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Workers’ Compensation

Comp medical payments decrease slightly during pandemic

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Medical payments per claim decreased more than 3% in the pandemic years 2020 and 2021 in half of the states studied by the Workers’ Compensation Research Institute. The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based research organization studied medical costs for 2020 injuries with costs incurred through March 2021 in 18 states, finding that the reductions —following four years of stable or modest growth —…

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Remote exposures alter complexion of comp

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With more people working from home, workers compensation has become a 24-hour exposure for employers, some experts say. Estimates show an increase in the number of employers allowing telecommuting or hybrid arrangements since the COVID-19 pandemic, and alleged work-from-home injuries are resulting in comp claims. Details of contested claims show the difficulties employers face in determining their validity. At least…

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Employer loses appeal over out-of-state comp claim

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An Indiana-based contractor who conducted work in Kentucky but failed to disclose the out-of-state operations to its workers compensation insurer is on the hook for a workplace injury, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday, affirming a lower court decision. Custom Mechanical Construction Inc. in Evansville, Indiana, had an insurance policy with Accident Fund Insurance Co. of America at the time…

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OSHA says candymaker exposes workers to amputations

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The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is proposing $201,379 after finding a candy manufacturer’s plant in Bellwood, Illinois, continues to expose workers to amputation hazards and failed to utilize lockout procedures for the third time in five years. OSHA said Wednesday that it has issued five citations to Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania-based Ferrara Candy Co. for one repeat violation and four…

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Study finds farm, construction worker injuries increase with heat

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An Oregon State University study found an association with increasing temperatures and increased rates of injury claims that were more pronounced among workers in the agricultural and construction sectors. The study analyzed about 92,000 accepted claims and found that the rate of injuries is about 4% higher when the maximum heat index exceeds 75 degrees. The incident ratio for agriculture…

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Comp impact of AMA updates on mental injuries ‘uncertain’: NCCI

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Several changes made in 2021 to the American Medical Association’s guide on disability ratings, which affect workers compensation claims, will have an “uncertain” effect on the diagnosis and disability determination for mental injury claims, according to an analysis released Monday by the National Council on Compensation Insurance. The Boca Raton, Florida-based ratings agency examined the AMA Guides, 6th Edition 2021,…

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Defending psych comp claims a trending topic

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Employers who have yet to see a psych claim in their workers compensation programs are on notice, as experts say mental-only claims and physical injury claims with alleged mental components are on the rise — and many of them warrant defense. A trending topic in workers compensation, at least two sessions a day at the four-day Workers’ Compensation & Risk…

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Social factors weigh heavily among comp claimants

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Societal factors such as poverty, housing insecurity and lack of education can significantly affect the outcome of a workers compensation claim, as such factors — known as the “social determinants of health” — are often barriers to recovery. As much as 80% of the outcome of an individual’s health is connected to factors connected to an unhealthy environment, and a…

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Illinois Contractor Faces $303,000 in Fines for Deadly Workplace Exposures

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A Roselle, Illinois contractor with a long history of federal workplace safety violations who currently owes more than $390,000 in penalties, added an additional $303,105 in proposed fines for once again exposing workers to potential deadly fall hazards at a North Barrington job site. Inspectors with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration observed the safety violations…

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Report shows rise in expensive topical medications in comp

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The number of injured workers using topical medications rose 4.7% in 2021, according to a report released Tuesday by Enlyte Group LLC subsidiary Mitchell International Inc. The latest report follows one in July that showed the number of injured workers using opioids has continued to decline, from 33.3% of all injured workers in 2020 to 30.3% in 2021. The new…

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