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Florida 353 articles

New reporting requirements could mean fewer work-related deaths and injuries

Working on the Wall

The New Year brought a significant change to the American workplace as new, stricter rules went into effect January 1 designed to reduce work-related deaths and injuries. In particular, the new regulations mandate employers report all work-related amputations, eye loss, and in-patient hospitalizations of workers within 24 hours. Under the old rules, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) required employers only to report fatalities on the job and accidents in which three or more workers were injured. Employers are expected to report work-related deaths within eight hours under the new rules. “We believe the updated reporting requirements are not simply ... Read More

Families of workers killed in 2013 Peru helicopter crash seek $110 million

helicopter crash, Peru - image courtesy KXL News

PORTLAND, Ore. – More families of workers killed in a 2013 helicopter crash while exploring for petroleum in Peru have filed wrongful-death lawsuits in Multnomah County, Ore., Circuit Court. The lawsuits, which now amount to six after two additional suits were filed this week, collectively seek $110 million in damages against Aurora, Ore.-based Columbia Helicopters, Columbia Helicopters Leasing, and Boeing Co., which manufactured the chopper. The Boeing-Vertol Model 234 cargo helicopter, a civilian model of the Chinook helicopter with tandem rotors used by the military, broke apart for unknown reasons in the air on Jan. 7, 2013. The helicopter crashed ... Read More

U.S. intervenes in two whistleblower lawsuits against Florida heart clinic chain

whistleblower

The U.S. government will become actively involved in two whistleblower lawsuits against a Florida cardiologist and his clinic, alleging that they billed Medicare for medically unnecessary heart procedures and lured new patients with inappropriate kickbacks. According to the U.S. Justice Department, Dr. Asad Qamar and his physician group, the Institute of Cardiovascular Excellence (ICE), performed excessive and unnecessary peripheral artery interventional procedures and other treatments on Medicare patients. One of the whistleblower lawsuits alleges that Dr. Qamar routinely encouraged patients to undergo the unneeded procedures by waiving their 20 percent Medicare copayment regardless of financial hardship. The Institute of Cardiovascular ... Read More

Investigators clear Florida whistleblower accused of creating hostile work environment

osha whistle

NORTH PORT, Fla. – Lawyers hired to investigate a whistleblower accused by some City of North Port, Fla., workers of creating a hostile work environment have cleared the accused employee of wrongdoing. According to Sarasota’s WWSB, Rich Tirado, an aquatics technician for the city, claimed the investigation was ordered in retaliation for him blowing the whistle on a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) test cheating scandal. Last fall, Mr. Tirado claimed that city workers were given the answers to an emergency management test required by FEMA. He reported his concerns about the fraud to the City Manager, who turned the ... Read More

Investigators to meet with 7-year-old sole survivor of Kentucky airplane crash

airplane propeller

Federal air crash investigators planned to meet with a 7-year-old girl who was the sole survivor of an airplane crash that killed her parents, sister, and a cousin in Kentucky late Friday night, hoping to find more clues about went wrong. Sailor Gutzler told authorities she thought her family was dead but hoped they were just sleeping after she freed herself from the wreckage and walked nearly a mile through dense woods at night to find help. Sailor had been flying home to Nashville, Ill., with her father, Marty Gutzler, 48, mother Kimberly Gutzler, 46, sister Piper Gutzler, 9, and cousin ... Read More

U.S. government, whistleblowers sue Omnicare over illegal nursing home kickbacks

whistleblower

The U.S. government has joined a pair of whistleblower lawsuits against Omnicare Inc., the nation’s largest provider of prescription drugs and pharmacy consulting services to nursing homes, alleging the company received several million dollars in illegal kickbacks from Abbott Laboratories in exchange for pushing its drug Depakote on nursing home patients with dementia. Federal regulations designed to protect nursing home residents from unnecessary drugs require nursing home facilities to retain consulting pharmacists such as those provided by Omnicare to ensure that patients receive appropriate drug prescriptions. Sometimes, however, consulting pharmacists and the companies they work for are corrupted by inappropriate ... Read More

Listeria illnesses, deaths linked to Happy Apples Company prepackaged caramel apples

Happy Apples caramel apples

Happy Apples Company of Washington, Mo., is recalling its prepackaged caramel apples after the products were found to be the source of a listeria monocytogenes outbreak that sickened 29 and killed five in 10 states. All 29 people who were sickened were hospitalized, and nine of the illnesses occurred in pregnant women. The recall comes about a week after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a warning to consumers not to eat prepackaged caramel apples as it investigated which commercially made brands were responsible for the outbreak. Though the apples are most popular around Halloween, the CDC ... Read More

BMW, Fiat Chrysler join automakers expanding Takata airbag recalls

Takata airbag - image source alexauto321, wikicommons

BMW and Fiat Chrylser Automobiles announced this week they are expanding Takata airbag recalls to include more of their vehicles. The automakers join Ford, Nissan and Honda in widening the scope of the recall, which involves a potentially deadly airbag defect. The inflator in the Takata airbags may malfunction, causing the airbag to inflate with excessive force, literally exploding and sending bits of shrapnel into the automobile cabin. The defect has been linked to at least five deaths and multiple injuries. Tokyo-based Takata is one of the world’s largest automotive suppliers. It manufactures airbags, safety belts, steering wheels and other ... Read More

Injuries from Takata exploding airbags often resemble bullet and knife wounds

Takata airbag - image source alexauto321, wikicommons

Motorists injured by exploding airbags made by Japanese supplier Takata often look like they have been stabbed or shot, CNN reported, citing police who responded to emergencies involving the potentially deadly airbags. In September 2013, Police who first arrived at the scene of a minor car accident in Alhambra, Calif., thought that the driver, Hai Ming Xu, had sustained a gunshot to the face. But Mr. Hai wasn’t the victim of foul play. He was simply maneuvering his 2002 Acura TL in the parking lot of a restaurant where he worked when he accidentally struck the wall of an adjoining ... Read More

Auburn University study finds the BP oil spill may plague state for years to come

tar ball - WSFA

Oil and tar from BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill is still trapped in the sand along Alabama’s Gulf beaches four and a half years later, a new study by Auburn University researchers has found. The study may not come as a surprise to the residents of coastal Alabama who frequent the beaches, but it does demonstrate that the oil from the BP disaster is not as quick to degrade as some scientists expected. It’s also another sign that Gulf Coast hasn’t returned to normal the way BP’s television ads have suggested. Many beachgoers might be surprised to find much of ... Read More