Articles | Cases

Things you should know

Guide to Physician Services in Workers' Compensation

Choosing the right physicians to take care of workers with work‐related injuries is challenging. The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine in Elk Grove Village, IL, and the Madison, WI-based International Association of Industrial Accident Boards and Commissions recently published a guide intended to help employers and employees choose physicians to care for work-related injuries and illnesses.
A Guide to High-Value Physician Services in Workers' Compensation includes criteria for evaluating credentials, learning about a physician's practice style and outcome metrics, and conducting a periodic review to determine whether to continue the relationship.

Workers rate safety most important workplace issue in new study

More than eight of ten workers—85%—rank workplace safety first in importance among labor standards, even ahead of family and maternity leave, minimum wage, paid sick days, overtime pay and the right to join a union, according to a new study from the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago. The study was done for the Public Welfare Foundation, based in Washington, DC, which supports efforts to improve workers' rights.

Although most workers say they are satisfied with safety conditions at work, they also report job-related stress, a contributing factor to injury according to the study, "Public Attitudes Towards and Experiences with Workplace Safety," which draws on dozens of surveys and polls conducted by NORC.

Noisy workplace linked to heart disease: study

A study of more than 6,000 U.S. workers found a persistently noisy workplace more than doubled serious heart disease risk. Researchers from the University of British Columbia compared two groups of workers—one exposed to persistent loud noise to the extent that it was difficult to talk at normal volume for at least three months, and a second group that worked in quieter places.

Employees who worked in noisy workplaces were 2 to 3 times more likely to have serious heart problems than their counterparts in quiet workplaces. Twenty-one percent of workers said they put up with a noisy workplace for an average of almost nine consecutive months. Most were men with an average age of 40, tended to weigh more and smoke more—both risk factors for heart disease—than those who work in quieter places.

Researchers suggested loud noise might cause as much stress as sudden emotion or physical exertion, which prompt chemical responses that constrict blood flow to the coronary arteries.

Physical fitness reduces risk of heart disease when working overtime

Out-of-shape men who work long hours more than double their risk of dying from heart disease compared to non-fit men working fewer hours, according to a recent study in the medical journal Heart.

Their fit counterparts were 45% less likely to die of heart disease and 38% less likely to die of other causes than unfit colleagues, the study said.

The new study included 5,000 Danish men, aged 40 to 59 years, who worked at 14 different companies. Their fitness levels were assessed at the start of the study and they were followed-up for more than 30 years. During that time, 587 (about 12%) of the men died as result of narrowed and hardened arteries (also known as ischemic heart disease).

Epidemiologists have long known that working extended hours increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. The study, led by Andreas Holtermann of the National Research Centre for the Working Environment in Copenhagen, is the first to show that fitness can offer protection from some of these detrimental effects.