Articles Posted in Workers Compensation

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Certain highway safety initiatives across the country are likely to be affected by the federal government shutdown, which is currently in effect. While some agencies that are responsible for auto safety are likely to be negatively impacted, others that are responsible for trucking safety, fortunately, may escape unscathed.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is one of those agencies that is expected to be affected by the shutdown and resulting lack of funding. This is the federal agency that is responsible for highway safety activities across the country, and therefore, this is one shutdown that has the potential to affect the safety of motorists and passengers.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration may be forced to cut several employees as part of the furloughs. That in turn, could also impact not only highway safety, but also trucking safety to a certain extent, because the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also regulates trucking equipment.

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Last year, there was a significant drop in the number of workers killed in accidents and worksites across Georgia.In 2012, there was a 23% drop in workplace deaths compared to the previous year.

The data was released by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.In 2012, there were a total of 33 workplace fatalities across the state.Just two weeks ago, the Georgia Department of Labor had estimated the number of fatalities at Georgia worksites at 30, and new figures by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration now peg the final number at 33.That number is still significantly lower than the 43 fatalities that were recorded in 2011.This is good news to all Georgians, and also our Atlanta workers comp attorneys.

Out of the workplace fatalities that occurred in Georgia last year, 13 occurred in the construction sector, which invariably contributes to the highest number of workplace fatalities every year.The remaining fatalities included 16 deaths in the general industry, one in the maritime trade industry, and three in the agricultural sector.

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The presence of inspectors from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration at the doorstep is usually a cause for alarm for most Georgia employers.However, that may not be necessary. According to a new analysis, regular inspections by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration helps employers reduce their workers’ compensation claim costs, and may actually improve their bottom lines.

The research was co-authored by professors from Harvard Business School and the Haas School of Business at the University of California-Berkeley and Boston University. The researchers examined a number of workplace safety inspections that were conducted by the California branch of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and focused on the impact of these inspections on workers’ compensation claims and costs.

The study, titled Randomized Government Safety Inspections Reduce Worker Injuries with No Detectable Job Loss, found that when the Occupational Safety and Health Administration conducted safety inspections, it actually reduced the number of injuries that occurred in the workplace.Obviously, a reduced number of injuries also led to a reduced cost of workers’ compensation claims.

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Federal investigation officials are investigating a workplace accident in Atlanta, in which 2 people were killed after the piece of equipment they were working on, collapsed. Of course, family members of the persons who were killed are emotionally devastated. Unfortunately, as workers’ compensation attorneys know to well, Georgia’s worker’s compensation system is unlikely to provide the families with the level of financial assistance they need to move forward with their lives.

The accident occurred near midtown Atlanta, where the 2 men were working on a mobile lift in a 40-foot bucket.At some point, the lift became stuck.The men had been working on the exterior of an apartment building when the lift became stuck.As the workers attempted to move the lift, it collapsed on a concrete walkway.The 2 men were flung onto the ground, and sustained serious injuries.They were taken to the Grady Memorial Hospital, but succumbed to their injuries later.The victims included a 29-year-old man and a 42-year-old man. According to the Fulton County Medical Examiner’s Office, the 2 men died from injuries they sustained in the fall.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has begun an investigation into the accident.The lift was at a height of 40 feet, but the 2 men were not crushed by the machinery when they fell.

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A roofing company in Atlanta has been cited for failure to protect workers from fall hazards after an inspection by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.One of the significant causes of workers’ compensation claims are fall hazards. Workers’ comp attorneys regularly see claims involving significant personal injury arising out of fall incidents. The inspection and action by OSHA will likely prevent serious injuries to the workers on this job site. The company, Midsouth Steel Inc. of Atlanta is likely to face penalties of more than $184,000.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspectors found fall hazards during inspection of roofing work being performed at a site on Roosevelt Highway in Union City.The company had been constructing a recycling facility in Union City.According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the inspection was part of a local program to protect workers in the construction industry from fall accidents.

Inspectors found at least three willful violations, including exposure of the workers to fall hazards by allowing them to work at heights of 35 feet without requiring any fall protection, exceeding the load capacity of the aerial lift, and failure to provide for protection for all employees working on a steep roof.

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A worker in Kennesaw, Georgia was seriously injured in an electrocution accident last month.The man, a welder was in a bucket truck when the boom of the truck came in contact with a high-voltage overhead power line.It was a 4160 V power line, and the impact immediately resulted in serious electrical injuries to the man.He was rushed to the local hospital burn unit, and then transferred to a burn center in Augusta.

The man’s employer, Vulcan Materials and the Federal Mine Safety and Health Administration are investigating the work accident. In the event there is a personal injury claim against a third-party in addition to any workers’ compensation claim, the reports from these investigations will be vitally important. to the personal injury lawyer handling the case.

Many occupations require workers to be in close contact with high-voltage power lines.These workers include construction workers, mining workers, truck drivers, people in the tree trimming and tree service industry, and agricultural workers.Electrical utility workers are also often in close contact with power lines.However, the difference between electrical workers and other types of workers is that electrical utility workers are generally trained to identify the dangers of electrocution in their work, and avoid these dangers.Other types of workers may not have the benefit of such training.

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A new report suggests that federal data on construction accident injuries is likely flawed because of the widespread underreporting of these personal injuries.The report by the Center for Construction Research and Training is titled Injury under Reporting among Small Establishments in the Construction Industry.It has been published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine. Construction accidents often involve wrongful death and some of the most serious personal injuries. They are also a major source of workers comp claims in the United States.

According to the report, data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics may be inaccurate because it underestimates the actual number of construction workers who are injured every year.The data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics does not include self employed or federal construction workers injured in accidents every year.These workers constitute approximately 25% of the national construction workforce.Data that does not factor in construction accidents and injuries that involve a quarter of the national construction worker population, is likely to be inaccurate. Additionally, Atlanta Workers’ Compensation lawyers often find that small construction companies are likely to under report injuries, or fail to report these injuries.

According to the report, recent changes made by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to record-keeping procedures could also likely have contributed to underreporting of construction injuries.Between 2001 and 1995, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration made changes to its procedures, and has probably inadvertently encouraged underreporting such injuries.

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Every day in the United States, an average of two workers are killed as a result of workplace violence.In fact, the risk of suffering a personal injury in the workplace through assault or other acts of violence by a fellow worker, may have increased during these troubled economic times. Unfortunately for the families whose loved ones are killed, the workers comp system is not setup in a manner to provide an appropriate level of compensation.

Data suggests that the number of persons actually killed as a result of workplace violence has stayed more or less consistent over the past 14 years.According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 500 people died in 2010 due to workplace violence.There has been a lot of focus on preventing specific types of injuries in the workplace, like fall accidents or accidents involving machinery.Atlanta Workers’ Compensation lawyers find that there is little attention paid to the issue of workplace violence, and ways to prevent it.

Last month a workplace violence incident in California drew attention to this very serious safety issue.The incident occurred at the LehighSouthwest Cement Permanente Plant, where an employee opened fire on coworkers at a meeting.They were about 15 people at the meeting.Three of them were killed.At least six other people sustained injuries.There is no information yet about what caused this rampage.

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The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is likely to propose more than $55,000 in fines for an Alpharetta-based general contractor for a series of violations at a construction site in Tifton.Inspections conducted by the federal agency found that the contractor, GanawayContracting Co. Inc. of Alpharetta committed 14 safety violations. Companies with this many safety violations often face a high level of serious workers’ compensation claims.

The inspections were focused on identifying violations that increased the risk of workers suffering fall accidents in the construction industry.Overall, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited GanawayContracting Co. Inc. for repeat violations that included worker exposure to fall hazards. These type of construction accidents often result in the most significant workers’ compensation claims due to the severe personal injuries involved. Workers’ compensation attorneys have always advocated for toughpunishments of companies which repeatedly engage in unsafe practices.

Agency inspectors found that the company allowed workers to work from heights of above 15 feet without requiring any kind of fall protection, used ladders with missing or broken parts, and used ladders that did not sufficiently extend beyond the landing surface of the roof.The company also did not require workers to wear eye protection when they were performing critical tasks, like using pneumatic nail guns and electric drills.Repeat violations are issued when a company has earlier been cited for the same violations or similar violations.In this case, GanawayContracting Co. Inc. had been cited for similar violations in Alabama as well as in Oakwood, Georgia.

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When the Department of Labor and Industries makes a visit to a workplace, it leads to a dramatic increase not just in workplace safety standards, but also the company’s profits.

Researchers with the Safety and Health Assessment and Research for Prevention program used inspection data and workers’ compensation claims.The data came from the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries, and involved claims between 1998 and 2008.The researchers were pleasantly surprised to find that inspections by the Department of Labor and Industries automatically translated into a substantial reduction in Workers Compensation injury claims.There was also a reduction in the costs of claims after these inspection visits.These results were no surprise to workers’ compensation lawyers who have longed advocated for more frequent safety inspections.

That’s not all.The researchers also found that the greatest decrease in workers’ Workers’ Compensation claims came after an inspection resulted in a citation.The researchers found that when the inspection resulted in citations for workplace safety, there was a reduction of as much as 20% in worker injury claims, compared to work sites that were not subjected to an inspection.What’s more, the reduction in worker injury claims resulting from inspections also enhanced the company’s bottom line.