Archive for December, 2014

2015 OSHA regulations shorten notification period to 24 hours

December 23, 2014 Leave a comment

hardhatConstruction companies will face stricter federal injury and accident reporting requirements next year, as the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) aims to improve jobsite safety and enhance tracking and analysis of worksite injuries. Beginning January 1st, 2015, construction employees and contractors must report all jobsite fatalities, hospitalizations, amputations and eye injuries to OSHA within 24 hours. Worksite fatalities must be reported within eight hours. The new law revises current regulations, under which employers are only required to notify OSHA in the event of a worksite fatality or an accident that sends three or more employees to the hospital. Under the new laws, OSHA officials expect to see an increase in the number of reported injuries and gather more detail into the specific causes of these accidents. Doing so will help improve risk analysis and mitigation strategies on construction sites. Read more…

TRIA expiration two weeks away as Senate fails to reauthorize bill

December 18, 2014 1 comment

terrorismTRIA Set to Expire on December 31, 2014  Senate Fails to Reauthorize
The insurance industry and policyholders of TRIA coverage were shocked by the news that the U.S. Senate failed to reauthorize the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (“TRIA”) before the 113th Session of Congress adjourned for the year at midnight on December 16th.

What does this mean for buyers of insurance?
Since the Senate failed to either extend or reauthorize TRIA, the backstop it automatically provided to insurance Carriers will cease as of December 31, 2014. However, some Carriers have provided buyers with policies that contained special provisions would continue to provide the coverage in the event that TRIA expired and that continues through the end of the policy period. While it’s unclear how the industry will respond during the coming year, certain Carriers have stated that they will continue to provide coverage, even without a formal provision in effect. Read more…

HIPAA disclosure laws: understanding the “standard of minimum necessity”

December 15, 2014 Leave a comment

hipaaEarlier this year, reports surfaced of a hospital employee facing criminal charges for violating HIPAA privacy requirements, prompting discussion about the intense scrutiny and punishment being handed down by courts in these cases. The HIPAA Privacy Rule regulates the use and disclosure of Protected Health Information (PHI) held by covered entities and gives patients an array of rights with respect to that information. But at the same time, the rule also permits the disclosure of health information (without a patient’s express written authorization) that may be needed for patient care and other important purposes, such as law enforcement purposes or to facilitate treatment, payment and health care operations. In light of the recent Ebola outbreak in West Africa and the subsequent infection of U.S. and other foreign aid workers with the disease, it’s important for hospitals, physicians and other health care providers across the country to familiarize themselves with these specific exceptions to the law. Read more…

FDA delays generic drug label warning update

December 11, 2014 Leave a comment

fdaThe U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s final rule on generic drug label warning regulations won’t be published until late next year, according to last month’s announcement from the federal agency. Since late 2013, FDA officials have collected feedback on a proposal to grant generic drug manufacturers permission to update product labels independently with new safety information without having to wait until the brand-name counterpart drug makes similar changes. Due to intense interest and a great deal of public input from various industry groups, the FDA pushed the decision back from this month until September 30th, 2015. The proposal has ignited heavy debate between plaintiff’s lawyers and the pharmaceutical industry, since the decision would overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2011 ruling in Pilva v. Mensing, which limited the liability of generic manufacturers. Under the Mensing decision, generic drug labels are required to match brand name products, which shields generic makers from failure-to-warn suits since they have little control over what safety information is provided to patients. Read more…

Body cameras in healthcare

December 8, 2014 Leave a comment

dr_cameraMuch of the post-Ferguson conversation has been around cameras that might be mounted on more police officers.  Already in use in some places for the protection of the public (and sometimes, the police) from false reporting of crimes, these cameras are not limited to improving security.

Fans of author David Eggers may recall that in his recent novel The Circle (an internet age 1984 story), the fictional combo Amazon/Google monster known as The Circle mounts cameras on all of its employees. From there, it moves on to bringing truth (or at least truthiness) to the political sphere when politicians try to outdo each other for the title of “most transparent” by agreeing to wear cameras provided by The Circle.  Needless to say, this puts immense power in the hands of the three mysterious founders of The Circle, and drama and sadness follow. Read more…

5 facts to know about the MA Paid Sick Leave Law

December 4, 2014 Leave a comment

sickLast month, Massachusetts became the third state to require statewide paid sick leave, along with California and Connecticut. Beginning July 1, 2015, all private and public sector employers must provide employees with up to 40 hours of sick leave per calendar year. Read on for five important action items for employers to consider in preparation for the new law.

  1. Determine whether or not your employees will be entitled to paid or unpaid sick leave
    Employers with 11 or more employees are required to provide paid sick leave, while those with less than 11 employees must offer unpaid sick leave. While the law requires employers to include all full-time, part-time and temporary employees, it does not provide specifics about how these calculations should be performed. Read more…

Employers beware: Eurozone labor shortage continues to grow

December 1, 2014 Leave a comment

worldwideDuring a conversation at the Fall WBN (Worldwide Brokers Network) meeting in Santiago, Chile last month, one of my German colleagues spoke about the challenges some of his clients experienced as they expanded their business into the country. Facing severe labor shortages and the challenge to retain older workers, Germany ranks among the top countries struggling against a tightening labor market.

According to data from the German Chamber of Commerce, 1 in 4 German companies have a lack of skilled personnel, particularly engineers, IT, telecom specialists and software developers. As an increasing number of baby boomers depart the workforce, many national economies are dealing with worker shortages in a myriad of industries and markets. The demographic in Germany however, has been especially aggravated due to the implementation of recent retirement laws. Last May, German lawmakers passed major pension reforms, allowing employees who have contributed to the state pension system for 45 years to retire early at 63 without deductions.  Critics say the overhaul made little economic sense in the countries’ rapidly aging population, and leaves companies struggling with the premature exit of skilled, experienced workers. Read more…