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Philadelphia Workers' Compensation Blog

OSHA launches Focus Four Hazards campaign

Construction employees and employers in Pennsylvania are probably already aware of the "fatal four" hazards in their industry. For others who are interested, they are: falls, electrocution, caught-in-between incidents and struck-by incidents. Minimizing these is essential because the construction industry is among the most hazardous in the U.S. One in five worker fatalities in 2016 were on construction sites, according to OSHA.

The same organization has set up the Focus Four Hazards campaign to improve communications between employees and safety representatives. This regional campaign, which lasts from March to June, covers Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia.

Injured at work? Accessing SSD benefits and workers' compensation

Workplace injuries affect millions of individuals across the United States. Pennsylvania workers' compensation works to remedy these injuries by providing benefits, so that workers may return to their jobs and have medical expenses paid for. Many injured employees do not know that they can also apply for and receive Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits in addition to their workers' compensation if they cannot work.

OSHA promotes safety standards for hospital staff

When most people think of hospital safety, they consider the safety of the patients. However, it turns out that working in a hospital is one of the most dangerous occupations around. Hospital staff in Pennsylvania face the risk of sharps injuries, bloodborne pathogen exposure and workplace violence. To make matters worse, most hospitals do not even meet OSHA requirements.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states that in 2013, one in five non-fatal occupational injuries occurred in the health care and social assistance industry. OSHA has found that musculoskeletal disorders in particular are common; in 2011, health care personnel reported seven times more musculoskeletal disorders than the national rate. These disorders include back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome and tendinitis.

Workplace safety and aerial lifts

Workers in Pennsylvania can face real hazards on the job that put them at risk for sustaining serious, long-term injuries. A lack of safety training and knowledge can lead to severe accidents and even deaths in some cases. For example, people who work on aerial lifts can be seriously hurt if they do not know how to operate them properly and in a safe manner. Every year across the country, around 26 workers lose their lives while using the lifts. There are many issues linked to these deaths on the job, including falls, electrocutions and tip-over incidents. In addition, workers have been trapped or crushed between the bucket or guardrail and another object.

Before workers go up in an aerial lift, they may need to inspect the controls, guardrails and fall protection gear in order to avoid workplace accidents or injuries. Defective equipment can be deadly, so it is important to avoid using lifts with broken or missing parts. In addition, it is key that this type of lift is used in an appropriate area. Aerial lifts should start from a nonshifting, level surface and avoid overhead power lines and other serious obstacles. Even when using the lift on a flat surface, setting brakes and outriggers can help ensure workers' safety.

Ways employers can reduce machinery injury risks

Working around machinery on Pennsylvania job sites can be dangerous due to how fast machines are capable of moving. If an accident involving heavy machinery does occur, any employees involved are at risk for experiencing severe injuries. However, there are some steps employers can take to reduce the risk.

One way employers can help reduce the risk of injuries involving heavy machinery is to ensure that proper guarding is in place. Machine guarding can provide protection for employees from injuries that could be caused by rotating parts, sparks and flying chips. On top of this, employees should be trained to properly focus while using the equipment. This could mean being taught to not interfere with machinery that is moving or in operation. Further, if an employee is focusing while using a piece of equipment, other employees should be prevented from distracting or interfering with that person.

Truck driving among the most dangerous jobs in America

There were 918 truck driver and sales drivers killed on the job in 2016 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The death toll was higher than any other occupation in the United States in that time period. Farmers and agricultural managers had the second most dangerous job in the country during that year as that sector recorded 260 deaths. Overall, 5,190 people died in Pennsylvania and throughout the country while at work in 2016.

That was a 7 percent increase from 2015, and it was the highest total since 2008. There were 2,083 fatalities that occurred because of collisions with other vehicles or other incidents taking place while transporting objects. For those who drove a truck as their primary job, 80 percent of workers who died were killed in transportation-related incidents. In most other industries, the primary cause of injuries and death were slips and falls.

Is your job among the most dangerous?

Safety at work is not yet a universal norm. Workplaces continue to advance safety measures, but some select industries still stand out as the most dangerous potential work environments. Depending on your work environment, you may be at greater risk for workplace injury than those in another industry.

Employees experience work-related injuries and occupational diseases in any number of job fields, but certain jobs carry a higher risk to workers’ health. The top two most dangerous industries for worker health are the logging industry and the fishing industry according to data collected by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

How employers can reduce the risk of heat stroke

When temperatures rise, Pennsylvania employees who work outside or in workplaces that do not have temperature-controlled environments, they may be at risk for heat stroke. In some cases, heat stroke can be fatal, especially when the temperatures soar into the high 80s and 90s. However, fatal heat stroke can still occur even when the Heat Index is below 91 degrees Fahrenheit.

The Heat Index is a calculation based on heat and humidity that gauges how the combination feels to individuals who may be spending time outside. However, the Heat Index calculation assumes that the person is in the shade and is wearing light clothing. This means that the actual temperature in the sun may be much higher if the employee is working in direct sunlight. Further, the employee may be wearing heavy, non-breathable protective clothing.

Understanding the definition of work-related injuries

Workers in Pennsylvania can face a range of injuries and accidents on the job, and under the Workers Compensation Act, employers are responsible for the medical risks of employment. In order to be considered a work-related injury, the health condition or accident must occur while a worker is engaged in the tasks of employment for the benefit of the employer. This does not mean that the injury must have taken place on the company's premises in order to qualify for workers compensation benefits.

Under the Workers Compensation Act, "injury" is an umbrella concept that includes a number of detrimental medical conditions associated with the workplace. These include direct workplace accidents, like a fall on the job, as well as repetitive stress injuries. Pre-existing conditions, like asthma, can also be aggravated by the workplace while earlier disabilities can recur on the job. There are also specific types of occupational diseases that are considered work-related, such as chemical poisoning, toxic exposure and certain kinds of infectious diseases for healthcare professionals.

Sanitation workers can face significant safety hazards

Garbage truck drivers and other sanitation workers serve very important roles in our society. Unfortunately, when doing this unglamorous but important work, these individuals can face safety risks.

Safety hazards can pop up in connection to all kinds of sanitation work. This includes work tasks before, during and after recycling or trash collection. Examples of some of the more common accidents for sanitation workers are:

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