Things you should know

Wide variance in back surgery rates: geographical area, proximity to surgeons and reimbursement rates factors

A study of 13 states, Why Surgery Rates Vary, by the Workers’ Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) found that a variety of factors including reimbursement rates for doctors and local practice norms account for the wide variance in back surgery rates for injured workers according to location. For example, while 19.6% of injured workers in Oklahoma with back pain went under the knife, only 6.9% of workers in California with the same diagnoses had surgery. Tennessee had high rates and Florida low rates. Noting that approximately 20% of the injuries covered by workers’ compensation are back injuries, the authors of the study say the findings can be used to shape discussions about second opinions, treatment guidelines, and fee schedules.

California has most prolonged workers’ compensation treatment pattern: report

The WCIRB released the California Medical Payment Development Up to 30 Years Post-Injury report examining California’s longer than average medical payout pattern. Researchers found that California has the most prolonged workers’ compensation treatment pattern in the country. Nationally, a much greater share of injuries are resolved within three years of the date of injury. California is unique in that it allows a greater proportion of prolonged treatment and enables acute conditions to become chronic medical problems.

MIOSHA offers streaming video on safety topics

Training videos on more than 40 workplace safety and health topics are now available at no cost to stream instantly through the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs’ lending library. Among the topics are arc flash, construction, driving, ladder safety, power tools, respirators and violence. Contact the agency at for more information and instructions on accessing the videos.

New fact sheets from Cal/OSHA detail worker rights, temp worker requirements

Two new fact sheets from Cal/OSHA outline worker safety rights and employer requirements for protecting temporary workers. Health & Safety Rights: Facts for California Workers includes information such as the state’s requirement that employers implement and maintain a program to prevent injuries and illnesses; workers’ rights to refuse hazardous work or request from their employer certain safety records; and how employees can work with Cal/OSHA before, during and after an inspection.

Protecting Temporary Agency Employees explains California-specific legal obligations for multiple employers that employ the same workers. Cal/OSHA breaks down the responsibilities for both the primary employer and the host employer, explains which employer should keep injury records, and lists safe work practices.

Safety videos aimed at hotel housekeeping staff

New videos from WorkSafeBC show best work practices for hotel housekeeping workers to prevent injuries while cleaning bathrooms, dusting, making beds and more. The seven videos, released in May, are all less than two minutes long. Other topics include vacuuming, wringing liquid out of cloths, and emptying garbage cans.

Food workers face higher injury, death rates: study

Food industry workers have a 60 percent higher rate of occupational injury or illness than workers in other industries, according to a study from Emory University. Severe injuries that required time off work were “more than twice as frequent” among food workers, and the risk of occupational death was 9.5 times higher than in non-food jobs. Researchers found that injuries from slips, trips and falls were highest in food processing, storage and retail, possibly because of high use of refrigeration. Risk for occupational illness, injury and death was high in all food industry areas except for food service.

The study was published in the July issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

10 interventions can improve staff, patient safety in psychiatric wards: study

Certain interventions can improve the safety of both workers and patients in psychiatric wards, according to a research team from King’s College London. Using the Safewards Model, a project of the King’s College Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, 10 interventions intended to improve worker skills and their relationships with patients were implemented and studied.

The study was published in the September issue of the International Journal of Nursing Studies.

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Author | Speaker | Certified Risk Manager | Certified Work Comp Advisor

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