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Spanish version of FMLA poster available from DOL

The Department of Labor (DOL) has issued the Spanish version of its new FMLA poster (which accounts for the new regulations issued earlier this year). Per the DOL, where an employer's workforce "is comprised of a significant portion of workers who are not literate in English, the employer shall provide the general notice in a language in which the employees are literate."

NSC report: only three states adequately addressing prescription drug abuse

The National Safety Council (NSC) released its report, Prescription Nation: Addressing America's prescription drug abuse epidemic showing 47 states must improve existing standards if they are to reduce the number of deaths involving prescription drug overdoses. In the report, NSC examined state efforts in four areas: state leadership and action, prescription drug monitoring programs, responsible painkiller prescribing and overdose education and prevention programs. Kentucky, Vermont and Washington were the only states that met standards in all four areas.

Obesity rate unchanged

Almost 35% of American adults are obese, a statistic that remains unchanged from a year earlier, according to Centers for Disease Control (CDC) data. The CDC considers adults with a body mass index greater than 30 as obese. BMI is calculated as weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared and rounded to one decimal place. Among other findings, the CDC also reports that obesity's prevalence is higher among middle-aged adults than among younger or older adults.

Research has shown that Workers' Compensation claims durations are significantly longer when a claimant is obese.

NYC Latino construction workers disproportionately die on the job

Latinos account for 41% of New York City's construction workforce, but 74% of construction workers who fell to their deaths between 2003 and 2011 were classified as "Latino and/or immigrant," according to a new report. The report, "Fatal Inequality: Workplace Safety Eludes Construction Workers of Color in New York State," was prepared by the Center for Popular Democracy.

Farmers second to construction workers in hearing loss

Exposure to dangerously loud machinery makes farmers second only to construction workers in occupational hearing loss, according to Marjorie McCullagh, associate professor at University of Michigan School of Nursing. She said farmers are extremely vulnerable because OSHA doesn't regulate noise exposure on farms and the majority of farmers don't wear hearing protection but do want to learn more about it. Read more..

Guide provides information about carcinogens in the workplace

A recent publication from the scientific research organization IRSST focuses on work-related cancer.

Are There Carcinogens in Your Workplace? is a 14-page document that addresses how to identify carcinogens and reduce exposure in the workplace.

Sleep studies
Too little or too much can be harmful

Both inadequate and excessive amounts of sleep are linked to chronic disease, concludes a new study from the CDC published in the October journal SLEEP.

The study was based on a 2010 survey of 54,269 people 45 or older, according to the study abstract.

Almost one-third of respondents reported getting too little sleep (six hours or less a night), while 4.1 percent slept too much (10 hours or more). Both groups showed a higher chance of coronary heart disease, stroke and diabetes than people with optimal sleep duration - with the association even higher among long sleepers. In some cases, mental distress and obesity also were factors, leading researchers to suggest that doctors treating people for chronic diseases also monitor their patients' mental health, weight and sleep patterns.

The optimal amount of sleep is seven to nine hours a night, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

'Catching up' on sleep may not help worker alertness: study

Workers whose alertness has been reduced through lack of sleep may not be able to fully recover merely by sleeping in on weekends, concludes a study from Penn State University.

Health and performance assessments showed participants were less sleepy and less stressed after they had a few days to catch up on sleep. However, their alertness continued to suffer. After mild sleep deprivation, people performed poorly on tests measuring the ability to pay attention, and their scores did not improve with the "weekend" of rest.

These findings may be especially relevant for workers in safety-critical professions, such as health care workers and pilots, researchers said in a press release.

The study was published online Oct. 1 in the American Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism.

Battery condition crucial for optimal respirator use

Workers who use powered air-purifying respirators may be at risk of personal injury or death if the battery is not in proper operating condition. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has issued a fact sheet to help protect workers from ineffective batteries.

Nebraska Workers' Compensation maximum income benefit increases to $747 per week

Effective January 1, 2014, the maximum weekly income benefit under the Nebraska Workers' Compensation Act will increase to $747.00. This amount applies to work-related injuries and illnesses occurring on or after January 1, 2014.

Minnesota will educate workers considering back surgery

The program's Patient Advocate helps claimants determine if lumbar fusion surgery is appropriate, educates them about the risks, complications, likelihood of repeat surgery and poor outcomes.

New California laws related to Workers' Compensation and out-of-state professional athletes and workplace safety

A.B. 1309 law bars professional athletes and their dependents from receiving California Workers' Comp benefits if the athlete spent most of his or her career playing for teams outside the state.

A.B. 633 prevents employers from having policies prohibiting an employee from providing voluntary emergency services in a medical emergency.

A.B. 1202 requires the state's Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board to adopt a standard for health care workers who handle cancer-treating drugs.

S.B. 435 amends a current law that requires employers to provide rest and meal periods to include "recovery periods," defined as a "cool-down period" to prevent heat illness.

PA Workers' Comp computer system has glitches

The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry recently spent $45 million to overhaul and revamp the system that they use to process Workers' Comp claims and assign them to judges. The glitches range from inability to upload claims or other supporting legal documents into the system to disappearing court paperwork.