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You Shouldn't Have To Fight For Workers' Comp Benefits

Philadelphia Workers' Compensation Blog

What happens if your workers comp claim comes back denied?

If you suffered injuries while you were at work, you understand how complicated your life can become. You may have to miss work while you are in the hospital with injuries or at home recovering, which will have a direct impact on your paycheck. After a few days or even weeks of missed work, you could find yourself in a seriously precarious financial situation. 

Pennsylvania workers who are in an accident at work or who become ill as a result of their jobs may have a rightful claim to financial support through a workers' compensation claim. If you find yourself in this position, securing help during this difficult time is critical. It can be devastating to learn that your claim came back denied. Fortunately, it is not the end of the road for you 

Five tips for preventing heat-related illness among workers

In Pennsylvania and across the U.S., the summer brings with it extreme heat and the risk of developing heat-related illnesses. Both indoor and outdoor workers run this risk, so employers should have a plan in place to address it. After all, more than 1,300 workers die every year in this country from extreme heat.

First, employers may want to write out an injury and illness prevention program. This will go over the ways to identify hazards and prevent them from impacting workers' health. A second tip is to provide heat stress prevention training. Workers must know how heat impacts health and what symptoms heat-related illness will display.

OSHA asked to investigate McDonald's

It is not uncommon to hear about McDonald's employees having to deal with angry customers while at work. Recently, employees have asked OSHA to look into these incidents and how the company has handled them. The workers want the workplace watchdog organization to assess how McDonald's responds to workplace violence in stores throughout Pennsylvania and rest the country. According to the National Employment Law Project, there have been 271 media reports of violence at various locations in the past three years.

However, police records indicate that there are many cases that are not reported. In some cases, employees have been threatened with guns and have had to call 911 for assistance. The workers who have filed the complaint with OSHA say that management has discouraged using 911 as it could have negative consequences for the company. OSHA has recommended that McDonald's take steps to keep workers safe during late night hours.

Tips for preventing workers and equipment from falling

Workers in Pennsylvania, especially construction workers, know that there is a danger in being struck by falling objects. OSHA has called falling objects the third leading cause of deaths in construction. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has said that 5.2% of all workplace injuries are the result of falling objects striking workers. In 2017, there were 45,940 such injuries.

Falling objects are not the only problem as workers themselves may fall from heights. The BLS states that in 2017, the number of fatal falls was the highest that it has ever been since the establishing of the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries in 1992. Approximately 17% of worker fatalities are due to falls.

NIOSH fact sheet can help employers prevent falls

Falls are the No. 1 cause of fatalities among construction workers throughout Pennsylvania and the rest of the U.S., according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Every year, an average of 310 construction workers die in falls. Another 10,350 fall victim to fall-related injuries. The majority of falls from scaffolding, roofs and ladders occur in the construction industry.

In the effort to help employers and employees prevent falls, NIOSH has released a fact sheet with several important tips. The most basic are for employers to provide the right training and regular maintenance.

Does your employer protect you from trenching hazards?

Almost all construction sites in Pennsylvania include excavations and trenches, which safety authorities regard as some of the riskiest areas for construction workers. If your job involves trench work, you might benefit from gaining as much knowledge about these hazards as possible. You can also learn about the steps that you can take to stay safe.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration prescribes strict safety standards when it comes to trench safety. However, your employer might be one of those who prioritizes profits instead of employee safety. For this reason, it might be wise to learn about your rights to workplace safety.

Liberty Mutual finds top 10 causes of serious work injuries

Liberty Mutual has released its Workplace Safety Index for 2019, and the results may be of interest to workers in Pennsylvania, especially those in construction and other blue-collar industries. Every year, the index documents the top 10 causes of the most serious workplace injuries and ranks them according to their direct cost to employers.

Overexertion involving outside sources was to blame for nearly 24% of all serious workplace injuries, costing employers over $13 billion in medical and lost wage payments. This was followed by falls on the same level, which accounted for nearly 19% of injuries and cost employers nearly $10.4 billion. Third were incidents where employees were struck by equipment or other objects; this accounted for 9.4% of injuries and cost employers $5.2 billion.

Taking steps to prevent workplace injuries

Work accidents can happen in Pennsylvania. For example, a person may fall down the stairs while working. Performing essential tasks around chemicals or dust could lead to respiratory problems. When a person experiences an injury at work, it can take a toll on them and on their family. Depending on the severity of the injury, it could mean that a person is out of work for months or even years.

In addition to the physical, financial and emotional toll that employees experience, employers may have to deal with the costs of reduced productivity, administrative time documenting the injury and additional training in order to prevent similar injuries from reoccurring. This is why governmental regulatory institutions encourage businesses and their employees to adopt prevention programs designed to protect people from on-the-job injuries. These programs should be in harmony with laws and regulations that are already on the books.

A new OSHA rule is challenged in court.

The rollback of a 2016 OSHA reporting rule is being challenged in federal court by six separate states. The rule change affects large employers, including those in Pennsylvania. The challenge to the rule may affect how states implement health and safety programs for workers.

In the past, large employers were required to maintain records of each workplace injury or work-related illness. The records were to be secured and to be made available to Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) inspectors upon demand. In 2016, the Obama administration added a further step to the record keeping. It required employers to electronically transmit this information to OSHA annually.

NIOSH reports high tow truck driver fatality and injury rate

Pennsylvania residents who work in the motor vehicle towing industry may want to know about a recent report from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. After analyzing Bureau of Labor Statistics spanning the years 2011 to 2016, NIOSH researchers found that 191 tow truck drivers were killed in that period. The annual fatality rate came to 42.9 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers.

This is nearly 15 times greater than the annual fatality for all other private industries combined, which came to 2.9 per 100,000 FTEs. In addition, the non-fatal injury rate for tow truck drivers was 204.2 per 10,000 FTEs, more than double the 98.2 rate seen in other industries.

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