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Regional OSHA Campaign Targets Amputation Hazards In Factories

In 2015, U.S. labor officials received reports of more than 2,600 amputations sustained by workers across the country. The alarming number of U.S. workers receiving painful and debilitating injuries every year prompted the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to launch a targeted enforcement campaign in four states where accidental workplace amputations run high: Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas. OSHA’s targeted enforcement efforts take aim at the manufacturing industry, where 57 percent of the nation’s on-the-job amputations occurred last year. The agency’s goal is to inspect manufacturing facilities, enforce safety regulations, and hold employers responsible for protecting workers and reducing ... Read More

Early SCOTUS Statements Indicate Whistleblower Win In State Farm Fraud Case

The U.S. Supreme Court justices made statements Nov. 1 indicating the high court is unlikely to toss a jury verdict against State Farm in a False Claims Act lawsuit filed by a pair of whistleblowers who accused the insurer of defrauding the federal government by misclassifying wind damage caused by Hurricane Katrina as flood damage. Sisters Cori and Kerri Rigsby filed the whistleblower lawsuit on behalf of the U.S. government in 2006. The Rigsbys formerly worked for an Alabama contractor hired to assess property damage after the disastrous 2005 hurricane. Their complaint alleges the Bloomington, Ill.-based insurance company attempted to stick the ... Read More

SC Church Hit With Civil Violations, No Criminal Charges After Deadly bus Crash

The South Carolina church that owns a bus that crashed in North Carolina Sept. 17, killing four people and injuring 42 others, won’t face any criminal charges but remains on the hook for a number of civil violations. The charter bus, registered to Sandy River Baptist Church of Chester, S.C., was carrying football players from a religious football organization when it blew a tire and crashed on Highway 74 near Hamlet, N.C. Driver Brian Andre Kirkpatrick, who was among those killed in the crash, lost control of the 1993 MCI Motor Coach bus when the tire blew out. The vehicle veered into ... Read More

Three Girls Tumble From Top of Ferris Wheel At Tennessee Fair

Three girls tumbled 35 to 40 feet from near the top of a Ferris wheel Monday night at the Greene County Fair in Greeneville, Tenn. The three girls, reportedly from two families, were spilled from their cart after it apparently failed to pivot as it ascended. All three were rushed to a Johnson City, Tenn., hospital, two by ambulance and one by helicopter. They are in serious condition but were responsive Monday night. One witness told Johnson City’s WJHL News Channel 11 that “It was like watching water pouring from a glass.” They bounced off the metal bridging of the ... Read More

PPIs are overused in hospitals and nursing homes in spite of increasing risk for C. difficile infection

According to the CDC, Clostridium difficile (or C. difficile) infection, or “deadly diarrhea,” caused close to half a million illnesses in one year, and one in 11 people age 65 or older died within a month of being diagnosed with the disease. The disease caused 15,000 deaths in one year. C. difficile is known as a health care-associated infection, with the highest risk being in hospitals and nursing homes. Adults 65 and older are at higher risk as well as those who are on antibiotics. Under the prevention of C. difficile, the CDC lists “Improve prescribing of antibiotics” along with isolating ... Read More

Study Supports Association Between Low-Level Benzene Exposure and Blood Cancers

In a study published by the British Journal of Cancer, researchers assessed the risk of developing lymphohematopoietic cancers (leukemias or lymphomas) in 25,000 offshore oil industry workers occupationally exposed to low levels of benzene. Many reports have suggested that benzene is toxic to the blood and may lead to blood cancers at low concentrations, from .2 parts per million (ppm) to 10 ppm. The results of the study supports the association between low-level benzene exposure and the risk of myeloid leukaemia (AML), multiple myeloma (MM) and chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Researchers note, “There was evidence of a dose-related risk pattern according to ... Read More

High Levels of Diacetyl Found in the Air at a Small Coffee Roasting Plant

When diacetyl and 2,3 pentanedione (a diacetyl substitute) was tested for in the air at a small coffee roasting plant, the levels were shockingly high, according to a study published last year by Toxicology Reports, an online journal. According to the study, green unroasted coffee beans contain little to no diacetyl or 2,3-pentanedione. It’s the roasting process that plumes the toxicity into the air, and if a facility doesn’t have proper ventilation, the concentrations could prove to be health-damaging. A second study published by Toxicology Reports by some of the same authors simulated a coffee-shop setting where the exposure to both the barista and ... Read More

Big Pharma spending billions on direct-to-consumer drug advertising

In a recent article on drug advertising, STAT analyzed data from Kantar Media, Nielsen, and iSpot.tv market reports. STAT noted that the data neglected to include the hundreds of millions of dollars spent on digital ads and social media, focusing on the list price of TV and print ads, as it is more difficult to isolate costs in these new advertising categories. “Pharma companies know who they’re going after, and they really focus on reaching those people,” Timothy Calkins, a marketing professor at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, told STAT. Based on the results of the data, top drug ... Read More

Bloomberg settles overtime class action for $3.2M after allegedly breaking FLSA regulations

A Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) class action against financial media giant Bloomberg settled this week for a total of $3.2 million, allowing its employees that did not receive overtime pay in the past to receive due compensation. Common protocol within the FLSA allows employees working in excess of 40 hours a week to earn time-and-a-half. According to plaintiff Shervez Jackson, a Bloomberg employee from 2008 until 2010 working in customer service, the company typically required her to work 10 additional hours than what she was being compensated for. The complaint alleged Bloomberg also expected Jackson to arrive at work early, ... Read More

Whistleblower retaliation suit against Oregon counseling center bound for trial

A Klamath County, Ore., Circuit Court judge rejected a motion for a summary judgement made by a substance-abuse treatment facility seeking to resolve a $4.4-million whistleblower lawsuit filed by a former counselor alleging she was demoted in retaliation for calling out the sexual abuse of patients. According to the (Medford, Oregon) Mail Tribune, Judge Dan Bunch denied the motion by OnTrack and its director, Rita Sullivan, saying the motives and intents presented in the lawsuit could only be settled by a jury. The whistleblower retaliation lawsuit was filed by former OnTrack counselor Chavala Bates, who accused a fellow counselor of ... Read More