Articles Posted in Workers Compensation

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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.

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An apprentice journeyman was killed in an electrocution accident in Americus, Georgia last month.According to news reports, the worker had been standing on a ladder when he came in contact with a live wire.He then fell 12 feet down the ladder.The man had been working for Inglett and Stubbs Electrical Construction Company.The construction accident will likely result in a workers’ compensation claim by his family.

The month of August also saw another fatal electrocution accident in Georgia.A Georgia Power Co. lineman was electrocuted when he came into contact with a power line near Brookfield.The worker and his colleagues were trying to restore power after a line was cut.At some point, the worker came in contact with a live line, and was electrocuted. These accidents are an ever present reminder of the need to increase the level of benefits provided to the family of workers killed by on-the-job accidents.

Almost every worker is exposed to some degree of electrical energy while working.However, some types of workers may be at a higher risk of electrical accidents and electrocutions, because of the nature of their work.For instance, electricians or lineman working for power companies are clearly exposed to greater electrical injury hazards that the average construction worker.

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According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics the number of workplace fatalities and workplace injuries in the Unites States has declined over the past year. Even with the nationwide institution of workers’ compensation statutes, which allow injured workers, or the heirs of workers killed while on the job, to recover for medical expenses that arise as a result of the injury, and a portion of weekly earnings lost as a result of the injury, a decrease in the number of workplace injuries and fatalities can only be good for workers. Or can it?

According to The Business Journals, the poor economy may have more of an impact on the decrease of workplace fatalities than anything else. Ironically, what should be a victory for workers across the United States may have actually come at their expense.

In 1970, the United States Congress created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The purpose of OSHA was to “ensure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance. Goal was to decrease the number of workplace fatalities and injuries.” In addition to the establishment of OSHA in 1970, several states have also instituted workers’ compensation laws that provide compensation to workers, or their families, who have either been injured or killed while on the job.

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A Jackson-based contractor has been citedby the Occupational Safety and Health and Administration for several safety violations that led to a trench collapse in Cumming early this year which resulted in the wrongful death of a worker. Unfortunately, under the workers’ compensation act, the workers’ family is extremely limited in what it can recover due to this on-the-job accident. Despite efforts by workers’ compensation lawyers for years to improve the benefits for families of workers killed on-the-job, the workers’ compensation laws have simply not improved.

The company, 2-Brothers Enterprises Inc was cited for several willful and serious violations related to the trench collapse.The collapse occurred in February at a worksite in Cumming.In the trench was a twenty-year-old worker who was trapped by the falling soil.Emergency crews managed to extricate the worker, but he died from his injuries.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration began an inspection after it found out about the cave-in.When OSHA inspectors arrived at the scene, they found that the trench had been excavated to install a sewer line.The trench was approximately 40 foot long and 9 feet deep.However, there were no safeguards in place for protecting workers inside the trench.The trench walls were vertical, and unstable.Large amounts of soil and dirt had simply been stacked on the edges of the trench.In fact, the collapse had been triggered by these mounds of dirt falling into the trench.

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In May, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued 10 safety citations against Tyson Foods at one of its plants. Nine of the violations cited conditions that posed a "substantial probability" of wrongful death or serious personal injury from a hazard the employer knew, or should have known, about. The third was a repeat violation that the company had been asked to fix once before. So serious were the violations that OSHA fined the food processor $71,500, which was $30,000 more than the original estimate. It is these types of plants that often result in significant workers’ compensation claims.

The hefty price tag that accompanied the violations is understandable in light of the offenses. Says reporter Rick Romellof the Journal Sentinel, among the violations are: an inadequate guardrail; battery cables hanging outside the running lines of two forklifts; failure to ensure that refrigeration mechanics wear tight-fitting, annually tested respirators; and a lack of clear instructions in operating procedures for handling emergencies with equipment. The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act) requires that employers provide their employees with work and a workplace that is free from recognized, serious hazards.Some duties under the act include:

  1. Making sure employees are aware of all safety procedures and drills.
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A construction worker was killed last week in a workplace accident at a high school site in Atlanta.The man had been working on an addition project at a school in south Atlanta, when he fell 20 feet from a hydraulic lift.

According to authorities, the entire accident was triggered when a piece of metal pipe fell from the ceiling of the addition, and crashed into the lift which was holding the worker.The impact caused the lift to jerk, and the worker fell about 20 feet below onto the pavement.He sustained serious injuries, and died.

According to news reports, the victim worked for a subcontractor on the project.The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has begun an investigation into the accident.In the meantime, the site has been temporarily shut down. See Worker Killed in Fall.

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Atlanta Workers’ Compensation lawyers are likely to see a spike in the number of claims being filed by older American workers.The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning in a new study that the number of senior workers being injured in workplace accidents, has increased substantially. As the CDC noted, the increase in work accidents for seniors is likely due to the fact that we have more senior in the workplace than in the past due to the recession. Therefore, more and more seniors will have workers comp claims to assert. Unfortunately, some insurance companies are likely to take advantage of the fact these seniors have more limited life expectancies to reduce the level of their settlement offers in worker comp cases beyond what is reasonable for that issue.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of injured older workers in the workforce increased from 12 % in 2003 to 17% in the latest estimates.The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that much of the reason for this increase has been the fact that there are more older workers in the workforce now than ever before.During these troubled economic times, many seniors who had been looking forward to retirement, have been forced to re-enter the workforce instead.In many cases, these older workers are entering a work environment that has simply not taken their specific safety issues into consideration.

For instance, older workers may be at a high risk of certain types of accidents, like slip and fall accidents.They may also be at a high risk of fall accidents from elevated surfaces, or from ladders and stairways.These falls can leave an older worker with serious injuries, like fractures, hip fractures, broken ribs and other injuries.A hip fracture, for instance, can mean the end of an older worker’s ability to earn a livelihood.In fact, studies show that older persons who suffer a hip fracture, have a much higher risk of dying within a year after suffering the injury, than those who have not suffered a hip injury.

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A worker at a wastewater treatment plant in Hall County has suffered serious burn injuries in an electrical accident this week.This type of accident generally results in a complex workers compensation claim. The workers compensation insurance company often launches an immediate investigation to determine if there is any basis to deny the claim. The insurance company will then work hard to direct the person’s care to limit their financial exposure in the matter. As Atlanta workers compensation attorneys are well aware, it is important for workers injured in severe accidents to obtain counsel as soon as reasonably possible.

Also, this type of accident often results in a personal injury claim against a third party. For instance, the injuries may have resulted from a defective product or the negligence of a third party who previously worked on the device. Accordingly, a worker should make certain that the incident is thoroughly investigated for any potential third party personal injury claim.

The man, an electrician, was apparently the employee of a subcontractor, and was working at the County- owned Spout Springs Water Reclamation Facility when the electrical panel he was working on, exploded.The man suffered serious burn injuries, and was rushed to the Grady Memorial Hospital, one of the premier burn treatment facilities in the country.

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Last month, Atlanta workers compensation lawyers marked the 100th anniversary of the deadly Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire that killed 146 workers, and sparked a public outcry, ultimately resulting in Workers’ Compensation reform and more rights for workers. Injuries to workers was very common in this time period. However, it took a workplace tragedy to spur reform.

The accident occurred on March 25, 1911, as workers, mainly tailors and seamstresses, at the factory were about to head home for the day.Many of them never made it out.The building was already on fire, and most of the women, mainly young immigrants, were trapped inside the building.

Shockingly, the doors had been locked, and many of the victims died trying to force them open.Some had no choice, but to jump out of the windows.The horrors inside the building were only matched by the incompetence outside.Firefighters rushed to the scene, but quickly found that their hoses would reach only the sixth floor of the Asch Building, which housed the factory on the 8th, 9th and 10th floors.Firefighters were left with no other choice, but to form human chains to reach the higher floors, and use nets to catch those who desperately jumped out the windows.Most of these efforts were unsuccessful.After the tragedy, the factory owners were indicted for manslaughter, but were soon acquitted.

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Trench collapses are some of the most preventable workplace accidents and result in numerous workers compensation claims. Most of these collapses can simply be prevented by shoring up the walls of the trench, and determining whether the trench is safe to be used before workers are allowed inside.Failure to take these basic steps can be lethal.Workers’ compensation insurance carriers would be wise to perform workplace inspections more frequently and more thoroughly to prevent these accidents.

A worker was killed earlier this week in a trench collapse in Augusta, Georgia.The 37 -year-old worker and another man were in the trench, working on pipes.The trench was about 6-feet deep.According to news reports, water began to seep into the trench, and one wall collapsed.The two men were quickly buried under the sand.Firefighters were able to pull one worker out of the sand, digging frantically with their shovels and hands.However, they could do nothing to reach Augusta-resident Jimmy Roubles, who likely asphyxiated just a few minutes after being buried by the sand.He was declared dead just after noon.The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has been notified about his death.

Recovering Roubles’ body proved to be a challenge to the firefighters, with only one firefighter being allowed into the trench at a time to avoid another collapse.The body was recovered at about 3 PM.That delay in recovering the worker’s body should give Atlanta construction accident lawyers a sense of the instability of the trench.

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