Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Cost of Hand and Wrist Injuries

May 22, 2012 11:08 AM, By Laura Walter via EHS Today

More than 2 million people visited U.S. emergency rooms for symptoms related to the hand and wrist in 2009. Now, researchers in the Netherlands have found that in addition to being pervasive, hand and wrist injuries also are one of the most costly injury types.

According to a new study appearing in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, hand and wrist injuries represent the most expensive type of injury in the Netherlands, costing about $740 million U.S. dollars annually.

The study, "Economic Impact of Hand and Wrist Injuries: Health-Care Costs and Productivity Costs in a Population Study," examined the frequency, cost of treatment and lost productivity associated with hand and wrist injuries and compared them to other emergency department injuries.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Family Business Succession Planning

Operational and Tax Strategies Ensure a Smooth Transition
By Melanie M. LaSota

Statistics reveal that 17 million U.S. family businesses generate 64 percent of gross domestic product and account for 86 percent of new job creation. Unfortunately, less than one-third of family-owned businesses survive the transition to the second generation. Of those that endure, less than half are passed on to the third generation. This failure rate can be attributed partially to a lack of succession planning. Although most family business owners welcome the prospect of eventual retirement, many fail to establish a financial framework for a smooth transition to future generations. 

Choosing a successor ranks among the most complex and emotionally challenging decisions owners face when crafting exit strategies. Selection among multiple children without triggering family discord is a delicate balancing act. In some cases, the child most qualified to assume control of the business lacks the passion to do so, or the child who wants to continue the family legacy the most lacks the business savvy necessary to run a competitive enterprise. To complicate matters, many owners are burdened by a desire to pass the company to the children who actively participate while providing equal treatment to children who chose alternate career paths. 

Fortunately, strategies exist to manage these complications. To equalize treatment among children, an owner may pass the company to participating offspring and purchase life insurance policies to provide for children who are inactive in the business. Alternatively, a business owner may consider providing offspring with equal ownership of the business, with participating children receiving voting rights and inactive children receiving non-voting interests. 

Read the rest of the article here

Monday, May 7, 2012

Public Sector Fatalities in Missouri Now Investigated by the State

Did you know that OSHA does not have jurisdiction over public sector employees in Missouri? This means they do not conduct investigations into public sector workplace fatalities. Public sector fatalities in Missouri have typically only been investigated by insurance companies and attorneys. A recent municipality fatality shed light on the investigation gap. So how has Missouri resolved this problem? 
After the gap was revealed, it was identified that Missouri statute RSMo Section 286.147 empowers the state to perform investigations of all workplace fatalities. In response to this discovery, the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (DOLIR) established a public sector fatalities investigations unit.
How it works
DOLIR enforces its statutory authority to investigate public sector fatalities by looking at contributing factors such as machines involved, safety policies, training and maintenance records. Additional information is also obtained by interviewing management and co-workers if necessary. The final DOLIR report may be subpoenaed and forwarded to the Attorney General if an investigation finds gross negligence, criminal neglect or criminal liability.
To reduce duplication, DOLIR does not conduct fatality investigations when another regulatory agency is involved. For example, in the case of work-related vehicle crashes DOLIR will use Missouri State Highway Patrol reports. Private-sector fatalities will be investigated by OSHA and DOLIR will then use OSHA’s report.
Working for a safer tomorrow 
The purpose of the investigations is to find cause, not fault. According to Leon Lawson, Assistant Director, Division of Labor Standards, the investigations are used to correct safety problems and develop information to prevent future fatalities. The investigations are documented and forwarded to the Governor’s office, per statutory requirements. At this time there is no reporting requirement, method or statutory authority for levying fines.
Providing a safe work environment is a way to avoid workplace fatalities and injuries. Employers can start by implementing the following:
  • Provide routine safety training.
  • Develop and enforce formal safety rules including a seat belt policy.
  • Properly maintain vehicles and equipment.  
  • Train employees to do their job correctly and recognize hazards.
  • Provide safety gear including confined space air monitors, trench boxes and                                 lockout-tagout equipment.
Want to get started on building a safety program or just need to refresh some policies? Give Construction Insurance TOGO a call at 800-392-0423 or click here to email us.