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

This Week in Comp, August 18-22

 

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

Acclimatization key to protecting workers from heat-related illness
Most of the 13 heat-related deaths recently investigated by OSHA happened during the first three days on the job. If your employees work outside or in hot indoor environments, give them time to acclimate to the heat…MORE

Construction workers 22 percent more likely to die on the job in Texas
Untrained, undocumented laborers and the lack of unions contribute to high fatality rates in the Texas construction industry, according to a Dallas Morning News report…MORE

Keeping foreign-born workers safe
When it comes to on-the-job safety, the challenges are many, the issues complex. What are the most effective ways to train a diverse workforce in safety practices? How do you deal with language barriers? How do you avoid cultural miscues? Get answers to these questions and more in this insightful article by workers’ comp thought leader Peter Rousmaniere…MORE

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

Lone Star Oil and Gas Roundup
EHS-related news tailored to the oil and gas industry, courtesy of Texas Mutual and the Texas Oil and Gas Association…MORE

State of the industry

Workers’ comp – the near-term outlook
The market and rates are firm, premiums are trending up modestly, frequency is continuing its structural slow decrease, and claims cost inflation appears to be well within acceptable ranges, according to a report released by the National Council on Compensation Insurance…MORE

Claim costs

New obesity issues impacting workers’ compensation
Obesity contributes to a growing percentage of the health care spend in worker’s compensation. Claims professionals should practice a few guidelines to control the impact of obesity on claims…MORE

Postal service workers’ comp costs rise as headcount falls
The postal service cut its workforce by more than 172,000 employees between 2008 and 2013, but its workers’ compensation costs grew 35 percent. An aging workforce and fewer modified duty positions are among the reasons cited for the increase…MORE

Prescription drugs

DEA increases restrictions on painkillers
Under the restrictions, doctors will no longer be able to call in Hydrocodone prescriptions, and patients will not be allowed to get refills on the same prescription. The Drug Enforcement Administration published the rule on August 21; it will take effect in 45 days…MORE

Be wary of compound medications in workers’ compensation
Compound medications are largely unregulated. They can carry serious side effects, and they can cost as much as double the standard market drug…MORE

State compensation funds worry about impact of opioids
Growth in highly addictive pain medications is driving up costs and hampering return-to-work outcomes. In this episode of A.M.Best TV, leaders of state compensation funds discuss the impact of opioids on the workers’ comp landscape…MORE

Agent’s role in WC risk management, claims: Time to get hands-on
Agents should create spreadsheets on every company, with its average claims cost, its percentage of claims litigation, the average adjuster case load, and the percentage of claims closed in 90 days. If the numbers are not comparable to the industry average, it’s time for the agent and company to work together to lower their costs, according to Lew Kachulis, president & CEO of Synergy Comp Insurance Co…MORE

State fund news

Riding the fastest park bench ever at another AASCIF conference
Bob Wilson is excited to cross “being heckled by residents sitting on their porch while waiting at a red light on a completely open trolley full of windblown tourists” off his bucket list. Read Bob’s account of the 2014 AASCIF annual conference, held in Washington, D.C…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

This Week in Comp, August 11 – 15

By David Wylie, Senior Technical Writer

By David Wylie, Senior Technical Writer

Safety

From the family room to the board room: A lesson in workplace safety
Behavior-based safety may have been hibernating in safety circles, but it is alive and well. In this week’s Texas Mutual blog post, David Wylie shows how a mishap at home underscores the importance of personal accountability in preventing accidents…MORE

What’s your biggest risk behind the wheel?
Of the 2,000 drivers surveyed by CarInsurance.com, 68 percent admitted to driving when they were tired or sleepy….MORE

NETS offers driving safety toolkit
The Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS) toolkit builds the case for executive leadership to adopt safe driving as part of the corporate safety culture. It also provides low-cost steps to engage employees…MORE

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

Fraud

Beauty contestant busted through social media for workers’ comp fraud
A California woman was arrested for workers’ compensation fraud after video evidence showed her participating in the 2014 Miss Toyota Long Beach Grand Prix beauty contest…MORE

Prescription drugs

Study investigates effectiveness of compounds
A recent study shows that cost and utilization of compounded medications jumped 126 percent per-user-per-year in 2013. The study uncovered no clinical evidence that compounded medications commonly used in workers’ compensation are more effective than commercially available, manufactured drugs. In fact, compound drugs could pose serious patient safety concerns…MORE

Measuring opioid effectiveness requires more than scale of 1 to 10
Asking patients to rate their pain does not tell physicians whether opioids are effective, according to Dr. Kurt Hegmann, director of the Rocky Mountain Center for Occupational and Environmental Health. Rather, physicians should ask quantifiable, function-based questions…MORE

Return-to-work

Trust, belief and recovery from disability
A recent study by the Workers Compensation Research Institute showed that injured employees who fear being laid off or fired are twice as likely not to return to work. The study underscores the importance of trust in the employer/employee relationship…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

This Week in Comp, August 4 – 8

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

Acclimatization key to working safely outdoors
Failure to ease into the stress of working in hot temperatures is a leading cause of heat-related illness, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention…MORE

Casey Perkins, OSHA Austin director, explains the agency’s Water. Rest. Shade. heat safety campaign.

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

What’s the most dangerous jobs in the world?
Construction worker? Roofer? Truck driver? All made the list, but none claimed the dubious title of World’s Most Dangerous Job. Still stumped? Here’s a hint: There’s a giant leap between the pay grade and the risk associated with the job…MORE

Prescription drugs

Paying for detox
The health care industry is increasingly turning to detoxification programs to wean patients off powerful opioids. Programs that excel at pain management and detoxification deliver the best results…MORE

A prescription for patient safety when using compounded medications
Compounded medications pose safety risks for patients. Medications can get contaminated during the compounding process. In addition, many compound medications are provided as topical creams or patches, which makes it difficult to control dosage accurately and consistently…MORE

Return-to-work

GENEX Services outlines top barriers to effective return-to-work programs
If employers want to reap the benefits of a return-to-work program, they must create a formal, written policy that includes modified duty for injured workers who have medical restrictions…MORE

Claims

DWC report shows decrease in benefit disputes
Medical benefit disputes in the Texas workers’ compensation system fell 70 percent from 2003 to 2013, according to a Texas Department of Insurance, Division of Workers’ Compensation report. The report also showed the number of claims with indemnity dispute proceedings is at its lowest level since 2008…MORE

NCCI releases 2014 claim frequency report
Lost-time claim frequency increased in accident year 2010 and has declined in each subsequent accident year. The report partially attributes the trend to the Great Recession…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

This Week in Comp, July 28 – August 1

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

Tire blowouts more common in the summer
High temperatures and hot roads contribute to tire breakdown, under-inflation and failure. In fact, there are nearly 11,000 tire-related crashes each year, and almost 200 people die in those crashes. Follow these tips to keep your vehicle road-ready…MORE

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

Safety cops patrol the office for high heels
Safety awareness has always been serious business at construction sites, food manufacturing plants, mines and oil rigs. But now, field-inspired safety protocols are migrating to the office, where hazards include dripping umbrellas, high heels and hot cups of coffee…MORE

Technology

Wearables and workers’ comp
Bob Wilson predicts that wearable technology is about to revolutionize the workers’ compensation system, allowing us to move and monitor personal data securely and in real time…MORE

Opioid epidemic

NSC publishes guide for managing workplace opioid use
Drug overdoses – chiefly caused by opioids – have surpassed car crashes as the leading cause of unintentional death in the U.S., according to the NSC. The new guide includes a toolkit to help employers get the most out of their drug abuse policies…MORE

Abuse deterrent opioids: Technology vs. medical necessity
Some drug manufacturers are offering abuse-deterrent opioids, which contain a chemical that blocks the drugs’ euphoric effects. Michael Gavin, President of PRIUM, applauds manufacturers’ efforts. He adds, however, that lack of medical necessity is a bigger factor in the opioid epidemic…MORE

Claim management

Adjusters are happier than we thought
Adjusters enjoy their work environments and consider their workloads manageable, according to a survey by our friends at Health Strategy Associates. If you’re an adjuster who wants to weigh in, there’s still time to participate…MORE

Fraud

Who commits the most fraud?
From carriers laundering money to doctors treating the incarcerated, all players in the New York workers’ comp system have a generous share of members in the fraud guild…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

%d bloggers like this: