Pennsylvania workers may be subject to dangerous working conditions. However, they may be able to lower instances of serious workplace injuries by implementing improved safety practices and programs. Unfortunately, many of these changes do not occur until a serious accident happens.
Pursuant to Pennsylvania workers' compensation laws, most employees who experience an occupational injury or disease have a right to certain benefits. To obtain these benefits, the injured employee must immediately file a workers' compensation claim; however, the employee must wait until the insurance company investigates the claim before he or she can receive the benefits.
Employers in Pennsylvania and the rest of the nation will discover that the price for the violation of federal laws regarding occupational health and safety has increased significantly since 1990. Beginning in August of 2016, the penalties are being increased by almost 80 percent.
Pennsylvania construction workers can face significant safety hazards during their careers, and even with good attention to safety standards and precautions, they can end up missing work and struggling physically because of job-related injuries. OSHA oversees safety matters in work settings on a national scale and provides an avenue for employees and others to report unsafe conditions. The entity also inspects work locations to promote safety awareness. In the aftermath of an on-the-job accident, OSHA could perform an inspection to make sure the job site is made to meet their safety standards.
Although all jobs have risks that can result in injuries or fatalities, some Pennsylvania workers are more at risk than others. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has provided a list of the most dangerous occupations based on the number of fatalities from 2014.
Pennsylvania readers may be surprised to learn that work-related illnesses kill more Americans than guns do each year. The government estimates that approximately 50,000 workers succumb to sicknesses caused by exposure to workplace toxins each year, compared to the 30,000 people who lose their lives to gun violence and accidents annually. Because the casualties of occupational disease die slowly and less dramatically than victims of gun violence, the media ignores their suffering. Worse, the U.S. government has a history of ignoring their suffering as well.
A new report by the National Safety Council concludes that some prescription drug overdoses suffered by employees may be compensable under workers' compensation insurance policies in Pennsylvania and nationwide. The report focused on opioid drugs, commonly called painkillers, which account for more than 25 percent of workers' compensation drug costs, according to recent statistics.
In our last post, we pointed out that there are limitations on when compensation is available to an injured worker outside the workers’ compensation system. That is the case in every state, including Pennsylvania. This is why workers’ compensation is sometimes called the “exclusive remedy” for workplace injuries.
Discrimination and retaliation are important issues in the field of employment law. Workers who are subjected to adverse treatment on an illegal basis or for exercising their rights under the law do not have to sit back and take it when an employer engages in such behavior. Taking legal action allow one to have one’s rights protected and to receive appropriate compensation.
When a worker is injured on the job here in Pennsylvania, there are several types of benefits available through the workers’ compensation system. These benefits include not only payments for lost wages and medical care, but also benefits for specific losses as well as death benefits. The latter are, of course, particularly important for those who’ve had a loved one as a result of a workplace injury.