OSHA’s top 10 most cited violations for FY 2016

While year after year OSHA’s top ten most frequently cited standards remain relatively unchanged, they provide important insight into OSHA’s focus on certain hazards, as well as areas that employers struggle to comply with consistently. The preliminary results were released at the 2016 National Safety Congress and are comprised of all violations taken into account through Sept. 30, 2016. A definitive list will be available closer to year-end 2016. It behooves employers to look at their compliance in these areas and how carefully they are covered in new employee orientations and ongoing training.

Here are the top 10:

  1. Fall Protection Standard: 1926.501 – Construction
    Number of violations: 6,929Problem: 39.9 percent of deaths in construction are fall-related, yet this continues to top the violation list. Roofing, framing and single family contractors were the most cited employers.

    Solutions: Evaluate the work being done in light of the OSHA requirements and ensure proper fall protection is provided; continual training, enforcement and monitoring; OSHA’s fall protection campaign.

  2. Hazard Communications Standard: 1910.1200 – General Industry
    Number of violations: 5,677Problem: No written program, failure to maintain up-to-date inventory of chemicals, lack of updated data sheets, inadequate training on how to handle hazardous chemicals, failure to understand joint responsibility of staffing agency and host employer.

    Solutions: Employers struggling with large inventories and unwieldy paper-based systems can benefit from online and electronic systems; proper training and retraining; understand OSHA’s definition and expectations of “joint employers.”

  3. Scaffolding Standard: 1926.451 – Construction
    Number of violations: 3,906Problem: Framing, roofing, siding and masonry contractors were among the most commonly cited employers for this violation. Improper assembly, lack of fall protection, and access to scaffolding are common violations.

    Solutions: Adequate platform construction is critical; adequate points of access for the scaffold platforms, such as a portable ladder, hook-on ladder, direct access from another scaffold, and permissible forms of fall protection. A key is to have a “competent person.”

  4. Respiratory Protection Standard: 1910.134 – General Industry
    Number of violations: 3,585Problem: Companies were cited after employees wore respirators but were not medically evaluated, were put in situations with overexposure to contaminants or were not properly fit-tested for respiratory protection.

    Solutions: Have an industrial hygiene assessment to help determine the level of exposures and what appropriate respiratory protection is needed. Medically test employees to determine if they are capable of wearing the equipment. Fit test to ensure each individual employee’s respirator is the correct size, is comfortable, and is effective.

  5. Lockout/Tagout Standard: 1910.147 – General Industry
    Number of violations: 3,414Problem: The top three instances where companies were given citations for improper lockout/tagout were:

    • Employees are not trained in proper lockout/tagout procedures.
    • Lockout/tagout procedures were nonexistent.
    • Employers did not perform periodic inspections of lockout/tagout procedures.

    Solutions: Develop a written energy control program, specific to the equipment; understand the levels of training required and implement a comprehensive training program; conduct periodic inspections that must include an observation of the procedure and a review between the inspector and each authorized employee who uses the procedure.

  6. Powered Industrial Trucks Standard: 1910.178 – General Industry
    Number of violations: 2,860Problem: Operators lacking certification, failure to train on the hazards associated with the facility, and workers not maintaining safe use when operating the vehicle.

    Solutions: Understand the types of equipment that fall under this standard, including forklifts, powered pallet jacks, stand-up rider lift trucks, order pickers, and so on. Train specifically for each type of equipment, inspect equipment daily, and conduct refresher training.

  7. Ladders Standard: 1926.153 – Construction
    Number of violations: 2,639Problem: Improper use of portable ladders, using the top rung as a step, and ladders with structural defects, lack of training on proper ladder use.

    Solutions: Take defective ladders out of service and clearly label “Do Not Use”; inspect prior to use; train on the standard and the proper use of different types of ladders.

  8. Machine Guarding Standard: 1910.212 – General Industry
    Number of violations: 2,451Problem: Lack of proper machine guarding, machinery not anchored/fixed, as it should be, using inappropriate tools to operate machinery.

    Solutions: There has been more emphasis on this standard since OSHA updated its nine-year-old National Emphasis Program on amputations in June 2015 and changed its reporting requirements in January 2015. Employers should recognize this is a “catch-all” standard and compliance officers are directed to evaluate employee exposures during regular operation of machines, setup for regular operations, clearing jams, making adjustments while the machine is operating, and cleaning and maintaining machines.

  9. Electrical Wiring Standard: 1910.305 – General Industry
    Number of violations: 1,940Problem: Unsafe substitutes for permanent wiring and incorrect use of extension cords.

    Solutions: Most electrical accidents result from unsafe equipment, unsafe environments, or unsafe work practices. Do not use extension cords for permanent wiring, do not daisy chain, do not overload the power capacity, and inspect daily for fraying and damage.

  10. Electrical, General Requirements Standard: 1910.303 – General Industry
    Number of violations: 1,704Problem: Electric equipment not installed properly or used in accordance with recommended uses. Obstructed working space around electrical equipment.

    Solutions: Must install and maintain equipment according to the manufacturer’s instructions; carefully label all panels; regularly inspect electrical boxes; adequate access and clearance around electrical equipment.

     

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HR Tip: Understanding the role of employees in automated systems

While more and more tasks are being automated, which helps to avoid human error, employees still need to monitor how well the automated system is operating. There are usually more than one function to monitor and if a function fails, it usually leads to more system failures, often in rapid succession.

Operators can experience something known as “cognitive lock-up,” when they focus too long on the initial failure, if they are lacking in ability or training in working memory and sustained attention. A paper published online in Human Factors: The Journal of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, describes a correlation between an operator’s working memory and ability to sustain attention and cognitive lock-up.

The findings showed that to a significant degree, individuals with better working memory not only were able to correct an initial system failure quickly but also could switch their attention to secondary failures more quickly. Furthermore, influences of working memory and sustained attention on the reactions of human monitors increase across failures.

The results assist in developing systems and processes to prevent cognitive lock-up and the sometimes catastrophic failures it can cause. Examples noted include “enabling automation to prioritize failures and communicate such information… improve the task environment …and modify personnel selection strategies, and establish training procedures for working memory, cognitive flexibility, and sustained attention.”

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

HR Tip: Incivility at work begets incivility to co-workers: study

Lack of civil behavior in the workplace can cause employees to experience mental fatigue and strike back, with negative consequences for employees’ well-being and companies’ bottom-lines, according to a study from Michigan State University. Researchers tested how experiencing incivility precipitates instigating incivility towards others at work via reduced self-control.

People who are recipients of incivility at work feel mentally fatigued and lack the energy to suppress terse or impatient responses to colleagues. It is primarily a problem in work environments that are perceived to be political, when intentions and motives are less clear.

To combat incivility spirals, which can cost employers an estimated $14,000 per worker annually in lost workdays and lost productivity, researchers said employers should provide clear feedback about appropriate workplace behaviors. This can be accomplished informally by enhancing the quality of feedback provided during day-to-day interactions, as well as formally through the performance management process.

The findings also may have ramifications for worker safety. According to NIOSH documents, although more research is needed, “there is a growing concern that stressful working conditions interfere with safe work practices and set the stage for injuries at work.”

The study was published in June in the Journal of Applied Psychology.

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

OSHA watch

Labor-law compliance pre-assessment now available to federal contractors

The Department of Labor offers labor-law compliance pre-assessments to all current or prospective federal contractors to help them meet new disclosure requirements in the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order. The process is designed to answer questions from employers expecting to compete for federal contracts worth at least $500,000.

This is a proactive and voluntary way for current and prospective government contractors to be reviewed on labor compliance history. Participating in Preassessment:

  • Provides current and prospective contractors the opportunity to be assessed on their labor law compliance history, and how it would be reviewed as part of the acquisition process
  • Serves as a proactive and voluntary measure if there are labor law compliance history concerns, because the contractor can develop a labor compliance agreement and start taking steps to mitigate issues before there is a specific acquisition
  • Will be considered in future acquisitions

Pre-assessment is ongoing, and employers may complete request intakes after the first phases of the final rule go into effect on Oct. 25.

Every webpage is now available in Spanish

Every page on OSHA’s website can now be translated into Spanish by going to the Spanish link at the top right corner of the webpage to have the text instantly translated.

New guidelines for whistleblower settlements prevent employers from silencing workers

There are new guidelines for approving settlements between employers and employees in whistleblower cases to ensure that they do not contain terms that could be interpreted to restrict future whistleblowing.

Final rule addresses whistleblower protections for seamen

A new final rule aims at improving protections for seamen who inform the government about violations of maritime safety laws or regulations. The rule, published in the Sept. 15 Federal Register, institutes procedures and time frames for managing retaliation complaints under the Seaman’s Protection Act.

MIOSHA launches state emphasis program targeting blight removal projects to protect workers from asbestos and other hazards

The Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) has launched a state emphasis program on blight removal projects to address hazards such as asbestos and lead that pose health threats to workers. During the yearlong program, MIOSHA will inspect mostly residential blight removal jobsites for hazards associated with asbestos, lead and cadmium, as well as all other serous hazards.

 

Recent fines and awards

California

  • California OSHA issued $101,385 in penalties to SW Forage LLC of Hesperia following an incident where a worker was caught and killed in a forage compactor. The company failed to properly label, stop and de-energize machine movements during cleaning and servicing and also failed to train workers on hazardous energy control procedures and did not provide guardrails on all open sides of elevated work locations.
  • Big Pines Ziplines faces $85,000 in fines for serious and willful safety violations uncovered following an unreported rider accident that resulted in a major injury. Cal/OSHA investigators found that riders could reach speeds of up to 55 mph on lines more than a quarter-mile long that had no effective emergency braking system and that the company continued to operate unsafe zip lines even after the division ordered them to stop.

Georgia

  • Auto parts manufacturer, HP Pelzer of Thomson and staffing agency Sizemore face $704,610 in penalties for 24 violations related to fall, amputation, and electrocution hazards. The inspection was initiated by a complaint and as part of the Regional Emphasis Program (REP) on Safety Hazards in the Auto Parts Industry. HP Pelzer Automotive Systems meets the listed criteria for inclusion in the Severe Violators Enforcement Program (SVEP).

Florida

  • AJ New Construction and Repair faces fines of $139,000 after sites inspections in Jacksonville and St. Johns revealed dangerous fall hazards.The inspections were part of the REP on Falls in Construction. Proposed penalties are $139,675.
  • Rogero & Williams Roofing Contractors Inc. of St. Augustine was inspected under the REP on Falls in Construction and fined $128,077 for exposing workers to falls by performing re-roofing work on a residence without fall protection and failure to require workers to wear eye protection equipment.
  • Chris Sawdo Construction LLC, a roofing contractor from St. Augustine, exposed workers to dangerous fall hazards at two Northern Florida work sites and faces nearly $200,000 in fines.

Illinois

  • Cargo-handling company, Alliance Ground International, was cited for the third time for exposing O’Hare workers to forklift and electrical hazards. The inspection was a result of a complaint and part of the REP on Powered Industrial Vehicles. Proposed penalties are $338,881.
  • Joliet construction contractor, P.T. Ferro, was cited for ignoring the dangers of trench collapse for the seventh time, and faces penalties of $104,756.

Indiana

  • A framing contractor, LLG Construction of Grabill, was cited for failing to protect workers from fall hazards on residential construction sites. Facing $44,000 in penalties, the company was placed in the SVEP because this was the second failed inspection in five months.
  • Townsend Tree Service Company LLC of Muncie faces penalties of $12,471 when a 23-year-old ground crewman died after being hospitalized with a core body temperature above 108 degrees at a Poplar Bluff Missouri project. This was one of 16 heat-related deaths reported since Jan. 2016.

Mississippi

  • Koch Foods of Mississippi LLC, located in Morton, faces $88,632 in fines for exposing workers to falls, unguarded machinery, electric shock and other safety hazards. The investigation was a result of two serious injuries and part of the REP for Poultry Processing Facilities.

Missouri

  • Following a complaint from an employee of Dollar Generals’ store in Van Buren, the company was fined nearly $98,000 for blocked exits and other hazards.

Nebraska

  • Cooperative Producer’s (CPI) Hayland facility in Prosser was cited after an elevator superintendent died in a soybean bin when his lifeline tangled in an unguarded and rotating auger. Proposed penalties are $411,540. Headquartered in Hastings, CPI operates 29 grain-handling facilities in Nebraska, has been cited seven times since 2011 for grain handling safety violations, and is in the SVEP.

New York

  • York Metal Toll Processing Inc., a Syracuse auto parts manufacturer, faces $218,000 in penalties when a follow-up inspection revealed uncorrected electrical, crushing and respiratory hazards, as well as recurring amputation hazards.

Pennsylvania

  • The Children’s Home of Reading, which is a facility for children and youth in crisis, had at least 10 workplace violence incidents in seven months. Inspected in response to a complaint, the agency faces proposed penalties totaling $23,160 for failing to protect workers from assaults.
  • Birdsboro Kosher Farms Corp., a chicken processing company, was fined $317,000 for exposing workers to health and safety hazards after a worker suffered a thumb amputation while operating a mixing machine.

Wisconsin

  • An investigation of a lathe operator’s fatal injuries finds machine guards were bypassed at Cedarburg machining facility,Carlson Tool & Manufacturing. Proposed penalties are $124,709.

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

Legal Corner

FMLA

Bully manager terminated after FMLA leave loses suit

A manager for Tyson Foods with a long history of progressive discipline for bullying subordinates was terminated after he intimidated and was condescending toward others around him and undermined a supervisor. He sued alleging that Tyson terminated him, in part, because he had just taken FMLA leave a few weeks earlier. Recognizing that Tyson would have terminated him even if he had not taken FMLA leave, the courts dismissed the retaliation claim. Shell v. Tyson Foods, Inc.

 

Workers’ Compensation

Injured employee must transfer treatment to the ADR agreement’s exclusive provider network – California

In Ramirez Farias v. Able Building Maintenance, 2016 Cal. Wrk. Comp. P.D. LEXIS, an employee who suffered an industrial injury to her neck, back, right wrist, and right shoulder was treating outside of an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) agreement when her claim was denied. After her claim was accepted, the WCAB, in a split panel opinion, found that she was required to transfer treatment to the ADR agreement’s exclusive provider network pursuant to the provisions in Labor Code § 3201.5 and the terms of the ADR agreement.

For commentary.

Must be “convicted” for felony to preclude benefits – California

In Ease Entertainment v. Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board, a first assistant director was denied access to shoot footage on a train trestle in Georgia, but she did it anyway with catastrophic results. While shooting, a train hit the film set causing one crewmember’s death and injuring several others. The director was charged with and found guilty of both manslaughter and criminal trespass and was placed on probation through Georgia’s First Offender law. No conviction is recorded if she passes probation.

She filed a claim for psychiatric injury under California’s workers’ compensation laws and was denied because her injury occurred during the commission of a felony; however, both the WCJ and the WCAB ruled that a conviction for felony is required to bar a psychiatric claim and she was not “convicted.”

Asbestos-laden product supplier must show that it actually and reasonably relied on a knowledgeable intermediary to warn end users – California

The Ninth Circuit vacated a summary judgment award in favor of two asbestos-laden product manufacturers accused of causing a Navy machinist’s lung disease and death and gave the family’s lawsuit new life. The two Virginia-based defendants, General Dynamics Corp. and Huntington Ingalls Inc., used the government-contractor defense, but the high court held that a product supplier must show that it actually and reasonably relied on a knowledgeable intermediary to warn end users in order to establish a defense under the sophisticated-intermediary doctrine.

Average weekly wage (AWW) must include prior part-time work – Florida

In Great Cleaning Corp. v. Bello, an employee had worked full-time for three weeks and part-time for 13 weeks prior to her injury. An appellate court found that although she would have earned a higher wage had she not been injured, her AWW had to be computed using the 13-week method set forth in § 440.14(1)(a), Fla. Stat. (2003).

Employer must pay 25% attorney fee of third-party recovery, including value of future medical care – Illinois

In Bayer v. Panduit Corp.Area Erectors, 2016 IL 119553, 2016 Ill. LEXIS 772 (Sept. 22, 2016), the Supreme Court of Illinois ruled that absent another agreement, the gross amount of reimbursement subject to attorney fees includes not only benefits already paid at the time of the third-party recovery, but the benefits the employer will not have to pay in the future as a result of the worker’s recovery in the third-party action.

Exclusive remedy prevails in intentional-tort exception case – Michigan

In Barnes v. Sun Chemical Corp., a worker was killed when a 1600-pound bag of press cake fell from a mezzanine while being stacked by a forklift operator. The deceased employee’s estate sought the intentional-tort exception, arguing that the employer knew employees used a particular forklift method that contributed to the accident and also knew that employees walked in the restricted area beneath the mezzanine.

However, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment in favor of the employer, “An intentional tort shall exist only when an employee is injured as a result of a deliberate act of the employer and the employer specifically intended an injury. An employer shall be deemed to have intended to injure if the employer had actual knowledge that an injury was certain to occur and willfully disregarded that knowledge.”

Exclusive remedy does not bar suit against co-worker for negligent operation of forklift – Missouri

In Fogerty v. Armstrong, 2016 Mo. App. LEXIS 925, an appellate court held an employee could maintain a tort action against a co-employee who was allegedly negligent in the operation of the employer’s forklift. In most cases, injuries incurred in the course and scope of employment would fall within the employer’s duty to provide a safe workplace and co-workers would be immune. However, under the state’s co-employee immunity rule, an employee who violated a personal duty of care separate from the employer’s duty to provide a safe workplace can be held liable. In this case, the co-worker did not operate the forklift in a safe manner, by lowering the forks without taking any steps to warn or protect the injured employee.

State Supreme Court upholds finding of permanently and totally disabled in forklift injury – Nebraska

In Nichols v. Fairway Bldg. Prods., a forklift operator injured his back when the hydraulic lift dock that supported the forklift collapsed. At first, the injuries did not appear serious and he tried several non-surgical treatments without success and eventually underwent three surgeries. At maximum medical improvement, he had significant permanent physical restriction. While the employer argued the worker had suffered from some injuries prior to his work accident, the Workers’ Compensation Court entered judgment in favor of the employee, finding him permanently and totally disabled as a result of his workplace injury. Nebraska Supreme Court affirmed, but did modify the award of temporary total disability.

Appeals court reverses asbestos-related decision – North Carolina

In Richardson vs. PCS Phosphate Company an employee was exposed to asbestos during his employment and filed a workers’ compensation claim in 2009 against PCS alleging asbestos related medical conditions including mesothelioma and cancer. The appeals court determined that because the occupational disease was mesothelioma and not asbestosis or silicosis, the date on which he was last injuriously exposed to the hazards of mesothelioma is calculated by determining the “exposure that proximately augmented the disease to any extent, however slight.” Therefore, the Full Commission erred by concluding that last injurious exposure for mesothelioma required exposure “for a period of 30 days, or parts thereof, within seven consecutive calendar months.”

Guillain-Barre syndrome contracted as result of flu shot compensable – Pennsylvania

In Phillips v. Wyman Gordon, the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board affirmed the workers’ compensation judge’s decision awarding benefits to a worker, who alleged that he contracted Guillain-Barre syndrome after receiving a flu shot at work. It agreed that the flu shot at work arose in the course and scope of employment, although the shot was voluntary and there were no benefits denied or received as a result of receiving the shot. The treating doctor testified that the machine operator’s condition was caused by the flu shot because there were no other potential causes identified and that GBS is one of the risk factors of a flu shot.

510 pills per month 20 years after MMI warrants change in physician – Tennessee

In Russell v. Dana Corp., 2016 Tenn. LEXIS 520 (Aug. 1, 2016), aff’d and adopted, 2016 Tenn. LEXIS 519 (Aug. 1, 2016), a Special Workers’ Compensation Appeals Panel of the Supreme Court of Tennessee held that a state trial court erred when it denied an employer’s motion to remove an injured employee’s treating physician. The evidence showed that while the employee had achieved MMI more than 20 years earlier, the employee’s physician was still prescribing some 510 pills each month, many of which were Schedule II controlled substances.

Employer may terminate an at-will employee unable to perform satisfactorily because of physical infirmity caused by on-the-job accident – Tennessee

In Cantrell v. Yates Servs., LLC, an employee missed 20 consecutive days of work and both parties agreed he was unable to perform the functions of his job. The federal district court found that under Tennessee law, an employer may terminate an at-will employee who is unable to perform satisfactorily because of physical infirmities, even though the physical infirmity resulted from an on-the-job compensable accident.

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

Q & A: Experience Modification Factor

While insurance companies now have more tools to determine the pricing of a workers’ comp policy, the Experience Modification Factor (mod) remains a factor in the pricing determination and impacts perceptions about your company when it comes to underwriters and potentially your customers. Perhaps, most importantly, employers can control their mod and manage their costs by improving workplace safety, reducing injuries, and properly managing those that occur.

The actual process of calculating the mod is complex, but, in essence, its purpose is to compare your company’s claims experience to other employers of similar size operating in the same type of business. Here are some common Q & A’s about the mod:

  1. Q. My company had no injuries this past year, but my mod went up. How can that happen?

    A. In experience rating, the actual payroll and loss data is analyzed over a period of time, usually, a three-year period, not including your most recent completed policy year. For example, a mod effective Jan. 1, 2017 would use policy data from the years 2013, 2014, and 2015. The data from 2016 would not enter the picture until the 2018 mod, when the data from 2013 dropped off.

    If the Expected Loss Rate (ELR) goes down from one year to the next, the mod could go up. Your mod may also increase even though you haven’t suffered any injuries if the payroll in the most recent year on the mod is lower than previous years.

  2. Q. What is the “controllable” mod?

    A. Every company has a unique minimum mod that is based on its payroll, the industry risk, and no losses for the entire rating period. The minimum mod will differ from a competitor’s and it may change somewhat from year to year. But it is an important number to know because it enables a company to determine the “controllable” mod. The “controllable” mod is the difference between your actual mod and the minimum mod. So, if the actual mod is 1.0 and the minimum mod is 0.75, the “controllable” mod is 0.25. This is a direct result of the losses that occurred during the rating period and is the piece of the mod that can be changed by a robust loss control program.

  3. Q. Is a mod of 1.0 good?

    A. A mod of 1.0 is average; it means your company’s losses have met expectations. It’s like getting a “c” in school. If your company performs above average, the mod will be less than 1.0 and if you are below average there is a surcharge above 1.0.

  4. Q. What is the most important date of your workers’ comp coverage (hint: it is not the renewal date)?

    A. The most critical date impacting the premium determination is the valuation date or the unit stat date, which occurs six months after policy inception. While most employers are not thinking about insurance at the mid-year point, it’s when they should be highly focused on it because it is when the insurance company sends the loss information to the rating bureau to use in the promulgation of the mod. Ensuring the data is correct is paramount. Once the data reaches the rating bureau, it’s close to etched in stone.

    It’s important that the insurance company has an up-to-date understanding of the status and strategy for closure of each open claim since it will be setting claims reserves, the set aside for what the future cost will be.If an employee recently returned to work or a claim is progressing better than expected, the claims adjustor needs to know before the data is submitted.

  5. Q. Can a company negotiate to minimize the impact of a large, unexpected claim?

    A. While each claim needs to be evaluated individually and mitigating circumstances considered, it’s important to remember that workers’ comp is “no fault” insurance, paying even when it is not your fault. According to work comp guru, David Leng, “the only time underwriters will truly and fully dismiss an injury is when the cause of the injury was eliminated or engineered away.” As an example, if the company was using an older production machine where the guarding was not up to standards and an employee was injured and then replaced it with new state of the art automated machinery. This would impact the underwriter’s perception of risk.

  6. Q. What is an Experience Rating Adjustment (ERA)?

    A. In many states, although not all, there is a special rule in the mod calculation called the ERA. This gives a company a 70% credit for each loss in the mod that has a “medical-only” status, which means that no loss wages (indemnity) were incurred. Even if a very small amount of indemnity incurs, the full amount of the loss will count against the mod. The wage waiting period varies by state (usually 3-7 days) and employers should manage return-to-work and lost-time claims with that in mind.

  7. Q. My company’s mod is 1.2, why have we been disqualified from bidding on several projects?

    A.Today, many contractors, property owners, and customers use the mod as a measure of how safely a company operates and will disqualify companies from bidding on work if their modifier is higher than 1.0.

    There are strong arguments that this is a mis-use of experience rating as it is not designed to be a proxy for safety performance. In fact, the state of Virginia recently made using the experience mod as a bid qualifier illegal.

    That said, if your experience mod is above a threshold for a given job, employers have sometimes found success in working with their agent to construct a compelling story on how the mod doesn’t accurately represent their safety performance. Maybe the risk that caused a large accident has been eliminated. Sometimes you may suffer a large injury that was actually caused by a negligent third party, but workers’ compensation still paid for the injury.

    Telling your story can be a powerful tool!

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

Things you should know

First official rating values for 2017 from NCCI – Missouri

The National Council on Compensation Insurance Inc. (NCCI) announced the split point for Missouri will be $16,500 – only $500 more than the 2016 figure.

 

Unfunded liabilities for Florida’s workers compensation is expected to exceed $1 billion

NCCI estimates that an increase in unfunded liabilities for Florida’s worker’s compensation is expected to exceed $1 billion following three state Supreme Court rulings. Insurance companies, individual self-insured employers, and employers with deductible policies are expected to saddle the $1 billion debt. In two of the cases, the state’s attorney fee schedule and temporary total disability provision were deemed unconstitutional.

 

California Final Medical Treatment Utilization Schedule (MTUS), Chronic Pain Medical Treatment Guidelines and Opioids Treatment Guidelines now in effect

The Office of Administrative Law (OAL) has approved the Division of Workers’ Compensation’s (DWC) final version of the MTUS regulations that updates the Chronic Pain Medical Treatment Guidelines and adopts Opioids Treatment Guidelines. The changes to the MTUS Chronic Pain Medical Treatment Guidelines are set forth in section 9792.24.2, the Opioids Treatment Guidelines are set forth in section 9792.24.4, and the clarifying changes to the meaning of chronic pain are set forth in section 9792.23(b)(1) of the California Code of Regulations.

The MTUS regulations went into effect on July 28, 2016 and will apply to any treatment requests made on or after July 29, 2016.

Tennessee sees spike in workplace fatalities

Tennessee OSHA Administrator Steve Hawkins is urging employers and workers to pay special attention to safety and health after 22 individuals suffered fatal job-related injuries since January. “In the month of July alone, 10 Tennessee workers lost their lives in workplace accidents, devastating families, friends, co-workers, and businesses.” Hawkins added that if the trend continues, the state could see an increase of 36 percent in fatalities for the year.

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