Articles Posted in Workers Compensation

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The next big fight with workers compensation insurance companies is likely to be whether injured workers have the right to incorporate Wii Fit and Wii Resort into their physical therapy routines at home. Attorneys for injured workers need to be prepared for this next battle because the lawyers for the workers compensation insurers and employers are going to fight this issue at every step. OnSite Rehab Physical Therapy in Atlanta, Georgia has starting using Wii when providing injured workers rehabilitation. The Wii workouts are incorporated into the workers physical therapy routines. Therapists allow injured workers to use the Wii after the therapists finish their hands on treatment and the workers demonstrate appropriate knowledge of their home exercises. It is unlikely that workers compensation insurance carriers are going to purchase Wii devices for the homes of injured workers without a fight despite the recommendations of the physical therapists. That choice is probably penny wise, but dollar foolish.Injured workers who have used the Wii have shown significant improvement in their recovery. Therefore, the workers are likely to get back to work much quicker if they incorporate the Wii into their rehabilitation thereby providing workers compensation carriers substantial savings.

Jan W. Braunstein, the Owner of OnSite Rehab Physical Therapy, decided to incorporate large screen televisions into the company’s gym when they opened a new location. She understood that therapists in other parts of the country who incorporated Wii into the workout routine saw some positive results. She sees the Wii as an excellent way to motivate injured workers to perform their regular exercises. Ms. Braunstein points out that if more employees worked out regularly with Wii, they would likely strengthen their muscles resulting in a decrease in on-the-job injuries.

If you are an injured worker and believe that using Wii in your exercise routine would be helpful, you will likely need to prepare for a fight to get the device in your home. Workers compensation insurers and employers will be very weary of authorizing payment for the devices. To fight this battle as well as all the other battles that generally arise when you are trying to get the care you need to return to work, you should consider hiring a qualified workers compensation attorney. If you would like to have a free consultation regarding your workers compensation claim, click here to contact the law office of Robert N. Katz.

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Fourteen people have been killed in accidents across Georgia over the Memorial Day weekend, including fatal accidents in Cherokee County and Fulton County.

Reports coming before the Memorial Day weekend came to a close to Monday night, had more than 700 people injured in automobile accidents since the holiday began on Friday evening. Overall, Georgia State Patrol responded to more than 2,700 accidents up till 6 pm Monday.

Four of the people who died were traveling in Fulton and Cherokee County. In Fulton County, a motorcycle accident left the 37-year-old motorcyclist dead at the scene. Speed is believed to have caused the accident. A little while later a Honda and a Suburban crashed, killing the Suburban driver. In Cherokee County, a Ford Taurus veered off the road on Highway 20 and crashed into a tree. A driver and a passenger, both Emerson residents died at the scene, while another passenger was airlifted to hospital with critical injuries. Investigators believe driver error and weather conditions may have been a factor in that crash.

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The Department Of Transportation has announced its annual National Work Zone Awareness Week which will last from 19 April to 23 April.

Every year, the federal administration declares a special week dedicated to highway work zone safety.This year, there are expected to be several active highway repair and construction projects in Georgia. That means Atlantans and Georgians will enjoy better designed, well constructed and safer roadways. It also means that there will be several active work zones across Georgia, increasing the risk of accidents to both motorists as well as construction workers. It’s these accident risks that National Work Zone Awareness Week is attempting to minimize.

The Georgia Department of Transportation is also drawing attention to the fact that highway work zone accidents kill more motorists than construction workers. In 2005, there were 61 work zone fatalities in Georgia. These were deaths that were entirely preventable.

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Sugar Refinery Explosion Report Says Fire Entirely Preventable

At the time, it was one of the worst industrial disasters in the country, and the most devastating Georgia Workers’ Compensation lawyers had seen in decades. When combustible sugar dust at a refinery near Savannah ignited and exploded last year, it set off a blazing fire that razed much of the facility. Fourteen 14 workers at the Imperial Sugar Refinery were killed and 36 injured, many of them severely burnt. Now, the Chemical Safety Board has issued its report on the accident, and the agency’s findings are a damning indictment of the plant’s managers and owners.

According to the report, there were several factors that were to blame for the explosion, and all of them were entirely preventable. Poor maintenance, improper equipment design and substandard housekeeping were at the root of the explosion and fire. Worse, according to the report, managers were aware about the dangers of an explosion from combustible sugar dust, but failed to take measures to prevent the tragedy. In fact, the sugar industry had been aware of the dangers of sugar dust igniting and setting off an explosion and fire, as far back as 1925.

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A fire at the Equinox Chemical Plant in Albany has left one person severely burnt. The flash fire occurred on April 15th. 37-year-old Jason Pate suffered second and third degree burn injuries over up to 70% of his body. He was taken to the Augusta Burn Center where his condition has been listed as critical.

According to preliminary investigations, Pate was operating chemical machinery when two gas kit seals suddenly ruptured, due to pressure. That caused the manifold system to blow off the Acetylene, igniting and sparking a fire. The company has shut down production, pending an investigation of the accident. Firefighters remained at the plant all night to ensure that all Acetylene tanks were empty, and there was no danger of fire.

Fire safety is imperative in a chemical plant where the risk of fire and explosions is always present. Burns that result from a chemical fire are severe, leaving long term scars. These burns are extremely painful, and cause significant tissue damage. In cases that are as severe as Pate’s case here, skin grafting may be necessary. All this means many days away from work while the body heals enough to allow for skin graft surgery, as well as a long healing period later.

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Construction sites are some of the most dangerous work places, with the industry occupying 3rd place in the number of work-related fatalities every year. Most of these accidents are completely preventable, if only employers make provisions for proper training of workers and adequate safety measures. In one such preventable accident, a construction foreman in Cartersville, Georgia was killed earlier this month in a trench collapse accident.

James Hilbish was working in the trench as part of a sewer line installation on the 4th of February when the cave in occurred.The trench was reportedly 30 feet in depth, and at least 25 to 30 feet in length His body was found more than 3 hours later. Hilbish worked for an Alabama company which had subcontracted the job from the Bartow County Water Department. No other injuries were reported in the accident.

A trench collapse is one of the most dangerous of all accidents on a construction site. The process of heaping mounds of soil on top of the trench walls can lead to the wall becoming weak and unstable.Besides, the soil that’s piled high on the walls can quickly shift under provocation, and began to pour into the trench within seconds. When this happens, any workers inside the trench are at risk for death by suffocation. In most cases, attempts to rescue workers can be extremely difficult because of the speed with which such collapses occur. Rescue attempts are also made more dangerous by the fact that disturbing the soil further can trigger off more cave-ins.That’s why these accidents so often result in fatalities.

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A Richmond County worker has been killed in a crane accident at an International Paper wood yard facility.A press release by the company has said that Bill Drake was killed on February 2nd at the plant’s facility on the Mike Padgett Highway.Drake was engaged in clearing wood debris on the tracks when he was struck by the metal cage of the crane. He died at the scene of the accident.

Drake worked as a crane operator, but that particular morning, he had been assigned the task of clearing the tracks. As per normal procedures, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration has initiated investigations into the accident.The company seems to have no record of accidents at the plant over the last five years.However, it has been subjected to inspections twice because of complaints.The first inspection resulted in fines for both minor as well as more serious violations, while the second inspection conducted last year did not yield any violations. An investigation by OSHA will likely take months, and it wouldn’t be possible to draw conclusions about the causes of the accident before the findings are out.There are several questions that can be raised about the accident though – for instance, who was operating the crane at the time of the accident? Was it a trained and qualified crane operator?Did Drake receive warnings while he was engaged in the debris clearing work, alerting him to possible danger from the crane?

Very often, workplace accidents are the result of inadequate safety precautions followed by employers as well as other workers at the scene of the accident. Employees need to be properly trained to handle the tasks they are performing, as well as a safe working environment where all safety precautions are followed stringently.

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Clarke County School District has been struggling with rising costs that have been traced in part to an increase in the number of Worker’s Compensation claims the district has been forced to pay out. These benefits amounted to $1.6 million last year alone, and now, administrators are looking at a whole new approach to cutting down costs.

The district has set up a district wide committee for supervision of safety measures implemented in schools to reduce the number of injuries and accidents that result in Worker’s Compensation claims.20 smaller committees have also been established. Each school committee will have the responsibility of conducting investigations into all accidents that occur on the premises, and give the school principal a report on how best to avoid such accidents in the future. Teachers and employees often tend to be injured breaking up student fights, or as a result of slip and fall accidents on the school premises.Many of these injuries can be prevented if there are adequate structural and management changes made in these schools, and that’s what the Clark County school district seems to be aiming at.Improving safety on school premises is being seen as a preferable way to cut costs instead of cutting down on important school programs, the district says.

Georgia Worker’s Compensation Claims

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More than two weeks after the construction accident at the Atlanta Botanical Garden that killed one worker and injured 18 others, the last worker who was still receiving treatment for his injuries, has been discharged from the hospital.

That means all of the workers who were injured are now back at home, many still facing the prospect of extensive physical rehabilitative therapy to regain their strength. Since the collapse of the pedestrian walkway at the Garden on December 19, doctors have treated workers with injuries ranging from fractures, to spinal and brain injuries.Fortunately, there have been no spinal cord injuries that resulted in paralysis. At The Shepherd Center, where doctors treated at least half a dozen victims of the collapse, all the workers were able to walk out of the facility. Fortunately, there have been no spinal cord injuries that resulted in paralysis.

The accident occurred when workers were pouring concrete on the walkway, billed as the only one of its kind in the country. The bridge suddenly collapsed, toppling all workers standing on the bridge, more than 40 feet to the ground below. One worker, Angel Chupin was confirmed dead in the initial minutes after the accident.The collapse has raised questions about the stability of the under-construction pedestrian bridge, and the kind of priority given to the security of workers who were on the bridge. In the days after the accident, we have also learned that Hardin Construction, the company that was overseeing construction work at the walkway, has had a worker die in an accident in 2001, when his head became trapped between a ceiling and platform at a construction site. The concrete company that was overseeing the pouring of the concrete on the walkway has also had a worker death in the past due to a truck malfunction. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is conducting investigations into the accident at the Garden, but it will be months before we find out the level of negligence that may have caused the structure to collapse the way it did.

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Two sugar refinery workers died over the weekend from the February 7th explosion at the Imperial Sugar Plant in Port Wentworth, Georgia.That brings the total number killed in this workplace accident to 11.Twelve remain in critical condition at Doctors’ Hospital in Augusta, Georgia.Two are in serious condition.Over forty workers were injured and released from treatment.

The explosion occurred Thursday night around 7:30 p.m. when plant workers were packaging refined sugar into Dixie Crystal bags.Investigators believe the blast was caused by the accumulation of sugar dust in a basement area beneath the plant’s storage silos. Sugar dust is combustible. While the cause of the ignition is not yet known, stacked and dry sugar could create a static electric charge that could have ignited.

The explosion was so powerful that neighbors thought a bomb went off. Floors inside the plant collapsed, flames spread throughout the building, metal girders buckled, and sheet metal corridors connecting the plant buildings gave way.Molten sugar burned at more than 4000 degrees.Fire crews worked through the night and for several days following to put out the flames.Doors to the plant were glued shut by crystallized sugar sludge.

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