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Columbus Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Scaffold injury at construction site could require workers' comp

If you have ever worked in the construction industry, you know how physically demanding the job is. While that can be a positive for many people, it can also have a downside. Since it requires so much physical ability and endurance, it can be quite crippling if a person is injured on the job at a construction site. Scaffold injuries are quite common amongst construction workers for a variety of reasons.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, otherwise known as OSHA, says that an estimated 65 percent of construction workers frequently operating on scaffolding, so it is not a shock scaffold injuries and accidents are some of the most common for construction workers. Since scaffold are often lifted high into the air they are some of the most severe in terms of injuries. Scaffold falls may occur due to a number of reasons including defective, unreasonably safe or improperly installed scaffolding. They have also been known to be caused when employers do not take the due diligence to ensure their employees are using the necessary protective equipment or other dangerous objects falling onto the scaffold and injuring the workers.

Ohio industrial worker dies in accident with forklift

When it comes to workplace safety, it should be a top concern for employers, employees and all others involved in the industrial workplace. Many workplace accidents are avoidable, or could have been prevented, had the right measures been put in place. These measures are often related to safety, whether they be a certain process employees are trained to follow, or a safer version of equipment that can be implemented. OSHA safety measures are fairly strict and up to date when it comes to industrial worker accidents.

Recently, an Ohio man was working in a glass making factory when something went horribly wrong. The 57-year-old had shown up to work that day per usual, but nothing was usual about the accident in which he was involved. Authorities are calling the death an accident, but aren't revealing much detail, other than the man died due to blunt force trauma to the head and neck. As a background, workers at the factory have tried to unionize without success.

Unfamiliarity with workers' compensation process needn't stop you

Thinking about workers' compensation, you may be completely unfamiliar with the term. Workers' compensation is essentially an insurance program for employers, it protects them from damages in incidents or accidents at work that cause their employees injuries and ultimately, losses. Seeking workers' compensation benefits is generally an employee's right when they are injured on-the-job. This should or can be sought when a work accident injury has left you unable to work or unable to complete the work you were once able to do.

When you seek workers' compensation and accept it, you have ultimately decided to forgo the opportunity to seek damages against an employer in a personal injury suit. Most work accident injuries aren't due to an employer's negligence in connection with the work injury. However, it is good to know this if you suspect something may have been awry at the time of the accident. Accidents are just accidents sometimes and that's exactly why workers' compensation exists. When seeking workers' compensation, the funds actually come from the employer's insurance policy, not the employer themselves.

What are common injuries impacting industrial workers?

If you or a loved one is an industrial worker, you know what hard work in a fast-paced industry is like. Industrial workers can have many tasks per their job description, but generally it means working with machines in order to build or create something. Industrial workers use their body much more actively than do the average nine to five office worker. This can result in injuries due to repetitive stress or even due to an incident with a machine or other piece of equipment.

Since the equipment that industrial workers use is generally large scale and heavy, it's generally not going to result in a positive outcome for the worker. Coming into contact with the wrong piece of equipment at the wrong time can quickly cause injuries anywhere in the body. However, many do not realize that repetitive stress injuries can also occur. These are characterized by pain as a result of performing the same movement over and over.

When additional compensation might be sought after a work injury

Workers' compensation insurance is something that has been around in the United States for more than 100 years. Over that time, it has undergone changes and the law continues to evolve even today. This is one reason why, if you suffer a work injury, you should consult with an attorney. That is the best way to be sure of your current rights and options regarding compensation.

As most readers may know, the basic theory driving workers' compensation is that it is a form of no-fault insurance. It effectively represents a grand bargain codified in law that assures that medical care for work-related injuries or illness will be provided at no cost to the worker. Additionally, it assures protection against wage loss. In return for supplying this coverage, the employer is typically immune from personal injury liability.

Several threats of permanent impairment at Ohio businesses

Industrial workers in Ohio seem to be putting their lives on the line for employers who prioritize profit over safety. A recent report about penalties issued to businesses in northwest Ohio shows that many workers face hazards that could cause permanent impairment. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration revealed the names of six companies that were fined after inspections that were carried out from August to October last year.

The businesses that were inspected included two parts manufacturers, a roofing company, pipeline business, rubber products manufacturer and a rail car repair yard. Most of the citations were for serious safety violations and some even repeated violations which shows that employee safety is often disregarded. The total of the six fines exceeded $290,000.

Preventing work related injuries protects your quality of life

Your health is everything. Without good health, your quality of life and ability to participate in it is greatly reduced. Similarly, mental health problems increase as poor physical health tends to increase depression and anxiety. Too often, poor health creates a negative cycle, impacting your finances with days lost due to injuries/illness and adding medical debt to your list of financial burdens.

Your place of work is where most time is spent. Certainly construction jobs offer a higher risk of producing impact injuries; however, office jobs also pose health risks with slouched backs and strained necks. Studies show that 35 percent of work injuries involve muscle sprains and tendons overstressed by repetitive movements. Consequently, the human body is likely to develop back pain and/or tendonitis from consistent bad form and posture.

OSHA's citation for amputation hazards contested by Ohio plant

Industrial workers in Ohio whose employers disregard employee safety face numerous hazards every day. When the company fails to comply with the regulations that are prescribed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, dangers such as contact with unguarded equipment pose amputation and other threats. The aftermath of such exposure led to a citation that OSHA issued to the Springfield plant of Dole.

Reportedly, the proposed penalty was issued following the completion of an investigation into an incident that occurred at the plant last fall. Dole officials said the company contests the allegations that it exposed a worker to hazards that could cause amputation injuries. However, OSHA responded that the case would remain open.

Bloodborne pathogens can cause permanent impairment

Paramedics, doctors and nurses are at risk for bloodborne pathogens, but they're not the only ones. One Ohio city concerned that this type of exposure may cause permanent impairment to its police officers. As part of the city's risk management program, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health was asked to assess the hazards of potential needlestick injuries that could cause health care problems for cops.

The accidental skin punctures with unsterilized instruments such as syringes can occur when police officers pat down suspects who have such items hidden in their clothes. Searching vehicles and properties pose the same risks. After analyzing the city's data, NIOSH determined that nine officers have contracted hepatitis C -- of the 11 needlestick victims that were tested. None of these officers had HIV or hepatitis B.

Temporary disability: Mandatory care aims to stop opioid epidemic

The current opioid epidemic is a nationwide concern, and the Ohio Bureau of Worker's Compensation has found a way to address it. The crisis impacts workers in all industries, and authorities say it is worthwhile to explore ways in which to curb the use of opioids. The need for habit-forming painkillers containing opiates often follows work-related back injuries that cause temporary disability and include products like morphine, heroin, codeine and oxycodone.

According to a report by the Ohio workers' compensation bureau, victims of serious work-related injuries will undergo specialized care for a predetermined period after the incident that caused the injury. For example, it will be obligatory for victims of occupational back injuries to receive conventional care for a period of 60 days. The intention is to use conservative methods to replace the use of damaging painkillers.

Book Of Law: Central Ohio’s Largest Law Firms – As published in Business First: Greater Columbus Business Authority (M&J)

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Morgan & Justice Co., LPA

Morgan & Justice Co. LPA
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Columbus, OH 43205

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