Health Care Overhaul Collapses as Two Republican Senators Defect

WASHINGTON — Two more Republican senators declared on Monday night that they would oppose the Senate Republican bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act, killing, for now, a seven-year-old promise to overturn President Barack Obama’s signature domestic achievement.

The announcement by the senators, Mike Lee of Utah and Jerry Moran of Kansas, left their leaders at least two votes short of the number needed to begin debate on their bill to dismantle the health law. Two other Republican senators, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Susan Collins of Maine, had already said they would not support a procedural step to begin debate.

Rean more here: https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/07/17/us/politics/health-care-overhaul-collapses-as-two-republican-senators-defect.html?#_=_

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New OSHA rule heightens work-injury reporting mandates

On behalf of Gary Nelson at Law Office of Gary C. Nelson

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration issues rules affecting the workplace to ensure safe working environments. The agency recently issued a new rule that changes certain reporting mandates

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration is a federal agency referred to as OSHA within the U.S. Department of Labor tasked with assuring “safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women.” Presently, there are roughly 2200 inspectors mandated to make sure employees at 8 million worksites across the United States work in safe environments.

Through the Occupational Safety and Health Act, OSHA sets rules and standards to maintain the highest level of safety in workplace environments all across the country. These rules include recordkeeping and reporting requirements employers have to abide by.

A new OSHA rule, proposed roughly 3 years ago, was recently published and changes the present OSHA reporting requirements under 29 CFR 1904 for certain work-related injuries including amputations.

The OSHA rule

The new rule was published on September 11, 2014. It stipulates that:

“Employers report to OSHA within 24 hours of any work-related incident that results in:

  • (a) The in-patient hospitalization of one or more employees,
  • (b) An employee’s amputation, or
  • (c) An employee’s loss of an eye”

The previous OSHA reporting rule

Under the previous rule, employers were only required to report a work-related incident if it resulted in an in-patient hospitalization of three or more employees or caused a work-related death. The previous rule also did not mandate any reporting from a workplace amputation or loss of an eye.

Enhancing workplace safety

David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health, insists that the new mandate will increase transparency and force businesses to improve workplace safety guidelines.

“[The rule] will enable employers and workers to prevent future injuries by identifying and eliminating the most serious workplace hazards: ones that have already caused injuries to occur,” he recently stated during a public conference.

The new reporting requirement is expected to increase reportable incidents by up to 170,000 per year. According to Michaels, this is a good thing. He hopes that the new mandate will identify smaller workplace hazards that can be addressed before they take lives.

The rule will take effect January of 2015 for employers under federal OSHA jurisdiction.

In 2013, there were over 4400 employees who lost their lives in a work-related injury-a number roughly equivalent to 12 deaths every single day. Hopefully continued efforts to regulate workplace environments will help reduce workplace injuries and fatalities.

Due to efforts by OSHA, safety and health professionals, unions, and workplace safety advocates, on-the-job injuries and illness have declined by 67 percent since 1970; fatalities have gone down by over 65 percent.

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All of This Because Somebody Got Hurt at Work

All-of-This-Because-Somebody-Got-Hurt-at-WorkHummer limos, go-go dancers, a live alligator and glowing aliens in spandex at the national workers’ comp and disability expo. Journey into the little-known workers’ comp industrial complex.

by Michael Grabell
ProPublica, Dec. 29, 2015, 8 a.m.

LAS VEGAS — A scantily clad acrobat dangles from the ceiling, performing flips and splits as machines puff smoke and neon lights bathe the dance floor in turquoise and magenta. Dancers in lingerie gyrate on poles to the booming techno. Actors dressed as aliens pose for selfies with partygoers. There’s an open bar and waiters weave through the crowd passing out chocolate truffles.

It’s the closing night of the National Workers’ Compensation and Disability Conference & Expo.

The party at Light, a Cirque du Soleil-themed club at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, capped off the workers’ comp industry’s biggest annual networking event. For three days in November, hundreds of vendors wooed insurers and employers with lavish after-hours parties, giveaways of designer handbags, photos with Olympic gymnast Kerri Strug, and free rides in orange Hummer limousines.

A top manager for a major insurance company recalled standing amid the hoopla a few years back when a company CEO turned to her and marveled: “All of this because somebody got hurt at work.”

Rea entire article here: https://www.propublica.org/article/workers-comp-conferences-expos-and-middlemen

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CCWC Says 2012 is Employers’ Best Year for Reform

CCWC Says 2012 is Employers’ Best Year for Reform

By Greg Jones, Western Bureau Chief

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Management should take advantage of a favorable political environment and push for reform legislation in 2012, according to the lobbyist for the California Coalition on Workers’ Compensation.

Jason Schmelzer, during his annual mid-session legislative update at the CCWC’s 10th annual Legislative and Educational Forum, said a statute that required an update of the Permanent Disability Rating Schedule in 2010 and data showing rising costs are two reasons why employers should push for reform in 2012.

Schmelzer said many times reform feels like two or three groups are banding together to “nail the other one to the cross.” But right now, labor and management agree that reform should involve cutting costs to finance a benefit increase. Employers should exploit that to avoid the possibility of being run over by labor and the labor-friendly Democrats who control the Legislature and the governor’s office. (more…)

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