November 22, 2005

News roundup: SC, CT, safety, HR, healthcare, and more

S.C. Carrier to Stop Writing New Workers' Comp Policies - The Companion Property and Casualty Insurance Group, a Columbia-based subsidiary of Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Carolina, announced that as of December 1, it will have a moratorium on new policies, blaming the decision on five years of losses and deteriorating business conditions. The company says that it will not renew customers who limit their coverage to workers' compensation only and the moratorium "will remain in effect until we see adequate evidence that sufficient changes are in motion to help return the marketplace to profitability."

CT: Work-Related Deaths Rose 50% in 2004 - "The number of deaths in Connecticut due to work-related injuries increased by 50 percent last year, rising from 36 to 54, according to a state report. Connecticut is one of 27 states to have reported an increase in workplace fatalities in 2004, according to the report that was issued by the state Department of Labor. The work-related fatalities is the most recorded in Connecticut since 2000, when 55 deaths occurred."

More on Work Fatalities: the Weekly Toll November 20, 2005.

Latino Forest Workers: Abuse, Mistreatment and Death - Jordan Barab reports on a three-part series in The Sacramento Bee exposing the shocking work conditions facing pineros, the men who work in the pines. "Guest forest workers are routinely subjected to conditions not tolerated elsewhere in the United States, The Bee investigation found. They are gashed by chain saws, bruised by tumbling logs and rocks, verbally abused and forced to live in squalor."

Congratualtions to Strategic HR Lawyer - Diane Pfadenhauer's great blog recently marked one year anniversary. She s featuring two interesting items this week - one on BNA's annual survey of year-end holiday plans that indicates that many employers are offering time off, but the old tradition of giving turkeys to employees has largely died off. The other item of note is a story in the Christian Science Monitor noting that, after inflation, American workers earned 2.3 percent less than they did a year ago.

Maybe salary has something to do with why 3 out of 4 employees looking to change jobs? Michael Fox at Jottings by an Employer's Lawyer points to a 2005 survey on U.S. Job Recovery and Retention Survey by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and CareerJournal.com. The survey points to a potential mass exodus of workers so retention may become an issue for employers. In light of this, an article on how Applebees� reduces turnover using metrics, accountability, and rewards posted bt Michael Harris at George's Employment Blawg might be a timely read. The article notes: "The system is based on a working assumption that the loss of a top 20 percent hourly employee costs the company $2,500. The loss of a middle 60 percent employee costs $1,000. But the loss of a bottom 20 percent employee actually lets the company make $500."

Job Tracker - Job seekers can get a report card on future employers. Working America, the community affiliate of the AFL-CIO, has created a search function that allows users to find out which companies have OSHA citations, NLRB labor violations, recent layoffs, and more. Users can search by company name, zip code, or state.

Insurance price increases post-Katrina
- Martin Grace at RiskProf gives us a lesson in how catastrophic events affect price. Here's a excerpt: "The capacity constraint model suggests that insurers experience sharp price spikes and capacity swings following capital shocks because of the high cost of accessing external capital markets. Winter and Gron argue that insurers will respond to a sudden loss of surplus, by reducing capacity and slowly building capital internally rather than seeking to raise costly external capital (a la Myers and Majluf�s (1984) pecking order theory) immediately."

Wex - a free legal dictionary and encyclopedia - this collaboratively built, free resource from Cornell Law School is in a similar vein to Wikipedia. Thanks to BoleyBlogs! for the pointer.

Code Blog is hosting this week's Grand Rounds, the best of the medical blogs

Joe Paduda blogs on survey of 1400 employers by the Rhode Island's Insurance Commissioner on the availability of health insurance, employee adoption rates, premium increases, and the wage status of the employees ... a quarter of the surveyed employers do not offer health insurance, and half said health care costs are driving down profits.

HealthLawProf Blog reports on new national standards for health care interpreters that were developed by The National Council on Interpreting in Health Care (NCIHC). These standards provide guidance on the qualifications and proper role of the interpreter and define what constitutes good practice. This is good news. These standards might be a helpful starting point for workplace prevention efforts, too.

| 3 Comments

3 Comments

What are the benefits for injured guest workers? Are they subject to State or Federal workers' compensation programs?

Well, yes, they should be covered by workers comp, but as the story says "In the woods, the laws of the land are optional."

Most of the workers in this story are hired by contractors. The report says that "The Department of Labor, which certifies employers to hire workers, is charged with monitoring pay and working conditions."

But OSHA inspections don't happen, protective equipment isn't issued, training doesn't happen, workers speak little English, and don't know where or how to complain.

See this report of migrant farm workers - it's hard to believe this goes on in this country and is pervasive as it is. I appreciate the good work these reporters are doing. One can only help that the public spotlight will result in some changes.

This entire description of the treatment these workers suffer harkens back to indentured servitude.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Julie Ferguson published on November 22, 2005 11:07 AM.

Fixing Comp In New York was the previous entry in this blog.

Talking Turkey is the next entry in this blog.

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