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Top Stories

LA - Agency Head Disputes Need for Formulary, Says OWCA Would Need More Staff

By William Rabb (Reporter)
12/10/2019 | 299 | 1 | 18 min read

The director of the Louisiana workers' compensation agency is pushing back against a legislative auditor's report that urges lawmakers to once again consider a drug formulary to limit opioid prescribing in the state. The issue already is being addressed in proposed treatment guidelines for chronic pain management — and a formulary or treatment guidelines for prescriptions could require a significant increase in staffing at the agency, said Sheral Kellar, assistant secretary of the Louisiana Workforce Commission and head of the Office of Workers' Compensation Administrati... Read More

AL - Split Supreme Court Allows Worker to Pursue Civil Suit

12/10/2019 | 154 | 0 | 51 min read

A divided Alabama Supreme Court ruled that an ironworker can proceed with a tort action against his employer for injuries allegedly caused by the company's improper response to an accident. Case: Ex Parte Burkes Mechanical Inc., No. 1180402, 12/06/2019, published. Facts: Alexsie McCoy worked for Burkes Mechanical Inc. In April 2018, McCoy was working with two others in a hot, confined space at a mill owned by International Paper Co. The ironworkers were using welding torches to cut heavy metal plates when a welding line broke, igniting the air around McCoy. McCoy sustained severe b... Read More

NE - Employer Not Liable for Treatment by Out-of-State Doctor

12/10/2019 | 121 | 0 | 12 min read

The Nebraska Supreme Court overturned an order requiring an employer to pay for the medical treatment a worker received from a doctor she unilaterally selected after moving out of state. Case: Rogers v. Jack’s Supper Club, No. S-18-1018, 12/06/2019, published. Facts: Sheryl A. Rogers injured her back while working for Jack’s Supper Club in 2001. She filled out a form indicating that she was choosing a Dr. Beyers at the Dundy County Hospital in Benkelman, Nebraska, for treatment. In 2010, Rogers signed a settlement agreement with Jack's, resolving the company's liabi... Read More

NE - Employer Can't Withdraw Motion to Determine MMI After Hearing

12/10/2019 | 123 | 0 | 5 min read

The Nebraska Supreme Court ruled that an employer was not allowed to withdraw its motion to determine whether a worker had reached maximum medical improvement after a hearing had already been held. Case: Fentress v. Westin Inc., No. S-19-128, 12/06/2019, published. Facts and procedural history: Suzy Fentress worked for Westin Inc. She suffered injuries to her hip and psyche at work in October 2014. The Workers' Compensation Court awarded Fentress temporary partial disability benefits. Fentress continued treatment, including hip surgery and pain management treatment targeted to avoid sub... Read More

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Press - Charles Taylor Technical Services Launches Pollution Loss Database for Western Canada

11/20/2019 | 189 | 0

Aggregated Oil Field Insurance Loss Data Over a 10 Year Period    Calgary, Alberta, Canada, November 20, 2019 Charles Taylor Technical Services (CTTS) has launched a comprehensive Pollution Loss Database of insurance losses related to oil field incidents in Western Canada over a 10 year period.  The Pollution Loss Database aggregates data from 220 sudden and accidental oil field pollution-related insurance losses, which are managed by Charles Taylor Adjusting in four provinces in Western Canada. The database compiles information impacting land and waterways for the Canadian p... Read More

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NATL. - Castillo: Hands in the Cookie Jar

By Michael Castillo
12/10/2019 | 162 | 0

The hits keep coming for gig economy employers who continue to do everything they can to turn a profit while denying adequate pay and safety net benefits to their workers. Last month, the attorney general of Washington, D.C., filed suit against food-delivery service DoorDash, alleging "deceptive" practices that misled consumers into believing their tips were going to delivery drivers when the company was actually using the money to pad the drivers' base pay. DoorDash announced in August it would update its payment model to address these consumer con... Read More

PA - Rail Car Service Cited for Employee Asphyxiation

12/10/2019 | 215 | 0 | 2 min read

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration fined a Delaware-based rail company $551,226 for confined space hazards after an employee died in May 2019 from asphyxiation. The Dana Railcare employee died while servicing a rail car containing crude oil sludge in Pennsylvania. OSHA cited the company for failing to protect its employees from the hazards of entering permit-required confined spaces and inadequate breathing protection procedures. Four of the citations were for willful violations. As a result, OSHA said it placed Dana Railcare in its Severe Violator Enforce... Read More

WA - Roofer Faces Felony Charge for Double Dipping

12/10/2019 | 110 | 0 | 2 min read

A man accused of working during the same period he collected more than $25,000 in indemnity benefits will be arraigned today on a single count of first-degree felony theft, the Washington state Department of Labor & Industries announced. Jose Guadalupe Sanchez, 49, was injured on a construction site in 2017. He fell 16 feet from a ladder while working on the second story of a building. He broke his collarbone, ribs and a wrist, and suffered a collapsed lung. The department said it launched an investigation in March 2019 after receiving a tip that Sanchez was working for a different const... Read More

OR - WCD Clarifies Interpretation of Significant Limitation of Repetitive Use

12/10/2019 | 97 | 0 | 2 min read

Oregon’s Workers’ Compensation Division issued an industry notice Monday announcing that it will consider a worker entitled to a 5% chronic condition impairment rating for an injured body part if he has permanently lost the ability to repetitively use it more than two-thirds of a period of time. The division said the notice flows from a state Court of Appeals decision in Broeke v. SAIF Corp. handed down in October. Brit L. Broeke developed plantar fasciitis in both feet while working for Chipman Corp. When SAIF issued a notice of closure on the claim, it reported that B... Read More

CA - State Changes Serious-Injury Report Criteria, Moves to Eliminate Email Requests

12/10/2019 | 580 | 0 | 47 min read

New laws that take effect at the start of 2020 will change how employers report accidents to the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health and revise the criteria for determining which serious job site occupational injuries, illnesses and deaths employers need to disclose, according to a report by EHS Today. Lawmakers during the 2019 session enacted AB 1804, which changes the reporting requirement and directs employers to immediately disclose incidents via telephone or through a new online portal created by Cal/OSHA. Employers may continue to send incident reports by ema... Read More

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Press - Robert Aguilar, Jr. Joins CIGA's In-House Litigation Team

12/09/2019 | 416 | 0

GLENDALE, Calif. - The California Insurance Guarantee Association added veteran workers' compensation professional, Robert Aguilar, Jr. to their in-house litigation team in November. Aguilar will be working under highly respected industry leaders, Joseph Gallo and Terri Harrison. For more than a decade Aguilar has been an assertive and intricate authority in the workers' compensation industry in California. Formerly a film... Read More

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OR - SAIF Board, Audit Committee Meeting Wednesday

12/10/2019 | 96 | 0 | 4 min read

The board of directors and Audit Committee for Oregon’s SAIF Corp. will meet Wednesday in Salem. The Audit Committee, which meets at 9 a.m., will review modifications to the 2019 internal audit plan and approve a 2020 internal audit plan. Committee members will also discuss building security, entry and exit processes for non-employees and a review of the accuracy of claims complexity data. Directors will hear a report from the Audit Committee when they meet starting at 10 a.m. The board will also hear reports from the carrier’s chief operating officer as well as its president and... Read More

CA - Audit Penalties Increase in 2018, Clear $1M for Fourth Time

By Tonika Reed (Reporter)
12/09/2019 | 1114 | 2 | 56 min read

Penalties for claims violations rose again in 2018 and cleared $1 million for just the fourth time since the Division of Workers’ Compensation started the Profile Audit Review process in 2003. Ten claims-adjusting locations throughout the state that failed the first round of the audit and were subjected to a more rigorous review called a Full Compliance Audit were fined nearly $1.5 million in 2018, according to a report the DWC recently posted to its website. In 2017, the division fined four claims shops a combined $722,182, while penalties for the four shops that failed the PAR in 201... Read More

AZ - Lawmakers Eye Expanding Presumptive Cancers, IME Process

By Greg Jones (Senior Editor)
12/09/2019 | 161 | 0 | 93 min read

Arizona lawmakers are considering legislation to expand the list of cancers that are presumed to be an occupational disease, and amend the independent medical examination law to ensure appropriate examiners are evaluating presumptive cancer claims. State Sen. Paul Boyer, R-Glendale, said during a hearing Thursday of the Senate Ad Hoc Committee on Minimizing Containment Risk and Exposure for First Responders that he wants to finish work to protect firefighters diagnosed with cancer. Boyer, who served as chairman of the subcommittee for three hearings during the interim, authored ... Read More

NY - WCB Properly Denies Incomplete Application for Administrative Review

12/09/2019 | 148 | 0 | 73 min read

A New York appellate court ruled that a school district’s failure to complete the Workers’ Compensation Board’s application for administrative review of a claim justified its denial. Case: Matter of Drescher v. Washingtonville Central School District, 11/27/2019, published. Facts and procedural history: Carol Drescher worked for the Washingtonville Central School District. She injured her shoulder at work in February 2013 and later established compensability. She also established that her average weekly wage was $752.66. In January 2017, a workers’ compensation law j... Read More

NY - Worker Should Have Been Allowed to Present New Evidence

12/09/2019 | 168 | 0 | 31 min read

A New York appellate court ruled that an injured worker should have been allowed to present new evidence supporting his claim of a consequential injury after the Workers’ Compensation Board threw out the original report provided by an independent medical examiner. Case: Matter of Galatro v. Slomins, No. 528665, 11/27/2019, published. Facts and procedural history: Edward Galatro injured his knee in March 2013 while working work Slomins Inc. He underwent knee surgery three months later. Upon awakening after surgery, Galatro complained of severe chest pain. Doctors determined he had an o... Read More