News Digest 1-16-2020


California: $512K opioid crisis-related grant for Mother Lode job training

California’s Mother Lode region has been awarded over a half-million dollars in federal funding to help mitigate the opioid crisis through job training. The funding is intended to provide employment and support services by paying for temporary workers in public or nonprofit organizations, supplementing training of new hires through on-the-job training, or paying for training and support services for those who want to become certified substance abuse counselors. The Central Sierra, Merced region and Humboldt County are the three workforce areas in the state identified as having high numbers of opioid fatalities.


California fireman injured in Oregon entitled to workers’ comp

A workers’ compensation judge has awarded a 72-year-old California fireman, who was injured in a hit-and-run crash in 2018 in Oregon, workers’ compensation. The fireman drove a water tender from California to assist firefighting in McKenzie Bridge and was walking across a highway after dark to get to his hotel room when a vehicle struck him and drove off. Register-Guard (Eugene, Ore.)


Virginia Beach City Council gets update on response to mass shooting

Nearly eight months since the mass shooting in Virginia Beach, Virginia, city council members were told nearly 500 employees filed workers’ compensation claims totaling almost $3 million in payouts, but the biggest impact continues to be to the workers themselves, many of whom are retiring in the wake of the shooting. WTKR (Norfolk, Va.) [with video]


New initiative seeks to expedite federal employees’ return-to-work

In 2018, 107,000 federal employees filed new workers’ compensation claims and received $3 billion in payments, according to the acting director of the Office of Management and Budget. In response, the new Protecting Employees, Enabling Reemployment Initiative tasks federal agencies, including the Postal Service, with developing specific strategies and goals to reduce injuries on the job and resulting time off of work. All agencies will also have to begin using the Labor Department’s electronic filing system, which OMB said would standardize the claims process and ease communication with injured employees. Government Executive


For public safety workers in Minnesota, PTSD among most expensive workers’ comp claims

Minnesota has offered post-traumatic stress disorder benefits since 2013 through workers’ compensation. The condition is the second-most expensive workers’ compensation claim for public safety workers in the state, just behind sprains and strains. About two-thirds of the PTSD claims are for lost time at work and one-third for medical expenses, the opposite of expenses for most workers’ comp claims. INFORUM