This Week in Comp, October 6 – 10

This Week in Comp provides an overview of workers’ compensation news from across the country.

NETS encourages Americans to observe Drive Safely Work Week

Click the image above for a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention podcast on driving safety.

Click the image above for a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention podcast on driving safety.

Nearly two-thirds of all people killed on U.S. roadways were members of the nation’s workforce, according to the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS). During Drive Safely Work Week, NETS offers free resources to help employers promote safe driving among their workforce..MORE

Heroin death rates doubled in 28 states, 2010-2012
Despite the spike in heroin-related deaths, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted more than twice as many people died from prescription opioid overdoses in those states…MORE

Regulatory spotlight
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has revised its hazard communication standard (HCS), which helps employees understand the hazards associated with chemicals they use in the workplace. This brief post explains employers’ obligations under the revised HCS..MORE

NSC study: Over-the-counter pain medications more effective for acute pain than prescribed painkillers
Pills White BackgroundThe combination of over-the-counter pain medications ibuprofen and acetaminophen is more effective at treating acute pain than opioid painkillers, according to a white paper released by the National Safety Council. The white paper comes on the heels of a new law that makes it more difficult for doctors to prescribe hydrocodone combination products…MORE

What insurers can learn from states’ workers’ compensation reforms
Reforms that include employer-directed care, limitations on prescription drugs and objective standards of medical care have produced some of the most meaningful cost savings in the 20 largest workers’ compensation markets, according to a study by Conning…MORE

OR DCBS releases national study on workers’ compensation costs
The study ranked workers’ compensation costs in all 50 states. California’s rates were the highest, and North Dakota’s were the lowest…MORE

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The Occupational Safety and Health Administration offers free resources on recognizing and controlling the risks associated with Ebola…MORE

Regulatory roundup
Texas Mutual’s weekly mash-up of health and safety-related regulatory news…MORE

Study: Formulary could save California workers’ comp $124M-$420M
If California adopted a prescription drug formulary similar to the one Texas adopted, it could save up to $420 million a year in workers’ compensation costs, according to a study by the California Workers’ Compensation Institute…MORE

Links to and from this blog do not reflect any affiliation between Texas Mutual Insurance Company and third parties, and are not an endorsement by Texas Mutual Insurance Company of the linked sites (or their owners or operators) or of any content located there. Texas Mutual Insurance Company does not vouch for the availability or accuracy of any information contained on linked sites. Read more of this post

This Week in Comp, September 29 – October 3

This Week in Comp provides an overview of workers’ compensation news from across the country.

OSHA releases October edition of QuickTakes
The October edition of OSHA’s newsletter features the agency’s new home page, the revised injury reporting rule and a message from Assistant Secretary Dr. David Michaels…MORE

Safety never sleeps
If we want to protect employees from the hazards of their jobs, we cannot afford to focus on safety only when it’s convenient. Safety has to be a constant presence that continuously evolves to meet our changing needs. It has to be a value that never gets compromised, even when we have to drag ourselves out of bed before the sun comes up. For safety to thrive, it can never sleep…MORE

IAIABC: Making Return-to-Work Easy Peasy Committee Style
The Disability Management and Return to Work Committee met in Austin this week to continue work on its RTW policy paper. Bob Wilson reports that although the members bring varying opinions and priorities to the conversation, they agree on one thing: We have a disability problem in this nation, and the status quo is no longer acceptable…MORE

Study shows driving while texting with Google Glass as distracting phone
This year, eight states have considered laws to ban drivers from using Google Glass and other head-mounted computers or displays…MORE

Regulatory Roundup
Texas Mutual’s weekly mash-up of health and safety-related regulatory news…MORE

The Health and Safety at Work Act turns forty
The Act sets out guidelines and rules for employees to follow to protect not only their employees, but also members of the public, as well as guidelines for employees to follow to avoid injuries in the workplace. Since its introduction, there has been a staggering 80% decrease in fatal accidents in the workplace…MORE

TX court orders employer to pay $35K to Texas Mutual
Everest Contract Services, LLC of Irving, Texas, pled guilty to workers’ compensation fraud-related charges. The company misrepresented numbers of employees and payroll associated with a related company, Premrock Commercial Drywall Ltd…MORE

Links to and from this blog do not reflect any affiliation between Texas Mutual Insurance Company and third parties, and are not an endorsement by Texas Mutual Insurance Company of the linked sites (or their owners or operators) or of any content located there. Texas Mutual Insurance Company does not vouch for the availability or accuracy of any information contained on linked sites. Read more of this post

This Week in Comp, September 22 – 26

This Week in Comp provides an overview of workers’ compensation news from across the country.

Texas Mutual’s Al Capps explains 6 things you need to know about OSHA’s new reporting rule

By Al Capps, Safety Services Consultant

By Al Capps, Safety Services Consultant

The revised rule expands the list of injuries employers must report to OSHA. The rule applies to all employers under OSHA jurisdiction, even employers who are exempt from routinely keeping OSHA records due to company size or industry…MORE

OSHA says priority of I2P2 has been bumped down
OSHA Director David Michaels says the organization has shifted its focus to silica exposure and modernizing the recordkeeping process…MORE

OSHA offers fatality summaries in a single, downloadable report
The public can now download year-to-date fatality summaries for 2014 in multiple formats. OSHA also offers an aggregate report of fatalities from 2009-2013…MORE

More workers testing positive for drugs
For the first time in more than a decade, the percentage of positive drug tests among U.S. workers has increased, according to a recent report…MORE

Regulatory Roundup
Texas Mutual’s weekly mash-up of health and safety-related regulatory news…MORE

NIOSH celebrates National Farm Safety and Health Week
NIOSH Farm Safety WeekThe National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health marked this year’s theme, Safety Counts: Protecting What Matters, by announcing the new Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing directory page…MORE

Law that made terrorism coverage available expiring at year end

The recent intensification of threats to American interests around the world from new terrorist organizations demonstrates the need for TRIA’s extension,  according to the Insurance Information Institute. With Congress in recess until after the November mid-term elections, the opportunity to reauthorize TRIA before year-end is rapidly narrowing…MORE

Tech, underwriting and claims departments best for job opportunities
Fifth-eight percent of insurance companies that participated in a recent study by Jacobson Group and Ward Group plan to increase staff during the next 12 months. Those looking for jobs within the insurance industry should focus on employment opportunities within technology, underwriting and claims departments…MORE

Houston nurse ordered to pay back $39,800 to Texas Mutual
auto-insurance-fraudA Travis County district court sentenced Raj Dhingra of Houston for workers’ compensation fraud-related charges. Dhingra was sentenced to deferred adjudication and ordered to pay $39,800 in restitution to Texas Mutual….MORE

Texas construction firm owners sentenced for premium fraud
A Travis County district court sentenced Anthony Stokes and Mario Williams of Little Elm, Texas for workers’ compensation fraud-related charges. Stokes and Williams were sentenced to one year deferred adjudication and ordered to pay $41,844 in restitution to Texas Mutual…MORE

Links to and from this blog do not reflect any affiliation between Texas Mutual Insurance Company and third parties, and are not an endorsement by Texas Mutual Insurance Company of the linked sites (or their owners or operators) or of any content located there. Texas Mutual Insurance Company does not vouch for the availability or accuracy of any information contained on linked sites. Read more of this post

This Week in Comp, September 15 – 19

This Week in Comp provides an overview of workers’ compensation news from across the country.

Safety

OSHA launches young worker safety website
OSHA designed its new site to raise awareness of safety among teens, employers and parents…MORE

Regulatory roundup
Texas Mutual’s weekly mash up of EHS-related regulatory news…MORE

OSHA releases preliminary list of top 10 violations
Falls top the list of most violations, followed by hazard communication and scaffolding…MORE

BLS announces 2013 preliminary fatal occupational injury counts
A preliminary total of 4,405 fatal work injuries were recorded in the United States in 2013, lower than the revised count of 4,628 fatal work injuries in 2012. Fatal transportation incidents were lower by 10 percent in 2013, but still accounted for about 2 out of every 5 fatal work injuries…MORE

NSC congress & expo keynote focuses on staying safe at work for your family
In his keynote address, Dale Lesinski challenged the audience to think about how their families would be affected if they took a shortcut and got injured on the job…MORE

Claims

Bob Cogburn, case manager at Texas Mutual

Bob Cogburn, case manager at Texas Mutual

Taking the stress out of claim management
In this week’s Texas Mutual blog post, vocational rehabilitation specialist Bob Cogburn explains that simple accommodations for injured workers can facilitate the return-to-work process and take the stress out of claim management…MORE

Texas sets workers’ comp weekly benefit rates for coming year
The Texas Department of Insurance, Division of Workers’ Compensation announced that the workers’ compensation state average weekly wage for dates of injury from Oct. 1, 2014, through Sept. 30, 2015, has been set at $860.52…MORE

Fraud

Texas man sentenced for workers’ comp fraud
A Travis County district court sentenced Rodney Williams of Seabrook, Texas, for workers’ compensation fraud-related charges. The court sentenced Williams to deferred adjudication and ordered him to pay $6,156 in restitution to Texas Mutual…MORE

Links to and from this blog do not reflect any affiliation between Texas Mutual Insurance Company and third parties, and are not an endorsement by Texas Mutual Insurance Company of the linked sites (or their owners or operators) or of any content located there. Texas Mutual Insurance Company does not vouch for the availability or accuracy of any information contained on linked sites. Read more of this post

This Week in Comp, September 8 – 12

This Week in Comp provides an overview of workers’ compensation news from across the country.

Safety

OSHA reporting ruleOSHA announces new requirements for reporting severe injuries
Under the revised rule, employers will be required to notify OSHA of work-related fatalities within eight hours, and work-related in-patient hospitalizations, amputations or losses of an eye within 24 hours. The new rule goes into effect Jan. 1, 2015…MORE

Fatalities down in Texas,
Workplace fatalities decreased 8 percent between 2012 and 2013…MORE

Regulatory roundup
Weekly mash-up of safety-related news…MORE

TRIA extension

Now is the time: Insurance industry steps up push for TRIA renewal
The sense of urgency stems from the fact that Congress will be in session for perhaps only two more weeks this month before recessing in order for members to campaign for mid-term elections. The current reauthorization expires Dec. 1, 2014…MORE

Claims

Update on obesity in America
healthy livingNearly 69 percent of Americans are considered overweight or obese, according to a recent study by the Trust for America’s Health and The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. This article provides study highlights and links to information about the relationship between obesity and workers’ comp…MORE

Prescription drugs

Workers’ comp must cover medical marijuana
Medical marijuana that a doctor recommended for an injured worker’s pain must be paid for by the workers’ employer and insurer, the New Mexico Court of Appeals ruled…MORE

Fraud

California woman arrested on alleged fraud claim
The woman allegedly submitted a fraudulent workers’ compensation claim for treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder associated with a robbery, that she actually assisted in staging, at a bank where she worked as an assistant manager…MORE

Handcuff FraudHouston nurse ordered to return nearly $40K to Texas Mutual
A Travis County district court sentenced Raj Dhingra of Houston for workers’ compensation fraud-related charges. Dhingra was sentenced to deferred adjudication and ordered to pay $39,800 in restitution to Texas Mutual…MORE

Links to and from this blog do not reflect any affiliation between Texas Mutual Insurance Company and third parties, and are not an endorsement by Texas Mutual Insurance Company of the linked sites (or their owners or operators) or of any content located there. Texas Mutual Insurance Company does not vouch for the availability or accuracy of any information contained on linked sites. Read more of this post

This Week in Comp, September 1 – 5

This Week in Comp provides an overview of workers’ compensation news from across the country.

Safety

Texas Mutual's Larry Homen demonstrates how improper lifting techniques can affect the back during a visit to American Equipment and Trailer employees.

During a visit to American Equipment and Trailer, Texas Mutual’s Larry Homen demonstrates how improper lifting techniques can affect the back.

Safety meets people where they are
Safety training takes root in cotton fields and greasy mechanic shops. Its messages resonate when delivered by people who have experienced the unique hazards your employees face on the job. Simply put, safety has to meet people where they are…MORE

Regulatory roundup
Weekly mash-up of safety-related news…MORE

Get free National Preparedness Month resources
The CDC encourages individuals and businesses to follow four steps to prepare for emergencies…MORE

 

Houston is nation’s most dangerous city to work in
Houston recorded 13 fatalities during the past year. The majority happened in the construction industry, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration…MORE

Canada, U.S. take step toward regulatory harmonization
The Canadian and American governments have announced a new step toward constantly coordinating their regulatory environments across a broad range of industries, including occupational health and safety. For example, the two countries will work together to facilitate the adoption of updates to the Globally Harmonized System for Classification and Labeling of Workplace Chemicals…MORE

NIOSH promotes respiratory protection on National N95 Day
More than 20 million Americans are exposed to to airborne health risks, according to estimates by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Employers and workers had the opportunity to learn more about selecting and using respiratory protection on September 5, National N95 Day…MORE

In this short video, Dr. Maryann D’Alessandro of NIOSH explains the importance of selecting respirators, using them properly and getting fit tested at least annually.

Prescription drugs

Opioid nation
Drug abuse is the leading cause of accidental death in the United States. More than 40,000 Americans died in 2011, a 145 percent increase since 1999…MORE

Handcuff FraudFraud

Mother, son conspire to commit fraud forging dead woman’s signature
A California man and his mother carried out a scheme to collect more than $165,000 in workers’ comp benefits by forging his dead aunt’s signature…MORE

Claims

Dollars and cents of frequency and severity
Small, frequent claims can affect an employer’s experience modifier more than one large claim…MORE

Links to and from this blog do not reflect any affiliation between Texas Mutual Insurance Company and third parties, and are not an endorsement by Texas Mutual Insurance Company of the linked sites (or their owners or operators) or of any content located there. Texas Mutual Insurance Company does not vouch for the availability or accuracy of any information contained on linked sites. Read more of this post

This Week in Comp, August 25-29

By David Wylie, Senior Technical Writer

By David Wylie, Senior Technical Writer

This Week in Comp provides an overview of workers’ compensation news from across the country.

Safety

OSHA, NIOSH announced recommended practices to protect temporary workers
The new guidance recommends that staff agency/host employer contracts clearly define the temporary worker’s tasks, as well as each employer’s safety and health responsibilities. Staffing agencies should maintain contact with temporary workers to verify that the host has fulfilled its responsibilities for a safe workplace…MORE

A world without fatal work accidents is possible
A hundred years ago in Germany, there were 10,000 deaths a year at work. Last year,the figure was less than 500 deaths for the first time. That statistic is proof that a world without fatal workplace accidents is possible…MORE

NSC estimates nearly 400 fatalities in car crashes during Labor Day weekend
The NSC also estimates that 144 lives could be saved by buckling up…MORE

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

Prescription drugs

Opioid use among disabled workers increases; DEA tightens restrictions
About half of disabled Medicare beneficiaries younger than 65 fill at least one opioid prescription annually, and nearly one-quarter fill six or more. Most Medicare beneficiaries younger than 65 are injured workers receiving Social Security Disability Insurance….MORE

PA doctor arrested for diversion of prescription painkillers
Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane announced charges against a New Cumberland doctor for allegedly prescribing Oxycodone to people not under his care in exchange for cash…MORE

Costs

Employment growth leads to workers’ comp benefit, cost uptick
Workers’ compensation benefits rose by 1.3 percent to $61.9 billion in 2012, while employer costs rose by 6.9 percent to $83.2 billion, according to a report by the National Academy of Social Insurance…MORE

Medical cost inflation’s continued decline
The 2019 Medicare spend will be $95 million less than the Congressional Budget Office predicted four years ago. Much of the recent reduction comes from changes in behavior among doctors, nurses, hospitals and patients…MORE

About the author
David Wylie is the senior technical writer at Texas Mutual Insurance Company. He works closely with Texas Mutual’s safety professionals to teach employers and their employees how to prevent workplace accidents and their associated costs. David holds the OSHA 10-hour general safety certification and a degree in journalism from Southwest Texas State University.

Links to and from this blog do not reflect any affiliation between Texas Mutual Insurance Company and third parties, and are not an endorsement by Texas Mutual Insurance Company of the linked sites (or their owners or operators) or of any content located there. Texas Mutual Insurance Company does not vouch for the availability or accuracy of any information contained on linked sites. Read more of this post

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