Can We Agree to Disagree? Asbestos Ruling
The New York Workers Compensation panel reversed a previous ruling that disqualified a Con Edison machinist from receiving workers compensation benefits for esophageal cancer. The physician said that esophageal cancer (throat cancer) was not caused by asbestos poisoning; hence, should not receive work related benefits due to mesothelioma, also known as asbestos poisoning.
The machinist worked for Con Edison for more than two decades and was exposed to large amounts of asbestos dust. He was later diagnosed with asbestosis and eventually died as a result.
His widow filed a claim for workers compensation benefits, but was refused because her husband's workplace physician claimed there was no causal link between asbestos exposure and throat cancer.
However, a second opinion by another physician (not a contractor of Con Edison) said there was a definite link between asbestos exposure and throat cancer. By choosing the second of the two opinions as being more valid, or relevant, the NYWC panel reversed the previous decision and awarded the widow death benefits.
Perhaps one opinion is not enough to garner fairness and actual process of only accepting one opinion could make the process defective.
Con Edison is under the microscope for a number of asbestos exposures, both to workers and the general public. Con Edison has stripped much of this asbestos from its ancient pipes and manhole covers, but unfortunately has not always using trained technicians with proper protective gear, so asbestos-related claims for asbestosis, lung and digestive cancers, and even mesothelioma continue to surface.
Possible Perks Coming for In-Home Healthcare Workers
In-home care providers are the front line caregivers to the elderly and sick who stay at home vs. being sent to an offsite facility. In-home caregivers also receive the lowest income, no overtime, and no workers compensation. For holding such a responsible position, they practically receive nothing in return.
That could change if 15 Senators and if the Secretary of Labor has her way to expand the federal wage and hours worked law to the over one million home care workers.
As the population ages, there will be a greater need for more in-home healthcare workers.
Home care, once handled by family and neighbors, has evolved into a full-time regular type of employment. These workers should be included in the minimum wage laws, be paid overtime, and get workers compensation benefits if needed.