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“The only thing necessary for these diseases to the triumph is for good people and governments to do nothing.”

Workers' Compensation Issues

 

   

Main topics can be found within the left column; sub-topics and/or research reports can be found near the bottom of this page.  Thank you

Workers' Compensation is based on the concept of a verifiable injury. An employee went to the job site and became a damaged working unit. A broken leg, or missing body parts are easily verifiable injuries. However, when this issue involves an infectious disease-verifying that the infection occurred while at work is another issue. A worker does not immediately have symptoms or some other verifiable proof that this infection occurred at the work site. The burden of proof generally rests upon the claimant. (S)he will have to prove that this infection occurred during the process of working-because a virus does not a specific identifiable markings other than the type of disease. Proving that this infection occurred at this specific point in time with this specific type of injury is an impossible task to perform. If the claimant has any 'abnormal' behavior or physical traits, proving the occurrence of this injury at work will be impossible. Primarily, the claimant will have to prove his/her sexual preference, number of lifelong sexual relationships, possible personal tattooing, if (s)he has ever used any type of IV drugs and previous surgical procedures.

The real question is regards to coverage is the work place is not whether there is adequate coverage for exposure/infection in the work area but RATHER how many claims have been awarded to claimants.

"The following figures were calculated based on 1996 EPINet data. We do not know to what degree new HIV treatments have affected health care worker risk of HIV infection. They have probably reduced the risk somewhat since there are now fewer AIDS patients in hospitals.

We estimated percutaneous injuries and blood and body fluid exposures in one year, based on: 30 injuries per 100 occupied hospital beds reported (from our national EPINet data for 1996) 600,000 occupied hospital beds in the U.S. 180,000 injuries in one year reported in hospitals (.3 x 600,000) 39% of incidents not reported (according to surveys conducted in 6 EPINet hospitals in 1996-1997) = 295,082 injuries occurred in hospitals double this figure because 50% of health care workers work outside of hospital settings (total =590,164 percutaneous injuries) according to EPINet data for 1996, an additional 1/3 of reported exposures (total = 196,721 mucocutaneous exposures) involve skin/non-intact skin or mucous membrane contact with blood or at-risk biological substances with can also transmit HIV, HBV, Hepatitis C Virus Total annual percutaneous and mucocutaneous exposures to blood or at-risk biological substances in the U.S. in 1996 = 786,885" March 2000 national estimates of annual percutaneous injuries, using combined data from the CDC's NaSH database and the Center's EPINet network

Workers often sustain an injury or contract a disease arising out of their employment for which the employer and worker’s compensation insurer deny worker’s compensation benefits, on the grounds that the worker cannot identify a specific traumatic event that caused or precipitated the injury or disease.  Such a denial may be contrary to fact and law. 

The real irony of infectious diseases in the work environment is that how do you prove that you became infected in the work area.  There are no outward signs to the body that someone is now infected.  How does one prove this claim?

Workers’ Occupational Insurance is based on verifiable injuries.  I went to the work area as a complete worker and left as a damaged employee. So…How does someone demonstrate to some unknown person that 1) have they have ever used IV drugs, 2) what is their personal sexual preference, 3) have they been monogamous, or 4)  do they possess a tattoo. 

This group is to help support those infected in the work area and to give support on challenging the system for a change to it.

ADDITIONAL ARTICLES:
 

Document Name & Link to Document

Description

File Size /pdf

9/11 workers struggle to get workers’ comp Half a dozen doctors testified on his behalf. Experts on 9/11-related diseases confirmed his claims. A picture of him working on a smoldering pile of rubble at ground zero offered hard evidence…Still, for Joe Picurro, it wasn’t enough. The New York State Workers’ Compensation Board ruled he still hadn’t proven his health problems were due to his 28 days as a volunteer during the 9/11 cleanup. He hadn’t even proven he’d actually worked at the site, they said, saying the photograph could have been doctored.  

71st OREGON LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY--2001 Regular Session

 Requires workers' compensation plans of certain cities to provide coverage for hepatitis C for city firefighters, law enforcement officers, emergency medical technicians and corrections officers. Creates presumption of compensability for hepatitis C for { career + } firefighters, law enforcement officers, { + career + } emergency medical technicians and corrections officers in certain circumstances. Requires certain cities to provide equivalent workers' compensation coverage

 

A coalition of lawmakers wants to classify the infection as an occupational disease.  Affected firefighters would benefit.

Pennsylvania lawmakers have launched an effort to help Philadelphia firefighters infected with hepatitis C, in ways that City Hall officials have resisted.

 

Actuarial Aspects of Dread Disease Products

Report to insurance industry

526 kb pdf

Annual Number of Occupational Percutaneous Injuries and Mucocutaneous Exposures to Blood or Potentially Infective Biological Substance

The following figures were calculated based on 1996 EPINet data. We do not know to what degree new HIV treatments have affected health care worker risk of HIV infection. They have probably reduced the risk somewhat since there are now fewer AIDS patients in hospitals. 600,000 occupied hospital beds in the U.S.

 

Appeals Court Rejects Sick Firefighters' Lawsuit......

Now the city of Orlando is going after the firefighters and their attorneys to pick up the city's legal bills. The city's legal expenses have added up to more than $210,000.

 

Australia Occupational Exposure The data on occupational injuries and diseases contained in the National Workers' Compensation Statistics database have been compiled by the National Occupational Health and Safety Commission (NOHSC) from information supplied by Commonwealth, State and Territory workers' compensation authorities. These agencies processed workers' compensation claims received from insurance companies, self-insurers and some government departments  
California-occupational exposure case-law example Workers’ Compensation claimant sought benefits for alleged occupational disease…the commission’s award of benefits, and employer appealed. 1198 kb pdf

Case-Control Study of HIV Seroconversion in Health-Care Workers After Percutaneous Exposure to HIV-Infected Blood

Health-care workers (HCWs) are potentially at risk for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection through occupational exposures to blood. Although prospective studies indicate that the estimated risk for HIV infection after a percutaneous exposure to HIV-infected blood is approximately 0.3% (1,2), factors that influence this risk have not been determined.

 

Colorado HCV exposure law AN ACT- CONCERNING WORKERS' COMPENSATION COVERAGE FOR PUBLIC SAFETY PERSONNEL EXPOSED TO HEPATITIS C.  
Colorado passes Hepatitis C Virus law Law about the occupational exposure and later infection for first responders  
Comments on Draft of “Implementing HIV Testing in Correctional Facilities” The undersigned organizations endorse the Guide’s reiteration of the legal obligation of correctional officials and health care providers in correctional settings to protect the privacy and confidentiality of HIV-positive individuals, and the concrete steps recommended to accomplish that. These and other provisions of the Guide intended to advance fair treatment of HIV-positive prisoners are, we believe, important steps in advancing voluntary HIV testing in correctional facilities. Pdf 154 kb
Connecticut-Occupational Diseases, 2001 Occupational diseases are a potentially under-recognized source of disability given the wide disparity in reporting requirements and procedures that exist in various jurisdictions.  Nonetheless, an occupational disease could have major impacts on worker health, ability to work, and employer cost. 205 kb pdf
Connecticut-court rules HIV can be hazardous to correctional officers The Connecticut Supreme Court ruled 5-2 that the
high rate of HIV infection among prisoners creates a unique and hazardous job environment for certain prison guards, clearing the way for them to receive workers' compensation if they become infected.
 
Delaware Workers' Compensation Gives the rules and regulations for the State of Delaware  

Dental Transmission

GAO report concerning the possibility of exposure/infection from a dentist

5,150 kb pdf

Direct cost of follow-up for percutaneous and mucocutaneous exposures to at-risk body fluids

Published by the International Health Care Worker Safety Center at the University of Virginia

40 kb pdf

Dirty Needles Blames for HIV

Children in South Africa are being infected with HIV through dirty needles, experts have claimed.

 

Estimating Future Hepatitis C Morbidity, Mortality, and costs in the United States

Our results confirm prior Centers for Disease Control and Prevention projections and suggest that Hepatitis C Virus may lead to a substantial health and economic burden over the next 10 to 20 years

133 kb pdf

Exposure in the Work Area

Employees are exposed to poisons, toxins, and infectious diseases in the work area

471 kb pdf

Fiery firefighter battles hepatitis C, Workers’ Compensation

A decade ago, he learned that he had contracted hepatitis C while helping an accident victim in 1988. Denied Workers’ Compensation coverage, he went to court and ultimately was denied again. So, he decided to take his cause to another branch of government.

 

Financial and Risk Considerations for Successful Disease Management Programs

Report for the insurance industry

211 kb pdf

Fire Chief's Brother Has Hepatitis C The continuing saga of Of Olando's Finest!.........

Hepatitis C is an infectious disease that firefighters and other emergency crews can get when they respond to serious accidents.

 

Guidance on the investigation and management of occupational exposure to hepatitis C

This document updates previous PHLS guidance on the risks and management of occupational exposure to hepatitis C. In line with recent guidance from the UK Health Departments, the PHLS now recommends that all source patients, subject to appropriate consent, should be tested for evidence of hepatitis C infection. A baseline serum should be obtained from the exposed health care worker and stored for at least two years. Health care workers exposed to known infected sources should be followed up at six, 12, and 24 weeks after exposure.

 

Hazards of Needle Sticks

Needlestick injuries are up there with slips, trips and falls as one of the top accident risks in UK hospitals.

144 kb pdf

Hepatitis C Infected Health Care Workers Exposure prone procedures are those where there is a risk that injury to the health care worker could result in their blood contaminating a patient’s open tissues. Exposure prone procedures occur mainly in surgery (including some procedures in minor surgery carried out by GPs), obstetrics and gynaecology, dentistry and midwifery. Annex A to this guidance provides further advice. An illustrative list of exposure prone procedures is contained in Guidance on the management of HIV/AIDS infected health care workers and patient notification (issued under cover of Health Service Circular 1998/226). Revised guidance to replace this version is currently out for consultation Pdf 178 kb

Hepatitis C Virus Testing

Most Hepatitis C Virus transmission is associated with direct percutaneous exposure to blood, which means healthcare workers are at occupational risk for acquiring the disease.

 

Health Care Workers and Hepatitis C

Report from the American Family Physician

223 kb pdf

HEALTH CARE WORKERS AND HEPATITIS C VIRUS

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in collaboration with the Hospital Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee, has issued recommendations for follow-up of health care workers after occupational exposure to hepatitis C virus (Hepatitis C Virus).

 

Health care workers with AIDS

Report from CDC on the numbers and types of positions within healthcare who have become infected with AIDS

PDF / 42 KB

Health Care Workers-AIDS Brief

The report describes how the AIDS epidemic is redefining the context of care and the challenges which it is presenting to health care workers

431 kb pdf

Health care workers and AIDS: a differential study of beliefs and affects associated with accidental exposure to blood This study aimed to analyze affective and cognitive determinants of the professional work of individuals caring for patients with HIV/AIDS, in view of the risk and/or experience of accidental exposure to blood. We drew on the theoretical-methodological references of Fishbein & Ajzen and Maslow’s theory. Fifty health care workers were evaluated using an attitudes questionnaire and a needs and motivations instrument. The research verified differences between answers by health care workers who had never suffered accidents and those who had already experienced accidental exposure to blood. Health care workers did their work activities motivated by the need for self-fulfillment and valued their own performance when they were able to meet the patients’ emotional needs. Among health professionals who had never experienced accidental exposure to blood, the predominant beliefs was that patients feel remorse over having expose themselves to HIV. Accidental exposure to blood raises difficulties in personal life. Technical aspects are also associated with the possibility of accidental exposure to blood. Pdf 74 kb

HEALTHCARE WORKERS SORE OVER NEEDLES FDA WON’T BAN KIND THAT CAUSE MOST INJURIES

A nursing safety expert asked how many hundreds of medical workers need to die from contaminated needle sticks before the agency bans standard needles and syringes that are causing the injuries.

 

Hep C infected firefighters battle on 2 fronts Philadelphia firefighters and paramedics infected with hepatitis C virus are fighting two battles -- one against the virus, and the other against the mayor.  

Hep C Infected Firefighters, Paramedics Battle on Two Fronts

Philadelphia firefighters and paramedics infected with hepatitis C virus are fighting two battles -- one against the virus, and the other against the mayor. These "first responder" emergency workers contend their disease is work-related and the city should provide sick leave for it. The mayor says the city can not afford such a policy.

 

Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) Infection in Health Care Workers In the delivery of health care services, transmission of HBV from a HCW can occur only when infected blood or its components enters a patient through injury or mucocutaneous transmission Pdf 33 kb

Hepatitis Bill May Be Costly For City

The PA House will vote today on classifying hepatitis C as work-related for firefighters, police and prison guards.   

 

Hepatitis C a Greater Threat to Healthcare Workers Than HIV

The risk that healthcare workers will become infected with hepatitis C virus (Hepatitis C Virus) following an accidental needlestick is 20 to 40 times greater than their risk of HIV infection, according to data presented here at the International Conference on Emerging Infectious Disease.

 

Hepatitis C & Police Work Police officers have also been known to use physical force to restrain and/or arrest. It is common to come in to contact with blood and bodily fluids, either through direct contact with individuals or through gathering evidence in the course of an investigation.  

Hepatitis C Proposed Law for Washington State

The department shall develop and offer a training course for persons providing hepatitis C counseling. The training course must include information relating to the special needs of persons with positive hepatitis C test results, including the importance of early intervention and treatment and recognition of psychosocial needs.

 

Hepatitis C Virus Infection Among Firefighters, Emergency Medical Technicians, and Paramedics --- Selected Locations, United States, 1991—2000

First responders (e.g., firefighters, emergency medical technicians [EMTs], and paramedics) are at risk for occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens. Recently, CDC has received inquiries from state and local health departments and occupational health services about the prevalence of hepatitis C virus (Hepatitis C Virus) infection among first responders and the need for routine Hepatitis C Virus testing among these workers.

 

Hepatitis-C virus test to be made mandatory in hospitals soon

Even as the world has entered a new millennium, there seems to be a growing global burden of blood-borne diseases, particularly in the third world countries. Lack of proper screening for the hepatitis viruses could spell doom.

 

High prevalence of hepatitis G virus infections in dialysis staff

Report on these infection rates

70 kb pdf

Illinois Compiled Statutes-infectious diseases exposure In this Act the term "Occupational Disease" means a disease arising out of and in the course of the employment or which has become aggravated and rendered disabling as a result of the exposure of the employment. Such aggravation shall arise out of a risk peculiar to or increased by the employment and not common to the general public.
    A disease shall be deemed to arise out of the employment if there is apparent to the rational mind, upon consideration of all the circumstances, a causal connection between the conditions under which the work is performed and the occupational disease. The disease need not to have been foreseen or expected but after its contraction it must appear to have had its origin or aggravation in a risk connected with the employment and to have flowed from that source as a rational consequence.
    An employee shall be conclusively deemed to have been exposed to the hazards of an occupational disease when, for any length of time however short, he or she is employed in an occupation or process in which the hazard of the disease exists; provided however, that in a claim of exposure to atomic radiation, the fact of such exposure must be verified by the records of the central registry of radiation exposure maintained by the Department of Public Health or by some other recognized governmental agency maintaining records of such exposures whenever and to the extent that the records are on file with the Department of Public Health or the agency.
No compensation shall be payable for or on account of any occupational disease unless disablement, as herein defined, occurs within two years after the last day of the last exposure to the hazards of the disease, except in cases of occupational disease caused by berylliosis or by the inhalation of silica dust or asbestos dust and, in such cases, within 3 years after the last day of the last exposure to the hazards of such disease and except in the case of occupational disease caused by exposure to radiological materials or equipment, and in such case, within 25 years after the last day of last exposure to the hazards of such disease.
 
Illinois-Handbook on Workers’ Compensation and Occupational Diseases This article explains the process and regulations concerning Illinois’s Workers’ Compensation Law 160 kb pdf
Illinois-Workers’ Compensation-Infectious Diseases The limitations of the Illinois Workers’ Occupational Diseases Act are more complicated. First of all, the employee must experience ‘disablement’ within 2 years after the last day of the last exposure to the hazards of the disease on the job.  Secondly, an Application for Adjustment of Claim must be filed with the Industrial Commission within 3 years after the date of disablement, or within 2 years of the last payment of compensation benefits, whichever date is later.  Both conditions must be met in order for an employee to secure workers’ compensation benefits. Because the subject employee did not experience the symptoms of the infectious disease within 2 years of the needle stick, all claims will be time-barred under the Workers’ Occupational Disease Act 423 kb pdf
INDIANA WORKER’S COMPENSATION

(Large report-increased down-load time)

The Indiana Occupational Diseases Act is similar to the Indiana Worker’s Compensation Act and is administered by the Worker’s Compensation Board.  To be compensable, an occupational disease must arise out of and in the course of employment.  The disease must be fairly traced to the employment as the proximate cause, and not from a hazard to which the employee could have been equally exposed outside of employment.  A physician’s opinion that the disease is an occupational disease would be required to prove a case for benefits for a disease.   
Infectious disease control police, prison officers, other workers in correctional facilities and emergency response workers This information bulletin provides examples of several safe work practices which could form the basis of more detailed procedures to be adopted in individual work situations or incorporated into the work of high risk professions such as the police, prison officers and emergency response workers. Pdf 135 kb

Judge Upholds Ruling That Hepatitis Is a Work-Related Injury

Philadelphia must increase its funding for firefighters and paramedics who contract the hepatitis C virus (Hepatitis C Virus) while working, a judge ruled Wednesday.

 

Kansas STATUTES: OCCUPATIONAL DISEASES Ordinary diseases of life and conditions to which the general public is or may be exposed to outside of the particular employment, and hazards of diseases and conditions attending employment in general, shall not be compensable as occupational diseases  
Last cases against Palo Alto lab worker dismissed Two people who believe they were infected with HIV and hepatitis C by a lab worker who reused needles, plan to appeal a judge's dismissal of their cases.  

 

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