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FMCSA expands Pre-Employment Screening Program

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced changes to its Pre-Employment Screening Program for commercial motor vehicle carriers and other companies directly involved in hiring truck drivers.

The program now allows carriers and other eligible users to access a driver's records - including three years of crash history and five years of roadside inspection history - to make better informed hiring decisions. Eligible account holders pay $10 for each requested driver record in addition to an annual subscription fee based on the number of trucks owned by the carrier.

FMCSA also released a mobile application version of the program.

Few doctors following guidelines on monitoring opioid patients

Few doctors follow recommended medical treatment guidelines for monitoring patients to prevent opioid pain medication abuse, according to research by the Cambridge, Mass.-based Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI).

The WCRI report, "Longer-Term Use of Opioids," looked at narcotics prescriptions across 21 states. It found "relatively low" compliance with the guidelines calling for monitoring practices such as urine drug testing and psychological evaluations that can help prevent addiction, overdose deaths and drug diversions.

About eight percent of workers who are prescribed narcotics for injuries continue using them three to six months later, which might lead to addiction and further work loss.

Injured workers more likely to suffer depression: study

Injured workers may have a higher risk of depression, according to a new study from NIOSH. An analysis of data on almost 367,900 injured and non-injured workers indicated injured workers were 45 percent more likely to be treated for depression, the study abstract stated. The average cost of outpatient treatment for depression was 63 percent higher for injured workers than non-injured workers.

The study was published in the September issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

Sitting too long may increase risk of death, study suggests

The risks of disease and death increase with long periods of sitting, even in otherwise active individuals, according to a new study from the University of Leicester, England. Researchers concluded that people who sit for long periods have a twofold increase in the risk of diabetes, heart disease and death. They recommended reducing sitting time by standing more often, such as breaking up long periods at the computer by working on a laptop placed on a filing cabinet, conducting standing meetings, walking during lunch breaks, and avoiding sedentary behaviors during non-work hours.

The study was published in the November issue of the journal Diabetologia.

Study finds link between MSDs, work-family conflict among health care workers

Hospital workers with high levels of work-family conflict are more likely to experience neck pain and other types of musculoskeletal pain, according to a study from George Washington University.

Workers with high levels of conflict between work and home obligations were more than twice as likely to have musculoskeletal pain. Additionally, workers reporting the most conflict had almost three times the risk of arm pain.

No link was found between work-family imbalance and lower back pain, and researchers speculated lifting patients might cause the latter.

Researchers suggested that hospital policies to reduce the work-family "juggling act" might lead to less pain among workers and more productivity.

The study was published online Sept. 27 in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine.