Spokane Man Charged with Stealing $113,271 in Workers’ Comp Benefits

Washington’s Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) charges that Doyle Ronald Wheeler, 36, of Spokane, Wash., collected benefits from 2008 to 2011 on a workplace-injury claim for a neck and back injury. L&I stopped benefit payments after an investigation determined that Wheeler was operating his own businesses – The Pensmith, Ammo Head Design and Ammo Head Hydrographics – while receiving the workers’ compensation benefits. “The Spokane Valley Voice wrote a story on Wheeler citing his business success while he was receiving time-loss benefits,” commented Elizabeth Smith, manager of L&I’s Fraud Prevention and Compliance Program. “This kind of fraud damages the system. It steals from everyone – taxpayers, employers who pay […]

ACOEM: Include Worker Health Information in Electronic Health Records

The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM) has some advice for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: ensure that worker health information is considered as part of electronic health records (EHRs). This can be accomplished, ACOEM said, by incentivizing physicians to add information about a patient’s work life as they build EHRs. “Approximately 140 million Americans are employed. Their health can affect their ability to work safely and productively, and in turn their jobs can affect their health,” said ACOEM President Karl Auerbach, M.D. “Although many vendors have developed specialized EHR systems for occupational medicine, EHRs for general group health have not typically included features related […]

BNSF Railway Takes Steps to Ensure Workers Can Report Injuries Without Fear of Retaliation

BNSF Railway Co. has signed an accord with OSHA to voluntarily revise the personnel policies OSHA claimed violated whistleblower provisions and discouraged workers from reporting on-the-job injuries. Section 20109 of the Federal Railroad Safety Act’s (FRSA) protects railroad workers from retaliation for, among other acts, reporting suspected violations of federal laws and regulations related to railroad safety and security, hazardous safety or security conditions and on-the-job injuries. The terms of BNSF’s accord with OSHA include: Changing BNSF’s disciplinary policy so that injuries no longer play a role in determining the length of an employee’s probation following a record suspension for a serious rule violation. As of Aug. 31, 2012, BNSF […]