Five Things You Need To Know: 1/16, Monday Edition

Aussie Firefighter Receives Coverage For Cancer
    • Jock McLeod spent almost 50 years on the job as a firefighter in the Northern Territory (NT) of Australia. Now retired, he contracted cancer on the job, and has fought long and hard to obtain workers' compensation coverage, as Jill Poulsen of NT News reports. He received a phone call from NT WorkSafe last week, stating his appeal had been approved. According to the article, "Mr. McLeod helped enact major reforms to the NT Government’s workers' compensation scheme in 2014... The changes meant firefighters who contracted any of 12 specified cancers on the job would be covered by presumptive legislation, finally bringing the NT into line with most other jurisdictions." McLeod's son, Andrew, played professional football for the Adelaide Football club.
Canada Inquiry Into Injured Worker's Death Continues
    • Don Dunphy was shot and killed by Cst. Joe Smyth in April of 2015. Smyth, a member of former Premier Paul Davis' security, said Dunphy pointed a gun at him. "Dunphy's battles with what is now known as the Workplace, Health and Safety Compensation Commission is well documented," according to VOCM News service out of St. John's, Newfoundland in Canada. Colin Dinn, who said he was Dunphy's best friend, testified on his friend's behalf, saying he didn't believe Dunphy could shoot anyone because of his physical state. "Dinn went on to say that because of problems with Workers' Compensation, Dunphy was 'tormented' that he didn't have money to provide for his family and himself," according to the article. The inquiry will reconvene on Monday, when Smyth is expected to testify. 
Hot Report Released On Fire Cause in Arizona
    • A Sedona District Firefighter out of Arizona suffered major burns in October at Station 5 in Oak Creek Canyon. The 115-page report on the matter was released last week, citing human error as a contributing factor, according to Ron Eland at Sedona Red Rock News. "A barbecue propane tank exploded, injuring Capt. Matt Fleece and causing damage to the exterior of the fire station," according to the article. Contributing factors included: the absence of a grease drip/heat shield, an un-used propane tank beneath the grill, the length of how long the grill was powered and burning food pieces. Capt. Matt Fleece's injuries were mostly covered by workers' compensation, and the $50,000 (at least) in estimated damage was mostly covered by insurance.
Workplace Safety Index Highlights Spills and Slips
    • Liberty Mutual released its 2017 Workplace Safety Index recently, citing serious (nonfatal) workplace injuries amounting to almost $60 billion in yearly workers' compensation costs. "This translates into more than $1 billion dollars a week spent by businesses on these injuries," writes Sandy Smith of EHS Today out of Cleveland, Ohio. The top injury causes included "overexertion involving outside sources," same level and lower level falls, slip/trip with no falls and roadway incidents involving motorized land vehicles. "Direct costs of all disabling work-related injuries equaled $59.87 billion, with the top 10 causes comprising 83.4 percent – or $49.92 billion – of the total cost burden to employers," according to the article.
Pennsylvania Lawyer Talks "Accidents While Commuting"
    • Eric Borjeson, a workers' compensation lawyer for 27 years, took to his blog recently to write about what could hit anyone in any state at any time: commuting accidents. "...A worker who is injured during a commute to or from work may not be eligible for Workers’ Compensation. This is because the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act does not explicitly consider an employee’s commute to be part of their employment," writes Borjeson. He lists delivery drivers, emergency responders, and postal carriers as potentially able to seek partial pay. Exceptions do exist including employees with no home base such as pharmaceutical representatives, traveling salespeople, and home health aides. "...Some parties have prevailed by demonstrating that their accident or work injury occurred while performing a special task for their employer," he writes, stating documentation is very important.

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