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May 2014:

 May 2014 Issue
In This Issue
Are CA Workers Safe? Labor Advocates Don't Think So
CASE STUDIES: Judy Lindemann

 

Help for Employers!


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Dear Don,
Are California Workers Safe?

Labor Advocates Don't Think So ...

Latest published US Bureau of Labor Stats reflects that 375 people died on the job in California in 2012.  

 

While the California workforce has grown by 22 percent in the last 20 years, the number of safety inspectors for the 17 million people employed in the state's 1.34 million workplaces has decreased by about 11 percent.  

 

The lack of workplace safety inspectors means that Cal/OSHA is routinely missing its required deadlines for initiating and completing inspections.  But, part of the reason is that Cal/OSHA wastes time focusing on the wrong thing.  They demand every employer to report every serious injury; even those who have a stroke or brain aneurysm on the employer's property -  when it's not a "recordable injury" because there is no connection to the work the employee performed.  And the employer is fined $5,000 for failing to report or for reporting more than 8 hours after the event.  

 

Compared to Federal OSHA and other states, Cal/OSHA wastes too much time conducting inspections following up on these reports of 'serious injuries" and also responding to employee complaints.  

 

Cal/OSHA does not use statistics of causes of injuries to drive its inspection activities.  Instead it focuses on employee complaints, which are often disgruntled employees striking back at their employer for a grievance unrelated to safety. Yet the inspection process costs the State money and harasses the employer.  

 

It remains vital that your company get compliant and stay complaint.  Any - you better have your written records in order, because as far as Cal/OSHA is concerned, if it isn't written down, it didn't happen.  Even though Cal/OSHA inspectors are behind, your firm could still be visited.  If you aren't ready when they show up, you won't like what happens next.  For more information:


Call Don Dressler @ 949-533-3742.  
     

 

Judy's experience as a Masters Prepared Nurse Practitioner provides the well-rounded knowledge base necessary to navigate the Worker's Compensation system - supporting both the employer and employee.
 

Physical Therapy Providers Case #3:

Issue: Questionable Physical Therapy Providers.   A male laborer was having shoulder pain.  He complained that his visits to the physical therapist were not helping him so I wanted to investigate why not.  First, I called the physical therapy clinic and was told repeatedly that they had never seen a patient by that name.  I confirmed the address and phone number with the injured worker; the number was right.

Then I asked for a copy of his physical therapy notes, and was told to call three other people, one of whom said that she would get the notes because they were in another office.  I was then instructed to call back on a specific day and time, which I did.  She still didn't have any notes.  Finally after four weeks and my persistence, notes were sent.  Oddly, they were all identical handwriting and were not like any other physical therapy notes I'd ever seen. 

 

This prompted a face visit to the physical therapy clinic.  When I arrived a young woman stated that there was no physical therapist at the office and there had never been a physical therapist in the office.  Odd, how was the laborer being treated and who was treating him?  When I asked that question, the woman said that she treated the patients and that she was a massage therapist. 

 

The worker's compensation program was being billed for physical therapy visits that may not have been given-at least not by a physical therapist.  A sign-in sheet on the desk was completely full for the day.  All the signatures were in the identical handwriting and all said "recheck".  I again spoke to the office manager to ask the doctor to call me regarding this patient.  She said she would give him the message but that he was really busy seeing 45 to 50 work comp patients a day...generally far too many patients in one day.   Sadly, I never received a call from the doctor.  One must draw their own conclusion with this sad story.  

You can contact Judy by phone at: 949-940-5905 or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

   


Don Dressler Consulting and CalWorkSafety.com focus on safety-related HR issues, HR-related matters and Cal/OSHA Safety guidelines. If you have any questions or would like additional information, please email us or visit our websites:

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