OSHA watch

Deadline for anti-retaliation provisions in recordkeeping rule delayed to November 1

Originally planned for August 10, the enforcement of the provisions related to anti-retaliation in the recordkeeping rule have been delayed to November 1 to give the agency more time to conduct outreach efforts and provide guidance.

The recordkeeping rule will require the following anti-retaliation actions:

  • Employers must inform workers about their right to report work-related injuries and illnesses without the threat of retaliation.
  • Employers must implement reasonable procedures for reporting injuries and illnesses that do not discourage workers from speaking up.
  • Employers must incorporate existing anti-retaliation rules into their practices.

While eight industry groups have filed a lawsuit seeking to block the controversial Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses electronic recordkeeping rule, it is going to be a long process and employers should ensure they are in compliance with the first provisions scheduled to take effect Nov. 1.

Settlement reached with US Steel on injury reporting requirements

As we reported in earlier eNewsletters, the Labor Department (DOL) brought a suit against Pittsburgh-based United States Steel Corp in mid-February seeking to reverse disciplinary actions against two employees for failing to immediately report workplace injuries in accordance with company policy. The DOL and union maintained that the effect of the policy was to discourage injury reporting and to retaliate against workers who did report.

A settlement was reached last month establishing a new company-wide policy that provides for reporting only after an individual is aware of an injury. It establishes a similarly reasonable policy for reporting incidents like near misses. It also rescinds the discipline issued to the three complainants and provides them full back pay with interest.

Employers have some success in negotiating fines, but settlements more difficult

According to a June report by the Washington-based Center for Progressive Reform, employers that admit guilt and agree to immediately correct hazards are often successful in reducing the fines during informal settlement talks. The group attributes this practice to budgetary constraints and limits on the agency’s authority.

However, it is not as easy as it was in the past. Since 2010, reductions above 30% require the approval of Regional Administrators. Area Directors may agree to reduce the fine, but generally will not withdraw all citations or downgrade willful or repeat citations with the highest penalties. Moreover, it’s important for a company to consider the implications of accepting the citation, which can lead to more costly repeat fines in the future.

Fact sheets on combustible dust, farm emergencies

New resources

  • Safety guidance on the deadly combination of tree care work and electricity 
    A new pamphlet intended for small business owners and front-line supervisors offers measures to ensure that workers know and are prepared for the risks of tree-trimming operations near sources of electricity. (Spanish version)
  • QuickCards offer guidance on protecting outdoor workers from Zika virus 
    English 
    Spanish

Watch list

  • Rule on walking/working surfaces expected in August
  • Potential regulatory standard aimed at reducing fatalities and injuries in the tree care industry under consideration

Recent fines and awards

Georgia

  • A follow up inspection of Chaparral Boats Inc. of Nashville resulted in one repeated violation for exposing employees to dust particulates above the permissible exposure limit and two serious safety violations. Proposed fines: $47,000.
  • MMC Construction LLC of Dacula, a masonry contractor, was cited for exposing workers to fall risks on scaffolding. The company has been cited for violations of the construction scaffold standard in six inspections in the last five years. Proposed fines: $130,500.

Massachusetts

  • James T. Lynch Construction Co. Inc. of Andover faces $65,000 in penalties for exposing employees to cave-in hazards.

Michigan

  • Dearborn Heights School District was ordered to pay $193,000 to a janitor who was punished for warning of asbestos exposures.

Minnesota

  • Syring Trucking Inc. of Hazel Run faces $175,000 in penalties related to violations of confined spaces regulations.
  • Following a fatal fall at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Mortenson Construction Co. and subcontractor Berwald Roofing Company face $173,400 in fines for failure to provide fall protection and to protect workers.

Missouri

  • Multiple hazards related to dangerous machinery, chemicals and other hazards were found at a Kansas City auto parts manufacturing facility, Challenge Manufacturing. Proposed fines: $75,000.

Nebraska

  • An inspection initiated under the Local Emphasis Program for Grain Handling hazards, found New Alliance of Bridgeport exposing workers to grain, noise, and fall hazards. Proposed penalties for the 17 violations are $61,000.

New York

  • RWS Manufacturing Inc. of Queensbury faces $197,000 in fines for failing to correct combustible dust hazards, allowing recurring fire, explosion, and fall hazards.
  • Tonawanda Coke of Buffalo was cited for repeat and serious safety violations after an employee died while servicing an operating coal elevator. Proposed fines: $175,200.
  • Judge upholds citations and $249,000 in penalties against Flintlock Construction Services LLC of Mamaroneck for scaffold hazards at Manhattan hotel construction site.

Pennsylvania

  • Nation’s leading pallet company, Houston-based IFCO Services, agrees to pay fired worker, who reported mold hazards, $105,000 for retaliation.
  • The sexual assault of a home health care worker has resulted in a willful citation against AndVenture Inc. dba Epic Health Services of York, one of the nation’s leading providers of pediatric home health and therapy services for medically frail and chronically ill children, after it failed to protect its employees properly from the dangers of workplace violence. Proposed fines: $98,000.

Texas

  • Corpus Christi steam methane reformer, Air Liquide Large Industries US LP, was cited for failing to perform air monitoring to assess employee exposure to carbon monoxide gas and failing to protect workers from a potentially hazardous atmosphere. The complaint-driven inspection resulted in fines of $77,000.
  • Oil and gas equipment manufacturer, Exterran Energy Solutions LP, and a local staffing company face $120,000 in fines for a combined 34-safety violation related to unguarded machinery, fall protection, and confined space hazards.
  • L&M Bag and Supply Company Inc., doing business as L&M Supply Company Inc. of San Marcos, a landscaping products manufacturer, was fined $66,000 for repeat and serious violations after complaints of unsafe working conditions.
  • Architectural woodworking manufacturer Terrill Manufacturing Company Inc. of San Angelo, racked up $63,600 in serious violations after several complaints sparked an investigation. The fines relate to failure to establish lockout/tagout procedures and provide safety guards among other violations. A staffing agency, Spherion Staffing, which provided temporary workers, also received two serious violations.
  • Johns Manville of Cleburne was cited for unclear energy control procedures and unguarded machinery when an employee suffered a hand amputation. Proposed fines: $49,600.
  • S.J. Louis Construction of Texas LTD, an underground utility contractor, was fined $52,000 for exposing workers to repeat, and serious excavation hazards.

Wisconsin

  • A Waupaca company, Alliance Industries Inc., lacked proper precautions for using sulfur dioxide at its foundry core manufacturing and metal coating facility. Proposed fines: $41,580.

Detailed descriptions of the citations above and other OSHA citations can be found here.

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

HR Tip: Gallup study: engaged organization culture can reduce accident rates by as much as 70%

A recent meta-analysis by Gallup, Inc. calculated the business-work-unit-level relationship between employee engagement and nine performance outcomes, including customer loyalty/engagement, profitability, productivity, turnover, safety incidents, shrinkage, absenteeism, patient safety incidents, and quality (defects). Median differences between top-quartile and bottom-quartile units were: 10% in customer ratings, 21% in profitability, 20% in sales production, 17% in production records, 24% in turnover (high-turnover organizations), 59% in turnover (low-turnover organizations), 70% in safety incidents, 28% in shrinkage, 41% in absenteeism, 58% in patient safety incidents and 40% in quality (defects). While the relationship between employee engagement and organizational outcomes is meaningful in each area, it’s noteworthy that safety tops the list.

According to Gallup, organizations with strong safety cultures have three things in common:

  • Their employees are committed to doing quality work.
  • The company’s mission or purpose makes employees feel their job is important.
  • Workers feel their opinions count.

While many employers may feel they foster such an environment, a recent study by Joseph Grenny and David Maxfield, cofounders and leading researchers at VitalSmarts, a TwentyEighty Inc. company, points to a significant gap between what management wants corporate culture to be (and thinks it is) and how employees view corporate culture.

They found while leaders say they want innovation, initiative, candor and teamwork, what employees feel is really valued is obedience, predictability, deference to authority and competition with peers. Employees say their leaders hype one set of behaviors but reward another. An honest, open conversation with employees can help reveal if there is a chasm in corporate culture.

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

Ownership changes and the Experience Mod

When companies contemplate mergers and acquisitions, there are a host of factors to consider. Workers’ comp and risk considerations often take a back seat to the financial, operational, management, and culture fit considerations. Yet, acquiring or merging with a company that has a poor experience rating and a weak culture with respect to safety and loss control can have dire effects on the bottom line.

To ensure that companies do not play games to achieve the most desirable mods, there are strict rules related to combinability. While this discussion relates to NCCI states, the rules are similar in California, with one exception (see below).Pennsylvania rules are quite different and are explained at the end of this article. Monopolistic states have their own rules.

The Notification of Change in Ownership Endorsement (WC 00 04 14) provides that changes in ownership and/or combinability status must be reported by the employer to its carrier(s) within 90 days of the date of the change. Failure to report changes in ownership may be considered mod evasion and has serious implications for employers. If the rating bureau determines evasion, it can go back as far as it chooses – there is no statute of limitations.

What is an ownership change?

A change in ownership includes:

  • Sale, transfer, or conveyance of all or a portion of an entity’s ownership interest
  • Sale, transfer, or conveyance of an entity’s physical assets to another entity that takes over its operations
  • Merger or consolidation of two or more entities
  • Formation of a new entity that acts as, or in effect is, a successor to another entity that:
    • Has dissolved
    • Is non-operative
    • May continue to operate in a limited capacity
  • An irrevocable trust or receiver, established either voluntarily or by court mandate

What isn’t an ownership change?

  • Entities entering or leaving employee leasing arrangements
  • Creation or dissolution of joint ventures
  • Wrap-up projects
  • Establishment of or change in a revocable trust
  • Establishment of “debtor in possession” status
  • Entities entering or leaving affiliation, franchise and/or management agreements
  • Probate proceedings (until a disposition of the estate is complete)

Ownership changes can result in changes to:

  • Experience rating modification
  • Combinability status with other entities
  • Premium eligibility status-an entity may or may not qualify to be experience rated. Refer to Rule 2-A for more information regarding premium eligibility
  • Anniversary rating date
  • Rating effective date

When do two entities need to be combined?

The combination of two or more entities requires common majority ownership. Combination requires that:

  1. The same person, group of persons or corporation owns more than 50% of each entity (note this does not mean 51%, it could be 50.1%), or
  2. An entity owns a majority interest in another entity, which in turn owns a majority interest in another entity. All entities are combinable for experience rating purposes regardless of the number of entities involved. 

    Determination of majority ownership interest is based on the following:

    1. Majority of issued voting stock
    2. Majority of the owners, partners or members if no voting stock is issued
    3. Majority of the board of directors or comparable governing body if a. or b. is not applicable
    4. Participation of each general partner in the profits of a partnership. Limited partners are not considered in determining majority interest
    5. Ownership interest held by an entity as a fiduciary. Such an entity’s total ownership interest will also include any ownership held in a non-fiduciary capacity

For purposes of this rule, fiduciary does not include a debtor in possession, a trustee under a revocable trust, or a franchisor. Common majority ownership is the governing factor in combinability; the only way to avoid it is to structure ownership so there is not a common majority.

There are rare circumstances when the experience does not transfer. This could occur if the acquired entity completely changes its operations, such as a warehouse converting to a skating rink.

 

California exception

Can exclude past experience IF:

  • – More than 50% of the employees change within 90 days after change of ownership
  • AND
  • – More than 50% of the payroll changes as well

Pennsylvania rules are different

  1. In Pennsylvania, affiliates should be combined for rating purposes if:
    1. The affiliates involved constitute the component parts of an enterprise performing a continuous and/or integrated process or operation, or
    2. There is interchange of employment (other than office and salesmen) between two or more of the affiliates involved in the combination. 

      Separate policies may not be issued to affiliates, which are required to be combined under this rule.

  2. Affiliates, which are not required to be combined under rule 8(a), may be combined upon the mutual agreement of the risk and carrier(s) involved. If such combination is agreed to, insurance may be provided either by a single policy, insuring all affiliates, or by separate policies for each affiliate issued by one or more insurance carriers. In the latter case, the experience modification established for the entire risk shall apply on each policy to each affiliate. If all affiliates are not combined, then each affiliate not otherwise subject to rule 8(a) shall be insured under a separate policy and rated on its own experience, provided it meets the qualifications for experience rating as specified in Rule 1 of this Section.

 

Before a merger or acquisition is consummated, it’s important to have an estimate of the new mod. Risk managers and advisers should be brought into the process early on so that the cost of acquiring the experience can be weighed and factored into the agreement.

Source: Institute of WorkComp Professionals

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

Seven top workplace hazards

The National Safety Council (NSC) has released a list of its top seven-workplace hazards. While the list may not surprise employers, workers continue to be injured in accidents that are highly preventable. Here are the seven, along with contributing causes and possible solutions.

Hazard #1: Working at heights

Contributing causes

  • Lack of knowledge about responsibility for providing fall protection gear
  • Improper training on how to use PPE
  • Ill-fitting PPE or misuse of PPE
  • Failure of supervisors to wear PPE or enforce requirement with workers
  • Failure to have a written fall protection process
  • Purchase of equipment, such as roof chillers, without proper consideration of safety features
  • Poor maintenance of equipment

Possible solutions

  • Buy correct size gear for worker, keep a close eye on how effective it is, obtain feedback from workers
  • Determine if supervisors are consistent role models
  • Regularly inspect gear for damage and remove weakened or damaged equipment from use
  • Have a system to regularly monitor the effectiveness of the program
  • Assess the work environment to determine if an engineer is needed to install anchor points
  • Consider the economics of building a platform with standard railings and a swing gate in front of a fixed ladder

Hazard #2: Poor housekeeping

Contributing causes

  • Clutter blocking emergency exits and aisles
  • Stacking loads on racks in warehouse that bring them too close to sprinklers
  • Clutter, leaks or standing water that lead to slips and falls
  • Electrical rooms used for storage

Possible solutions

  • Clean up as you go
  • Regular checks at end of shift
  • Appropriate storage space

Hazard #3: Electrical – Extension cords

Contributing causes

  • “Daisy-chaining” – using multiple extension cords or power strips, increasing likelihood of tripping and overdrawing electricity resulting in fire
  • Using extension cords as permanent solutions to electrical needs, not as temporary as intended
  • Using improper gauge wire for extension cord or power strip

Possible solutions

  • Assess whether extension cords are truly being used for temporary purposes and store away at end of shift
  • Inspect extension cords and replace worn out cords
  • Use the right extension cord or power gauge for the job
  • Bring in an electrician to drop in a line and outlet when extension cords are being used for weeks or months

Hazard #4: Forklifts

Contributing causes

  • Pressure to work fast; emphasis on productivity over safety
  • Distracted driving
  • Driving with too large a load
  • Blame the employee for the accident and retrain, rather than recognizing the problem may be inadequate time to accomplish the task
  • Too few trucks or staff to manage workload
  • Lack of maintenance
  • Failure to segregate pedestrians

Possible solutions

  • Foster a strong safety culture
  • Monitor the workload and assess capability to meet it
  • Daily checks of trucks and ongoing maintenance
  • Create designated walkways

Hazard #5: Lockout/Tagout

Contributing causes

  • Good policies, but failure to implement
  • Complacency
  • Rush to complete the job
  • Faulty equipment
  • Unfamiliarity with equipment
  • Improper training

Possible solutions

  • Foster a strong safety culture
  • Properly train employees and ensure they are qualified to carry out procedures
  • Train when new equipment is installed
  • Regular maintenance of equipment

Hazard #6: Chemicals

Contributing causes

  • Failure to monitor inventory and expiration dates, which can lead to dangerous and explosive hazards
  • Not disposing chemicals in timely manner or improperly disposing
  • Inadequate training
  • Transferring chemicals from one container to another without proper precautions or labeling

Possible solutions

  • Reliable control system for the purchase, use, and disposal of chemicals
  • Strong inventory system
  • Proper training
  • Proper labeling

Hazard #7: Confined spaces

Contributing causes

  • Failure to issue a permit
  • Failure to conduct risk assessment
  • Equipment for testing is out of date
  • Lack of employee education about confined spaces

Possible solutions

  • Conduct risk assessment properly
  • Follow appropriate permit processes
  • Properly train employees

Source:“7 Common workplace safety hazards,” Safety + Health, June 2016

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

AHEAD OF THE GAME: Employer Information Alerts

The liabilities of the ‘Pokémon Go’ craze

‘Pokémon Go,’ the game that has millions of people roaming around the physical world to capture virtual characters, is potentially the launch of a new era of augmented reality, merging the digital and physical worlds in the mobile gaming revolution. In the first six days of its release, 7.5 million users, 60 percent who use it daily, downloaded the app. The implications for the workplace in terms of security, safety, and bad behavior are many.

It’s easy to spot users. They’ve been called “digital zombies” because their eyes are fixated on their phones, oblivious to their surroundings. The game superimposes a computer-generated image onto the view of the real world as seen through a headset or mobile device.

Participants can easily wander into areas or worksites that are dangerous. An agricultural company reported that a non-employee participant almost fell into a grain elevator chasing a Pokémon creature. And of course, the risks of an employee playing while working or driving for work are significant. Injury and death caused by distracted walking and driving are well documented.

There is also the issue of security – some of the apps that purport to provide help to players or knockoff apps of the game contain malware and there have been reports of phishing. Professionals have called for a ban on the installation of Pokémon Go on corporate-owned, business-only (COBO) devices, and “bring your own device” (BYOD) which have direct access to sensitive corporate information and accounts.

Employers need to recognize the phenomenon and assess their policies to ensure that they adequately address this emerging trend.

Study shows individuals and families are paying more out-of-pocket costs for health care: implications for workers’ comp costs

When the ACA passed, there was much speculation about the impact on workers’ compensation costs. Would there be cost shifting from health insurance plans to workers’ comp or would it enable faster settling of claims since pre-existing conditions would now be covered under the ACA?

A study, “Spending for Hospitalizations Among Nonelderly Adults,” published in JAMA Internal Medicine, indirectly supports the findings of an earlier study by the Workers’ Compensation Research Institute (WCRI), that there are significant levels of cost-shifting toward workers’ comp when it comes to soft tissue injuries and conditions. The JAMA study concludes that more people are now covered by health insurance, but they are paying more out-of-pocket expenses, including deductibles and co-pays.

According to a LexisNexis article, “Does the Affordable Care Act Push Medical Expenses Toward Workers’ Comp Insurers?” the JAMA study does not mention workers’ comp costs, however, “one can extrapolate from the study’s findings that the significant deductibles and copays that many Americans now face will serve as disincentives to shift medical care from the WC arena toward group and individual health insurance plans.”

The authors also suggest that there is tremendous pressure on ACA insurers today and they may push for some sort of formalized set-aside requirement regarding WC settlements, similar to the Medicare setasides.

Takeaway: Workers’ comp claims must arise out of the course and in the scope of employment. In many states, the burden to determine causation of a soft tissue injury and if the medical necessity of treatment falls under workers’ compensation or group health resides solely with the treating physician. This underscores the importance of a relationship with a physician or clinic that understands your business.

Courts and industry stakeholders shifting attitude about reimbursing claims for medical marijuana

Some state medical marijuana laws protect insurers from having to pay for the drug. Where the laws allow payment, there is an apparent shift in attitudes towards its use to combat chronic pain. Connecticut, Maine, Minnesota, and New Mexico have approved workers’ comp reimbursement for the use of medical marijuana. Some carriers defy the order because the drug is still federally classified as an illegal controlled substance.

Judges or hearing administrators are increasingly supporting requests for reimbursements. Physicians, nurses, claims adjusters, and those that influence decisions are more open-minded, although payment decisions based on utilization reviews (UR) are problematic because there are no medical guidelines for medical marijuana.

More employers developing programs to get employees back to work from non-work injuries

A recent article in Business Insurance, “Getting employees back to work from non-work injuries,” notes that companies are rethinking the idea of applying workers’ comp return-to-work (RTW) to their short-term disability programs. Some employers are medically managing short-term disability claims in the same way as workers’ comp claims, by returning employees to modified duty jobs and working with them to progress back to full duty.

While some employers may be concerned that employees with a short-term disability on restricted duty would become a workers’ comp claim, those implementing such a program have not found it to be true. Such a RTW program offers the same benefits as a workers’ comp RTW program – increased productivity, lower costs of retraining or replacing workers, avoiding a disability mindset, and boosting morale.

Another approach pairs mandatory rehabilitation participation policies with vocational rehab programs. Mandatory rehabilitation refers to policies requiring an employee on disability to participate in a rehab plan at the company’s expense, with the failure to comply resulting in a cut in benefits, unless there is good cause. An analysis by Aetna showed that cases involving employees at companies with mandatory policies closed earlier, had few transitions to long-term disability, and had a higher percentage of return to work at modified duties.

Heads up: What to expect

Workers’ comp cycle tightening may mean higher costs for buyers

Most employers have benefited from a stable and competitive market for workers’ comp insurance in recent years. Yet, many industry observers are predicting an increase in underwriting losses in 2017 and beyond, which means less favorable rates for employers. Competitive pressures, higher medical costs, and shifts in the market share of industry leaders are primary cost drivers.

Takeaway: Historically, market cycles are a result of prices moving in reaction to changes in loss ratio. It’s important to realize that the industry has gotten much more sophisticated about risk. When carriers know about the insured, they can make rational pricing decisions at the account level, regardless of the price direction in the larger market. Having a robust workers’ comp program that is vigilant and proactive in reducing injuries and costs is the best protection against rising premiums.

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

Things you should know

Work related injuries more common among new workers

While previous studies have found that recently hired workers face higher injury rates, this Toronto-based Institute for Work and Health research finds that the higher risk of work injury among new workers has persisted over the past ten years. This suggests workplaces need to do more to ensure new workers get the training and supervision they need to stay safe on the job. According to the study, employees working their first month on-the-job have three times the risk of a lost-time injury than those who have been on the job more than a year.

Commercial truck passengers must use seatbelt

While federal rules have long required all commercial truck drivers to use seat belts, their passengers will now have to wear them starting August 8 whenever the vehicles are operated on public roads in interstate commerce. The final rule is a revision of existing Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations.

NIOSH launches ‘PPE info’ database

NIOSH has developed a database for searching “relevant standards, associated product types, target occupational groups, basic conformity assessment specifications and accredited lab information” related to personal protective equipment. It includes regulations and consensus standards and is intended for developers, manufacturers, purchasers and end users of PPE.

Nearly 90% of comp treatment denials upheld on review – California

According to a study from the California Workers’ Compensation Institute, nearly 90% of independent medical reviews for California workers’ compensation claims uphold utilization review medical decisions that deem a service for an injured worker as medically unnecessary. This consistently high uphold rate shows that the vast majority of the disputed modifications and denials made by utilization review physicians continue to be found to be in line with the evidence-based medicine guidelines.

Ergo for miners: NIOSH releases assessment app

NIOSH has developed a mobile app to help miners assess the ergonomics of three mining tasks: bagging, maintenance and repair, and haul truck operations.

ErgoMine asks users questions to determine ergonomics issues related to these tasks. Users can complete all or some of the modules for each audit. The app then makes recommendations for ergonomic improvements, which can be viewed on the device or emailed. The app is available for Android phone users.

FAA releases final rule on commercial drone operation

The risks posed by drones have spurred the Federal Aviation Administration to issue its first operational rule for routine commercial use of drones. Safety professionals are looking to drones to conduct industrial inspections that can help avoid exposing workers to danger in high-risk sectors. The FAA forecasts that by 2020, the commercial drone fleet will grow to 540,000, with industrial inspections being the largest market.

Some of the requirements in the final rule include:

  • Drones must weigh less than 55 pounds.
  • Pilots must be at least 16 years old, and must be certified or supervised by a certified individual.
  • Drones can be operated during daylight and twilight (30 minutes before sunrise and 30 minutes after sunset, respectively) only if the drone is equipped with appropriate anti-collision lights.
  • Operators must keep drones within line of sight.
  • Operators cannot fly drones over unprotected individuals on the ground who are not part of the operation, are under a covered structure, or are inside a covered stationary vehicle.
  • Maximum ground speed is 100 mph.
  • Maximum altitude is 400 feet above ground level; if flying higher, the drone must remain within 400 feet of a structure.

Some states making progress on curbing long-term opioid use

Longer-term use of opioids among injured workers decreased in several states, according to the Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) in the study, “Longer-Term Use of Opioids, 2nd Edition.” The study examined trends across twenty-five states and found:

  • The frequency of claims that received opioids on a longer-term basis decreased more than 2 percentage points in Michigan over the study period, which translates to an approximately 31 percent reduction. The same measure decreased 1-2 percentage points in several other states (Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, and Texas).
  • Although longer-term opioid use increased in Wisconsin and Indiana, the frequency of longer-term use was lower compared with the other study states.
  • Longer-term opioid use was most prevalent in Louisiana – 1 in 6 injured workers with opioids was identified as having longer-term use of opioids. Compared with most study states, the number was also higher in California, New York, and Pennsylvania. Missouri and New Jersey had the lowest rate among the study states.
  • In most states, few injured workers with longer-term opioid use received psychological evaluations and psychological treatment. Even in Texas, the state with the highest use of these services, only 1 in 3 had a psychological evaluation and 1 in 8 received psychological treatment.

 

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