State: FL Legislature Votes to Abolish Injured Worker Retraining Program:

The Florida Legislature voted late Friday to abolish the state Bureau of Rehabilitation and Reemployment Services and allow the state to contract the rehabilitation of injured workers out to private vocational counselors.

The Senate voted 36 to 1 to approve a report on House Bill 5203 from a House-Senate conference committee. The House approved the measure by a vote of 118 to 0.

If signed by Florida Gov. Rick Scott, the bill would eliminate 27 workers in the bureau and close the ...

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State: HI Uninsured Contractors Fined, State Investigating other Complaints:

A task force comprised of multiple state agencies fined contractors building a townhouse project $45,025 for not carrying workers’ compensation insurance and multiple safety violations, according to a report by Hawaii News Now.

Deputy State Labor Director Audrey Hidano said seven contractors and subcontractors at the project in West Oahu were fined a combined $19,550 for not carrying workers’ compensation insurance. The contractors have coverage now, Hawaii News Now reported.

Hidano also said inspectors from the Occupational Safety and Health Division found ...

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State: NJ Drug Test Gave Employer Good Enough Reason for Termination:

A grocery store did not commit disability discrimination when it fired a manager with Parkinson’s disease for using a painkiller without a prescription, a New Jersey appellate court ruled.

Case: Martin v. Quick Chek Corp., No. A-2637-10T2, 1/18/12, unpublished.

Facts: Erik Martin, a store manager for Quick Chek Corp., was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2000. He told his supervising district leader, Joan Ferry, about his diagnosis and she advised him to keep his illness “hush, hush.”

Martin never mentioned his illness to ...

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State: AK Property Owners Liable for Contractor's Work Comp Claim:

The owners of a mixed-use property are liable for the workers’ compensation claim of an uninsured contractor, the Supreme Court of Alaska concluded.

Case: Trudell v. Hibbert, No. S-13608, 2/17/12, published.

Facts: Lawrence Trudell, an employee of Phillips Construction Co., was injured while climbing a ladder down from the roof of a building he was working on. The injury occurred on June 13, 2006, at a building in Kenai, Alaska.

At that time, Phillips lacked workers’ compensation insurance, even though it was a ...

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State: OK OSHA Issues Fines to Grain Facility Where 2 Teenagers Lost Legs:

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced Friday it has issued an Oklahoma grain-handling facility four serious safety citations, with fines totaling $21,500, following an accident on Aug. 4 in which two 17-year-old workers each lost a leg.

OSHA reported the teenagers working for Zaloudek Grain Co. in Kremlin both suffered leg amputations when they became caught in an allegedly inadequately guarded conveyor auger while cleaning out a grain flat storage structure.

The citations from OSHA’s inspection included allegedly failing to affix ...

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State: FL DEA: Oxycodone Buys Down Significantly After 'Pill Mill' Crackdown:

By Michael Whiteley, Eastern Bureau Chief

Florida’s crackdown on “pill mills” cut physicians’ purchases of the opioid painkiller oxycodone by 97% during 2011 and appears to have driven the business to Georgia, Kentucky and Tennessee, according to a report issued last week by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

Leaders of the Florida House on Monday credited the passage of House Bill 7095 with drastically reducing the purchase of the painkiller by physicians last year and reducing its overall purchase by pharmacies ...

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State: OH No Benefits for Estate of Obese Smoker Who Died Walking to Work:

An Ohio appellate court upheld the denial of death benefits to the estate of a morbidly obese woman who died of a heart attack after having to walk a block from an off-site parking lot to her workplace, because her normal parking space adjacent to the building was blocked by a construction vehicle.

Case: Davis et al. v. Ryan et al., No. 11AP-198, 01/31/2012.

Facts: Deborah A. Davis worked in a clerical position for the Ohio Education Association. On Nov. 21, 2005, ...

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Top Lawmakers Will Carry Workers' Comp Option Legislation:

By Bill Kidd, Central Bureau Chief

Two of most powerful members of the Oklahoma Legislature have agreed to carry legislation to give employers an alternative to workers’ compensation to protect injured workers – and to reduce costs to businesses.

Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa, and Speaker of the House of Representatives Kris Steele, R-Shawnee, will take the lead on Senate Bill 1378, the “Oklahoma Employee Injury Benefit Act.”

The legislation is backed by the Oklahoma Injury Benefit Coalition (OIBC), representing employers ...

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State: CA Contractor Sting Nabs 5 Without Comp Coverage:

A sting targeting Central California Valley contractors charging excessive up-front payments caught five contractors who were operating without workers’ compensation insurance, including a registered sex offender who had not submitted to a background check, according to a press release from the Contractors State License Board.

The board’s Statewide Investigative Fraud Team (SWIFT), together with the Fresno District Attorney’s Office, the Employment Development Department, California Highway Patrol and Fresno Police, posed as homeowners looking to catch contractors charging down payments exceeding the ...

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Learn how to keep construction workers safe

The most important thing you can do to keep your employees safe on a construction site is to create, maintain and follow a strict health and safety plan.  In general, as the owner of a construction business, or someone involved in the construction industry, safety should be your top priority.  Without a good safety plan, your company is more likely to experience a high number of accidents and injuries resulting in more workers compensation claims.

It is not enough to have ...

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