Category Archives: Uncategorized

The workers’ compensation system is broken — and it’s driving people into poverty

Today’s post was shared by Gelman on Workplace Injuries and comes from www.washingtonpost.com

There’s a good news/bad news situation for occupational injuries in the United States: Fewer people are getting hurt on the job. But those who do are getting less help.

That’s according to a couple of important new reports out Wednesday on how the system for cleaning up workplace accidents is broken — both because of the changing circumstances of the people who are getting injured, and the disintegration of programs that are supposed to pay for them.

The first comes from the Department of Labor, which aims to tie the 3 million workplace injuries reported per year — the number is actually much higher, because many workers fear raising the issue with their employers — into the ongoing national conversation about inequality. In an overview of research on the topic, the agency finds that low-wage workers (especially Latinos) have disproportionately high injury rates, and that injuries can slice 15 percent off a person’s earnings over 10 years after the accident.

“Income inequality is a very active conversation led by the White House,” David Michaels, director of the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, said in an interview. “Injuries are knocking many families out of the middle class, and block many low-wage workers from getting out of poverty. So we think it’s an important component of this conversation.”

There are two main components to the financial implications of a workplace injury. The first is the legal…

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Shelby County teen’s alleged murder sparks $10 million wrongful death lawsuit

Today’s post was shared by The Workers’ Injury Law & Advocacy Group and comes from www.al.com

The alleged murder of Cameron McGlothan, 19, in 2013 has sparked a lawsuit against a security company and the developer of a north Shelby County subdivision. 

The family of a teen who was allegedly murdered in March 2013 has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against a security company and developer of a north Shelby County subdivision for allowing the two suspects in the case to enter the gated community and abduct the victim.

The parents of Cameron McGlothan filed a lawsuit in Shelby County Circuit Court last Friday that seeks $10 million for the wrongful death of their son against Walden Security Inc. and Eddleman Properties Inc.

In the lawsuit, Dawn and Ernest McGlothan accuse the two companies of failing to follow policies and procedures by allowing the two men, who were later charged with murder in the case, to enter the Highland Lakes subdivision on Highway 41 and abduct the 19-year-old.

The lawsuit alleges the guard station operated by Walden at Highland Lakes’ entrance did not get proper identification from Justin Hamilton and Demarcus Samuels, both of whom have been charged with capital murder in the case.

The two suspects provided incorrect names to guards while video equipment at the gate did not accurately record their vehicle’s tag number, which caused a delay in their identification, according to the lawsuit.

The McGlothans accuse the companies of breach of contract, negligence, wrongful death and negligent training and supervision, according to the lawsuit filed…

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Lawsuit: SRC violated former teachers’ rights

Today’s post was shared by The Workers’ Injury Law & Advocacy Group and comes from www.philly.com

Travel Deals

THREE RETIRED Philadelphia School District teachers have filed a federal lawsuit against the School Reform Commission, former chair Bill Green, the city and other parties for allegedly violating their constitutional rights during an SRC meeting.

The trio – Ilene Poses, Lisa Haver and Barbara Dowdall – say the violations occurred during a Feb. 18 meeting at which commissioners voted on charter-school applications, according to the suit filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia. The plaintiffs are members of the advocacy group Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools.

The Feb. 18 meeting was contentious, with four people arrested on disorderly-conduct charges, and the plaintiffs were not allowed to display signs opposing new charter-school approvals, the suit says.

Representatives from charter operator KIPP, however, were allowed to distribute and wear T-shirts in support of KIPP schools, the suit says.

The suit also claims that a school police officer named as a defendant, John Augustine, illegally went into Haver’s shopping bag without permission and swiped all the protest signs inside.

"Without cause or justification, and at least in part in retaliation for the exercise of the plaintiff’s First Amendment rights and to chill the exercise of those rights, the defendants seized the plaintiffs, confiscated their signs and violated the plaintiffs’ liberty interests," the suit says.

A school district spokeswoman said the district would not comment on…

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Barking dog could cost Seattle family their home

Today’s post was shared by The Workers’ Injury Law & Advocacy Group and comes from news.yahoo.com

Like bullies and illnesses, lawsuits can be ignored, but they won’t go away. Denise Norton learned this valuable lesson the hard way this week when she found out that a lawsuit she has tried to ignore could wind up costing Norton her North Seattle home.

Her neighbor Woodrow Thompson filed a lawsuit alleging that the sound of barking from Norton’s dog, Cawper, was intentionally causing him “profound emotional distress.” In his detailed, 36-page complaint, Thompson claimed that the canine’s “raucously, wildly bellowing, howling and explosively barking” was capable of reaching 128 decibels. For context, the U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration — the Labor Department agency tasked with enforcing safe working conditions — says a person should not be exposed to a noise of 115 decibels for more than 15 minutes a day. That said, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Noise Meter, Thompson’s claim would mean that Cawper’s bark is louder than an ambulance siren and just slightly softer than a jet engine at takeoff.

“In my head, everything was so bogus that he’d been doing, I don’t know why, I just didn’t think it was real or something,” Norton told the local ABC News affiliate, KOMO-TV. That’s why, even when she was served with papers, Norton simply didn’t respond.

Unfortunately for Norton, however, the suit was very real, and because…

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The Human Cost of the Military’s Toxic Burn Pits

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

Today’s post is shared from medium.com and is authored by Matthew Gault.

Jason Dawson joined the Marines in 2003 and went to Iraq in 2006. He deployed to Al Asad air base in Anbar province where he was part of a crash, fire and rescue team.

When his tour finished, he stayed and became a civilian contractor—a firefighter.

He liked the pay and the work, but he didn’t like the burn pits. Al Asad maintained a large, open-air ditch filled with burning garbage. It’s how the base disposed of all its waste.

“Some mornings I remember waking up … and I could smell the burn pits,” he says.

Dawson stayed in Al Asad for three years, and the whole time he dealt with toxic fumes. Since coming home, he’s developed several mysterious health problems doctors can’t seem to diagnose.

Dawson—who is a personal friend—is not alone. Thousands of returning soldiers and civilians reported various health problems after coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan. Many suspect prolonged exposure to the burn pits are the cause.

What didn’t help is that the military’s efforts to clean up the burn pits were half-hearted at best, and negligent at worst. That’s the conclusion of a new report from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction.

In the report, the congressionally-mandated watchdog details taxpayer cash wasted trying to close the Pentagon’s burn pits.

But worse than the monetary waste is how…

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Kettle Falls, WA Cedar Mill Fined More Than $150,000 for Safety Violations

Today’s post comes from guest author Kit Case, from Causey Law Firm.

Kettle Falls cedar mill fined more than $150,000 for safety violations in connection with worker injury

The Columbia Cedar mill in Kettle Falls has been fined $151,800 for safety violations after a worker was seriously hurt while trying to clear bark from a hopper.

The Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) cited the employer for one willful violation and 28 serious violations of workplace safety regulations.

The willful violation involved multiple instances of employees working in close proximity to exposed and unguarded chain sprockets on chain conveyors, a hazard that can cause permanent disabling injuries. The one willful violation carries a penalty of $52,000.

L&I initiated the inspection after learning that in June 2014 an employee had suffered a serious injury and was hospitalized after becoming entangled in a rotating shaft meant to move bark in the back of a hopper. The investigation found the equipment had no guarding installed to protect employees.

Along with the willful citation, the employer was cited for several serious violations related to machine/equipment guarding, and for not ensuring “lock-out/tag-out” procedures were used to prevent machinery from starting up or moving during service or maintenance by workers.

There were several additional serious violations involving fall/overhead hazards, hand-held tools, personal protective equipment and forklift training.

The employer was also cited for failing to report the hospitalization of an injured worker. By law, all employers are required to report to L&I within eight hours any time a worker is hospitalized or dies due to work-related causes.

A willful violation can be issued when L&I has evidence of plain indifference, a substitution of judgment or an intentional disregard to a hazard or rule. A serious violation exists in a workplace if there is a substantial probability that worker death or serious physical harm could result from a hazardous condition.

The employer has 15 working days to appeal the citation, and has notified L&I that it plans on doing so. Penalty money paid as a result of a citation is placed in the workers’ compensation supplemental pension fund, helping workers and families of those who have died on the job.

 

How Companies Like Walmart Are Fighting to Keep Workplace Injuries Secret

Today’s post was shared by Mother Jones and comes from www.motherjones.com

Andrew Francis Wallace/ZUMA

Nearly four years ago, while lifting pallets of blankets during an overnight stocking shift at Walmart, Barb Gertz began to notice a dull pain in her arms. She kept on lifting and stocking, but by the time her lunch break rolled around she could no longer raise her arms. Her doctor told her she had tendinitis in her biceps, and that it was most likely caused by her job. Walmart disagreed. The retailer contested Gertz’s workplace-injury claim—and won.

If Gertz had worked in a factory, she could have bolstered her case with evidence from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s national database of manufacturing workplace injuries. But no such database exists for retail workers like Gertz. A new regulation that OSHA is scheduled to finalize this year would change that. OSHA wants to create a public database of workplace injury and illness data from all industries, not just manufacturing. This would help workers, the government, researchers, and journalists identify companies with safety problems. But the trade groups that represent some of America’s biggest chains—including Walmart, Target, and McDonald’s—are fighting back hard.

The National Retail Federation—a group that represents Walmart, McDonald’s, and The Container Store—spent $2.4 million lobbying on this measure and other issues between January and September of last year. In a letter to OSHA last March, the group complained that the rule would require…

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Florida has a Large Percentage of Medicare’s top “Controlled-Drug” Prescribers

Today’s post was shared by Gelman on Workplace Injuries and comes from flojcc.blogspot.com

Today’s post is authored by Judge David Langham and shared from flojcc.blogspot.com/

A story was recently published on the WUSF website, Health News Florida. It says that the “prolific prescribers” of some medications are facing “Medicare scrutiny.”

A chart in the story reflects the distribution of 192 top prescribing medical providers in 12 states. Of these, 52, or 27% are located here in the Sunshine State. 

The article notes that in 2012, “Medicare covered nearly 27 million prescriptions for powerful narcotic painkillers and stimulants with the highest potential for abuse and dependence.” 

Despite efforts at addressing narcotic use, the article notes that this was a “9 percent” increase compared to 2011. 

Thankfully, though Florida has the largest volume of providers represented in this chart, the top prescriber is not in Florida. Dr. Shelinder Aggarwal of Huntsville, Alabama has that distinction. He prescribed “more than 14,000 Schedule 2 prescriptions in 2012.” This amounted to “more than 80 percent of his Medicare patients” receiving “at least one prescription for a Schedule 2 drug, in many cases oxycodone.”Apparently he is no longer a physician, the article notes he “surrendered his medical license” in 2013. 

The prescription practices are a “real area of concern” for the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, according to the director, quoted in the article. 

The article suggests that data in existing resources can…

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