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July 2017

Monument Occupational Medicine

The Jones Act was created to help protect those who work at sea. Before the creation of the Jones Act, workers had a tough time receiving compensation for accidents or injuries that occurred while at sea. Specifically, this act would cover a sea worker in an event where another worker was responsible for creating conditions that caused someone to be injured. The Jones Act was created to cover workers known as “seamen,” a term that can fit a wide variety of sea working positions.

An added benefit of the Jones Act is that it allows for employees to make a negligence claim against the employer. If it can be proven that unsafe risks were taken, either by a co-worker or employer, the chance of winning a negligence claim is improved. In situations where the boat itself was responsible for the damage, the person in charge of the operation is at fault.

The Jones Act has greatly improved how sea workers are able to seek compensation for injuries suffered at sea. After it has been determined who is at fault, the injured party can begin to seek economic and non-economic damages.

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Tetanus

Tetanus Vaccine

Staying Safe

Tetanus is an infection well known for the muscle spasms it causes. They usually start in the jaw and then move on to the rest of the body. The intensity of this disease can vary greatly and it can get to a dangerous point where it can even cause bone ruptures and take months to heal. It is caused by bacteria called Clostridium tetani and people usually get infected through wounds in the skin coming in contact with some contaminated object. Even though one person cannot transmit the infection to another, it is more commonly found in your surroundings than you expect.

Prevention

The most common form of prevention of Tetanus is getting immunized with the Tetanus Vaccine. This can be especially useful for those living in areas with humid and hot climates. This disease has slowly been explored and controlled, however, it still amounts to thousands of deaths each year and you shouldn’t treat it as a minor issue.

Tetanus Vaccine

There are four types of vaccines against Tetanus and they are combined with vaccines for other kinds of diseases, so the best option for you might depend on what health risks you are exposed to or your medical history. This vaccine is recommended for people of all ages in order to help them build up the antibodies necessary to fight the bacteria in case you come in contact with it.

Medical Professionals

For those in the medical or health care field, this vaccine is extremely important because they will likely be in contact with objects carrying the bacteria at some point and they should be able to stay healthy and in good shape in order to keep providing care to those who need it.

Getting the Vaccine

It is very likely that, as a child, you got vaccinated against tetanus, probably before you were 7 years old, so you might want to check in with your doctor or parents to see whether this happened or not and whether you need to get vaccinated once more as an adult. It is always better to be safe than sorry so don’t be afraid to ask or consult a health professional in case you need some answers.

Vaccination

If you or your staff, due to the nature of their work, need to get vaccinated against tetanus in order to keep up with your company’s preventive measures, call a professional or a recognized company that can provide this service in a safe manner.

 

Article by Talk Out Loud

workers compensation

On March 1, 2017, Iowa lawmakers introduced two bills, House Study Bill 169 and Senate Study Bill 1170. These bills are aimed at overhauling the state’s workers’ compensation system in a move to reduce costs to employers. In the past, Iowa’s workers’ compensation system was considered one of the best in the country, having low premiums for employers and good benefits for injured workers. However, with these new bills that favor employers, workers’ compensation benefits are now in danger of being scaled back.

What This Means for Workers

In seeking to reduce workers’ compensation premiums for employers, there are no benefits offered to workers in either of the bills. Most at risk are workers who perform manual labor because their options to returning to work or another job after being injured are limited.

The rights of injured workers stand to be reduced if these bills are passed by:

  • Ending workers’ compensation benefits when an injured worker reaches 67 years old
  • Reducing late fees for employers who do not pay benefits on time
  • Allowing employers to deny benefits when an injured worker has tested positive for alcohol or drugs, regardless if they were a factor for causing the injury
  • Limiting the amount of legal fees a workers’ compensation attorney can receive
  • Targeting high cost injuries, including shoulder injuries

What This Means for Taxpayers

If workers’ compensation benefits are scaled back to injured employees, the unmet costs are anticipated to shift from employers to Iowa taxpayers. This would be in the way of adding burden to already struggling Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security systems.

HB 169 and SB 1170 if passed will likely hurt injured workers and taxpayers in Iowa.

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HAZMAT

Ensuring Safe Work Conditions

There are a lot of jobs that involve working with hazardous materials that you might not even have in mind. Sure, there are the obvious ones such as factory workers and chemists, but all around the country, there are thousands of people who might be exposing themselves to dangerous materials without even knowing about it. This is something that both workers and employers should be worried about because, as a worker, you should be concerned about your personal health, but as an employer, you should always be on the lookout for safer work conditions for your work force.

If you even suspect that the job your workers carry out might be putting them in contact with any kind of hazardous material, you shouldn’t be wasting any more time. Make sure you take precautionary measures right now in order to avoid complications later on that might lead to someone getting hurt.

HAZMAT Exams

HAZMAT Exams or Hazardous Material Exams are tests carried out by professionals that can help you determine whether the processes you or your workers carry out expose them to any kind of dangerous or toxic material that might put their health or well-being at risk. These exams will help you explore the processes carried out in your company in order to determine whether there are any moments when your people are getting exposed so that you can take corrective measures and make sure everyone stays safe at all times.

Getting a Professional Exam

Even though you can carry out a preliminary test to determine whether you’ve been missing something, considering the importance and sensitivity that toxic substances involve, you should always hire a professional to carry out the assessment in order to make sure everything is covered. If you are not sure about who you should be hiring, ask for references or do a little research before calling the first person that pops up in your online search.

Hazardous Materials in Medicine

One of the professions where workers are constantly in danger of coming into contact with dangerous materials is the health care profession. As health care professionals, they are in constant contact with people who carry all kinds of sickness and diseases and, as such, doctors, nurses and anyone in this profession should always be protected in order to be able to keep doing their job.

Make sure you are keeping your staff safe and get a HAZMAT Exam to help you correct any deficiencies and keep up the good preventive measures.

 

Article by Talk Out Loud

Medical Review

Medical legal cases often require medical review and unbiased opinions from a doctor who is not associated with an insurer, injured party or negligent party. A second opinion can weed out fraudulent claims, spot treatment errors and helps ensures that an injured party receives the care that they need to recover from his or her injury as quickly as possible.

Prevents Cutting Corners in Patient Care

Insurance companies are not in the business to lose money. Their goal is to make money for their shareholders. When managing the care of claimants in workers’ compensation or other personal injury cases, there always exists the possibility that corners could be cut in patient care. Insurance doctors may avoid recommending expensive diagnostic tests or treatments that patients need. This could be to keep expenses down for the insurer or ensure that they will continue to receive referrals from the insurer.

This practice hurts not only the injured party, but also the employer or negligent party. Improper or unneeded treatment can prolong the time out of work and extend the length of time that the injured party is under medical care. With workers’ compensation cases, the employer is also entitled to request an independent medical examination (IME) if he or she has concerns regarding extensive medical treatment, including surgery or other long-term treatment.

When a Second Opinion is Needed

A medical review and unbiased opinion from a second physician is advisable and/or required in legal cases that involve claims for:

  • Workers’ compensation
  • Insurance claims for accidental injuries (e.g. motor vehicle, slip and fall, falling objects)
  • Medical malpractice
  • Medical negligence
  • Wrongful death

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OSHA

The Occupational Safety and Health Act was signed into law by President Richard Nixon on December 29, 1970. The purpose of this Act was to ensure worker and workplace safety by requiring employers to provide workplaces that are free from known safety and health hazards, including:

  • Exposure to toxic chemicals
  • Mechanical dangers
  • Unsanitary conditions
  • Excessive levels of noise
  • Heat or cold stress

To establish workplace health and safety standards, the Act created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Additionally, the Act created the independent agency of Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (OSHRC).

Responsibilities of OSHA, NIOSH and OSHRC

OSHA’s purpose is to create, administer and enforce compliance of workplace standards in all 50 states. As a part of the U.S. Department of Labor, OSHA also provides employers with additional standards that they must comply with above the General Duty Clause of the Act that requires employers to keep their workplace free of serious recognized hazards.

NIOSH’s purpose is to conduct research and make recommendations to prevent work-related injuries and illnesses. This agency is a division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which is under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

OSHRC’s purpose is to decide contests of citations or penalties for workplaces that have been assessed for violations found during an OSHA inspection. This Review Commission provides a two-tiered administrative court that:

  • Conducts hearings, receives evidence and renders decisions made by its Administrative Law Judges (ALJs)
  • Provides a discretionary review of decisions made by the ALJs with its panel of Commissioners

Employers are required to report workplace injuries and illnesses to OSHA. The OSH Act continues to work toward improving the health and safety of employees since its inception.

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