Repetitive motion injuries among beef and pork processing workers is nearly seven times that of other industries according to the Occupation Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
The frenetic pace of work in many meat processing plants can easily cause a set of chronic ailments called musculoskeletal disorders, or MSDs, an array of injuries to workers’ muscles, tendons, ligaments and nerves, that cause sprains, strains, or inflammation.
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Chief among the injuries are abnormal nerve conditions that develop in the hands, but many workers commonly struggle with chronic arm, shoulder and back ailments. Musculoskeletal disorders can lead to a lifetime of pain and physical problems, which can sometimes lead to an inability to work.
Iowa Repetitive Strain Work Injury
Many workdays in various U.S. industries, such as meat packing and processing, manufacturing, and construction, are lost because of musculoskeletal disorders. Overexertion, a type of MSD, is the leading cause of work injuries. Common workplace risk factors affect various areas of the body:
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If you are suffering from a musculoskeletal disorder caused by a workplace activities, you may be eligible for Workers’ Compensation benefits. It is important to contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney with thorough knowledge of MSDs or repetitive strain injuries to ensure that you receive the benefits you need. Contact the Law Offices of John T. Hemminger for help with your workers’ compensation claim today 515-283-2116.
Unfortunately, all too often we see accounts of nursing home neglect and abuse that result in injury to elderly residents. Common problems include the mistreatment of residents; failure to assist residents who need help with eating, drinking, grooming and personal hygiene; and failure to provide proper care to treat or prevent bedsores.
The enforcement of nursing home regulations is managed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, who depend on state health departments to investigate complaints and report deficiencies to the federal government, who is empowered to impose penalties.
However, because significant fine reduction is a standard practice within state and federal agencies that oversee nursing home regulation, regulations have become ineffective in deterring nursing home misconduct. In fact, fines imposed on offending nursing homes are reduced so routinely that they have become widely considered a cost of doing business rather than an incentive to provide quality care.
If nursing homes decide to appeal a deficiency report instead of ‘making a deal’, the long, drawn-out court process results in delays and future appeals, which make it easy to ignore regulatory action. It can take five years or more to exhaust all the steps in an appeal and, along the way, fines may be reduced at each step through settlement or court decision, again diluting the consequences for neglect and abuse of the elderly.
If you or a family member has been a victim of neglect or abuse at an Iowa nursing home, it is important to seek the help of an experienced nursing home injury attorney to hold nursing homes accountable for their actions. John T. Hemminger has successfully represented victims of nursing home neglect and abuse and their families for over 30 years. Call John today at 515-283-2116.
Many believe that the opioid crisis in the U.S. made its debut when millions of patients were prescribed opioids by their doctors and became addicted. Drastic increases in the number of prescriptions written and dispensed, greater social acceptability for using medications for different purposes, and aggressive marketing by pharmaceutical companies all led to a perfect storm of addiction for many.
Workers’ Comp Programs Scrutinize Prescription Drug Addiction
Workplace injury is one of the main reasons physicians prescribe opioids and, not surprisingly, workers’ compensation payers spent over a billion dollars for opioids just in 2015, 13% of their total U.S. spending. Research shows that approximately 65% to 85% of injured workers receive narcotic painkillers under workers comp and many can face negative consequences because of their use.
Now, in a turnaround, the industry is trying to solve the problem it helped to create. Programs to steer those at increased risk for opioid addiction to less powerful drugs and into therapy are underway. Opioid education packets are being sent to both patients and doctors in hopes of discouraging misuse. The tracking of refills has become a priority to identify those at risk of addiction.
So far, the results of many of the measures to reduce prescription opioid use and prevent addiction are promising. In a test of one program, opioid prescriptions fell by 14% and in another, a company was able to reduce individual claim costs by as much as 50% using a prevention algorithm.
While prevention measures chug along, many injured workers continue to be prescribed prescription pain medications and many have the risk factors for addiction and opioid-related overdose. As a preventative measure, injured Iowans should work with their doctors to find the best treatments for their injuries that may include alternatives to opioid medication.
Wall Street Journal “Targeting Opioid Use When Workers Get Hurt” By RACHEL EMM A SILVERMAN, November 15, 2016.
According to a recent Department of Labor report, injured workers in the United States run the risk of falling into poverty because state workers’ compensation systems are not providing adequate benefits.
Since 2003, more than 30 states have changed their workers’ compensation programs to the detriment of workers who are injured on the job. Not only are some workers being denied doctor recommended treatments under workers’ comp, many are facing difficult financial problems because the benefits are increasingly not bridging the gap while employees are either unable to work or working less hours after an injury.
The Department of Labor’s findings reveal that states have indeed decreased benefits by creating obstacles to medical care and raising the burden of proof to qualify for benefits. In turn, they have shifted the burden of caring for injured workers away from businesses to public programs such as social security disability at taxpayers’ expense.
Plans are steadily straying from how worker’s compensation was originally conceived. A quid pro quo of sorts that directed employers to pay for injured workers’ medical bills, a portion of their lost wages, and compensation for any permanent disabilities in exchange for employees giving up their right to sue their employers following a workplace injury. Despite the reduction in employee benefits year after year, employers remain protected from legal action – a lopsided interpretation of how the program was intended to protect both parties.
While falling short of policy recommendations, the recent Department of Labor report calls for more federal oversight of state workers’ compensation programs to establish minimum standards and penalties if a state fails to meet them. The report goes on to encourage the sharing of injury data between insurers and public health researchers in order to identify problems and improve outcomes for American workers in crisis.
If you have been injured on the job, receiving your Iowa workers’ compensation benefits could not be more important so that you can get the medical care you need and the financial support to get through the difficult period following an injury. If you or a family member has been hurt at work, getting the information you need can help you to avoid mistakes in filing you initial workers’ compensation claim, or if you have been denied workers’ compensation, a lawyer can help to to prepare an effective appeal. Contact the Des Moines workers’ compensation law offices of John T. Hemminger for help with your Iowa workers’ compensation or denied workers compensation claim and third party liability claims. John offers an initial free consultation so that you can determine what services will benefit you and your family. Call today at 515-283-2116.
Source: Pacific Standard, “Department of Labor: States Are Failing Injured Workers”, by Michael Grabell, October 21, 2016.
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