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Entries for September 2003

National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries 2002 - Decline to Lowest Rates Ever Recorded

A total of 5,524 fatal work injuries were recorded in 2002, a decline of 6.6 percent from 2001, according to the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. The count for 2002 was the lowest ever recorded by the fatality census, which has been conducted yearly since 1992. The fatality rate also reached a new low of 4.0 fatal work injuries per 100,000 workers in 2002.  

EPA Downplayed 9-11 Aftermath Toxic Exposures

The September 11, 2001, terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York City and the environmental aftermath were unprecedented. Airborne dust from the collapse of the towers blanketed Lower Manhattan and was blown or dispersed into many of the surrounding office buildings, schools, and residences.
This complex mixture of building debris and combustion by-products contained such ingredients as asbestos, lead, glass fibers, and concrete dust. Responding to this crisis required organizations from all levels of government to coordinate their response efforts and to make critical public health and safety decisions quickly, and without all of the data that decision-makers would normally desire.

Workers’ Compensation News - September 18, 2003 Volume 1 Issue 26

AIG Is Charged by SEC With Fraud--Regulator Says Big Insurer Helped Client Brightpoint Overstate Its Earnings
Comparing insurance titan American International Group Inc. with the banks that engineered financial structures for failed energy company Enron Corp., securities regulators charged AIG with fraud for allegedly helping a client overstate earnings with a bogus insurance policy.

Workers’ Compensation News - September 11, 2003 Volume 1 Issue 25

The nation's property and casualty insurers reported capital gains of $1.1 billion in the first quarter of 2003, representing a $725 million, or 181 percent, increase over the $400 million recorded during the same period last year, according to Weiss Ratings, Inc., the nation's leading independent provider of ratings and analyses of financial services companies, mutual funds, and stocks. Companies within the Berkshire-Hathaway group accounted for 62.8 percent of the industry's total first-quarter capital gains, earning $706.9 million. 

Health Effects of Occupational Exposure to Respirable Crystalline Silica

Occupational exposures to respirable crystalline silica occur in a variety of industries and occupations because of its extremely common natural occurrence and the wide uses of materials and products that contain it. At least 1.7 million U.S. workers are potentially exposed to respirable crystalline silica [NIOSH 1991], and many are exposed to concentrations that exceed limits defined by current regulations and standards.

Health Insurance Premium Increases— Up 13.9% Over Last Year

Private health insurance premiums increased 13.9% in 2003, a larger increase than last year and the third consecutive year of double-digit increases, according to the 2003 Annual Employer Health Benefits Survey released by the Kaiser Family Foundation and Health Research and Educational Trust (HRET). This was also the largest increase since 1990. While employers are not dropping coverage, most are passing on higher costs to employees. Over the past three years, the amount of the premium employees pay for family coverage has increased almost 50%, from $1,619 to $2,412. The typical family health insurance policy now costs $9,068, with employers on average paying 73% and employees paying 27%.

Workers’ Compensation News - September 4, 2003 Volume 1 Issue 24

SMALLPOX INJURY COMPENSATION PROGRAM: Smallpox (Vaccinia) Vaccine Injury Table. Health Resources and Services Administration, HHS. Interim Final Rule.. The SEPPA directed the Secretary to establish, by interim final rule, a table identifying adverse effects (including injuries, disabilities, conditions, and deaths) that shall be presumed to result from the administration of or exposure to the smallpox vaccine, and the time interval in which the first symptom or manifestation of each listed injury must manifest in order for such presumption to apply. 

The Puzzle of Proof in an Occupational Disease Case: Does Anything Go?

The concept of a compensable industrial disease has developed only recently and its acceptance has lagged far behind that of industrial accidents.   The original Workers' Compensation Acts, as promulgated from the year 1911 forward by many of the states, did not provide for the recognition of occupational illness and disease as compensable events.

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