Author Archives: afscme

Dying on the Job in Mississippi: Lack of Adequate Protection for Injured Workers Hurts Families and Communities

Source: Deborah Berkowitz, National Employment Law Project (NELP), December 2017

From the introduction:
Every day, more than a million workers in Mississippi head to work to support their families and communities. They work in industries such as shipbuilding, catfish and poultry processing, steel mills, retail, construction, agriculture, healthcare, auto manufacturing, and furniture and wood products manufacturing. Many of these jobs can be dangerous—where job hazards cause serious injuries. In fact, Mississippi workers face one of the highest on-the-job fatality rates of any state in the nation. Furthermore, Mississippi workers suffer hundreds of severe injuries every year and face a workers’ compensation system where benefits are so low that injured workers and their families are at risk of falling into poverty.

Keeping State Lottery Revenue Alive

Source: Olivia Berlin and Jackson Brainerd, LegisBrief, Vol. 25, No. 35, September 2017
(subscription required)

Did you know?
– Education receives the majority of dedicated state lottery revenues.
– Lotteries were illegal in every state in the country until 1964.
– Instant scratch ticket games are generally state lotteries’ most popular product.

For the 44 states that have them, state lotteries represent a small but valuable source of revenue. On average, about 1 percent of state revenue comes from lotteries. Sometimes that money goes into the general budget, but most legislatures use it to fund certain projects, like schools, senior services or environmental protection. In crafting the current state budget, West Virginia lawmakers used some lottery money to fund Medicaid, rather than raise other taxes to cover that cost. …

Related:
State Revenues from Gambling: Short-Term Relief, Long-Term Disappointment
Source: Lucy Dadayan, Rockefeller Institute of Government, Blinken Report, April 2016

Violence against emergency medical services personnel: A systematic review of the literature

Source: Brian J. Maguire, Peter O’Meara, Barbara. O’Neill, and Richard Brightwell, American Journal of Industrial Medicine, Early View, November 27, 2017
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Background
Violence against emergency medical services (EMS) personnel is a growing concern. The aim of this systematic review is to synthesize the current literature on violence against EMS personnel.

Methods
We examined literature from 2000 to 2016. Eligibility criteria included English-language, peer-reviewed studies of EMS personnel that described violence or assaults. Sixteen searches identified 2655 studies; 25 studies from nine countries met the inclusion criteria.

Results
The evidence from this review demonstrates that violence is a common risk for EMS personnel. We identified three critical topic areas: changes in risk over time, economic impact of violence and, outcomes of risk-reduction interventions. There is a lack of peer reviewed research of interventions, with the result that current intervention programs have no reliable evidence base.

Conclusions
EMS leaders and personnel should work together with researchers to design, implement, evaluate and publish intervention studies designed to mitigate risks of violence to EMS personnel.

Precarious schedules linked with workplace aggression in a high-risk occupation

Source: David A. Hurtado, Lisset M. Dumet, Samuel A. Greenspan, Miguel Marino and Kimberly Bernard, American Journal of Industrial Medicine, Early View, November 21, 2017
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Introduction
Night work and prolonged work hours increase the risk for workplace aggression, however, the risk related to precarious schedules remains unknown.

Methods
Cross-sectional study among Parole Probation Officers (PPOs) (n = 35). A precarious schedules index was created including the following indicators (a) experiencing one or more unexpected shifts during the last 4 weeks; (b) having minimal control over work hours; and (c) shifts notifications of less than a week. Generalized Poisson Regressions estimated the association between precarious schedules and self-reported client-based aggressive incidents (verbal, threating, property, or physical) during the last 12 months.

Results
Workplace aggression was highly prevalent (94.3%). PPOs who experienced precarious schedules (74.3% prevalence) had an adjusted rate of workplace aggression 1.55 times greater than PPOs without precarious schedules (IRR = 1.55, 95% CI 1.25, 1.97, P < 0.001). Conclusions Precarious schedules were associated with workplace aggression. Further research ought to examine whether improving schedule predictability may reduce client-based aggression.

Workplace violence injury in 106 US hospitals participating in the Occupational Health Safety Network (OHSN), 2012-2015

Source: Matthew R. Groenewold, Raymond F.R. Sarmiento, Kelly Vanoli, William Raudabaugh, Susan Nowlin and Ahmed Gomaa, American Journal of Industrial Medicine, OnlineFirst, November 20, 2017
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Background
Workplace violence is a substantial occupational hazard for healthcare workers in the United States.

Methods
We analyzed workplace violence injury surveillance data submitted by hospitals participating in the Occupational Health Safety Network (OHSN) from 2012 to 2015.

Results
Data were frequently missing for several important variables. Nursing assistants (14.89, 95%CI 10.12-21.91) and nurses (8.05, 95%CI 6.14-10.55) had the highest crude workplace violence injury rates per 1000 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers. Nursing assistants’ (IRR 2.82, 95%CI 2.36-3.36) and nurses’ (IRR 1.70, 95%CI 1.45-1.99) adjusted workplace violence injury rates were significantly higher than those of non-patient care personnel. On average, the overall rate of workplace violence injury among OHSN-participating hospitals increased by 23% annually during the study period.

Conclusion
Improved data collection is needed for OHSN to realize its full potential. Workplace violence is a serious, increasingly common problem in OHSN-participating hospitals. Nursing assistants and nurses have the highest injury risk.

Multi–source surveillance for work-related crushing injuries

Source: Joanna Kica and Kenneth D. Rosenman, American Journal of Industrial Medicine, First published: 4 December 2017
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Background
Work-related crushing injuries are serious but preventable. For 2013 through 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (SOII) reported 1260 crushing injuries in Michigan. In 2013, Michigan initiated multi-data source surveillance of work-related crushing injuries.

Methods
Records from all 134 of Michigan’s hospitals/emergency departments (EDs), the Workers Compensation Agency (WCA) and Michigan’s Fatality Assessment Control and Evaluation (MIFACE) program were used to identify work-related crushing injuries. Companies, where individuals were hospitalized or had an ED visit for a crushing injury, potentially had an OSHA enforcement inspection conducted.

Results
From 2013 through 2015, there were 3137 work-related crushing injury incidents, including two fatalities. The Michigan OSHA program completed inspections at 77 worksites identified by the surveillance system.

Conclusion
The Michigan multisource surveillance system identified two and a half times more crushing injuries than BLS and was useful for initiating case-based enforcement inspections.

Consumption Taxes, Income Taxes, and Revenue Sensitivity: States and the Great Recession

Source: Howard Chernick, Cordelia Reimers, Public Finance Review, OnlineFirst, Published November 30, 2017

From the abstract:
This article uses an income-distributional approach to state tax sensitivity to examine the assumption that consumption taxes are more stable than income taxes. We estimate the 2007 to 2009 change in tax revenues as a function of state income distributions and tax burdens by income class. We estimate tax burdens as a function of income tax shares and consumption tax shares. We then simulate the change in tax revenues with tax shares at the national average. If high-income-tax states were to lower their reliance on this tax, the revenue decline during the recession would have been greater. For high consumption tax states, the revenue decline under higher income tax shares would have been smaller. Had they shifted toward consumption taxes, income tax reliant states would not have reduced the cyclical sensitivity of tax revenues during the Great Recession. The interaction between tax burdens and recession shocks by income class is key to these results.

An anti-poverty effort created jobs but didn’t fix inequality

Source: Alex Shashkevich, Futurity, November 2, 2017

New research examines former President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty initiative in the 1960s and its legacy in American cities.

In an article in the Journal of Urban History, historian Claire Dunning argues that New Careers, one of Johnson’s lesser-known anti-poverty programs, and the theory behind it contributed to the growth of the nonprofit sector across the United States, but also perpetuated inequality in urban areas. It’s a lesson, Dunning says, that should not be forgotten…..

…..New Careers, which existed between the mid-1960s and early 1970s, awarded grants to a large swath of nonprofit sector organizations, which included large hospitals and schools, as well as small community daycares and health clinics, to create new human services positions for local workers who lacked professional training.

Dunning’s research shows that while New Careers created between 250,000 and 400,000 nonprofessional jobs, according to some estimates, it also inspired a wider approach to creating entry-level jobs in the human services fields. Those jobs—predominantly taken by African-African and Latina women who were typically excluded from contemporary job programs designed for men, like manufacturing—were low wage and without the promised career advancement that eager officials advertised, Dunning says…..

Related:

New Careers for the Poor: Human Services and the Post-Industrial City
Source: Claire Dunning, Journal of Urban History, First Published August 26, 2017
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
In the 1960s, a new and popular theory of “new careers” proposed to address urban poverty and deindustrialization by growing the human services sector and hiring so-called nonprofessional workers to aid the delivery of those services. This strategy gained traction in social scientific, philanthropic, and bureaucratic circles and shaped Great Society legislation, which allocated federal grants to create entry-level jobs and professionalizing career ladders in the fields of health, education, and welfare. The implementation of this strategy had consequences for the human service organizations that received federal funds, as well as for the people hired into the new positions. Instead of building ladders to professional employment, efforts produced dead-end positions that left the predominantly African American women hired as aides in poverty. Even as the new careers experiment helped usher in a post-industrial economy, it reinforced the stratification of the labor market along lines of race, gender, and credentials.

Sexual Harassment and our Undemocratic Workplaces

Source: Andrew Strom, On Labor blog, November 27, 2017

…. In many cases there are no witnesses to the offending conduct, and rank-and-file workers generally have little reason to believe that top management will take their word over the word of a supervisor. A union grievance procedure at least gives workers an opportunity to appeal to a neutral decision maker. But in a non-union setting, it is rare, if not unheard of, for an internal process to end with the equivalent of a truly independent judge or jury.

Providing training about “dos” and “don’ts” is not going to end sexual harassment unless employers also take steps to democratize the workplace. At-will employment, the norm in most workplaces, creates an environment that makes harassment more likely. If workers can be disciplined or fired for any reason, they know that workplace survival depends upon currying favor with their boss. ….

…. If we wanted to stop a dictator from abusing the citizens of his country, we wouldn’t just give him a lecture about human rights. Instead, we would work to build democratic institutions in the country. But the basic elements of democracy that we take for granted in this country – the right to free speech, one person, one vote, the right to due process – are absent in most workplaces. If we as a society are committed to addressing the problem of sexual harassment in the workplace, it’s time to change that. ….