News Digest 5-7-2021


California: Bay Area construction firm owner admits to workers comp fraud

The 71-year-old owner of a Bay Area-based construction company is facing jail time, probation and about $250,000 in restitution fees for cheating the workers’ compensation insurance system and wrongfully firing injured employees. The district attorney became involved in the case after the California Contractors State License Board reported “suspicious activity” at a new but so far unnamed residential construction project in San Jose. San Jose Inside


Kentucky bill helps firemen deal with mental health issues

Kentucky lawmakers have passed a bill intended to help firemen get help from a licensed counselor for firefighting-related mental health issues. Fire officials believe the legislation will also help retain those who often leave the profession due to mental health problems. WCHS [with video]


Workers’ comp profitability steady, premiums fall in 2020 amid pandemic

Underwriting profitability remained relatively stable in the U.S. workers’ compensation market in 2020, despite concerns about a flurry of losses from the introduction of rebuttable presumptions for pandemic-related workers’ compensation claims in several states. S&P Global


Does recording employee’s COVID-19 case on OSHA 300 Log mean workers’ comp?

One challenging pandemic-related workplace safety issue for employers has been whether an employee’s COVID-19 case should go on the OSHA 300 log pursuant to Fed-OSHA’s recordability guidance for employees’ cases of the virus, and the impact of recording such an illness. Employers have asked whether recording COVID-19 infections as work-related on the OSHA 300 Log could be used by attorneys in workers’ compensation claims to substantiate that employee exposure was work-related. The answers are not straightforward, write Patrick Dennison and Travis Vance of Fisher Phillips. JD Supra


Severity, cost of construction-related musculoskeletal disorder claims peak at middle age: Study

The severity and cost of work-related musculoskeletal disorders among Ohio construction workers from 2007 to 2017 increased with age, peaking in those aged 55 to 64 years, according to data published in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The researchers analyzed lost-time claims and chose Ohio as it is the most populous state with an exclusive state-run workers’ compensation system. Healio