Category Archives: Uncategorized

Cutting Corners in Construction Costs Lives

Today’s post was shared by US Labor Department and comes from blog.dol.gov

an image of the collapsed parking garage
an image of the collapsed parking garage

In the construction industry, precision matters – corners need to be square, lines have to be level and plans must be followed. Following the rules keeps buildings and people safe. But when construction companies cut corners, workers often pay the price.

That is exactly what happened in Jacksonville, Florida, in December 2007. A construction company called Southern Pan thought eliminating basic safety procedures would save time and money. The result? A six-story parking garage came crashing down, killing one worker and injuring 20 others. The worker who was killed, Willie Edwards, was only there that day because he decided to pick up an extra shift to buy Christmas presents for his children.

This horrific tragedy could have been easily avoided.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration enforces construction standards designed to keep workers safe from building collapses like this. To keep a building from collapsing during construction, a process called “shoring” is used, which involves wood or steel beams to help support the weight of concrete and other construction loads.

In violation of OSHA’s construction standards, Southern Pan chose to remove most of the shores from the first two floors of the parking garage, ignoring blueprints that required all shoring to remain from top to bottom until the building was completed. The company then knowingly permitted workers, including Edwards, to work in the…

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WCRI Studies Compare Outcomes of Injured Workers Across 15 States

Today’s post was shared by WC CompNewsNetwork and comes from www.workerscompensation.com

Cambridge, MA (WorkersCompensation.com) – New studies published today by the Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) compare outcomes of injured workers across 15 states. The outcomes examined in these studies include recovery of physical health and functioning, return to work, earnings recovery, access to medical care, and satisfaction with medical care.

“The goal of the studies is to provide information about injured workers’ experiences with the workers’ compensation system. By examining outcomes of injured workers, policymakers and stakeholders can better understand how different state systems compare in order to identify and prioritize opportunities to improve system performance,” said Bogdan Savych, an economist at WCRI and one of the authors of the studies.

The research, Comparing Outcomes for Injured Workers, is a product of an ongoing, multiyear effort by WCRI to collect and examine data on the outcomes of medical care achieved by injured workers in a growing number of states. There are 15 individual studies for the following states: Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Below is a sample of the findings from the 15 individual state studies.

  • Florida: Workers in the state reported outcomes that were similar to the median study state on some of the key measures, but reported somewhat higher rates of…

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FDA approves first implant to treat opioid addiction

Today’s post was shared by Workers Compensation and comes from www.businessinsurance.com

(Reuters) — The first-ever implant to fight addiction to opioids, a class of drugs that includes prescription painkillers and heroin, was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Thursday.

The matchstick-sized implant, developed by Titan Pharmaceuticals Inc. and privately owned Braeburn Pharmaceuticals, is by design less susceptible to abuse or the illicit resale that plagues existing oral therapies.

Currently, two drugs are predominantly used to treat opioid addiction — methadone, which is dispensed only in government-endorsed clinics, and the less-addictive buprenorphine, which exists as a pill or strip of film.

The implant administers buprenorphine for up to six months after users have been stabilized on the oral form of the drug.

“I intend to make this the most successful implant that’s ever been marketed … and I think it’s absolutely possible given the unmet need,” Braeburn CEO Behshad Sheldon said in an interview ahead of the FDA decision.

Fewer than half of the estimated 2.2 million Americans who need treatment for opioid abuse are receiving help, according to the U.S. Centers for Human and Health Services.

Authorities investigating the death of singer Prince found prescription opioid medication on him, sections of the media had reported. The music legend died one day before he was scheduled to meet a doctor who specializes in addiction treatment, the doctor’s lawyer revealed earlier this month.

Braeburn declined to forecast the…

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8 Steps to Keep Workers Safe in the Heat

Today’s post was shared by US Labor Department and comes from blog.dol.gov

Keep workers safe in hot weather with water, rest and shade.
Keep workers safe in hot weather with water, rest and shade.

Forecasters are calling for above-average temperatures across much of the country this summer. Are you prepared to beat the heat?

Every year, thousands of workers become ill from working in the heat, and some even die. Construction workers make up about one-third of heat-related worker deaths, but outdoor workers in every industry – particularly agriculture, landscaping, transportation, and oil and gas operations − are at risk when temperatures go up.

Heat-related illnesses and deaths can be prevented. Employers and supervisors can save the lives of workers in hot environments by following these eight simple steps:

  1. Institute a heat acclimatization plan and medical monitoring program. Closely supervise new employees for the first 14 days or until they are fully acclimatized. Most heat-related worker deaths occur in the first 3 days on the job and more than a third occur on the very first day. New and temporary workers are disproportionately affected. If someone has not worked in hot weather for at least a week, their body needs time to adjust.
  2. Encourage workers to drink about 1 cup of water every 15-20 minutes. During prolonged sweating lasting several hours, they should drink sports beverages containing balanced electrolytes.
  3. Provide shaded or air-conditioned rest areas for cooling down, and empower workers to use them.
  4. Provide workers with protective equipment and clothing (such as water-cooled…

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Countertop Workers Face Silicosis Risk from Engineered Stone Countertops

Today’s post comes from guest author Leonard Jernigan, from The Jernigan Law Firm.

Engineered stone countertops, a popular fixture in today’s homes, pose a health risk to workers who cut and finish them. The danger stems from the material the countertops are made from, processed quartz, which contains silica levels up to 90 percent. Silica is linked to a debilitating and potentially deadly lung disease known as silicosis, as well as lung cancer and kidney disease.

While the countertops do not pose a risk to consumers in their homes, they do pose a risk to the workers who cut and finish them before they are installed. When the countertops are cut, silica particles are released into the air, which when breathed in by the workers can start processes leading to silicosis. Manufacturers of the engineered stone countertops assert that worker hazards can be reduced through the use of protective respirators and equipment designed to trap silica dust. Despite this assertion, many safety precautions taken by employers are often inadequate.

The first documented case of silicosis among countertop workers in the United States was reported two years ago. In countries such as Israel and Spain, where engineered stone products gained their popularity, many more countertop workers have been diagnosed with silicosis and have had to undergo lung transplants. The danger of silicosis in the construction industry led OSHA to recently issue new rules requiring construction workers’ silica exposure to be reduced by 80 percent beginning on June 23, 2017.

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Truck Replacement Program to Improve Air Quality Scraps 200th Truck

The Northwest Seaport Alliance and Puget Sound Clean Air Agency work together to reduce diesel emissions. The incentive program helping drayage truck owners purchase newer, lower-emission trucks to improve regional air quality recently replaced its 200th truck.

The Seaport Truck Scrappage and Replacements for Air in Puget Sound 2 (ScRAPS 2) is a joint program of The Northwest Seaport Alliance and Puget Sound Clean Air Agency to reduce diesel particulate emissions in the region. It supports the NWSA Clean Truck Program’s target for all port-bound trucks to have model year 2007 or newer engines by Jan. 1, 2018.

About 2,500 trucks visit NWSA terminals each day. ScRAPS 2 encourages owners to replace trucks with engines manufactured between 1994 and 2006 with newer models built to meet updated U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards.

Trucks with engines built after 2007 emit 10 times less particulate pollution than older ones. The PSCAA and NWSA estimate that taking 200 older trucks off Puget Sound roads will result in an annual reduction of 9 tons of diesel particulates and 114 tons of oxides of nitrogen.

ScRAPs 2 reimburses eligible truck owners for part of the cost of a new truck and demolishes and recycles the older model at local vehicle recycling facilities. Truck owners who buy a truck with a model year 2010 engine or newer receive as much as $27,000 in return; a truck with a model year 2007 to 2009 engine yields up to $20,000.

Launched in May 2014, the program was expanded earlier this month to make it easier to qualify for trucks primarily serving the NWSA’s South Harbor. Now 200 trips to either the North or South harbor qualifies truck owners for the incentive program. The program has funding to replace an additional 125 trucks.

Previous ScRAPS programs in Seattle and Tacoma targeted trucks with engines built before 1994 and replaced more than 400 trucks.

Under the Northwest Ports Clean Air Strategy, adopted in 2008, the ports of Seattle and Tacoma and Vancouver, B.C., committed to reduce emissions from all port-related sources—trucks, cargo equipment, ships and trains. The NWSA Clean Truck Program focuses on meeting the strategy’s goals for trucks.

ScRAPS 2 is funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation/Washington State Department of Transportation, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington State Department of Ecology and the NWSA.

Photo credit: Franck_Michel via Source / CC BY


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The Dangers of Working with Vibrating Tools

Today’s post comes from guest author Anthony L. Lucas, from The Jernigan Law Firm.

Vibration White Finger (VWF) or “Dead Finger,” now known as Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS), is a chronic, progressive disorder caused by regular and prolonged use of vibrating hand tools that can progress to loss of effective hand function and necrosis of the fingers. In its advanced stages, the obvious symptom is finger blanching (losing color). Other symptoms include numbness, pain, and tingling in the fingers, as well as a weakened grip.

It is estimated that as many as 50 percent of the estimated 2 million U.S. workers exposed to hand-arm vibration will develop HAVS. Some common industries and the tools associated with HAVS are listed below:

  • Agriculture & Forestry – Chainsaws
  • Automotive – Impact Wrenches, Riveting Guns
  • Construction – Jackhammers
  • Foundries – Chippers, Grinders
  • Metal Working – Buffers, Sanders
  • Mining – Jack-Leg Drills, Stoper Drills

The time between a worker’s first exposure to hand-arm vibration to the development of HAVS symptoms can range from a few months to several years. Prevention is critical because while the early stages of HAVS are usually reversible if vibration exposure is reduced or eliminated, treatment is usually ineffective after the fingers blanch. 

WA AG Ferguson, Sen. Wyden Express Concern About Recent Hanford Worker Exposures

Today’s post was shared by WC CompNewsNetwork and comes from www.workerscompensation.com

Richland, WA (WorkersCompensation.com) – Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson and U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden (Ore.) joined in Richland on Thursday to voice their concerns publicly over recent and repeated exposures of workers to tank vapors at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.

AG Ferguson and Sen. Wyden also met with affected Hanford workers Thursday afternoon.

Ferguson, who filed a lawsuit in September of 2015 regarding worker safety issues at Hanford, reiterated his statement from earlier in the week on the recent worker exposures.

“The fact that Workers continue to be exposed to harmful vapors is shameful,” Ferguson said on Tuesday. “The events of the past several days are a disturbing illustration of why I filed a lawsuit against the federal government to protect Washingtonians who work at Hanford.

"How many Washington workers need to get sick before the federal government solves this problem? I call on President Obama and Secretary Moniz to become personally involved in this issue. What’s happening at Hanford isn’t right, and I am exploring further legal options to keep our workers safe at Hanford.”

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Burn Pit Lawsuit: Hearing on Jurisdictional Issues December 15 and 16, 2016

Today’s post was shared by Jon L Gelman and comes from burnpitclaims.blogspot.com

A revised Case Management Order (CMO) has been entered by the Court in the Burn Pit Lawsuit. The Second Amended CMO provides that the Court will hold an evidentiary hearing on December 15 and 16, 2016 to determine whether the Court has subject matter jurisdiction to hear the lawsuit.

The Order directs that the parties (Service members and KBR) and the United States Government, to exchange information so that the Court may make a determination as to whether it has jurisdiction to hear the case against Kellogg Brown and Root (KBR) for alleged negligence involving Iraq and Afghanistan burn pit sites.

The Court has directed that KBR and the United States Government identify what bases KBR was involved with in Iraq and Afghanistan. Testimony, written and electronic documentary evidence, and photographs will be reviewed to determine the level and extent of KBR’s roll, if any, in the operation of the burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The cases have been brought by: veterans, private military contractor employees and civilian government employees, who were exposed in Iraq and Afghanistan. The action is against KBR for damages "caused [by] harm through the negligent use of burn pits and improper water treatment."

The case is a consolidated Multidistrict Ligation (MDL) matter that consists of multiple individual cases. KBR was hired by the United States to provide logistical support for the military during the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts.

The Court has directed that the…

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$3.5 Billion Pittsburg Corning Corporation Asbestos Trust Fund Is Now Operating

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

$3.5 Billion Pittsburg Corning Corporation Asbestos Trust Fund Is Now Operating
$3.5 Billion Pittsburg Corning Corporation Asbestos Trust Fund Is Now Operating

After 16 years of bankrutcy, the $3.5 Billion asbestos trust of Pittsburg Cornning Corporation (PPG) opened for the business of paying asbestos victims and their famiies. PPG anounce that that the payment plan provided for under the asbestos companies bankruptcy reorganization plan ffective April 27, 2016. PPG has emerged from Chapter 11 bankrutcy and has been operating under asbestos-realted Chapter 11 protection since April 16, 2000.

The Pittsburgh Corning Modified Third Amended POR establishes the Pittsburgh Corning Asbestos Personal Injury Settlement Trust. Scheduled to receive assets valued in excess of $3.5 billion, the Trust will be among the largest asbestos trusts in the country. It assumes all asbestos-related liabilities related to Pittsburgh Corning and resolves all asbestos personal injury claims, including those filed in the future. The Trust is to be funded by contributions of Pittsburgh Corning, its shareholders (PPG Industries Inc. and Corning Incorporated) and participating insurance carriers. Prior to emergence from Chapter 11, Pittsburgh Corning and Pittsburgh Corning Europe were equity affiliates of PPG Industries, Inc. and Corning, Inc. Effective today, Pittsburgh Corning Corporation will be owned by the Pittsburgh Corning Asbestos Personal Injury Settlement Trust. Pittsburgh Corning Europe was not subject to Chapter 11, but its shares will be contributed to the Trust as…

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