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Posts tagged with worker - worker

What to Do When Workers’ Compensation Is Not Enough!

Author DMalloy , 6/15/2017
Injuries are common occurrences across the nation, and your client’s business may be next. While all employees face a certain degree of danger, the individuals who are statistically higher to get into accidents are people like truck drivers, roofers, and agricultural workers. An accident can come in many forms, and the causes that were the result of the accident vary as well. Workers’ compensation can offset the consequences of injury, but what happens when the very policy meant to protect your clients’ employees falls short? What are employees to do when workers’ compensation is not enough?

What to Do When Workers’ Compensation Is Not Enough!

Author DMalloy , 4/12/2017
When workers’ compensation is not enough, what are employees to do? Where can they find other sources of money? Injuries are common occurrences across the nation, and your client’s business may be next. While all employees face a certain degree of danger, the individuals who are statistically higher to get into accidents are people like truck drivers, roofers, and agricultural workers. An accident can come in many forms, and the causes that were the result of the accident vary as well. Workers’ compensation can offset the consequences of injury, but what happens when the very policy meant to protect your clients’ employees falls short? What are employees to do when workers’ compensation is not enough?

New WCRI Study: Lump Sums Assist Rather than Discourage Return to Work

Author DavidMalloy , 7/16/2012
From http://www.workcompwire.com

Cambridge, MA -(PRWeb)- An ongoing question for many policymakers is whether lump-sum settlements in workers’ compensation cases help or hurt return to work for injured workers. Although some believe that settlements discourage return to work, the Workers Compensation Research Institute’s (WCRI) new study, Return to Work after a Lump-Sum Settlement, shows the opposite.

“This is an important study because we need to find out whether settlements discourage return to work for injured workers who want to return to work or assist them in closing this chapter of their life and moving on with their career,” says Bogdan Savych, author and public policy analyst at WCRI. “My hope is this research will help policymakers and other stakeholders understand how workers respond to receiving a lump-sum settlement.”

The study follows the experience of 2,138 workers who were injured in Michigan in 2004 and later received a lump-sum settlement. WCRI followed the employment experience of these workers up through 2008. Although the study focuses on injured workers in Michigan, policymakers from across the country can learn from these findings and better understand a worker’s decision to return to work after a lump-sum settlement.

Among the study’s many findings are:
  • Three quarters [78 percent] of the injured workers in the study who received a lump-sum settlement didn’t change their employment status, which means that many of those who were employed at the time of the lump sum stayed employed and those who were not employed remained unemployed.
  • Of those injured workers that did change their employment status, nearly a third [30 percent] who were employed at the time of the lump-sump settlement left work and nearly a fifth [19 percent] of those who were not employed at the time of the lump sum attained employment.
  • On average, more injured workers returned to work after receiving a lump-sum settlement than exited. Average employment in the sample increased from 25 percent of workers at the time of the lump sum to 32 percent of workers 1 year after a settlement. The exception is older workers who experienced a decline in employment after a settlement.

OSHA Cites Company With 12 Violations After Worker Dies From Chemical Exposure

Author DavidMalloy , 5/27/2012
From http://www.workerscompensation.com/

Theresa, WI (WorkersCompensation.com) -

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Vivid Image Inc. with 12 safety violations–including two willful–after one worker died and another was hospitalized from exposure to the chemical toluene at the Theresa, Wis., manufacturing plant on Nov. 29.

Two willful violations involved workers not wearing respiratory protection while working with the chemical toluene in an unventilated area, and for exposure to toluene beyond the peak level of 500 parts per million. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.

OSHA guidelines limit peak toluene exposure to 10 minutes per single time period for any eight-hour shift, with a time weighted average exposure of 200 parts per million. Toluene is a clear, colorless liquid used in a variety of industries and is a common solvent for products such as paints, thinners and glues. Vivid Image specializes in coating production and micro screens.

"Vivid Image has a responsibility to monitor workers' exposure to known chemicals in its facility, ensure usage of protective equipment and train workers in workplace hazards," said Kim Stille, OSHA's area director in Madison, Wis. "OSHA is committed to protecting workers on the job."

Additionally, 10 serious safety and health violations include a failure to reasonably evaluate toluene air concentrations; shut off the ventilation system and block the exhaust duct while applying screen coating material containing toluene; disallow ignition sources inside the coating room where flammable material was mixed and applied; develop and implement a written hazard communication program; provide worker training on physical and health hazards of coating material; properly storing flammable liquids; provide guarding on a table saw; prevent exposed electrical wires using extension cords instead of permanent wiring; and provide fork truck training. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

Proposed penalties total $64,600.

Due to the willful nature of some of the violations, OSHA has placed Vivid Image in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law. The program focuses on recalcitrant employers that endanger workers by committing willful, repeat or failure-to-abate violations. For more information about the program, visit http://s.dol.gov/J3.

Vivid Image, which employs three workers, has 15 business days from receipt of its current citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Madison office at 608-441-5388. Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance.

 

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DO YOUR CLIENTS UNDERSTAND THE IMPLICATIONS OF SHIFTWORK

Author DavidMalloy , 5/11/2012
According to recent data collected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 15 million people in the United States work on a rotating shift, night shift, or evening shift schedule. In addition, the total number of hours worked by employees in the United States is higher than most of Western Europe and Japan. Both working irregular shifts and working long hours have been shown to contribute to safety risks and health problems.

Shift workers tend to be more tired than the general population, which can lead to difficulty concentrating and slower reflexes. As a result, shift workers are more likely to make errors on the job or be involved in accidents. The stress of shiftwork might also cause such employees to acquire certain health conditions.

When an individual works at night, he or she is unable to get enough restorative sleep. Sleep following a night shift is usually shorter and less regenerative than sleep during the night would have been. During nighttime hours, body functions and brain activity slow down. Because the individual is already lacking sleep, he or she is likely to exhibit performance problems. Individuals who work rotating schedules will experience additional problems each time they must switch between day and night shifts.

In addition to fatigue and concentration problems, shiftwork can also lead to serious health problems. Research has shown that employees who work rotating shift schedules are more likely to experience digestive problems, such as nausea, constipation, and stomach ulcers. Heart conditions are also more common among shift workers than in the general population.

Because shiftwork is often unavoidable, it is important to design the work schedule so that it minimizes the stress of shiftwork as much as possible. A properly designed work schedule can prevent accidents, improve worker morale, and decrease the likelihood of employee health problems.

All workers have a natural circadian rhythm that tells their bodies when to sleep and be awake. For this reason, employees who must be at work during late night and early morning hours are likely to have more trouble focusing. Certain shift times might also prevent workers from seeing family and friends. To prevent problems that might result from unusual shift times, many employers avoid scheduling the same worker for late night or early morning shifts during all work periods.

Though it might seem like it would be easier for workers to adapt to an unusual shift if it were a permanent assignment, most workers readjust to a normal schedule on their days off. For this reason, the majority of employers assign shiftwork on a rotating schedule. Rotating schedules prevent a worker from constantly experiencing the stress associated with the night shift. However, rotating schedules require workers to make changes to readjust to new sleep patterns regularly. To prevent serious health problems, it is advisable to rotate a worker's shift every few weeks, rather than weekly or after only a few days.

Another important factor to consider in shiftwork is the amount of time an employee has to rest. Employees who work eight-hour shifts have more hours in the day remaining for rest than employees who work 12-hour shifts. Unfortunately, the other tasks employees must perform after their shift will not decrease when they work overtime, so employees who work long shifts must often sacrifice sleep in order to make ends meet. To prevent a buildup of fatigue, employers of employees who must work long hours should avoid scheduling too many consecutive workdays for the same employee.

Employers who require workers to perform shiftwork should also teach employees effective coping skills to deal with the stress of the schedule. Employees working rotating shifts can improve their situations by getting as much sleep as possible during their time off. They should also make an effort to spend time with family and friends, exercise, and eat a balanced diet.

Do your clients understanding the implications of shift work? PMC can help find you the best Policies for your clients to protect their liability.


Operating in the Continental US!
Phone: 1-877-PMC-COMP| (781)-449-7744  
Email PMC | Visit our website

Impact of an Aging Workforce on Costs

Author DavidMalloy , 4/9/2012
PMC Insurance GroupAsk the Workers’ Comp Expert: Impact of an Aging Workforce on Costs
by Robert G. Jones, Vice President, PMC Insurance

Much has been written and speculated about the impact of older workers and the presumed increased cost of workers’ compensation. The numbers of jobs held by baby boomers will more than double in the period from 1995 to 2020, due in part to older workers postponing retirement.

According to the National Council on Compensation Insurance, while the loss costs are higher for older workers due to the severity of their claims, those costs tend to be offset by higher premiums resulting from higher wages earned by older workers. Also, older workers file fewer claims than younger workers, which tend to offset their higher claim costs.

Research indicates that workers age 35 to 64 appear to have similar loss costs per worker. On the indemnity side, higher wages paid to older workers drive higher costs. For medical costs, older workers may require more treatments per claim, which drives total costs.

NCCI research indicates that frequency has fallen across all age groups, and differences in frequency by age have narrowed. Occupational mix does not present a material impact on frequency as in general workplaces keep getting safer for all occupations. Of note, the generation following baby boomers in the workplace is now proportionally a larger group. Currently, the impact of an aging workforce on higher loss costs is less than conventional wisdom had predicted.

PMC Insurance Group is IIABNY’s endorsed workers’ compensation specialist. Our insurance professionals have extensive experience helping IIABNY members expand their marketing capabilities by providing workers’ compensation solutions for their clients. Give us a call at (440) 313-5002.  

Operating in the Continental US!

           Phone:  1-877-PMC-COMP | (781)-449-7744

Email PMC | Visit our website


Hiring Independent Contractors is Not Risk-Free

Author DavidMalloy , 2/22/2012
Ask the Workers' Comp Expert: Hiring Independent Contractors is Not Risk-Free
by Robert G. Jones, Vice President, PMC Insurance Group

In today’s challenging economy, business owners have turned to hiring independent contractors in lieu of adding traditional employees. Advantages might include: completion of specific, short-term assignments; obtaining unique, project specific skill sets; reduced costs for administration; and the avoidance of benefits, taxes and legal issues surrounding the hiring and firing of traditional employees.

However, there are risks associated with this practice. Legitimately hired contractors might win disability, workers’ compensation and medical insurance benefits if they were misclassified to avoid paying such benefits. A business owner could also be held responsible for paying all withholding taxes, plus interest, if the Internal Revenue Service finds employees have been misclassified as independent contractors. And, the IRS and other governmental agencies could impose additional financial penalties.

The number of worker class action lawsuits that claim employers misclassified employees as independent contractors rose 50 percent in 2010 to a record 300 or so, according to Garry Mathiason of Littler Mendelson, one of the nation’s largest employment and labor law firms. One reason is that using independent contractors has become common practice in construction, trucking and home health care.

The IRS created a list of 20 common law factors to determine whether a contractor is actually an employee. Under common law, a worker is an employee if the business owner (person for whom services are preformed) has the right to control and direct the way they work including when, where and how the work is done. It is important to understand the difference between the IRS definition of employee versus the definition under statutory workers’ compensation protection.

PMC Insurance Group’s only business is workers’ compensation. Our insurance professionals have extensive experience helping IIABNY members expand their marketing capabilities by providing workers’ compensation solutions for their clients, including appropriate insurance protection when hiring independent contractors.

    
 Operating in the Continental US! Phone: 1-877-PMC-COMP | (781)-449-7744 Email PMC | Visit our website