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Media Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Workplaces and blind spots

Workers in Pennsylvania who are employed at large warehouses or loading docks that have blind spots and heavy machinery that is frequently used to move items may be at risk for collisions, which can result in grave injuries that can sometimes be fatal. Near misses also pose a danger, such as when a worker is holding a potentially dangerous item and the effort to avoid the collision results in the worker falling or dropping it.

Many of these workplaces have safety protocols in place but such measures are not completely infallible. For example, heavy equipment like forklifts that are used to move large items automatically emit warning sounds when they are moving in reverse. The sounds can be difficult to hear due to the noises in or surrounding a busy work area like a large warehouse. Also, workers can become so used to hearing the warning sounds in the workplace that they are no longer mindful of them.

Your work could be making you sick, but you have options

As a Pennsylvania worker, you know that you are entitled to certain benefits in the event of a work accident and injury. However, you are still entitled to the same benefits in the event that you come down with an illness that was the result of your work environment, job duties or other work-related factors.

Workers' compensation benefits also cover occupational illness, but it is not always an easy process to get the benefits you deserve, even with a valid claim. If you believe that your illness is the result of your job, you may find it beneficial to reach out for help as soon as possible in the benefits claims process.

Pennsylvania workplace safety and workers' age

An examination of federal employment statistics that was conducted by the Pew Research Center indicates that the percentage of people around the the country who are at least 65 years of age and who work at least part-time rose from 12.8 percent in May 2000 to 18.8 percent in May 2016. This is because a growing number of people are opting to continue working instead of retiring.

Retirement at the age of 60 or 65 is no longer the standard. People who are older than that are remaining in the workforce. In some instances, they have heavy industrial positions. This has resulted in a workforce comprised of four generations of workers to whom safety professionals are required to deliver messages about workplace safety. The safety professionals have to be able to reach workers who bring a wide range of cultures, experience levels and foundations of knowledge to the workplace. While safety professionals should refrain from using stereotypes as a basis for determining effective communication, it is necessary that they are aware that trends related to workers' ages should be factored into the messaging.

Faulty fall protection tops workplace safety violations

Pennsylvania construction workers are probably well aware of the dangers they face at work every day. Employers are required to meet safety standards by law. According to the National Safety Council, violation of rules designed to prevent falls is the most cited workplace safety violation. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration imposes heavy fines on employers who violate these rules in an effort to improve safety for workers.

Fall protection is of great concern to OSHA because falls rank as the leading cause of accidental death for construction workers. In 2015, 350 of 971 job-site deaths were related to falls. Trench safety is another big concern. A company was fined $95,000 in August for a safety violation that led to a non-fatal trench accident.

Preventing fall accidents in warehouses

All Pennsylvania workers deserve a workplace that is safe. This includes being provided with the proper equipment and training to do their jobs safely. To help encourage safer work environments, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration releases incident reports so that employers can improve procedures at their own workplaces.

For example, a 33-year-old male worker was killed after he fell from a wooden pallet that was being lifted up by a forklift. The worker was attempting to reach inventory that was being stored on high shelves that were about 8 feet from the ground. The incident report noted that it was common practice for workers to use elevated pallets to reach this inventory. However, the equipment being used was not designed for this purpose. The worker slipped and fell. He was taken to a hospital where he died several days later.

The dangers of silica exposure

Asbestos has impacted the lives of Pennsylvania residents and others in America for decades. The first lawsuit related to the material was in 1929, and subsequent lawsuits have resulted in billions of dollars being awarded. Between 1940 and 1980, the EPA believes that 27 million American workers were exposed to asbestos with approximately 200,000 dying as a result of direct exposure.

Today, silica dust may be the next health hazard for workers. When a product such as concrete blocks or stucco is cut or ground, it can release silica dust into the air. Those who inhale too much of it could be seriously injured or even killed. According to OSHA, 840,000 workers are exposed to levels of crystalline silica that exceed its recommended safety rules. OSHA estimates that as many as 1,500 workers each year die because of exposure to silica.

Do you have misconceptions about workers' compensation claims?

You may know that most Pennsylvania workers have the right to certain benefits if they suffer an injury at work. However, there are many misconceptions about how this process works, and unfortunately, they can keep some workers from seeking the benefits to which they have a rightful claim.

From what your employer should do after a work accident to understanding if your injury even qualifies you for benefits, you would be wise to know your rights and to know how to protect your entitlements. When you have a clear understanding of how to seek and obtain workers' compensation benefits, you will be better prepared to successfully navigate the claims process.

Protecting workers from falls

Workers in Pennsylvania might experience hazards due to fall risks. A comprehensive approach to three-dimensional dangers is needed to protect workers against falling from heights or ground level falls. The leading causes of work-related fatalities and serious injuries are falls from heights and the same level.

Employees are particularly susceptible to falls from heights at production facilities, construction sites, warehouses and distribution centers. Elevated or lowered work areas like mezzanines and pits present potential accident scenarios along with falls from machinery or improperly protect dock openings.

How to safely work in hot conditions

Workers in Pennsylvania are considered to be engaged in hot work if a job results in the creation of flames, sparks or heat in general. Drilling, welding and cutting are examples of jobs that could be considered hot work. According to groups such as the National Fire Protection Association, it may be beneficial for an employer to look for alternatives to doing hot work.

This is because such tasks may come with a risk of starting fires that could lead to injuries or deaths on the job. If hot work must be done, it should be done in a designated area that is free from combustible or flammable components. It should also be kept separate from other nearby facilities or work areas. If a designated area is not available, it may be necessary to do a hazard assessment as part of the hot work permit process.

The symptoms and prevention of computer vision syndrome

Pennsylvania office workers may be interested to learn that the average American worker spends seven hours in front of a computer screen. Prolonged exposure to digital devices, like computers and even smartphones, can cause computer vision syndrome. This syndrome, which is also often referred to as digital eyestrain, can result in a number of vision-related problems for workers.

The symptoms are wide-ranging and can include blurred vision, headaches, dry eyes and eyestrain. While these are usually temporary and will go away with some rest, the American Optometric Association warns that continued prolong use could cause the symptoms to continue to recur. In worst-case scenarios, the symptoms could even become worse if nothing is done to correct the problem. Not only does this have an impact on workers' eye health, but it could also result in reduced productivity.

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Law Office Of Deborah M. Truscello
206 West State Street Suite 300
Media, PA 19063

Phone: 610-228-4376
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