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Chambersburg Injured Workers Blog

Who qualifies for Social Security Disability?

If you are suffering from a disability, working a job that provides enough for your family may be extremely difficult—or even impossible.

Suffering from a disability can be mentally tough, especially if you just want to provide for your family. While you may prefer to work, there are other options that can help you support your family.

Heat-related illness in the workplace and how to prevent it

Both indoor and outdoor workers in Pennsylvania may be concerned about the summer heat and how it will impact their health. Besides the heat from the sun, the heat generated by machinery or by layers of protective clothing can lead workers to suffer from heat stress and other heat-related illnesses. Heat-related worker deaths number more than 1,300 every year according to EPA estimates.

Sometimes, employees are not even trained on identifying heat-related hazards and the symptoms of heat-related illness. This is where employers must lay down preventative measures, starting with heat stress prevention training and the development of an injury and illness prevention program. This program should be tailored to the size of the crew, the length of workers' shifts and temperatures in the area.

Protecting workplace safety at the loading dock

The loading dock is an active, busy work site for many Pennsylvania employees. These docks, located at factories, warehouses, distribution centers and other industrial buildings, are often connected to a storage room or staging area. Here, large trucks deliver the items needed to make the business operate. Loading docks are critical to many business operations, but they can also be a common site for workplace accidents and injuries. Loading dock employees are often charged with handling massive quantities of goods on a quick, expedited basis. After all, many delivery trucks are on a tight schedule and need to leave the dock quickly.

In order to most efficiently unload a truck and load a storage area, loading dock employees frequently use forklifts or lift trucks to manage the movement of goods. While forklifts are key tools for workers, they can also be a source of unexpected danger. Every year, there are over 100,000 workplace injuries linked to forklifts and other types of powered industrial trucks. Federal regulations require that forklift operators be properly trained, including company-provided training on the specific vehicle in use at the loading dock. Untrained forklift operators can wind up suffering serious injuries.

Fatality rates high among truckers, construction workers

Anyone in Pennsylvania who works in construction or transportation should know that nearly half of all workplace fatalities in 2017 were in these two industries. On the other hand, the industries of manufacturing and wholesale trade saw their lowest fatality rates since 2003. As for why construction and transportation are so dangerous, there appear to be several reasons.

One is the growth of the "gig economy." Currently, an estimated 75 million Americans have no permanent place of employment but rather go from job to job, often taking on gigs for which they do not have the requisite experience or training. Besides the presence of young, inexperienced workers, there are many older workers who are doing things they are no longer agile enough for.

OSHA requires employers to guard machinery

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has rules and regulations that apply to machinery operation and guarding. Because plant employees in Pennsylvania spend most of their time operating machines, it is important that their employers follow OSHA machinery regulations. To be in compliance with the law, employers must provide guards on certain machines to protect the operators. Common types of guards include barrier guards, two-hand trip devices and electronic safety devices.

Included among the list of machines that should have guards are power saws, milling machines, power presses, guillotine cutters, shears, forming rolls, jointers, calendars, alligator sheers and portable power tools. Guards might be adjustable, self-adjusting or fixed. Each machine should be paired with the proper type of guard.

Back pay may be possible in a disability case

Pennsylvania residents who apply for disability benefits may be able to receive payments retroactive to the date that they filed. While there is no maximum amount that they can receive, there are many factors that could determine what they are entitled to. Individuals who filed 17 months or more after they stopped performing substantial work could get up to 12 months in back payments.

The five-month difference is because of the waiting period that all applicants must go through. Generally speaking, a person is entitled to benefits no earlier than five months after the onset of a condition that makes it impossible to work. Another factor an individual needs to consider when seeking back payments is the medical evidence used to determine that he or she is disabled. Back payments are typically only available from the time that medical evidence is available to support the claim.

What to know about workplace dangers

In 2017, there were 5,147 worker deaths throughout Pennsylvania and the rest of the U.S. While certainly a high number, this was a decrease from the 5,190 workers who died in 2016. These figures from state and federal databases were included in the report Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect. The report was published on April 25 during Workers' Memorial Week. Overall, the death rate is 3.5 per 100,000 workers, but that rate increases to 10.3 per 100,000 for those over 65.

Among the workers who died in 2017, 2,077 passed away because of transportation accidents. Other common causes of workplace deaths include slips/trips/falls and workplace violence. In addition to the 807 deaths related to workplace violence in 2017, almost 29,000 lost-time injuries were reported because of violence at work.

NIOSH fact sheet may help prevent falls in construction

Pennsylvania construction workers have a dangerous job. On average, more than 300 construction workers across the U.S. die in falls each year, and over 10,000 incur fall-related injuries. This makes falls the leading cause of death among construction workers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The majority of fatal falls from scaffolding (86%), ladders (85%) and ladders (57%) arise in the construction industry.

In the effort to help construction employers and workers prevent falls on the job, NIOSH has released a fact sheet full of recommendations. One important recommendation is for employers to create a fall protection program when doing roof work. Employees should be given the proper fall protection equipment. Employers must provide training and have employees use the buddy system. The anchorage used for fall arrest systems should be the correct one.

Worker deaths and injuries from falls still on the rise

Preventing falls at work is not that tricky or expensive. But as a recent report from FairWarning points out, the problem of worker falls has never been worse, judging from Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

In 2017, the most recent year of data available, 887 workers died from falls.

How artificial intelligence can improve workplace safety

Pennsylvania construction workers are in a dangerous business. On a nationwide average, 14 construction workers die on the job every day. That is five times the number of deaths in other occupations. Approximately 40% of those deaths result from falls. There has also been a large increase in struck-by deaths over the past decade.

Safety professionals are always looking for ways to reduce the number of deaths and injuries occurring at construction sites. One relatively new tool being used for that purpose is artificial intelligence, which provides the ability to gather and analyze data much faster than what could be done manually. For example, AI-supported cameras can scan job sites in real time and flag potentially dangerous situations.

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