At no time in recent history has it been more important to rein in workers compensation costs.
With workers compensation markets hardening, medical costs rising and the threat of inflation looming, brokers, agents and buyers face growing total workers compensation costs.
Despite those ominous trends, however, it is possible for workers compensation brokers, buyers and insurers to successfully control these costs by achieving the best claims outcomes possible. This requires close partnerships, advanced claim mitigation strategies and powerful loss control services. In fact, now is the ideal time for workers compensation buyers — collaborating with brokers, agents and insurers — to review their programs to ensure they are doing everything possible to protect employees and bottom lines.
According to Maureen McCarthy, senior vice president and manager for workers compensation claims at Liberty Mutual, the key is to identify and implement program improvements by focusing on the two areas critical to lowering the total cost of risk: managing claims effectively and improving safety.
via Risk & Insurance Online – Tough Market: The Best Time To Improve Workers Compensation Programs.
Washington – After several close calls during which a government shutdown loomed, Congress finalized a budget for the remainder of fiscal year 2012, providing some occupational safety and health agencies with a slight funding increase.
- $565.9 million to OSHA. Compared to FY 2011, this represents a $7.2 million increase, most of which comes from $6.4 million in additional funds for federal compliance assistance and state consultation grants.
- $374 million to the Mine Safety and Health Administration. The agency received across-the-board increases from FY 2011, except for a $1.2 million decrease in metal/non-metal enforcement.
- $17.6 million to the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission. The $7.3 million funding increase from FY 2011 is part of a recent trend of providing more money to FMSHRC to reduce a massive backlog of contested cases.
- $11.7 million to the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, which is identical to the commission’s FY 2011 funding.
- $182.9 million to NIOSH, a funding cut of more than $41 million for the research institute compared with the previous fiscal year.
Workers who are exposed to extreme cold or work in cold environments may be at risk of cold stress. Extreme cold weather is a dangerous situation that can bring on health emergencies in susceptible people, such as those without shelter, outdoor workers, and those who work in an area that is poorly insulated or without heat. Click on the link below for more info.
via CDC – Cold Stress – NIOSH Workplace Safety and Health Topic.
Ergonomics is the scientific study of people at work. The goal of ergonomics is to reduce stress and eliminate injuries and disorders associated with the overuse of muscles, bad posture, and repeated tasks. This is accomplished by designing tasks, work spaces, controls, displays, tools, lighting, and equipment to fit the employee´s physical capabilities and limitations.
via CDC – Ergonomics and Musculoskeletal Disorders – NIOSH Workplace Safety and Health Topic.
Governor Snyder’s 4×4 Plan for Health Aims to Build a Stronger Michigan
Every Michigander has a role to play in improving the health of our state. Governor Rick Snyder announced his vision for building a stronger Michigan on September 14. The Governor indicated that health and wellness is the foundation for Michigan’s economic transformation as well as overall quality of life, and that each Michigan citizen who takes responsibility for his or her health will make a difference for our state.
As a part of his presentation, he laid out the Michigan 4×4 Plan, which encourages all Michiganders to practice four key healthy behaviors:
- Maintain a healthy diet
- Engage in regular exercise
- Get an annual physical examination
- Avoid all tobacco use
In conjunction with these key healthy behaviors, we should all be aware of four key health measures that are closely tied to the incidence of chronic disease:
- Body Mass Index (BMI)
- Blood pressure
- Cholesterol level
- Blood sugar level
“By taking responsibility for our health and making a commitment to Governor Snyder’s 4×4 plan, each Michigander is able to make a difference for our state,” said Marilyn Lieber, president and CEO of the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness, and the Michigan Fitness Foundation. “We can all do our part to lift Michigan up and improve health status, the economy and ultimately quality of life in our state.”
The Governor’s announcement addressed a number of health issues, including obesity, chronic disease and health care costs. The online “dashboard” for health and wellness can be found on Governor Snyder’s website.
As America’s baby boomers grow older and creakier, some companies are trying to keep those with hard-to-replace skills fit enough to remain on the job.
Harley-Davidson has a gym at its Menomonee Falls, Wis., factory where workers like Mike Snow, above, get exercise routines tailored to their jobs.
To avoid the early retirement of key workers, employers have redesigned work areas to minimize kneeling or awkward twisting of muscles and joints. Others have gone even further. Duke Energy Corp. offers a special stretching program for its line technicians before they start a shift. Harley-Davidson Inc. has trainers stand ready to ice down inflammations between shifts at one of its engine plants.
Given high unemployment, companies could hire young workers to replace older ones, but many jobs require years of on-the-job training. Boomers “can be role models and mentors for the younger folks,” says Joel Lunsford, a training manager at Duke Energy, an electric-power utility based in Charlotte, N.C. It takes about eight years for a line technician—people who make repairs on power lines—to master the main skills needed, he says. The average age of line technicians at Duke Energy is 50 to 55.
Health is one of the most important and complex issues faced by our country today, and the workplace has a central role to play. Not only is the workplace the source of health insurance for most Americans, but it also has significant influence on worker health, both in terms of how job conditions protect or threaten workers’ health and safety, and how the job promotes or interferes with personal wellness.
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