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Workers’ Compensation

Federal and state OSHAs overrun with COVID-19 complaints

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Federal and state agencies have seen a large influx of workplace safety complaints related to the COVID-19 outbreak, and experts urge employers to create exposure control plans in case an agency comes knocking. Unlike the flu and common cold, COVID-19 is considered a recordable illness by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. “This is the busiest we’ve ever been,”…

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Illinois Manufacturer Fined $258K for Exposing Employees to Machine Hazards

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An Arcola, Illinois-based manufacturer faces over $258,000 in penalties and numerous citations for violations of federal machine safety standards, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reported. Monahan Filaments LLC was cited after an employee suffered severe injuries. The manufacturer of synthetic filaments for brushes and brooms faces $258, 271 in penalties, and was placed in…

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Health care associations fear lack of protection from virus

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A nationwide shortage of N95 masks and newly relaxed standards for personal protective equipment have workers on the front lines treating coronavirus patients and medical associations both praising efforts to ramp up production and protesting federal guidance over fears that it places them at greater risk of contracting the virus. “We just do not have the quantity (of N95 masks)…

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Hospital costs, in-patient stays continue to decline in comp

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Hospital costs in workers compensation continue to decrease, likely due to fewer surgeries, changes in reimbursement and a shift from hospital in-patient care to outpatient care, according to research presented Friday at the Workers Compensation Research Institute’s 36th Annual Issue and Research Conference. “There’s a fairly steady shifting from in-patient care to outpatient care,” said Carol Telles, senior analyst at…

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OSHA reminds employers COVID-19 is a recordable illness

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The Occupational Safety and Health Administration released on Monday guidance to help employers prepare their workplaces for an outbreak of COVID-19 — along with a reminder that any incidents of employees contracting the novel coronavirus at work are recordable illnesses, subject to the same rules and failure-to-record fines as other workplace injuries and illnesses. While OSHA specifically exempts employers from…

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Lawmakers introduce bills in response to COVID-19

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State and federal lawmakers hoping to stay ahead of COVID-19 are introducing legislation to address infectious disease measures, emergency funding and unemployment and sick leave pay. On Monday, Rep. Robert Scott, D-Va., introduced H.B. 6139 in the U.S. House of Representatives, which calls on the Secretary of Labor to issue an emergency temporary standard requiring certain employers to develop and…

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Employers face ‘gray area’ with comp, coronavirus: Expert

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Workers compensation legal experts say employers can look at past outbreaks and pandemics to try to understand the intersection of workplace injury and coronavirus, but that even history may not provide an accurate picture of what to expect if a pandemic occurs. “We don’t have precedence on this issue because we don’t have a lot of exposures to pandemics,” said…

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Comp costs continue to rise with age: WCRI

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The increasing number of people remaining in the workforce past traditional retirement age presents challenging questions for the workers compensation industry, according to research presented Thursday at the Workers Compensation Research Institute’s 36th Annual Issues & Research Conference. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that by 2028, 20% of workers in the labor force will be age 55 or…

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AFL-CIO calls on OSHA to create temp standard for pandemics

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The AFL-CIO is calling on the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration to create an emergency temporary standard to protect workers from the potential coronavirus pandemic and future infectious agents. The Washington-based AFL-CIO, which represents union workers nationwide, issued a statement Friday warning of the potential for a deadly pandemic. It said current estimates show that more than 19 million…

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Early care can help mitigate mental issues tied to workplace injuries

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Workplace injuries often can lead to mental health issues, including opioid use and even suicide, experts said during a panel discussion Friday at the Workers Compensation Research Institute’s 36th Annual Issues & Research Conference. To help workers better cope after an injury, they recommend mental health interventions and “warm handoffs” to employee assistance programs. “People who were injured at work…

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