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Hospital bans holey Crocs

Hospital workers love their comfortable Crocs--those clog-style shoes with abundant ventilation that come in several bright colors.

Some detractors, on the other hand, think the hugely popular, rubber-like shoes are ugly.

At least one hospital is weighing in with a different opinion, and it has nothing to do with the shoes' comfort or style.

Mercy Hospital in Pittsburgh recently banned "the Beach," Croc Inc.'s most popular shoe style and other Croc-like shoes. The hospital fears that nurses and other hospital workers could injure themselves if they were to drop a syringe, because it could puncture the skin through the holes dotting the top of the shoe.

The hospital reportedly said that it has nothing in particular against the shoes that health care workers find ideal for long days spent on their feet. But the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires the hospital to protect its workers from environmental hazards, the facility says.

A solution may be on the way.

Niwot, Colo.-based Crocs has reportedly worked with a nurse association to develop a shoe without holes and made to withstand any punishment health care professionals could encounter.

Public scrutiny just part of the job, ruling says

A Pennsylvania public official can't blame the messenger for his psychological injuries.

Joseph Rosenfeld, a community affairs assistant working for the mayor of Allentown, Pa., filed a workers compensation claim alleging that negative news stories about him caused psychological injuries including weight fluctuation and fear of leaving his house.

About 30 stories in a local paper alleged that Mr. Rosenfeld obstructed the relocation of a bus terminal to financially benefit his family, court records show. The stories also alleged he used his employer's telephone and fax machines for personal use.

A doctor supported Mr. Rosenfeld's 1996 workers comp claim that the newspaper stories caused psychiatric disorders. The doctor said Mr. Rosenfeld would require counseling to prevent post-traumatic stress disorder and depression that left him unable to work, court records show.

But a workers compensation judge, a workers comp appeals board and the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania all sided with Mr. Rosenfeld's employer, the City of Allentown, and denied his claim late last month.

Even if the news stories were misguided, as Mr. Rosenfeld contended, unfounded negative press scrutiny is a normal part of working as a public employee, especially one with a community affairs role, the appeals court stated.

Skip the meat and earn a premium discount

Brits who would take a newspaper-wrapped batch of fish and chips over other traditional Anglo fare like bangers or shepherd's pie may be eligible for a discount on their life insurance.

U.K.-based Animal Friends Insurance Services Ltd. recently announced it would take up to 10% off the premiums of vegetarians and fish-eaters because they are less likely to suffer from a range of chronic illnesses, including some cancers.

"The risk of vegetarians suffering from some cancers is reduced by up to 40% and from heart disease by up to 30%, but despite this they have to pay the same life insurance premiums as meat-eaters," AFI Managing Director Elaine Fairfax said in a statement.

"When it comes to life insurance, we believe that insurers should start to look at meat-eaters and nonmeat-eaters in a similar way to the way they look at smokers and nonsmokers," she added. "Hopefully others in the industry will follow our lead."

AFI, which puts its profits toward animal charities worldwide, writes coverage for pets in addition to its life insurance offering for humans.

Surveillance catches oily truth

A woman slipped up on her alleged attempt to scam a supermarket last week when the store's surveillance system caught her opening a bottle of olive oil and drizzling in on the floor just minutes before she faked a fall.

Luis Diaz, owner of the Neighbors Food Market in Sunrise, Fla., said he got suspicious after viewing a tape of the woman's fall and saw that she fell forward and not back. "When you slip, you usually fall back," he said.

He rewound the tape and saw that she poured oil on the floor, left that aisle for several minutes and returned to stage her fall. When a worker tried to help the woman up, she fell again. "She made a scene about it--had the ambulance come and everything."

Mr. Diaz said he purchased the $30,000 video recording system about six months ago and initially had doubts. "I thought, this is a lot of money," he said. "But it paid off in the end because right now, I could be getting sued."

Contributing: Roberto Ceniceros, Louise Esola, Joanne Wojcik