Five Things You Need to Know: 10/26, Friday Edition


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1) ID: First Responders/PTSD Legislation Receives Some Positive Feedback from Local Legislators

Idaho has been hit with some recent attention regarding PTSD and first responders. Currently, if a first responder is hurt on the job and files a work comp claim for PTSD resulting from said injury, they are eligible for benefits, writes Tommy Simmons of The Idaho Press Tribune. But, if the first responder is afflicted with PTSD and no original physical injury occurred, things can get a little tricky. “…House Democratic Leader Mat Erpelding, D-Boise, intends to change that, though, he said at a Thursday morning press conference outside Boise’s City Hall West, home to its police and fire departments. He unveiled a draft of new legislation which would make a post-traumatic stress injury a ‘compensable injury or occupational disease’ if a first responder is diagnosed with the injury as a result of their work on the job,” per the article. Multiple legislators from both sides of the aisle support this bill, leading Erpelding to think the bill will be a successful piece of legislation.

2) Oilfield on-the-Job Injuries near Montana-North Dakota Border Increased in 2013-2015 

The border of Montana and North Dakota is home to the Bakken oilfield, which has been called “…one of the nation’s deadliest workplaces,” writes Jessica Holdman of the Bismarck Tribune, featured in the Grand Forks Herald. “…In 2013… …the North Dakota state-run workers’ compensation insurance provider, WSI, handled claims for 13 oil and gas industry-related fatalities for the fiscal year. Five of those involved a motor vehicle,” per the article. But it didn’t stop there. “…Nine oil and gas fatalities in Fiscal Year 2014, six involving a motor vehicle. Then, in 2015, there were 18 fatalities, 11 vehicle-related. When oil prices dropped off, so did the carnage, with three deaths each in 2016 and 2017 and four to date in 2018,” writes Holdman. Some claims filed were resolved after one or two years, but others went out to even five or six. Some of the cases have included toxic chemical exposure, transportation accidents, etc.

3) Digital Games May Be a Big Part of Modern Lifestyles, But at What Cost to the Employees Behind Them?

Red Dead Redemption 2, a big digital game released recently, came at a large price to the workers behind its creation, writes Diego Arguello of Digital Trends. Rockstar, the parent company to the game, has been the lead to the employees who worked “100-hour weeks” according to the studio co-founder in a Vulture interview. “…While he later clarified that the strenuous work period only lasted for three weeks and involved just the senior writing team that he’s a part of, Rockstar among many other companies in the game industry have been accused of imposing crunch on its developers,” per the article. “…Poor compensation for long work hours is just one issue of many. Developers forced to crunch end up sacrificing weekends, time with their families, and their personal health in the process. And while speaking up may seem like the obvious solution, it’s a topic that’s difficult for people in the game industry to talk about openly, as it can affect their current or future job opportunities.” Part of a possible need to create unions geared specifically toward digital game employees, Game Workers Unite aims to help encourage better work environments for these employees. According to its website, the organization is “Fighting for a future of fair labor” for gamer industry workers.

4) TX: Cleaning Services Co. Blamed in Recent Slip-and-Fall Lawsuit  

Houston resident Bridgette Jones-Foster has filed a lawsuit against Ambassador Services, LLC, alleging she fell on her way to jury duty because of a slippery floor, writes John Suayan of the Southeast Texas Record. The cleaning services company was hired by Harris County to clean the tunnel where she fell, according to Jones-Foster. The slippery floor was caused by leftover mop bucket water, allegedly. “…Consequently, the plaintiff seeks unspecified monetary damages,” writes Suayan.

5) MO: Former Employee’s Alleged Asbestos Exposure Leads to Lawsuit Against Ameron International Corp.

St. Louis resident Earnest Simons has filed a lawsuit against Ameron International Corp., FMC Corp., Crane Co., et al., alleging he was exposed to asbestos while working, which led to his cancer diagnosis, writes Lhalie Castillo of the St. Louis Record. “…According to the complaint, the plaintiff alleges that at various times during the course of his employment and military career beginning in 1960s, he was exposed to and inhaled or ingested asbestos fibers emanating from certain products manufactured, sold, distributed or installed by defendants,” per the article. Simons requests damages at more than $50G, interest/costs, and any other relief. 

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