Driven to Distraction? Watch This Short Video

In 2013, more than 400 people died in distracted-driving related crashes on Texas roads. In this installment of our safe-driving video series, Woody Hill gives us something to think about the next time we’re tempted to use a cell phone behind the wheel. Follow his advice, and you might save your life or someone else’s. Not a bad return for a mere 60 seconds of your time.

Cell phones aren’t you’re only distraction
Cell phones get much of the attention when the topic turns to distracted driving, but they are not solely responsible. Eating, adjusting a GPS, putting on makeup and reaching for something are distractions that take your hands, eyes and minds off the road

Missed our other driving-safety videos?
If you missed the other installments in our “Become a Safer Driver in Just 60 Seconds” video series, click the links below:

You’re Just 60 Seconds Away from Being a Safer Driver

Going from 0 to 60 Safely


Sleep Well

Most adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep. Lack of sleep can affect your performance at work, which is especially dangerous when you get behind the wheel.

Most adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep. Lack of sleep can affect your performance at work, which is especially dangerous when you get behind the wheel.

The benefits of strong leadership in the military are a bit different than they are in the corporate world. When CEOs lead by example, stockholders make money. And making money makes most people happy.

When military officers lead by example, soldiers go home safely. And sending people home safely at the end of a day’s work should be every business’ priority.

Chad Storlie was the type of leader soldiers looked up to. As an Army Reserves Special Forces officer, Storlie modeled the behavior he wanted his troops to practice, right down to the naps he took during combat operations.

“I would go and take naps whenever the opportunity presented itself,” Storlie recalled in an article that appeared in the June 11, 2015, edition of Advisen FPN. “As the leader, you have to set the example. You have to practice what you preach.”

For Storlie, that meant making sure his body and mind were rested and ready to react on a moment’s notice. Two decades of military service that included stops in Iraq, Bosnia and Korea taught him that fatigue breeds poor decisions. Poor decisions, in turn, get you or your fellow soldiers killed.

The same principle applies in the workplace.

Fatigue is about four times more likely to contribute to on-the-job impairment than drugs or alcohol, according to studies cited by the American Society of Safety Engineers. Furthermore, impaired employees are more likely to be involved in workplace accidents, especially when they get behind the wheel.

If you exercise regularly, eat a balanced diet and manage stress, you can ward off fatigue and its potential consequences.

If you exercise regularly, eat a balanced diet and manage stress, you can ward off fatigue and its potential consequences.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration conservatively estimates that driver fatigue causes 1,550 deaths and 71,000 injuries each year. Many of those deaths and injuries happen when employees are driving on company business. In fact, motor vehicle accidents are consistently the leading cause of workplace fatalities across industries.

Employers looking to the reverse the trend typically turn to mandatory rest periods and limits on consecutive driving hours. Those are solid fundamentals of any fleet safety program, but don’t forget about another powerful, often-overlooked tool for combating fatigue: employee wellness.

Wellness programs prepare employees for the physical demands of their jobs. They also help ward off depression, obesity, diabetes and other factors that drain workers’ energy.

If you are among the thousands of small businesses that do not have a comprehensive employee wellness program, don’t worry. You can leverage a few basic wellness program components to fight fatigue in your workplace.

Up next
This is the first in a series of four posts showing how a commitment to wellness can help workers manage fatigue. In our next post, we’ll discuss how eating a balance, nutritious diet can deliver the energy you need to tackle your day.

More information on wellness
Worker health and safety are inseparable. Healthy workers tend to get injured less, and when they do get injured, they recover faster. For more information on the symbiotic relationship between health and safety, click on these links:

Why Wellness Matters in Workers’ Comp

10 Tips for Integrating Health and Safety

Worker Health and Safety: A Symbiotic Relationship

The Business Case for Employee Wellness Programs

3 Tips for a Healthier, Safer You

Make Wellness Part of Your Benefits Package

What’s Your Morning Routine?

This Week in Comp, June 26, 2015

Regulatory roundup
Texas Mutual’s weekly roundup of EHS news…MORE

What can the Dow Jones teach us about the value of integrating health and safety?

healthy livingA new model based on the methodology used in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index is helping researchers calculate the business value of integrating employee health and safety…MORE

Coventry covers new ground with fully transparent drug trend analysis
Coventry’s 2014 First Script Drug Trends Analysis includes nontraditional pharmacy channels such as billers for physician-dispensed medications, occupational-medicine clinics, third-party billers, external mail houses and compounding prescription sources…MORE

Going from 0 to 60 safely
Speeding is a common cause of motor vehicle accidents. In this short video, Texas Mutual’s Woody Hill shares tips for keeping your foot off the accelerator…MORE

Hiker goes to extremes while on workers’ comp
Handcuff FraudThe employee claimed he suffered an on-the-job foot injury. He failed to disclose, however, that he engaged in a 50-mile hike over rugged terrain just three weeks after he reported being injured at work…MORE

Jail time for Spokane-area man who used Seahawks’ names to get drugs
A Spokane Valley man has been sentenced to six months in jail for faking on-the-job injuries and using Seattle Seahawks players’ names to get narcotics and other prescription drugs…MORE

Why can’t we be tough on workers’ comp fraud?
From higher premiums for honest employers to unfair scrutiny of legitimately injured workers, everyone pays the price of fraud. Unfortunately, the system treats fraud as a victimless crime. We need to be tough on workers’ compensation fraud if want to see less of it, according to Bob Wilson, author of the widely read “From Bob’s Cluttered Desk” blog…MORE

Insurance law podcast discusses impact of social media on WC claims

Click the image above to listen to the podcast.

Click the image above to listen to the podcast.

The podcast explains how social media can be used to investigate and/or defend a workers’ compensation claim. The speaker recommends that an investigation begin early, but cautions that privacy issues and state law should be carefully considered.


Researcher has innovative idea to measure worker fatigue
Fatigue is about four times more likely to contribute to workplace impairment than drugs or alcohol, according to studies cited by the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE). A university researcher will use $300,000 in ASSE grant money to study a fatigue measurement system that combines FitBit technology with data analytics to identify the moment fatigue sets in…MORE

NIOSH awards two cooperative agreements for workers’ compensation surveillance
Under the agreements, NIOSH will issue $400,000 grants to help California and Massachusetts compile, analyze, and disseminate workers’ compensation data to promote the prevention of occupational injuries, illnesses, fatalities and exposure to hazards..MORE

New NCCI Inspections in Texas

NCCI_LogoTexas’ workers’ compensation system has undergone several changes in the last year as it continues to take steps toward fully becoming an NCCI state. The latest in those changes is the implementation of Classification Quality Assurance inspections.

Classification Quality Assurance inspections

As of June 1, 2015, NCCI now performs CQA inspections throughout Texas as a service to our marketplace to ensure that businesses are classified correctly, and therefore priced correctly.

These inspections are on site and are not safety related. Their only purpose is to evaluate whether or not the business’ classification is accurate. NCCI will choose businesses to inspect by using statistically-credible, non-random criteria. In other words, companies aren’t chosen at random and the inspections will most likely target classifications that have been known to have frequent misapplications.

For Texas Mutual policyholders, these inspections should not be a source of worry or concern. We expect that the overwhelming majority of CQA inspections will reaffirm the classification of our policyholders’ businesses. If an NCCI inspection results in a request to change a classification, we will evaluate their findings and discuss with our policyholders and agents prior to making any changes.

These inspections are a welcome addition to Texas’ workers’ compensation system as they will likely help ensure fair pricing and aid in monitoring for abuse that sometimes occurs.

Special inspections

NCCI has been offering Special inspections for Texas businesses since June 1, 2014. These inspections are available at a cost to the requestor to provide third party analysis of a policy classification.

Texas Mutual conducts its own classification inspections and therefore does not request NCCI inspections. We are confident in our understanding of the classification system and work hard to ensure that businesses are placed correctly. However, policyholders and their agents may request an NCCI Special Inspection if they believe that they are misclassified and haven’t been able to reach a resolution with their carrier. At Texas Mutual, classification disputes can be made by contacting your agent or underwriter.

What these inspections mean for businesses

If your business is chosen for a CQA inspection, there is nothing to be concerned about. As mentioned above, inspectors are not there to evaluate workplace safety or OSHA compliance. They are simply there to ensure that the business’ classification is accurate. According to NCCI, an inspector visits the policyholder’s business and documents the type of work being conducted (e.g., process, materials, equipment, final product) and the employees performing the work. From that documentation, the inspector develops a detailed classification inspection report.

These inspections should bring minimal interruption to businesses and in most cases reaffirm Texas Mutual’s classification. If you have any questions about NCCI inspections, contact your agent or underwriter or call Texas Mutual at (800) 859-5995. If you’d like information about other NCCI changes taking place this year, visit

Going from 0 to 60 Safely

Have you ever been speeding through the grocery store and collided with another shopper? A quick “clean-up on aisle 9,” and it was probably back to business as usual.

Speeding in your vehicle can have far more serious consequences.

In 2013, there were approximately 3,200 speeding-related crashes in the Lone Star State. More than 250 of our fellow Texans died in those crashes.

In this installment of our safe-driving video series, Texas Mutual’s Woody Hill shares his tips for keeping your foot off the accelerator. Follow Woody’s advice, and you might save your life or someone else’s. Not a bad return for a mere 60 seconds of your time.

If you missed our first safe-driving video, click here.

Don’t miss our next installment
In our next video installment, Woody addresses an issue that has reached epidemic proportions on U.S. roads: distracted driving

You’re Just 60 Seconds Away from Being a Safer Driver

Conference calls, meetings, doctor’s appointments, kids’ soccer games – most of us are stretched thin juggling the myriad responsibilities that demand our attention. Your friends at Texas Mutual wouldn’t think of asking you to put more on your plate if it weren’t important. And trust us; this will only take a minute.

Motor vehicle accidents are consistently the leading causes of workplace injuries across industries. Texas Mutual is committed to reversing the trend. We are excited to roll out a series of short driver safety videos featuring our own Woody Hill, vice president of safety services at Texas Mutual.

In a mere 60 seconds, Woody will give you practical tips for steering clear of these common causes of motor vehicle accidents and injuries: failure to wear seatbelts, speeding, distractions, fatigue and driver anger.

In our first video, Woody explains that in 2013, there was an accident reported every 71 seconds in Texas. More than 3,300 people died, and another 89,000 were seriously injured. Woody sets the stage for the video series by offering five tips to avoid becoming a statistic:

  1. Slow down
  2. Power down
  3. Lie down
  4. Calm down
  5. Buckle up

Next up
In our next post, Woody takes a stroll through a local grocery store to illustrate the importance of controlling your speed behind the wheel.

This Week in Comp, June 19, 2015

Texas Mutual kicks off safe driving campaign
Safe Hand Kickoff
A safe driving roundtable and a defensive driving course conducted by Woody Hill headlined our annual safe driving campaign kickoff event in McAllen this week…MORE

Workers’ compensation eyes telemedicine as treatment option
Telemedicine could deliver more than $6 billion a year in health care savings to U.S. companies, but only if the technology is widely-adopted, according to a report by Towers Watson. A Texas Department of Insurance study found two areas of the Texas workers’ compensation system that could benefit from telemedicine: the designated doctor and spinal surgery second opinion processes…MORE

Ruling that drivers are employees upends Uber business model
Is Uber responsible for ensuring its drivers’ personal vehicles are road-ready? Does the company have to provide workers’ compensation coverage for drivers in case they get injured behind the wheel? Those are just two questions muddying up Uber’s business model after a California court ruled it must treat its drivers as employees, not contractors…MORE

Liberty Mutual shedding its workers’ comp roots
With increasing medical costs and changing state regulations squeezing its profits, Liberty Mutual is pulling back from the workers’ comp market. The company will focus on more-profitable portions of its business, such as safety consulting and managing the claims and paperwork for companies that insure themselves for workers’ comp…MORE

NIOSH proposes additions to hazardous drug list
NIOSH has proposed that 33 new drugs, along with three others that have safe-handling recommendations from the manufacturer, be added to the agency’s hazardous drug list for health care settings in 2016…MORE

Major medical chain pleads guilty, repays Texas Mutual $6.5 million
Handcuff FraudAccording to court documents, Texas Mutual’s investigation revealed that Nova Healthcare Management, also known as Nova Medical Centers, or Nova, overbilled Texas Mutual for physical therapy by billing services as more expensive one-on-one physical therapy when what it provided was group therapy…MORE

Regulatory roundup
Texas Mutual’s weekly roundup of EHS news…MORE

Slow growth in Texas workers’ compensation claims, says WCRI study

Costs per claim in Texas grew 2.5 percent per year from 2008 to 2013, among the slowest growth in a 17-state study conducted by the Workers’ Compensation Research Institute. Medical payments per claim,  however, grew about 4 percent per year, just slightly faster than the typical state. Study authors speculate that the data reflects, at least in part, the results of House Bill 7, passed by the Legislature in 2005. Containing medical costs was one of the bill’s objectives…MORE

Study: Agencies that use technology experience more growth
MoneytrendA new study shows that insurance agencies that use technology in sales and marketing, managing customer relationships and other sales processes sell 43 percent more policies per producer than agencies that rely less heavily on technology…MORE

Texas Mutual rolls out network provider app
The app makes it easy for injured workers covered by the Texas Star Network to locate a network provider, access their prescription card and find a pharmacy…MORE

California comp premium soared 11% in 2014
IncreaseThe increase reflects growth in average premium rates and covered payroll, as California’s economy continued its recent return to health following the deep recession starting in 2008. Volume at State Compensation Insurance Fund skyrocketed more than 37 percent last year, to nearly $1.53 billion…MORE

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