When it comes to workers' compensation, employers do not always cooperate with employees seeking to file a claim or with other aspects of the process. In this and the next post, we'll look at a couple recent Pennsylvania court cases which highlight this issue.
One of the things we've mentioned on this blog before is that employers do not always cooperate when it comes to workers' compensation claims. There are various ways employers can put up roadblocks to a worker receiving appropriate compensation. Among them are using an employee's suspected citizenship status. Don't think employers are above this tactic. A recent case shows they aren't.
Workplace injuries occur every day. In fact, the AFL-CIO reports that an average day sees more than 10,000 work-related injuries and nearly 150 workers die as a result. Though new workplace laws and regulations coupled with OSHA inspections aim to keep workers safe, these statistics show that not enough is being done. Unfortunately, this means workers will continue to lose their health and their lives, making memorials necessary.
As the weather warms, companies that provide outdoor services will likely see an uptick in business. While this is good news for employers and the employees the hire, it also poses risk of work-related injuries. One Pennsylvania man knows this all too well, and the story of his survival is quite remarkable.
Pennsylvania's workers may be interested to learn that a new federal government proposal seeks to reduce government oversight of poultry producers, thereby allowing them to self-inspect the safety of their processes. The proposal, which is still awaiting approval by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, would replace nearly half of U.S. Department of Agriculture with poultry factory employees, and it would also allow processing to speed up by 25 percent. While such a measure would save the government and the poultry industry money, it could place workers at risk.
Workplace safety should be of the utmost importance to employers. Increased safety not only prevents workers from being injured, but it often also increases employee morale and production while lowering costs. Because of its importance, every year Pennsylvania's governor gives the Governor's Award for Safety Excellence to those companies deemed to put safety first.
There is some good news for Pennsylvania workers. According to a recent survey, workplace safety is the number one concern for small business owners, outranking cyber-security, professional liability and natural disaster risks. Some say the survey's results show that employers value their workers and want to maintain productivity and morale while avoiding workers' compensation costs. In an attempt to protect workers, small business owners hope to address slip-and-falls, which account for almost 25 percent of workplace injuries.
Workers all around the state of Pennsylvania go to work each day and encounter dangerous situations. These workers understand that without the right protection and care, they could very easily be injured. However, few employees put their lives at risk the way firefighters do. These government employees literally run into burning buildings in an effort to save lives. At any moment, the unthinkable can happen and firefighters can be severely injured in a workplace accident.
There's a famous line in the Paul Newman movie, "Cool Hand Luke." It goes, "What we've got here is failure to communicate." It's used by a prison chain gang captain to explain why he's just beaten the inmate character played by Newman.