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Stressfulness of claims process related to poor outcomes - study

A new Australian study found that stress often comes from confusion about the claims process, delays and related medical assessments. Those who were most stressed by filing a claim tended to have slower recoveries and higher levels of disability years later. Published in JAMA Psychiatry, the study points out the importance of making procedures and processes easier and more efficient to optimize recovery.

Workplace bullying is growing problem for employers

The high-profile incident involving the Miami Dolphins pro football team reignited the efforts to ban workplace bullying, yet no state has passed a law.

Sixty-eight percent of employers surveyed last year by Utica, N.Y.-based Zogby International indicated that workplace bullying is a serious problem. Less than one-third said it does not occur among their employees. An earlier study in 2012 by Career Builders found that 35% of workers said they were bullied at work, compared to 27% the year before.

Special issue of safety journal addresses 15 relevant topics

A new special issue of the Journal of Safety Research features research projects from the 2011 National Occupational Injury Research Symposium. The issue includes 15 studies addressing topics such as fall prevention and safety communication training for construction foremen, injury rates and drug testing at small construction companies, roof falls among construction workers, work-related violence against educators, and injuries among semi-truck drivers.

NIOSH, the National Safety Council and the Liberty Mutual Research Institute sponsored the symposium.

Shiftworkers' diets can lead to chronic inflammation - study

Shift work has long been linked to an increased risk of several negative health effects, including high blood pressure, obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Pro-inflammatory diets may partially explain increased inflammation-related disease risk seen in other studies of shift workers according to a study in the February Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

A pro-inflammatory diet is identified as one high in fats, carbohydrates and sweets.

Researchers suggested that behavioral interventions targeted at pro-inflammatory diets could help reduce the adverse health impacts of shift work.

Gene increases risk of developing Parkinson's from pesticide exposure: study

Pesticide exposure may increase the risk of developing Parkinson's disease, and individual risk varies based on a person's genetic makeup, according to a new study from the University of California, Los Angeles. The study was published online Feb. 4 in the journal Neurology.

ACA updates

Employer mandate pushed back to 2016 for mid-sized employer

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) employer "shared responsibility" mandate, originally set to take effect in January 2014 but delayed last year until 2015, will now be phased in so that midsize employers will not be subject to "play-or-pay" penalties until 2016. The department issued a new final rule and related questions and answers on Employer Shared Responsibility Under the Affordable Care Act.

Midsize organizations are those with the equivalent of 50 to 99 full-time employees.

Waiting period for benefits limited to 90 days

The final rule on the 90-day waiting period was released on February 20, 2014. Like the proposed regulations, the final rules say waiting periods may not extend beyond 90 days, with all calendar days, including weekends and holidays, counted.

A separate rule was released that addresses the issue of "orientation" periods.

For plan years beginning in 2014, plans may comply with either the proposed regulations or the final rule. The final rules are effective for all plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2015.