News Digest 6-17-2019

Quote of the day

“There is no cure for PTSD but there is treatment.”

Craig Kennedy, licensed professional counselor

KALB (Alexandria, La.)


Workers’ comp reform bill on way to Oklahoma governor

The Oklahoma Senate has approved legislation that preserves and strengthens landmark workers’ compensation reforms adopted in 2013, and it’s now on its way to the governor’s desk. If signed, the law increases the total temporary disability cap to 70 percent of the employee’s average weekly wage with a maximum of the state’s average weekly wage, and increases the maximum permanent partial disability rate to $350/week for two years, an increase to $360/week in 2021 and an extension of the maximum number of weeks to 360, among several other changes. Tulsa Beacon

Maine Republicans change course on proposed workers’ comp reform

Republican members of a joint legislative committee have conceded to a compromise bill that would make moderate reforms to the state’s workers’ compensation system. Supporters of a sweeping overhaul, which would, among other changes, increase the maximum weekly benefit from 100 percent to 125 percent of the state average weekly wage, argue past reforms designed to lower insurance costs have created an unfair system for injured workers. Since reforms in 1992, the cost of workers’ comp insurance has decreased by 60 percent in Maine and serious job-related injuries have decreased by about 50 percent. Portland Press Herald

Louisiana passes bill giving first responders workers’ comp PTSD benefits

Starting August 1, current and past first responders in Louisiana may use a medically documented post-traumatic stress disorder to apply for workers’ compensation, after the Louisiana House and Senate unanimously passed a new bill. KALB (Alexandria, La.)

Lawsuit filed in Las Vegas construction worker’s 2017 death in manhole fall

A wrongful death lawsuit claims a Las Vegas-area construction company and the local water reclamation district failed to protect a 46-year-old ironworker/industrial painter from hazardous conditions at a Las Vegas construction site where he fell more than 20 feet into a manhole in September 2017 and was killed. The suit claims the contractor and the agency had prior knowledge of an obvious safety violation by the victim’s employer. Las Vegas Review-Journal

Indiana first responders want 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund bill passed

In February, the special master of the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund said it received a record number of new claims in 2018. With the fund set to expire in 2020, Hoosiers who served at Ground Zero after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks fear funding for their medical bills is running out. A division chief with the Indianapolis Fire Department who was part of the team that went to Ground Zero, says more than 40 percent of the team is ailing due to the toxins at the site and that three of their members have died from cancer. Fox 59 (Indianapolis) [with video]

Bill would address violence against healthcare, social workers

A bill in Congress to address workplace violence for healthcare and social service workers is moving closer to a vote in the House. If passed, it would direct Fed-OSHA, which has found that healthcare workers were four times more likely than average private sector workers to face violence in the workplace between 2002 and 2013, to require employers in the industries to create and implement prevention programs. Public News Service