Courts Pursuing Workers Compensation Fraud
Courts in every state are cracking down hard on people who have managed to get away with workers compensation fraud.
Fraud costs employers and employees.
In California, the courts sentenced a 62-year-old male to two years in jail for two felony counts plus ordered him to pay $97,425.00 to the company he defrauded. In 2002, he filed a workers’ comp claim alleging industrial injuries from an accident at an offshore rig. His doctor kept him home because he claimed that he was too injured and in too much pain to work. During that time he received tax-free benefits totaling more than $35,000.00.
A videotaped investigation showed him working on his 48-foot sailboat. During the four-month surveillance, he was seen doing tasks with his allegedly injured hand.
The Benefits of Ergonomics
A little effort put forth by your employer goes a long way in reducing repetitive strain injuries (RSI) and cumulative trauma disorders (CTD. The properly structured work environment geared to individual needs whether at a keyboard or performing line work or in a kitchen or on heavy machinery provide short and long-term health benefits to employees who will feel more invigorated, appreciated, and productive.
For employers, this can only improve their bottom line in the long run by staving off accidents, disabilities, and employee-related injuries for workers’ compensation. Other benefits include less sick days used, lower employee turnover, feeling mentally and physically alert, boosting morale, and having energy at the end of the day to pursue a quality of life after work.
A sensible and sensitive ergonomic setting is a win-win for both employees and employers.
On the Job
Meat Packing Dangers
Meatpacking has always been risky business especially for workers’ hands, arms, legs, and backs.
In the 1990s meat packing companies began keeping injured workers on the job, which reduced their reported injury rates and their worker’s compensation claims. In 2002 the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) changed its recording methods so that the most common injuries in meatpacking are now exiled from official statistics. The result is that today’s government data seriously under-reports injury levels in the meatpacking industry.
Meat packing jobs have fallen from fair wage-paying organized union oversight to lower wages. Workers suffer from one of the highest rates of repetitive stress carpal tunnel syndrome.
With little bargaining leverage over pay levels, activists turned to safety issues to retain a foothold in the industry. Immigrants and other meat packing employees on the front line learned the hard way about the meat packing’s bottom line and its lack of safety measures and high number of disabling injuries.
Despite the under reporting of injury statistics, meat packing still ranks among the highest number of injuries. In 2006 meatpacking still had the highest injury rate among industries with more than 100,000 workers.
The result of the numbers game is that one-third of injuries and two-thirds of illnesses in meatpacking are classified simply as other. This has made it difficult or impossible to track. It’s time for meat packing employees to find their collective voices and speak out about the ongoing horrors of this industry.