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Cancer and back disorders top Unum's long-term disability claims

For the 12th year, cancer was the top reason for long-term disability claims, followed closely by back disorders, according to 2012 claims data from insurance provider Unum.

According to the report, recovery and return to work play a particularly significant role for cancer patients. "Most people who have been diagnosed with cancer are very motivated to get back to work," said Kristin Tugman, senior director of Health and Productivity at Unum. "It helps create a sense of normalcy and control at a time when people often feel understandably overwhelmed."

Altogether, the leading causes of long-term disability claims reported by Unum:

Leading causes of short-term disability claims were:

Return to work accommodations recommended by Unum include:

DOL issues Model COBRA Election and Exchange Notices

Notice to employees of exchange-based coverage options takes effect Oct. 1, 2013

In May, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued Technical Release No. 2013-02, announcing an updated model election notice that plans must provide to departing employees about continued health care coverage under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA).

DOL has also issued long-awaited temporary guidance and a temporary Model Notice to Employees of Coverage Options about the soon-to-launch exchanges, as required under Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) section 18B. The exchange notification, which must be provided to current and all newly hired employees starting no later than Oct. 1, 2013, is one of many health care reform requirements that may have fallen below the radar of many employers.

D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals overturns NLRB poster requirement

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) when it made an employer's failure to display a poster about employees' right to join unions an unfair labor practice, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit held May 7, 2013.

NIOSH: Protect firefighters from noise-induced hearing loss

A new NIOSH publication warns of the dangers of noise-induced hearing loss among firefighters and recommends steps to reduce noise exposure and protect firefighters.

NIOSH issues recommended exposure limit for carbon nanomaterials

NIOSH has issued a recommended worker exposure limit of 1 microgram per cubic meter of air for carbon nanotubes and carbon nanofibers.

The new Current Intelligence Bulletin, also recommends steps to reduce workplace exposure for workers at risk of inhaling loose CNTs and CNFs, which are man-made particles used in products such as plastics, paints and electronics.

Tennessee and Oklahoma adopt sweeping changes to Workers' Compensation statutes

Both Tennessee and Oklahoma have passed legislation that is arguably the most significant changes in the laws since the statutes were adopted.

Some key changes in Tennessee include:

The new law goes into effect July 1, 2014.

Key changes in the Oklahoma system include:

The effective date is January 1, 2014.