Five Things You Need To Know: Friday, 1/13 Edition

The "Grand Bargain" In Illinois
    • With the intention to build a new state budget in Illinois, the "grand bargain," among other things, considers a need for change in the realm of workers' compensation. And Illinois manufacturers are happy about it, according to Benjamin Yount of the Illinois Radio Network for WBGZ Radio ( But industry leaders: not so much. "Mark Denzler, president at the Illinois Manufacturer’s Association, said it's good that lawmakers are talking about workers’ compensation reform as part of the overall agreement to get a state budget," reports Yount. But, Denzler acknowledged that businesses can't interchange the "grand bargain" for savings if higher taxes result. Denzler said in the article," person's loophole is another industry's reason to stay in Illinois." More concrete material on budget negotiations should materialize come February.
Potential Big Savings in Ohio
    • Ohio's Auditor, Dave Yost, has an idea for the Bureau of Workers' Compensation (BWC): Save money by raising rent in BWC's building as it leases to other state agencies at $4 per square foot. This price is below the average going rate for a dwelling that is a five-minute walk to the Statehouse in downtown Columbus. According to Statehouse Correspondent Jo Ingles' reporting at Ohio Public Radio (WKSU), Yost said the raise to the market price could make BWC almost $1 million in just one year. He also said downsizing BWC's space for a short period of time could save $700,000 per year. "Ohio agencies have been warned by Gov. John Kasich that they will have to rein in spending due to a tight state budget, but there’s no word yet on whether the bureau will implement the suggestions in this report," reports Ingles.
Florida Landscaper and His Losses: A Toe and a Job
    • William Francis of Hillsborough County did not have a good September last year. After working at Village Lawn Care for a decade, his big toe was sliced off in a lawn mower accident. When he sought workers' compensation, Francis claimed he lost his job in October as retaliation, according to an article written by Jade Isaacs of "Medical documentation of the accident was provided to his employer Oct. 4 along with the appropriate workers’ compensation paperwork," reports Isaacs. Francis was then fired three days later. The suit, filed in December, requests lost pay, benefits and damages for emotional stress. It doesn't say who was controlling the machine when Francis lost his toe.
Arizona Firefighters Heat Up Requests for More Coverage
    • Firefighters are asking Arizona legislature for workers' compensation coverage of 17 types of cancer vs. the current seven. "The only cancers covered are brain, bladder, rectal/colon cancer, lymphoma, leukemia, and mesothelioma of the respiratory tract. Professional Firefighters of Arizona wants to add ten additional cancers to the list," reports Kathy Cline of KTAR News. One Goodyear firefighter, Gilbert Aguirre, said his family would be without a home if it wasn't for coverage of leukemia he developed after 16 years on the job. But, there was disagreement. "Opponents also testified at last month’s hearing. Mark Kendall with Copper Point Mutual Insurance Company said adding cancers to the current list would make the cost of workers’ compensation insurance go up," according to Cline.
Potential Dangers On the Job: Fabrication Workers
    • Workers' Compensation Attorney James M. Hoffmann took to his blog recently to outline coverage of Fabrication Shop injuries. Although he is based out of St. Louis, Missouri, there are fabrication shops in every state. What exactly is a a fabrication worker? "Workers build parts or structures by cutting, bending and then assembling parts in St. Louis metal fabrication shops. These are hazardous workplaces where risk of worker injury or death is high. Workers use heavy equipment, toxic substances and various power tools. If the employers fail to take necessary safety precautions, and workers are forced to assemble products in a dangerous environment, workers can suffer injuries," writes Hoffmann. Common injuries include burns and machine guarding problems that could be attributable to lack of training, electrical issues, toxic substances or lack of protective equipment. Other common injuries could include: cancer (or other occupational illnesses), back injuries, amputation of possibly hands and fingers, burns, hearing loss, brain injuries, fractures and broken bones.

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