to discuss in order to create a visual model unique to your workplace considering risks and precautions…MORE 

Light bulb hardhatNew manual explains an integrated approach to worker safety, health and well-being

A recent publication from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health explains that focusing on policies and practices to influence working conditions can improve worker safety, health and well-being. The manual includes examples and tools to help businesses initiate integration…MORE

Your phone can help you be a safer driver

Safe-Driving-AppIn 2015, distracted driving accounted for nearly nine fatalities each day in the U.S., according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. These distractions often stem from our smart phones. We’ve shared tips on how to reduce these distractions, by alerting friends and family that you will be unavailable, setting up your podcast or music before the wheels start rolling, or turning your phone off. Following these tips can help you and your passengers stay safe on the road, but that’s often easier said than done. Now the same technology that has been blamed for distractions behind the wheel is helping drivers be safer on the road, through new apps and built-in features.

Apple recently launched iOS 11, which includes for the first time a safe driving option. When initiated, the “Do Not Disturb While Driving” feature will detect when you are driving and will silence your incoming calls or alerts. It can even respond to calls and texts so that you can focus on the road. If you are an iPhone user and have not already updated to the new iOS, make sure to do so to try out Apple’s newest safety feature.

There are also apps on the market to help prevent distracted driving or improve driving behavior. All of the apps covered below have free versions and are available for download from the Apple App Store and Google Play. Take a look at a few that may help you, your employees or your family stay safe on the road.

EverDrive

EverDrive is a telematics app that tracks driving behavior just like an in-vehicle monitoring system, but through a user’s phone. It helps users improve driving behavior by scoring five areas: phone distraction, braking, acceleration, cornering and speeding. Using your phone’s GPS, the app detects when you are driving and tracks your behavior behind the wheel. You can compare scores with friends, coworkers or your family for competition.

EverDrive is developed by DriveWell, which also offers a mobile app solution that can be paired with a mobile tag for your vehicle to give further insight into driver behavior, and includes collision detection.

FleetSafer

FleetSafer is a mobile app that detects driving and puts the device in a safe mode when the vehicle is in motion. Employers can view individual or team driving performance and they can also receive real-time alerts. FleetSafer works as a standalone app using GPS, or can be paired with hardware for greater analytics.

LifeSaver

LifeSaver uses your phone’s GPS to track when your car is in motion and then sets the phone in safe mode. It blocks incoming calls and texts. Parents can download a free driver portal to help track their children’s driving behavior. It alerts parents if their child disables the app while driving, and provides feedback so that parents can reward safe driving performance. LifeSaver also offers a fleet management solution with an available 30-day free trial.

TrueMotion

TrueMotion tracks your driving trips and its free family version allows you to see your family members’ trips as well. Users are scored and have the chance to earn rewards for their safe driving. TrueMotion also offers Mojo, a free app that awards points when you drive safely which can be redeemed for cash or prizes.

Remember that texting and driving is illegal in the state of Texas as of last month. Hands-free devices are allowed but Texas Mutual advocates phone-free driving, because research shows that hands-free devices are still distracting. Safe driving is something that we take seriously and we want to do our part to help you reduce the number of traffic-related claims. We have a no phone policy for our own employees and installed in-vehicle monitoring systems in our company fleet. You can find more safe driving tips for yourself, your family and your employees in the safety resource center of your texasmutual.com account, including e-Learning training modules on safe driving and defensive driving.

Regulatory Roundup, October 27

Regulatory Roundup is a weekly compilation of employee wellness and safety news.                 

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

OSHA proceeds with full enforcement of silica standard

Since Sept. 23, OSHA has been offering compliance assistance in lieu of enforcement for employers making a good-faith effort to comply with the construction silica standard. However, as of Oct. 23, the agency is now fully enforcing the standard…MORE

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)

NIOSH studies robotics

Sixty-one robot-related worker deaths occurred between 1992 and 2015. NIOSH launched the Center for Occupational Robotics Research in an effort to improve worker safety in this field. The agency will work with academia, industry and government officials to research the advantages and hazards of robot workers and develop guidance…MORE

Studies, resources, trends, news

Employees are open to employers’ help dealing with stress

The American Heart Association researched employee perception of stress programs. The report showed that 73 percent of participants whose employers offered resiliency programs believe their health improved as a result. Additionally, data showed that valued programs include methods for dealing with difficult people, improving physical health, handling pressure and identifying causes of work-related problems…MORE

NYC buckles down on safety training requirements

New York City took construction worker safety into its own hands by passing legislation that will require 100 or more hours of training for anyone working on a permitted construction site. The training includes the OSHA 10 and 30 hour courses as well as several site safety training credits. Anyone violating the new requirements could face up to $5,000 in fines…MORE

Regulatory Roundup, October 20

Regulatory Roundup is a weekly compilation of employee wellness and safety news.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

OSHA resumes normal operation in Texashardhat gavel

In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, OSHA ceased most enforcement actions and focused on compliance assistance and outreach to affected counties. Now, the agency is resuming regular enforcement operations in most of the impacted counties. OSHA will continue to provide compliance assistance and outreach in the most heavily impacted areas…MORE

New information on OSHA’s silica webpage

OSHA updated their silica page to include information on where silica is found and the associated health hazards. The page also contains tabs with information on compliance assistance for the construction, maritime and general industries…MORE

OSHA releases two fact sheets

osha-logoOSHA released new fact sheets on the Zika virus and shipyard competent persons. The Zika virus fact sheet focuses on biomedical laboratory workers and discusses how exposures can occur, best practices and tips for what to do if an exposure occurs. The shipyard competent person fact sheet includes information on determining the safety of a confined space as well as knowledge and skill requirements, and expected tasks for the competent person…MORE

Studies, resources, trends, news

Coalition against increase in poultry production meets with USDA

The poultry industry’s injury rate is currently two times the national average of all industries. However, an industry petition has been brought forward that would increase production speeds from 140 to 175 birds per minute. Poultry workers and officials from nonprofit organizations and unions recently met with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service to urge a denial of the petition based on worker safety, animal suffering and consumer protection…MORE

NFPA releases new edition of electrical safety code

FireThe newest electrical code from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), NFPA 70E 2018, is now available. The new version clarifies accountability for electrical safety and addresses job planning, hierarchy of risk controls and risk assessment. The code also includes modified definitions to align with OSHA standards and clarifies terms…MORE

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