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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

   

We offer a monthly newsletter dealing with the various issues surrounding infectious diseases.  To find out more click HERE.

 

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

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.  
Management of healthcare workers after occupational exposure to hepatitis C virus-Australia Many healthcare workers are extremely anxious after needlestick injuries, with widespread effects on work performance, personal relationships and psychological health, leading to depression and, at times, a sense of abandonment and isolation. This may occur regardless of counselling. Given the relatively low rate of HCV seroconversion after needlestick injury, it is often these psychological issues that have the greatest impact on injured healthcare workers.  

Medicaid Program Policy Trends: Financing and Quality of HIV Care

However, cost containment has driven state Medicaid programs to alter policies that have a direct impact on some or all groups of Medicaid beneficiaries. State and federal policy makers must balance the need for fiscal health with the public duty to ensure that Medicaid beneficiaries receive services that preserve and promote health.

 

MICHIGAN RECOMMENDATIONS ON HIV, HEPATITIS B, AND HEPATITIS C-INFECTED HEALTH CARE WORKERS There are currently millions of HCWs in the United States, some of whom are infected with HIV, and/or others who are infected with HBV or HCV. Exclusionary policies regarding HIV-infected HCWs, as recommended in CDC’s 1991 guidelines, have resulted in the loss of professional services, the loss of the educational investment, and the personal loss to the individual HCW -- the latter of which has been the subject of intense debate over the past several years. In 2000, Gostin proposed that the national policy regarding disclosure of HCWs infected with HIV, HBV, or other bloodborne pathogens be revised. He recommended that HCWs no longer be required to disclose their infection status to a patient. Gostin maintains that careful attention to infection control techniques, coupled with practice restrictions for HCWs who are impaired, who have exudative lesions, or who have been involved in transmitting a bloodborne pathogen, will adequately protect the public’s health. He argues that national policy should change in a way that is protective of the interest of the infected HCW (Gostin 1965). While Gostin is respected for his expertise in the complex legal and ethical fields, there are other experts who disagree with him. The debate over the best approach to balance patient safety and HCW occupational concerns continues. Pdf 45 kb

Microsoft Loses Disability Case

A Seattle jury last week awarded Davis $2.3 million for lost wages and benefits, including stock options. The jury found that Microsoft had violated the Washington Law Against Discrimination by not doing enough to help Davis find a job he could do in an ordinary work week.

 

National Surveillance of Dialysis-Associated Disease in the United States-1997

The CDC has been conducting surveillance of hemodialysis-associated hepatitis since the early 1970’s, when CDC reported that the incidence of HBV infection among patients and staff during 1972-74 had increased by more than 100% to 6.2% and 5.2% respectively.

117 kb pdf

National Surveillance System For Health Care Workers

Needlestick and other percutaneous injuries (PIs) pose the greatest risk of occupational transmission of bloodborne viruses to health-care workers (HCWs). The annual number of PIs sustained by U.S. HCWs have been estimated using a variety of methods and have ranged from 100,000-1,000,000.

 

National Surveillance System For Health Care Workers

Of all occupational exposures, percutaneous injuries (PIs) pose the greatest risk for transmission of bloodborne pathogens. Health care workers (HCWs) do not report all PIs despite the availability of prophylaxis for some exposures.

 

Needle Stick Risk

Hundreds of medical workers become infected with the AIDS or hepatitis viruses from accidental punctures each year.

 

Nevada’s OCCUPATIONAL DISEASES

Short title. This chapter shall be known as the Nevada Occupational Diseases Act.

 

Occupational Court Ruling from Wisconsin

"It is often impossible to find the source from which a germ causing disease has come. The germ leaves no trail that can be followed. Proof often does not pass beyond the stage of possibilities or probabilities, because no one can testify positively to the source from which the germ came, as can be done in the case of physical facts which may be observed in concerning which witnesses can acquire positive knowledge. Under such circumstances the commission or the court can base its findings upon a preponderance of probabilities or of the inference that may be drawn from established facts."

 

OCCUPATIONAL EXPOSURE The risk of HIV transmission to medical personnel has been recognized since 1984, with the first reported case of HIV transmitted to a health care worker following needlestick injury (Anonymous, 1984). Since that time, information regarding occupational exposure and outcomes has been collected. As of October 1998, there were 187 reported cases in the medical literature of HIV transmission in the United States and 264 cases worldwide, presumably related to occupational exposure  

Occupational Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens; Needlestick and Other Sharps Injuries

Blood and other potentially infectious materials have long been recognized as a potential threat to the health of employees who are exposed to these materials by percutaneous contact (penetration of the skin). Injuries from contaminated needles and other sharps have been associated with an increased risk of disease from more than 20 infectious agents (Exs. 3-172GG, 3-274C). The primary agents of concern in current occupational settings are the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B virus (HBV), and hepatitis C virus (Hepatitis C Virus).

 

Occupational Health and Safety Risks Faced by Police Officers Police officers face a range of risks at work: homicide, assaults, communicable diseases, injuries during car crashes and regular abuse. The risks vary according to the task being undertaken (whether performing traffic duties, attending street disturbances, arresting offenders, guarding prisoners in watchhouses or in hospital or transporting offenders to court) Pdf 56 kb

OCCUPATIONAL RISKS

Changes in work procedures and safety design of items should be implemented to minimize the risk of occupational exposure due to disposal of blood samples and to unprotected gaps of personal protective equipment

 

Occupational risk for hepatitis C virus infection among New York City dentists. Since dentists have numerous patients and are exposed to blood, they are likely to have the maximum risk.... Anti-HCV was found in 4 (9.3%) of 43 oral surgeons compared with 4 (0.97%) of 413 other dentists (OR 10.5, 95% CI 1.9 to 58). Our findings show that dentists are at increased risk for hepatitis C infection. All health-care workers should regard patients as potentially infected with a communicable bloodborne agent.  

Occupational Risks Magazine

Gives information on how to underwrite those claims and calculate them

458 kb pdf

Occupationally Acquired HIV: The Vulnerability of Health Care Workers under Workers ' Compensation Laws

Approximately 800 000 needle-sticks and other sharp injuries from contaminated medical devices occur in health care settings each year, of which an estimated 16000 are contaminated by human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Health care workers who are Occupationally infected by HIV are at risk of being left without workers' compensation coverage. In some states, the definition of an occupational disease is so restrictive that infected health care workers are unlikely to qualify for benefits. For those who are able to meet the definition, compensation is often inadequate. Recourse is also limited by statutory provisions that preclude health care workers from bringing civil suits against their employers

 

Occupationally Acquired Infections in Health Care Workers The risk for occupationally acquired infections is an unavoidable part of daily patient care. Occupationally acquired infections cause substantial illness and occasional deaths among health care workers. Further studies are needed to enhance compliance with established infection control approaches. As health care is being reformed, the risk for and costs of occupationally acquired infection must be considered.  
Officer Stabbed with Dirty Drug Needle

A police officer doing a routine pat down of a suspect could now be facing a potentially life-threatening disease. He was making sure the suspect wasn't armed when he was stabbed with a used drug needle.

The incident has a police department rethinking how safe all police officers really are out there and it has the patrolman quite literally wondering what the next six months or so will bring. Officer Tom Eibach, 25, of the Scott Township Police Department has been on the force just a few years. Now he's facing the scare of his life.
 

Ohio-annual summary of infectious diseases-1998

Statistics for information

77 kb pdf

OSHA Standards Interpretation and Compliance Letters

It is important to note that the definition of "occupational exposure" comprises the reasonable anticipation that the employee will come into contact with these fluids during the course of performing his or her work duties. Therefore, OSHA anticipates that this standard will impact upon all non-health care industries in a similar fashion,

 

OSHA-Bloodborne Pathogens

To establish a bloodborne pathogen exposure control plan

37 kb pdf

OSHA-occupational exposure

This instruction establishes policies and provides clarification to ensure uniform inspection procedures are followed when conducting inspections to enforce the Occupational Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens Standares

1,297 kb pdf

Police routinely risk exposure to infectious disease

Police, who guard against high-profile dangers such as bullets and knives, say the threat from bites and spit that might carry HIV, hepatitis B or other infectious diseases concerns them almost as much.

 

Policy Statements Adopted by the Governing Council of the American Public Health Ass. 1999

Policies Adopted

486 kb pdf

Post-exposure management of occupational exposure to blood-borne pathogens Adobe PowerPoint presentation 464 kb

PREVALENCE OF HEPATITIS C ANTIBODIES IN CLINICAL HEALTH-CARE WORKERS

Health-care workers are known to be at risk from occupational transmission of blood-borne viruses, including hepatitis C. There may be serious implications following infection with hepatitis C including possible transmission to patients.

 

Preventing Needlestick Injuries in Health Care Settings

Health care workers who use or may be exposed to needles are at increased risk of needlestick injury. Such injuries can lead to serious or fatal infections with bloodborne pathogens such as hepatitis B virus, hepatitis C virus, or human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

 

Protocol for follow-up of Hepatitis C Virus exposure Protocol for the follow-up of healthcare workers exposed to hepatitis C virus is desperately needed, but limited data on occupational risk, transmission risk, and the benefits of therapy are hampering efforts  

Public Safety Employees' Prevalence of Hepatitis C Antibody in the State of Florida

This study was done to determine the prevalence of hepatitis C virus (Hepatitis C Virus) infection in the public safety employees in the State of Florida as an integral part of an Hepatitis C Virus awareness and education campaign.

 

Reused Needles Reportedly Infect Patients With Hepatitis C

A Brooklyn anesthesiologist reportedly infected at least 19 patients with hepatitis C by improperly reusing hypodermic needles

 

Risk of HIV and Other Blood-Borne Infections in the Cardiac Setting

Health care workers (HCWs) face a well-recognized risk of acquiring blood-borne pathogens in their workplace, in particular hepatitis B and C viruses (HBV/HBC) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

 

SOUTH CAROLINA IS SITE FOR HEPATITIS C EXPOSURE RISK SURVEY

"The per-positive exposure seroconversion risk for hepatitis B virus (HBV) approximates 30%, for hepatitis C virus (Hepatitis C Virus) 2%-3%, and for HIV 0.3%. Currently there is neither pre- nor post-exposure prophylaxis for Hepatitis C Virus exposures,"

 

State of Connecticut Workers & Compensation Commission

CONNECTICUT INTERLOCAL RISK MANAGEMENT AGENCY ADMINISTRATOR RESPONDENTS-APPELLEES

 

Surveillance of occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens in health care workers: the Italian national programme

Health care workers (HCWs) face a serious risk of acquiring bloodborne infections, in particular hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (Hepatitis C Virus), and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), all of which are associated with significant morbidity and mortality.

 

THE MEDICAL FEE SCHEDULE UNDER THE WORKERS’ COMPENSATION LAW Workers’ compensation in Hawaii, as established under the Workers’ Compensation Law, Chapter 386, Hawaii Revised Statutes, has three major components. They are indemnity, lost time, and medical care. Each of these components has specific costs that are commonly associated with the phrase “the price of workers’ compensation.” “Indemnity” costs refer to the lump-sum payments workers receive for permanent damage incurred as a result of an injury at work. “Lost time” refers to payments made to injured workers in the form of temporary disability. Finally, the third component, and subject of this study is medical care. The medical care component encompasses the costs incurred for all medical care received by injured workers. The cost to the employer comes in the form of an insurance premium that will provide the employee the benefits required by law. Pdf 108 kb

The NIH Consensus Conference on the Management of Hepatitis C

The National Institutes of Health convened the second Management of Hepatitis C Consensus Development Conference on June 10, 2002 in Bethesda, Maryland. The first Management of Hepatitis C Consensus Conference was held in March 1997 that established the current approaches that are utilized in the management and care of Hepatitis C Virus. The statement that will be issued as a result of this meeting will have far reaching affects and consequences to the management, care and treatment of hepatitis C and is therefore of extreme importance to the community.

 

The rate of transmission to susceptible health care workers

Gives probability rates

 

Updated list of WC Agency Websites

Web sites for Workers Compensation Agencies in USA

 

Violence, Occupational Hazards in Hospitals

Where to expect violence in health care setting

 

VIRAL HEPATITIS SURVEILLANCE PROGRAM-1993

Report from CDC

 

Work Injuries and Illnesses Occurring to Women

Women’s job related injuries and fatalities are substantially below those of men, largely because of their lower proportions in high-risk industries and occupations. As more and more women take high-risks jobs, however, the possibility exists that their risk of injury and death will increase

43 kb pdf

Worker's Compensation Too often, employers and insurance carriers are able to avoid their responsibility to injured workers simply because the workers do not know their rights under the Workers' Compensation Act. Next to being aware of the hazards of your particular workplace, the most important weapon you can have to protect yourself in the event of a work-related injury or fatality is your knowledge of your rights under the Workers' Compensation Act.  

 

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