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Workers' Comp medical payments higher than group health medical payments

A new 16-state study from the Workers' Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) says that in half of the states studied, hospital outpatient payments for shoulder surgeries in Workers' Compensation were at least $2,000 (or 43 percent) higher than group health. The study, Comparing Workers' Compensation and Group Health Hospital Outpatient Payments, is the first to compare hospital payments for the same surgical procedure when paid for by group health versus Workers' Compensation. For more information about this report or to purchase a copy, visit

NIOSH offers safety tips for new residential construction workers

A new booklet from NIOSH describes safe work practices to help residential construction workers avoid manual material handling injuries. Simple Solutions for Home Building Workers: A Basic Guide for Preventing Manual Material Handling Injuries, uses drawings and non-technical language to describe manual material handling injury risks and explain how these risks can be reduced and/or eliminated for certain activities. Young and less experienced home building workers are the intended audience.

Free app aims to help workers correctly position extension ladders

A new smartphone application from NIOSH is intended to help workers safely use extension ladders. The free app uses visual and audio signals to provide feedback on correctly positioning an extension ladder to help prevent worker falls. The app also supplies references and a safety guide for selecting, inspecting and using an extension ladder.

The app is available for iPhone and Android.

CSB releases compilation of safety videos

The Chemical Safety Board is offering a free three-disc DVD set featuring 31 safety videos.

The videos were produced as part of CSB incident investigations and feature animated sequences of events leading up to an explosion, fire or chemical release.

The DVD set includes two new videos: Deadly Contract, which depicts a fireworks explosion in Hawaii that killed five workers, and Inherently Safer: The Future of Risk Reduction, which discusses the concept of inherent safety.

NIOSH offers 'straight talk' on nail gun safety

NIOSH recently published an informational comic strip about nail gun safety.

Straight Talk About Nail-Gun Safety depicts workers discussing the dangers associated with nail guns and how to prevent injuries.

FMCSA issues hours-of-service exemption for DOE

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on May 31 issued an hours-of-service regulation exemption for the Department of Energy.

The exemption will allow certain DOE-contracted drivers to use 30-minutes or more of attendance time to meet HOS break period requirements, as long as no other work is performed during that time. The exemption aligns DOE drivers who are transporting security-sensitive radioactive materials with non-DOE drivers who are shipping explosive materials and are exempt.

FMCSA's latest HOS regulations, which were being challenged in court, require drivers to take a break for at least 30 minutes following eight hours of continuous on-duty driving.

The DOE exemption went into effect July 1 and runs through June 30, 2015.

AMA votes to classify obesity as a disease

Despite concerns that doing so will "medicalize" a condition that affects up to one-third of the nation, the American Medical Association House of Delegates at its annual meeting in Chicago approved a resolution to recognize obesity as a disease.

Video offers ergo tips for truck drivers

The Workers' Compensation Board of British Columbia has released a new video highlighting the importance of ergonomic health for truck drivers.

New website offers pesticide safety information

A new project from the California Poison Control System allows farm workers and community health professionals to access pesticide safety information on a mobile device.

The Pesticide Safety Project is a mobile-optimized website that features Spanish-language videos, public service announcements and links to resources. Topics covered include signs and symptoms of pesticide exposure, measures workers can take to protect themselves, and how to report a possible exposure.

NIOSH establishes Center for Workers' Compensation Studies

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has launched a new Center for Workers' Compensation Studies to analyze trends in work-related injuries and illnesses.

The center's researchers will collaborate with "insurers and other private and public sector organizations" to conduct studies on occupational hazards, NIOSH said in its June newsletter. The data will be integrated with other health-related data, and used to develop practices for preventing and reducing the severity of workplace injuries.

Massachusetts requires electronic filing of First Report of Injury

As of January 1, 2014, the Massachusetts Department of Industrial Accidents (DIA) will cease accepting paper copies of Form 101 Employers First Report of Injury.

Employers will have the option of submitting forms via Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) for batch data submissions, secure file transfer for completed PDF forms (Form 101s filled out and transmitted individually) or by filing the FRI forms individually via the DIA website ( using an authorized online account.

Major changes to Minnesota Workers' Compensation laws

A bill signed into law in May significantly changes aspects of Workers' Compensation claims compensability. Major changes include:

In addition, the Commissioner shall adopt rules establishing standards and procedures including criteria for the long-term use of opioids or other scheduled medications to alleviate intractable pain and improve function. The Commissioner shall also implement a two-year patient advocate program for employees with back injuries who are considering back fusion surgery.