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Media Workers' Compensation Law Blog

What happens if you fall while climbing the ladder to success?

If you've been working at the same Pennsylvania company for a decade or more, you're to be congratulated as many people nowadays frequently change jobs in search of better pay, more benefits or the proverbial golden rings of success. Nothing can abruptly interrupt your path to success quicker than an on-the-job injury. One of the most common types of workplace injuries involves slipping and falling, or falling from ladders, rooftops or other high places. 

Hopefully, if your job duties require you to stand atop portable equipment, your employer has already made known the dangers to you and provided appropriate equipment and training to keep you as safe as possible.

Construction industry investing in updated hard hat designs

Those who work in the construction industry in Pennsylvania may be interested to learn that some firms are working on developing new designs for safety hats that could provide workers better protection against potentially fatal falls and other accidents. Some firms are looking towards head protection devices utilized by those in mountaineering and other extreme sports or hobbies.

From 2003 to 2010, government researchers found that there were 2,210 fatal traumatic brain injuries in the construction industry. This came down to a rate of 2.6 for every 100,000 full-time equivalent construction workers. Those who were 65 or older had the highest rates of fatal TBIs, most of which were caused by falls. To protect against fatal TBIs, construction workers are required to wear hard hats. These hats are usually designed with a suspension strap and space between the shell and the person's head. This spreads the force of the impact over the entire hat.

Short roof jobs may not need fall protection gear

When roofers and maintenance workers in Pennsylvania perform their duties, they and their employers generally need to adhere to safety rules issued the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Updated regulations for walking-working surfaces require people working less than 6 feet from the edge of a roof to set up a guardrail or wear fall arrest or travel restraint systems. Temporary or infrequent jobs, however, do not need to incorporate this equipment if people are working between 6 and 15 feet from the edge.

Additionally, a work area that qualifies for exemption from fall restraint systems needs to be a low-slope surface. Although the regulations do not define a temporary or infrequent job exactly, OSHA has agreed with the definition developed by a trade group that considers a temporary job one that takes one to two hours to complete. Examples include changing an air conditioner filter or cleaning a chimney.

Protecting younger Pennsylvania workers from injuries

There are approximately 19 million workers under the age of 24, and they make up about 13 percent of the labor force around the country according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. While younger workers are generally agile and may be able to recover from workplace injuries more quickly than their older colleagues, they often lack the experience necessary to spot danger signs and avoid accidents in the first place.

NIOSH data reveals that work-related injuries claimed the lives of more than 400 young workers in 2015, and 24 of those killed had yet to turn 18. However, most of the 80,000 or so young workers treated in the nation's emergency rooms each year suffer from mild injuries like strains, sprains and contusions. The costs of emergency medical care are high, and employers can both protect their younger employees from workplace injuries and reduce their health care expenses by implementing strict accident prevention policies.

How medical marijuana can have an impact on the workplace

Pennsylvania workers may be aware that the use of marijuana for medical reasons is becoming more prevalent throughout the nation as more states are legalizing it. While medical marijuana often has benefits for many users, there are workplace safety concerns around the drug.

Although there have been no reported cases of a fatal overdose caused by marijuana use, there are some known side effects. These can include hallucinations, seizures, sedation and panic attacks. Further, some users may experience slowed reaction times and cognitive impairment, which could put an employee at serious risk for injury. Numerous research studies have concluded that marijuana use can have a negative impact on learning memory, reasoning and concentration. It should be noted, however, that not all research reached a unanimous conclusion, as some found that there was no association between the use of medical marijuana and the risk of workplace accidents.

Tips for preventing bulldozer-related injuries

Failing to operate a bulldozer safely could get a worker in Pennsylvania hurt or possibly killed. It is important that the individual who is operating this powerful machine is qualified to do so. It is also critical that the driver is the only person in the bulldozer while it is in use. While it is being refueled, a bulldozer's engine should be turned off.

Whenever this piece of equipment is not in use, systems and procedures should be put in place to ensure that it remains stationary. Bulldozers should also be parked on level ground. A rollover protection system should be in place to keep the operator safe, and the machine should undergo a thorough pre-shift inspection. The safety check should ensure that critical components such as the brakes and signals work and that fluids are at the proper levels.

Heat app takes on workplace injuries

An app that works on both iOS and Android devices has been released to protect outdoor workers in Pennsylvania and around the country from heat injury. Hailed as an important tool for worker safety, the app uses weather data to set both current and projected risk levels. This information can be used by workers and employers to reduce the risk of workplace injury in several ways.

Excess heat can cause heat stroke and death to outdoor workers, but it can also result in other types of workers' injuries and costs to employers. Productivity can take a hit when workers become dehydrated or otherwise suffer from heat exposure. The combination of sweaty palms and fatigue also plays a role in the thousands of heat-related workplace injuries each year.

You don't have to fight for denied workers' comp benefits alone

As a member of the workforce in Pennsylvania, you likely had peace of mind about the welfare of your family if you should suffer a workplace injury. After all, your workers' compensation benefits will pay medical expenses and provide financial assistance if you become temporarily disabled. However, were you disillusioned when your company's insurance provider recently denied you claim?

This can leave you in an unenviable predicament, but it is no reason for you to throw in the towel. There are steps you can take, and with the appropriate support and guidance, you can appeal the rejection of your workers' compensation benefits claim.

Dealing with skin disorders at the Pennsylvania workplace

With more than 13 million employees around the country who are potentially exposed to skin-damaging chemicals in the workplace, skin diseases and disorders pose serious health threats. In fact, skin disorders among members of the military was found to be a top prevalent work-related condition requiring treatment, and skin diseases rate as the second most prevalent type of workplace illnesses, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

The industries most at risk for skin diseases and disorders are construction, cosmetology and health care. Employees who face these risks can avoid them by undergoing training and hazard assessment. Some of the risks are skin cancer, allergic contact dermatitis, irritant contact dermatitis, and injuries and infections. Factors that can cause skin diseases are cuts, bruises, friction, radiation, and animal materials, plants and parasites. Employees can become exposed to the condition through inhalation, contact with contaminated surfaces, immersion or splashes.

Exhaustion becoming a major problem at Tesla factory

Pennsylvania investors have been impressed by Tesla's ambitious expansion plans and production goals, but the long hours and hard work needed to meet those benchmarks is taking a heavy toll on the electric car maker's workers according to media reports. A British newspaper revealed on May 18 that ambulances have been dispatched to the company's California manufacturing plant on more than 100 occasions since 2014 to tend to workers who had either passed out while on the job or were displaying other signs of exhaustion or stress.

According to the report, which was based on interviews with 15 current or former Tesla workers, the company's employees feel proud of the work they are doing. However, workers also said that dizziness, seizures and fainting spells are worryingly common. Tesla workers are not represented by a trade union, and efforts to organize have been received coolly by management.

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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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