Category Archives: Uncategorized

The High Road: Investing in Your Workers

Today’s post was shared by US Labor Department and comes from

Congress still hasn’t answered President Obama’s call to raise the national minimum wage. But states and localities are acting on their own, through legislative action and ballot measure. And across the country, forward-thinking businesses are leading by example. In community after community, I’ve visited with employers who know that paying workers a fair wage isn’t just the right thing to do; it’s also good for business.

boston beer collage
boston beer collage

Nobody would argue that Boston Beer Company founder and chairman Jim Koch doesn’t know what he’s doing. He produces America’s most successful craft beer, Sam Adams, served in bars, restaurants, stores and entertainment venues nationwide. His brewery has won more awards in international beer-tasting competitions that any other. I had the pleasure of meeting with Jim earlier this week, touring the Boston brewery, and learning about how he treats his 1,200 employees. “You can’t have engaged employees if you don’t invest in them,” he says. That’s why Jim offers his employees paid sick leave and starts everyone, including part-time workers, well above the minimum wage.

letter logic
letter logic

Later in Nashville, I met with a handful of small business owners who similarly value their employees, recognizing that the high road is the smart road. Among
them is Sherry Stewart Deutschmann who founded and runs LetterLogic, a company that processes statements, letters and checks for…

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Workers Need Adequate Protection from Ebola, Infectious Diseases

Today’s post was shared by Gelman on Workplace Injuries and comes from

By Alberto Grant, Jr., Airway Terminal Cleaner, John F. Kennedy International Airport, New York

Dozens of New York area airport workers took part in an awareness training provided by SEIU trainers and healthcare professionals. The training came as workers have revealed their lack of training to deal with infectious diseases in light of the Centers for Disease Control’s updated advice on preventing the spread of Ebola in our airports.

I was really glad to know that we would be getting this training, because I don’t think we are getting what we need to keep ourselves safe at the airport.

A lot of us are worried about this because we know there’s a risk of passengers coming through who have Ebola. The equipment we have is just not good enough to deal with that. Also, this training is more than we’ve gotten so far from my company. They told us yesterday we should wash our hands and use gloves, and we could get gloves if we asked. I’ve been working here for a while and just like some contractors, they don’t like to buy good equipment.

When we clean the bathrooms, we are exposed to everything, so I am really glad to know that I’m getting this training. In the past, contractors have told us just to wash our hands and use gloves. Cleaning kits are not readily available to protect against the various bodily fluids we encounter every day. Sometimes all we have are paper towels to wipe down the bathrooms.

That can be a real problem because we have to deal with some tough things — vomit,…

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It’s Not That Hard

Today’s post was shared by Gelman on Workplace Injuries and comes from

A lot of employers try to lower their workers’ compensation costs by fudging the numbers on their payroll reports, or paying workers "under the table," or misclassifying their jobs.

Some employees take advantage of the no-fault design of the system to make claims that didn’t occur, or inflate the severity of the claim.

And there are some people on the claims side that try to "meet the numbers" by denying, delaying and otherwise obfuscating claim realities and legal obligations.

But the penalties meted are different depending upon your place in the system and don’t necessarily reflect the crime.

For instance, WorkCompCentral did an analysis of California Department of Insurance fraud statistics.

Between Jan. 1, 2013, and July 10, 150 individuals were convicted of defrauding workers’ compensation carriers out of $8 million; $6.7 million, or 83.75%, came from 30 of the 77 convictions for premium fraud, such as misreporting payroll, classifying workers as independent contractors or operating without mandatory workers’ compensation insurance.

The CDI data does not have an estimated loss for the remaining 47 of those convictions, but if extrapolated against the "known" losses, then the total for that time period is $17.5 million of losses attributable to employers.

$1.3 million out of that "known" $8 million is attributed to false claims filed by 67 of 73 individuals. Losses for the remaining six of those false claim cases were not included in…

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2014 Oregon Workers’ Compensation Premium Rate Ranking: Reflection of the Past or Prediction for the Future?

Today’s post was shared by WC CompNewsNetwork and comes from

The biennial study on workers’ compensation premium rates issued by the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services (DCBS) was released last week, and, as always, it is worthy of a review by those of us entrenched within the industry. The study ranks all 50 states and Washington, D.C., based on rates that were in effect Jan. 1, 2014. This year’s results are indicative that major reforms don’t always gain the results that were intended or marketed to the industry; and while it may not accurately reflect legislative action of the past, it may be a better predictor of major reforms to come.

The study shows that despite its extensive reforms designed to lower costs, California now has the most expensive rates in the nation, followed by Connecticut. North Dakota had the least expensive rates. Oregon researchers also compared each state’s rates to the national median (midpoint) rate of $1.85 per $100 of payroll.

According to Mike Manley, one of the co-authors of the survey, “We continue to see a trend in the distribution of state index rates in our study clustering in the middle of the distribution. A record 21 states are within plus or minus 10 percent of the 2014 study median. This makes the rank values more volatile from one study to the next. I would recommend that states look also to their ‘Percent of study median’ figure for comparisons over time.”

Because states have various mixes of industries, the study calculates…

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Rutgers report: devastating impact of long term joblessness

Today’s post was shared by Gelman on Workplace Injuries and comes from



The Record


* Research finds that many who have been unemployed describe "devastated" lives

A Rutgers University study released today provides a grim, detailed picture of the severe impact that long-term unemployment continues to have on the lives of millions of Americans more than five years after the end of the Great Recession.

About one-third of the long-term unemployed workers — six months or more — in the study, based on surveys of unemployed and employed Americans across the nation, said they had been "devastated" and suffered a permanent change in their lifestyle by their jobless experience. The study, titled "Left behind: The long-term unemployed struggle in an improving economy," found that one in five workers laid off in the last five years are still unemployed. And it showed how far long-term jobless workers slip compared with employed workers.

Fifty-one percent of long-term jobless workers said they had a lot less income and savings than they did five years ago, while only 23 percent of employed workers said they had suffered similar economic damage, the study found.

Sixty-one percent of the long-term unemployed said they did not expect their finances to improve in the next five years, the study found. That was about 11 percentage points higher than the assessment by employed workers of their finances over the next five years.

"While the worst effects of the Great Recession are over for…

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Workplace toxins – are you a victim?

Today’s post was shared by Workers Comp News and comes from


Every day throughout Illinois, and the rest of the country, workers in nearly every field and in a range of working environments are exposed to toxins, such as chemicals and gases, in the workplace. In some cases, this exposure can cause occupational injuries, ranging from an allergic reaction or pulmonary irritation to much more serious, long-term issues, like asbestosis or cancer. This makes it important for employees to know what they could be coming into contact with in their workplaces.

Common workplace toxins

These toxins can be in use themselves, or be present in other solutions and substances that are used for any number of purposes and processes by employees in many occupations. Additionally, toxins can be released as a result of, or in the course of, workers’ regular occupational activities. Some of the most common toxins that may be present in a workplace environment include the following:

  • Chemicals or materials used in, and released from, construction and manufacturing processes, including asbestos, benzene, lead, manganese, formaldehyde, and silica dust.
  • Solvents and chemicals used to repair and maintain motor vehicles and other types of equipment, such as antifreeze, gasoline, diesel fuel and oil.
  • Cleaning supplies and pesticides, as well as nail and hair care products often contain chemicals that can be harmful.
  • Some medical equipment and processes may use harmful chemicals, including the use of Beryllium in dental work and ethylene oxide in…

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OSHA Chief: Inequality in America Is About Workplace Hazards, Too

Today’s post was shared by Gelman on Workplace Injuries and comes from

Image: Assistant Labor Secretary David Michaels of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration attends a full committee hearing on Capitol Hill on June 23 in Washington, DC.
Image: Assistant Labor Secretary David Michaels of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration attends a full committee hearing on Capitol Hill on June 23 in Washington, DC.

Inequality and poverty have taken center stage in American politics in the years since the recession. Fast food workers have raised the profile of low-wage work, cities and states around the country are raising the minimum wage, and elected officials in both parties have made the struggles of poor Americans core political issues.

But David Michaels, Ph.D., M.P.H., who leads the Occupational Safety and Health Administration under the Obama administration, says that workplace inequality is more than just wages. In an interview, Michaels, who is responsible for enforcing federal laws to project workers from illness and injury, says the regulatory structures he oversees aren’t sufficient to protect vulnerable workers from harm.

NBC: The political conversation about inequality in recent years has focused on wages. You’ve made the point that when addressing inequality, we should focus more on workplace health and safety issues. Why?

Michaels: Wages are clearly a core component of the discussion of inequality and the ability to get into and stay in middle class. But workplace health and safety issues also have an enormous impact. Workplace injury and illness can push workers out of middle-class jobs and make it hard to enter into the middle class in the first place.

Studies show that workplace injury…

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Trickle Down Consequences of Professional Athletic Head Injuries

Today’s post was shared by Jon L Gelman and comes from

The new NFL logo went into use at the 2008 draft.
The new NFL logo went into use at the 2008 draft.

The consequences of denying workers’ compensation benefits to professional athletes is having a profound effect on high school and community sporting programs. When a system that is supposed to provide medical benefits and disability payments in a summary fashion turns it’s back on professional players, the issue of safety becomes even more important to those who re considering entering the economic lottery of sports for success.

"The sport of football is changing. Revelations about widespread brain injuries have ushered in new rules and a lawsuit against the NFL. But what about the millions of kids who play football in elementary, middle and high school? We asked our network of Student Reporting Labs around the country to investigate the impact of new awareness of concussions on youth football programs in their communities."

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