THE LEADER in Work Injury Management & Prevention Systems

 
Work Solutions Insight June 2016 Newsletter
 
Work Solutions Insight June 2016 Newsletter
Early Bird Pricing Ends July 15th!
 
DSI Conference
Speaker Spotlight
Scott Ege, PT
President of Ege WorkSmart Solutions in Rockford, IL and DSI Faculty.
Scott along with Curt DeWeese, PT and Debbie Reed, PT will be discussing how therapist can provide on-site injury prevention services using early intervention. Scott, Curt and Debbie met with key OSHA individuals in May 2015 in Washington, DC to discuss the OSHA First Aid Standard. Scott will be providing insight regarding what therapist can do on-site within the realm of first aid guidelines.
Legal Update
ADA Law Trumps Worker’s Compensation Guidelines
 
 -D. Wilson, PTA, Work Injury Specialist, Work Therapeutics, Inc
 

A case was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission vs. Cessna Aircraft Co., Civil Action No. 2:15-cv-01166-LA) on 9-29-15.

 

The case was filed when the EEOC charged the aircraft manufacturer rescinded job offers using Worker’s Compensation Guidelines without regard for the ADA guidelines.

 

The lawsuit is based on a group of workers whose job offers were rescinded when Cessna learned of their medical conditions.  Specifically, William Cote was offered a job as a mechanical inspector.  He passed his post offer medical exam, but advised Cessna that he was scheduled for outpatient surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome.  Cessna took the job offer back on the basis of the workers’ compensation estimate of average time for recovery from this surgery, despite his own physician’s report that he was able to work without restrictions. (The workers were not tested individually to determine if they could perform the essential function of the job.)

 

The EEOC felt this action is a violation of the ADA, which prohibits discrimination based on disability.  The ADA also prohibits use of qualification standards, such as compliance with workers compensation standards, which can screen out a person with a disability.*(1)   As of 2-18-16, Cessna was found to have violated the ADA law when they rescinded the jobs, and was required to pay $167,500 in fines and other fees.  Cessna’s use of the Worker’s Compensation guidelines as their primary standard for determining a disability, rather than the ADA standard was their mistake.  As well as, not testing potential workers to the essential functions of the job to see if they were able to perform them.*(2)

 

DSI Commentary:

 

Employers are not allowed to ask any questions of an applicant at the pre-offer status that is likely to reveal a medical disability or related past injuries.   Those type of    questions cannot be legally asked until post job offer.  It is increasingly critical that the job information employers obtain is job based and functional.   Employers need legally defensible documents that reveal if the potential new hire is capable of performing the job functions safely and if not, can a reasonable accommodation be applied.  Clearly in this instance and others like it, knowledge (of the job and the worker’s ability to perform it) is power.

Please visit our website for more information on function based job descriptions. 

 

 

*(1) U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission- Press Release 09/30/15

 

*(2) U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission- Press Release 02/18/16

 

Research Update
The Impact of Shift Work on the health of Workers

Shift Work:  The Impact on Worker’s Health

 

Shift work is defined as any work schedule that varies from the normal 6a – 6p.    

 

20 million people in the US perform shift work. (5)  There is strong evidence that suggest that workers who perform shift work for 15 – 20 years have increased risk for developing diseases and disorders that harm the body. (4)

 

Health care workers make up 30% of all shift workers in the U.S.; Industrial workers come in second at 27%.  (6)

 

These health problems appear to be rooted in the disruption of the circadian rhythm that occurs during shift work.  Studies have shown there are a 40% increase of the onset of cardiovascular disease; a 5% increase in risk of stroke for every 5 years of shift work; a significant 50% increase of the onset of Type II Diabetes, and a 50% increase in the diagnosis of breast cancer.  These same studies indicate cognitive deficits and even depression as the brain chemistry changes with circadian rhythm disruptions.  (4)

 

A study of the serum lipid levels in shift workers concluded there was an increase of 1.26 mmol/L in shift workers from 1.03 mmol/L of day workers - independent of dietary intake.  These findings are considered in the increased risk factors of coronary disease.  (1)

A study was conducted to analyze the prevalence of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) in a sample of nurses.  The conclusion was there was an increased risk of nurses who work night shift to be diagnosed with CFS at a ratio of 1,088 in 100,000.  The findings again point to a disruption in the circadian rhythm as relative.  (2)

The diagnosis of Shift Work Disorder is defined as a type of sleep disorder that occurs when a person is required to work when it is dark and sleep when it is light.  They are unable to synchronize their internal clocks to accommodate their work schedules.  A full 10% of shift workers suffer from this disorder that seriously impairs their ability to function safely. These individuals may suffer as well from one or more of the above listed health issues.  (3)

 

There is strong evidence linking individuals that perform shift work over long periods of time, with a higher risk of developing these negative health problems.   However, it should be noted, some research has indicated that in as little as 10 days of circadian disturbance that our health is negatively impacted. (4) 

How important is well rested and alert workers?  Consider the role that shift work and fatigue played in several major accidents in the past:

 

  • Exxon Valdes – occurred at 12:30 am
  • Chernobyl – occurred at 1:35 am
  • Three Mile Island – occurred at 3:30 am
  • Bhopal – occurred at 3:00 am
  • The Challenger – decision to launch at 2:00 am

 

With such profound findings, it is important for employers and employees to combat the negative side effects of shift work.  Consider educating shift workers in the following strategies:

 

  •  Sleep in a quiet, dark room
  • Use white noise (ex: a fan) to neutralize daytime sounds if needed
  • Turn off TV and phones
  • Sleep in a comfortable bed
  • Eat a healthy bed time snack containing healthy carbohydrates 
  • Follow a healthy diet, exercise and use relaxation techniques to manage stress (7)

These combined strategies can help shift workers achieve restful recovery sleep which may reduce the aforementioned health risks.

 -D. Wilson, PTA, Work Injury Specialist, Work Therapeutics, Inc.

 

 

 

(1)   The American Journal of Medicine, Vol 93, Issue 3, September 1992.

(2)   The American Journal of Medicine, Vol 105, Issue 3, Supplement 1; September 28, 1998

 

(3)   J Clin Psychiatry Vol. 73, March 2012

 

(4)   WebMD – www.webmd.com/shiftwork

 

(5)   United Electric, Radio –Machine Workers of America 1997-2016

 

(6)   Terance M. McMenamin – Monthly Labor Review – December 2007

 

(7)   Andy Wood, PT – presentation DSI National Conference, 2014

 DSI Work Solutions, Inc. | 270-245-1000 | 270-859-1808 | www.dsiworksolution.com
 
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