Things you should know

The EPA’s amended pesticide worker protection standard

The final rule amending the Pesticide Worker Protection Standard (WPS) was effective January 1, 2016. Agricultural employers and handlers will be required to comply with most of the new requirements by January 2, 2017, but compliance with other components is not required until January 1, 2018, or later. The EHS Daily Advisor offered a good summary of the requirements.

Comcast fights stress by teaching employees resilience

When Comcast determined that high absenteeism in its call center was related to stress, it implemented a resilience training program to get employees back in the office and more productive on the job. The company felt that its wellness initiatives weren’t doing enough to alleviate worker stress, so it turned to a digital tool that teaches employees to be resilient in the face of stressful situations. The program is designed to address the root causes of stress, rather than focus on the end stage manifestations, by teaching workers to be “aware and then challenge and adapt their thinking for better and more productive behaviors,” said Boston-based Jan Bruce, CEO of meQuilibrium, the online resilience training tool adopted by Comcast.

Stress at work tied to unhealthy lifestyles: studies

Overworked and stressed-out employees may turn to unhealthy habits to find comfort or cope, and they may lack the time and resources for exercise and cooking meals, according to two studies from the Center for the Promotion of Health in the New England Workplace at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell. In one study – published in TheScientific World Journal – researchers found a link between stressful working conditions among healthcare workers at nursing homes and employees who smoke and are overweight and sedentary. Smoking was nearly twice as high among nursing aides exposed to a minimum of three of the following five stressors:

  • Low decision control
  • Low supervisor support
  • Working a second job
  • Physically demanding work
  • Recent assault

In the other study – published in the January issue of Health Promotion Practice – researchers found that workers in high-demand jobs who had little control lacked time for lunch breaks, resulting in eating quickly, eating too much or having no time to eat.

Common issues identified by the focus groups of workers in low-paying jobs in various industries included:

  • Physically demanding work
  • Psychosocial work stressors, such as poor treatment and low social support
  • Time pressure
  • Food environment at work, such as kitchen equipment and available food choices
  • Non-traditional shifts and strict schedules

 

Work schedules biggest obstacle to healthy lifestyle

Work schedules may make it harder for people to live a healthy lifestyle, according to the results of a national survey from the Mayo Clinic.This response was especially prominent among men in Northeastern United States, the survey results show. The cost of healthy food, caring for other family members, and not getting enough sleep were among the other barriers cited by the respondents.

Researchers surveyed about 1,000 adults in December about their health habits, as part of the clinic’s inaugural National Health Check-Up.

Smoking among women workers high in construction and food services industries

About 17 percent of working women of childbearing age in the United States smoke cigarettes, with as many as one-third of women in construction and food accommodations services being current smokers, according to a study from NIOSH.

The study was published in the journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research.

Pennsylvania sheriff’s idea of volunteer posses squashed by insurance carriers

When a Clearfield County sheriff announced his intent to recruit a 500-member volunteer posse and began accepting applications to “assist the sheriff and his deputies when needed,” the insurance carriers, which provide liability and comp coverage for the county agencies, objected and would not provide coverage.

Medical-legal service costs up in California

Average medical-legal service costs increased 66% from $979 to $1,628 between 2007 and 2014 for California workers’ compensation claims following a 2007 change in the state’s med-legal fee schedule structure, according to the California Workers’ Compensation Institute. Previously, payments were based on a flat fee payment system for medical-legal services, but the change meant payments were based on the length of time it took to perform services such as follow-up exams for injured workers and supplemental reports for workers’ comp claims.The study found that there was a significant jump in costs related to services billed in 15-minute increments.

For Cutting-Edge Strategies on slashing Workers’ Compensation Costs visit www.PremiumReductionCenter.com

David Leng, CPCU, CIC, CBWA, CWCA, CRM

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

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