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Aging workforce may not have negative impact on loss costs

It is a widely held belief that older workers have fewer, but more costly injuries. However, new research from the industry's National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) finds similar costs per worker among all groups of workers age 35 to 64 and also concludes the long-held assumption that younger workers have high injury rates is no longer true.

Other key findings:

Download a .pdf of the full report, "Workers Compensation and the Aging Workforce."

Most stressful jobs in U. S.

The top five of the ten most stressful jobs identified by employment research firm may not surprise you, but the other five might:

  1. Enlisted soldier
  2. Firefighter
  3. Airline pilot
  4. Military general
  5. Police officer
  6. Event coordinator
  7. Public relations executive
  8. Senior corporate executive
  9. Photojournalist
  10. Taxicab driver

Longshore Act to exclude workers who maintain recreational boats

Under new federal regulations effective January 30, laborers who build, repair or dismantle any recreational water vessel will no longer be covered by the Longshore Act, so long as they are covered under a state's Workers' Comp law. Currently, the Longshore Act only excludes workers who repair recreational watercraft less than 65 feet in length. The rule change stems from an amendment under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

Research group publishes special issue on distracted driving

A special issue of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society journal Ergonomics in Design pulls together assorted research on new technologies, educational programs and policies addressing driver distraction. The research is divided into three topics: the science on distracted driving, applying research to mitigating distraction and outreach. The special issue is free to the public until March 31.

IRS clarifies guidelines for W-2 reporting of health coverage costs

On Jan. 3, 2012, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued Notice 2012-9 with interim guidance on meeting the requirement under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) to report on employees' W-2 forms the cost of their group health insurance coverage. This information must be furnished beginning with 2012 W-2 forms, which generally must be provided to employees by the end of January 2013. The aggregate cost of an employee's health care coverage is to be determined under rules similar to the rules for determining the applicable premium for COBRA continuation coverage.

Generally, all employers are required to meet the new W-2 reporting requirement, but the IRS provided some exemptions in transition relief, including one for small employers who filed fewer than 250 Forms W-2 in 2011. Such employers are not required to report the value of employer-provided health care for 2012.

Final rule on HOS maintains 11-hour daily driving limit

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's much-anticipated final rule (.pdf file) on hours of service, published Dec. 22, retains the current 11-hour daily driving limit for commercial motor vehicle drivers but limits the previously unrestricted 34-hour restart provision to once every 168 hours and mandates at least two nighttime rest periods per reset.

In an effort to address fatigue among CMV drivers, FMCSA published a notice of proposed rulemaking in December 2010 that would have lowered the 11-hour limit to 10 hours. Transportation safety interest groups, citing fatigue as a key factor in crashes involving CMVs, had called for restrictions on the amount of time CMV carriers require drivers to work - specifically advocating for reductions in maximum weekly and daily operating times. The rule was delayed twice in 2011 amid pressure from trucking industry groups and politicians, who claimed that reductions in daily driving time would adversely impact business without provable safety benefits.

The HOS changes will go into effect Feb. 27, with a compliance date for certain provisions of July 1, 2013.

One in six Americans binge drink

Approximately 38 million U.S. adults - or about 17 percent of the population - are defined as binge drinkers, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.The report defines binge drinking as five or more alcoholic drinks in a short period of time for men and four or more for women.

According to the report:

The report recommended that men limit themselves to two drinks daily and women limit themselves to one drink, and that government agencies pursue prevention strategies that combine the efforts of enforcement, health care and public health agencies.