News Digest 6-27-2019

Quote of the day

“If our state legislature doesn’t take the mental health of our first responders seriously, then the leaders of the first responder agencies across the state and the municipalities and the counties aren’t going to take the mental health of first responders seriously.”

Michael Ackerman, former Charleston County, South Carolina sheriff’s deputy, who was shot in the line of duty in 2014

WCIV (Charleston, W.V.)

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Former northwest Iowa pork plant workers sue for retaliation

Three former employees have sued a Sioux City, Iowa pork processing company for allegedly firing them in retaliation for filing a complaint with IOSH about working conditions and talking to investigators. After the agency’s visits to the plant, the workers claim, a supervisor began following them, standing near them to monitor their work and timing their visits to the restroom. The former employees were allegedly fired on grounds they had damaged company property. Sioux City Journal


South Carolina lawmaker pushes for workers’ comp for mental health services for first responders

Post-traumatic stress disorder and depression rates among first responders are five times higher than the civilian population, according to a recent study, which also found first responders are more likely to die of suicide than in the line of duty. PTSD is not covered as an injury under workers’ compensation in South Carolina. According to a state senator, mental health issues create a trickle-down effect on productivity levels of first responders. WCIV (Charleston, W.V.) [with video]


Colorado appeals court permits evidence of billed workers’ comp at trial

The Colorado Court of Appeals recently considered Colorado’s collateral source rule, workers’ compensation statute and relevant caselaw in litigation in which an injured worker raised on appeal whether the trial court should have considered amounts billed by medical providers rather than the amounts paid by his employer for medical treatment. National Law Review


Vermont: New safety program targets loggers

Vermont Gov Phil Scott this week announced a new initiative, the Vermont Logger Safety and Workers’ Compensation Insurance Program, that’s intended to modernize safety training for logging contractors and their employees and allow them to qualify for reduced rates. The initiative includes state funding to increase access to affordable safety trainings tailored to the unique hazards of logging. vermontbiz


Wyoming county expected to start drug, alcohol testing

Park County, Wyoming is expected to start drug and alcohol testing its buildings and grounds employees, who make up about 10 percent of all county employees, in a move that could save the county 3.3 percent of its total annual workers’ compensation costs. As part of the new testing, the county could also test employees if an accident occurs on the job. Cody Enterprise