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Under construction: Gas blast kills 5 workers + injures many more

A power plant under construction in Connecticut ignited after a gas leak in one of the lines. Much of the structure was blown to bits and the blast could be felt for miles.

Five workers have been reported dead and more than 20 workers have been treated for injuries. At least 100 construction workers and other personnel were on the premises when the explosion occurred.

The gas-fired energy plant was supposed to go online in June 2010 and was 96 percent completed. The fatal incident is under criminal investigation but is not considered an act of terrorism. Numerous agencies on the federal and state level will be involved in the investigation.

Source: http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/east/2010/02/08/107195.htm and http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601103&sid=aUjbthDHjUEs

 

Faking it

Labor News

Don’t try this at home. Two guys conceived an elaborate but stupid plot to fake a workers’ compensation incident. One guy shot his cousin in the leg and robbed him so he could file a workers’ comp claim.

Two years later Liberty Mutual paid $250,000 to the “victim” who shared some of the money with his friend.

An ex-friend of the victim spilled the beans and reported the fraud to the insurance company. Both men were sentenced in court.

Source: http://www.insurancejournal.com/

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Whistleblower: Ohio hospital defrauds federal healthcare

A whistleblower lawsuit alleged that Christ Hospital and the Ohio Heart Health Center cardiology practice devised a scheme to provide cardiologists with improper monetary incentives in exchange for generating revenue for the hospital from 1999 to 2004.

Potential liability was reported to be as high as $424 million.

The focus of the suit is an outpatient cardiology testing unit within Christ Hospital known as the Heart Station, where patients receive non-invasive heart procedures such as electrocardiograms, echocardiograms and stress tests.

The action was filed under the whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act by a cardiologist who had provided services to Christ Hospital and Ohio Heart.

Many of the procedures were billed to federal benefit programs, including Medicare and Medicaid.

It’s against federal law to exchange financial incentives for patient referrals.

Source: http://cincinnati.bizjournals.com/

Labor News

Power plant workers at risk

Power plant workers make electricity happen. You might think it's as easy as flipping a switch but not so for the power plant worker.

Some power plant workers sit at computers and control the production and flow of electricity. Some power plant workers may need to control each generator and turbine by monitoring separate switches on the units for energy demands.

Many of the power plant machines generate a horrendous amount of heat. Power plant workers could be exposed to asbestos used to insulate pipes going to and from turbines and other heat-producing machines. Used to generate heat, boilers were present and asbestos can be found in the insulation surrounding boilers and networks of pipe.

Asbestos may be found inside many power plant machines such as asbestos gaskets used to seal pumps and valves. Power plant workers typically installed these asbestos. In the process of installing asbestos gaskets, workers may have been exposed to asbestos fibers.

Even the walls, floor tiles, and ceiling tiles in a power plant may be sites of exposure for the power plant worker.

Many U.S. power plants have been renovated and asbestos has been removed although some plants still contain asbestos. Workers should be particularly diligent when working in older plants to ensure that they are not exposed. Respirators or filtering masks should always be worn.

All these exposure to asbestos has been the cause of mesothelioma, a rare asbestos-related cancer.

Source: http://www.asbestos.com/occupations/power-plant-workers.php

New Jersey: Conscientious Employee Protection Act

If you work in New Jersey, your employer is prohibited from any retaliatory action against you if you are a whistleblower.

You are protected if you disclose or threaten to disclose a policy or practice that you believe is in violation of the law.

You are protected if you expose a licensed healthcare professional who you believe is providing bad patient care.

You are protected if you testify or give information for an investigation or hearing.

You are protected if you refuse to participate in an activity or practice that you believe is in violation of a law, fraudulent, or criminal.

If you are a whistleblower and working with a lawyer, please let him or her know about your whistleblower rights and responsibilities.

Source: http://uhr.rutgers.edu/lr/CEPA.htm

About the Statute of Limitations

If you are not a client and need legal advice or would like to discuss representation, please contact one of our attorneys to discuss your individual questions. We only provide legal advice to people who have signed a written agreement retaining our legal services. If you want to pursue a claim, you should not delay in hiring a lawyer. Please be advised that each state has a different statute of limitations within which suit must be filed. If you fail to timely file suit within your state's statute of limitations you may be forever barred from later bringing a claim.

We offer this information as a public service to those interested in Workers Compensation news. This newsletter is not legal advice and should only be considered as general information.

We can be reached online at:  http://www.bulldoglawyers.com

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