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Will workers' compensation cover your job-related injury?

When you experience an injury in the workplace, you may not understand what to do next to put the pieces back together and move forward. You know that your Pennsylvania employer has workers' compensation insurance coverage, but how can you know if you have grounds for a claim? There are certain requirements you must meet in order to have a valid claim.

One of the first steps you will want to take is to determine if you should move forward with a claim. This is a time sensitive process, and you will want to avoid any unnecessary delays. Even before an injury, it can help to fully understand your rights and what steps you should take to secure the recovery you deserve in the event of a workplace accident.

Hearing protectors can keep workers with hearing loss safe

A wide range of industries in Pennsylvania are seeing an increase in the number of employees with some form of hearing loss. Such employees are at a higher risk for injury because they have difficulty communicating and hearing alarms and other warning sounds, especially when they are wearing hearing protection. While they are subject to the same OSHA regulations as other workers, OSHA does have recommendations when it comes to hearing protectors.

Hearing protectors are able to enhance audibility while still protecting workers from excessive noise levels. One type is called the passive uniform-attenuation hearing protector; it reduces sounds at all frequencies, not just high frequencies, which are the frequencies where much of human speech resides. Another is the active level-dependent hearing protector, which requires a power source.

How companies can better comply with OSHA rules

There were 23,282 severe injuries reported to OSHA between January 2015 and April 2017. However, the true number of severe injuries during that period may be much higher according to the former assistant secretary for OSHA. Companies in Pennsylvania and elsewhere may be concerned about what could happen if they accurately report all severe injuries. For instance, they could be worried that an inspection will occur and uncover other safety violations.

Ultimately, companies can benefit by acknowledging severe injuries and deaths that take place in their warehouses or other work areas. By taking worker safety seriously, there may be fewer injuries and deaths to report in the future. There are several key steps that an organization can take to protect workers and minimize the chances of future accidents and injuries. First, it is important to thoroughly investigate the root causes of accidents that lead to employees getting hurt.

OSHA releases hot weather reminder for employers

Pennsylvania companies have a legal obligation to provide employees with a safe place to work. That means heeding regulations published by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, among other requirements. OSHA has issued reminders for companies that have employees working in hot conditions to prevent heat illness. Employers are required by OSHA standards to establish heat illness prevention programs. The key elements of such programs are rest, water, and shade.

According to an assistant director with an OSHA training institute, more than 40% of worker deaths that are heat-related happen on construction sites, and most heat-related deaths and illnesses are preventable. If workers are not drinking enough water or getting enough rest in shaded areas, their body temperature can rise to dangerously high levels, leading in some cases to heat stroke or heat exhaustion. This is especially true on work sites where hot weather is combined with high humidity levels.

Fatigue in the workplace is a growing problem

In Pennsylvania and other states throughout the country, workplace fatigue is a growing problem that's leading to numerous safety issues. Most businesses are already aware of the important role played by proper equipment, training and documentation, but many don't realize that growing number of accidents caused by employees being overworked or sleepy. According to surveys, 43% of American workers say they experience fatigue at the workplace, meaning at some point they are too tired to property function at their job.

The U.S. Department of Labor has stated that some of the most serious accidents at American work sites can be attributed to work fatigue. Employees who work irregular or extended shifts are most likely to suffer with fatigue. These employees include nurses, drivers and people in emergency services. Even those on regular shifts are vulnerable if they don't get enough sleep or have really long commutes.

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.

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