News Digest 2-18-2021


New York county refuses to pay medical expenses for fallen member

Some members of New York’s Whitehall Volunteer Fire Company are raising concerns after a nearly $1 million workers’ compensation claim filed by a fireman after suffering a torn aorta while on duty was denied, despite a state law requiring the county to cover the expenses. The 45-year-old fireman tore the artery while responding to a structure fire four months earlier and suffered a series of debilitating strokes during surgery, and died last September. Post-Star (Glens Falls, N.Y.)

Appeals court: Assaulted transit employee’s claims barred by workers’ compensation

In a case involving the an employee of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia has held that workers’ compensation statutes provide the sole remedy for an employee assaulted by a co-worker if the assault is related to one’s employment, including disputes over job performance or the scope of job responsibilities. SHRM


How cannabis actually affects productivity

The effects of cannabis are an urgent issue now that 14 states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational marijuana, with several more likely to legalize it this year. Common sense says increased use of any intoxicant will not be good news for productivity or workplace safety. Is that true? Fortune


West Virginia lawmaker introduces PTSD workers’ comp bill for first responders

For the fourth year in a row, a West Virginia lawmaker has introduced a bill that would provide workers’ compensation to first responders who develop post-traumatic stress disorder due to their job. The bill would apply to law enforcement officers, firemen, EMTs and paramedics who are diagnosed with PTSD, and whose PTSD is the result of an event or events that occurred on the job. EMS1


Kansas Supreme Court’s workers’ comp ruling may generate more legal disputes

The cost of settling claims in Kansas could go up now that employees can use their doctors to assess temporary or permanent disabilities. Kansas City Business Journal [may require registration]