According to Bureau of Labor Statistics’ data, hundreds of employees are injured or killed on the job as a result of attacks on retail establishments during late-night hours. Convenience stores, liquor stores and gas stations are the primary targets of fatal violence.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently updated its guidance document, Recommendations for Workplace Violence Prevention Programs in Late-Night Retail Establishments, which addresses issues causing late-night retail workers to be injured or killed on the job.
Although not exhaustive, the updated document identifies risk factors and offers policy recommendations and practical corrective methods to help mitigate and prevent workplace violence in late-night retail establishments. OSHA suggests training workers on conflict resolution and non-violent responses to threatening situations in order to defuse tension during an incident. Establishing a prevention program is another basic suggestion that includes having working security cameras, accessible phones and alert systems; limiting cash on hand and publicizing that; and staffing with more than one person during latenight and early-morning hours.
Many other suggestions are included in the report. A downloadable version of the OSHA recommendations can be found at www.osha.gov/Publications/osha3153.pdf.
Upgraded OSHA Enforcement Planned
OSHA is seeking to reinforce its Enhanced Enforcement Program (EEP) originally set forth in 2003. At the request of the House Subcommittee on Workforce Protections, the organization has agreed to retool the program designed to seek out and monitor “recalcitrant employers”— those that repeatedly fail in their OSH Act obligations.
OSHA warns employers to check the adequacy of their worker-safety compliance programs. Enhanced enforcement includes more intensive follow-up inspections that will look at actions taken to remedy the original violation as well as an investigation into the possibility that the employer is committing similar violations that haven’t been found or reported.
Related worksites of violators will also be inspected to see if safety problems are epidemic company-wide. Under enhanced enforcement, fines and other settlements are often more severe. An employer could be required to hire a safety and health consultant to develop a remedial plan and implement the program at its own expense.
|When an Injured Worker Files Out of State|
|Employers who believe their workers compensation policy automatically covers injured workers wherever they are could be in for a rude awakening.
Workers compensation laws vary by state as do contracts issued by coverage providers. These elements can limit, and in some cases prohibit, workers compensation payments in a state outside that where the policy is written.
Further complicating the issue is the fact that where a claim is filed is a decision left to the employee. Some states will respond to claims by injured employees regardless of where they are employed. For example, a worker injured outside his state may choose to file the claim in the state where the injury occurred if its law requires that greater benefits be paid to injured workers. When this occurs, the injured worker may become eligible for that state’s statutory workers compensation benefits. If the employer’s policy does not extend coverage for claims filed in that state, the employer is on the hook for benefits owed to the injured worker.
Do you have employees working in other states? Is the work incidental to operations in your home state? Do you have fixed operations in other states? The answers to these questions are material in determining if benefits will apply to a worker’s injury.
For more information about covering your workers in other states, give our service team a call.
Consider Older Workers’ Needs
Seventeen percent of the workforce is currently made up of workers 65 and older, according to the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI). This is up from 11% in the late 1980s and is expected to rise as Social Security and savings prove inadequate to fund retirement.
In its recent study entitled Claims Characteristics of Workers 65 and Older, NCCI reports that claims severity for these workers is less severe than for younger workers. This is attributable to lower wages for, and fewer claims by, workers older than 65.
Lower claims frequency for older workers is most evident in manufacturing and construction. This is due to the fact that a greater proportion of older workers in these industries are supervisors, according to NCCI. This is not the case in the leisure, hospitality, food preparation and service occupations in which injuries to older workers occur more frequently than to younger workers. Further, the report concludes that claims for older workers are more severe in terms of medical costs, meaning that, when they are injured, it costs considerably more to treat older workers.
Consider your older workers’ needs and evaluate your worksite for hazards specific to them. Flooring irregularities; stairways; reaching hazards, such as shelving and product height; lifting hazards; and lighting are some of the easiest to address and the most related to older workers’ claims. In fact, 47% of those claims result from falls, slips and trips, nearly twice the frequency for all workers.
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|Transitional Duty Programs|
Does your firm offer a transitional duty program to injured workers? These programs—designed to return injured employees to work in a limited capacity— are proven to hasten recovery and reduce overall workers compensation costs. The benefits to the employer of such a program also include limiting lost productivity by as much as 40% due to quicker recovery.
Transitional duty programs help injured workers, too, by hastening their recovery, reducing wages lost and providing them with that sense of purpose that has been shown to diminish during long periods of absence from work.
For information on where to find ideas for your firm’s transitional duty program, call our service team today.
|COPYRIGHT ©2010. This publication is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is understood that the publishers are not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional service. If legal advice or other expert advice is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. 06/10|