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Things you should know

OSHA directs employers to record parking lot injuries
According to an OSHA letter of interpretation, employers must record incidents in which employees are injured in company parking lots.

The letter addresses two instances where employees commute from home to work and park their personally owned vehicles in the company controlled parking lot. The first employee opened the driver side door and started to exit his car when he caught his right foot on the raised door threshold. The employee subsequently fell onto the parking lot surface and sustained a right kneecap injury. The second employee was in the process of exiting his pick-up truck when he slipped on a rail used to enter and exit the vehicle. The employee fell onto the parking lot surface and sustained a twisted right knee.

The letter notes that “OSHA has made it clear that injuries and illnesses that occur during an employee’s normal commute to and from work are not considered work-related, and therefore, not recordable.” However, “For purposes of Part 1904, the employee’s commute from home to work ends once he or she arrives at the work environment.”

California Workers’ Compensation Rating Bureau recommends a 16% rate increase
After five years of dramatic declines, California’s Workers’ Compensation insurance may have hit bottom and might soon be going up. While the 16% increase is only a recommendation by the California Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau, an industry advisory group in San Francisco, it represents a sharp change in direction from recent years.

Since California is often a precursor for the rest of the nation, the change has implications for many states.

EEOC issues guidelines on relationship between ADA and Employer Performance and Conduct standards
The EEOC issued a comprehensive question and answer guide on the relationship between the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) and workplace performance and conduct on September 3, 2008. The guide is primarily designed to help employers navigate tricky situations where an employee with a known or suspected disability exhibits poor performance or unacceptable workplace conduct.

Study finds relationship between good leadership and employee health
A study published in the August issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, “Leadership, Job Well-Being, and Health Effects – A Systematic Review and a Meta Analysis” finds that there is a relationship between good leadership and work-related health. Good leadership, defined by such qualities as treating employees fairly, being truthful and providing motivation, was found to reduce sick leave 27% and disability pensions 46%.

Web tool identifies drug names associated with medication errors
Drugs that are frequently involved in medical mix-ups often have brand or generic names that sound like the names of other drugs. As a service to healthcare practitioners, industry, consumers, and others, U.S. Pharmacopeial has developed a free tool for accessing drug names that have been identified with a medication error. USP's Drug Error Finder allows a user to search more than 1,400 drugs involved in look–alike and/or sound–alike errors. It not only lists the other drugs involved in a mix–up, but also designates the severity of the error where at least one report was received through USP's Reporting Programs.

Results of online survey of nurses
An online survey conducted by the American Nurses Association found that nearly two-thirds of nurses have been stuck accidentally with a needle while working and that 59% are inclined to work faster and take shortcuts when they feel pressured.

OSHA revises National Emphasis Program (NEP) for lead exposure
The goal of the NEP is to reduce blood lead levels in employees by reducing lead exposures throughout industry. OSHA released a new instruction in August that takes the place of a previous NEP, issued in 2001.