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Chambersburg Injured Workers Blog

The dangers of grain engulfment

For Pennsylvania employees who are required to work in or around grain storage facilities, grain engulfment is a deadly hazard that they face. If a worker becomes smothered by grain in a storage facility, he or she could suffer serious injuries or even death if rescue does not happen fast enough. From April 9 to April 13, the National Grain and Feed Association along with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration worked together to raise awareness about the dangers.

Out-of-condition grain is the number one cause of engulfment. During the unloading process, flowing grain can act like quicksand and fully bury employees in less than 22 seconds. Bridged grain, or when grain becomes clumped together, becomes dangerous when it begins to fall into empty space, as it can quickly trap anyone who may be underneath. When avalanche engulfment occurs, a pile of grain can suddenly collapse on a worker, potentially resulting in suffocation.

Nearly one-third of radiologists suffer back, neck pain

Technological advancements are typically a good thing when it comes to workplace safety in Pennsylvania. However, a recent survey found that almost one-third of radiologists suffer from work-related back pain, and one of the causes could be the computerization of their field.

According to a review published in the Journal of the American College of Radiology, radiologists may be suffering painful side effects from the use of modern picture archiving and communication systems. For decades, radiologists used film for radiological images, but now the field has largely converted to a digital format. This means that radiologists spend long hours sitting in front of computer monitors, often without ergonomic chairs or proper breaks. As a result, many people in the practice suffer neck, back and shoulder pain.

Guarding against pinch points

When it comes to so-called pinch points, the name doesn't leave much to the imagination. A pinch point is any portion of machinery where it is possible that part or all of a person's body can get caught. It's important to note that these hazards can also involve a point between non-stationary equipment and even stationary equipment that involves moving material. For Workers in Pennsylvania, pinch points can lead to major workplace injuries.

Pinch points are a constant presence in many manufacturing facilities. Devices that can lead to pinch point injuries include moving doors and hatches, transmission equipment, presses, assembly lines, conveyor belts and many other pieces of powered machinery.

Is it possible to receive SSDI and work at the same time?

Struggling with a disability is a difficult reality often complicating every factor of daily life. The truth is-- your life is just as valuable and deserving of peace and security as anyone else. This includes acquiring financial security. If you are on Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, or applying for it, you may be curious about your options to continue working in some capacity.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) allows you to work a certain amount of hours in accordance with your disability. The amount of SSDI benefits may fluctuate depending on your debilitating issue. The purpose of SSDI is to fill in the gap of lost wages due to your condition. Generally, a limit of 20 hours of work per week is allowed to maintain eligibility.

How new tech can benefit the construction field

The construction industry is one of the most dangerous in the world. In Pennsylvania and across the U.S., an average of 1 in 10 construction workers is injured every year. In 2015, the U.S. saw 937 workers killed in construction injuries, the highest number since 2008. Companies are therefore looking to technology to help reduce the risk of accidents and deaths.

One of the most important developments in construction safety tech is a new reversing alarm that emits the sound of white noise instead of the traditional beep. The White Sound BBS-TEK reversing alarm is available from Brigade Electronic, a global safety firm, and its alarm can be heard clearly on any construction site, even to those wearing headphones. This can reduce accidents caused when workers become confused over similar-sounding beeping noises.

Social Security Disability benefits and the appeals process

People in Pennsylvania who are applying for Social Security Disability may be worried about the consequences of filing a late appeal after a denial of disability benefits. If the Social Security Administration denies a disability claim, applicants are provided with 60 days in addition to five mailing days to appeal the decision in their case, starting from the date on the notice of denial. However, it can still be possible to file an appeal after that 65-day period, although it could be denied due to a lack of timely filing.

In order to successfully file a late appeal of a denial of Social Security Disability benefits, the person appealing must show that they had good cause to be late. There are a number of reasons that can apply, especially to people who have disabilities and whose ability to respond to a filing is limited as a result. If a person was too ill to file or contact Social Security, this is considered good cause; this is also the case if the applicant has mental, physical or educational limitations that prevented them from being able to file their appeal in a timely basis.

Fall prevention critical to prevent workplace injuries

Many construction zones and industrial sites in Pennsylvania rely on the work of employees who operate at high levels using fall protection equipment. Due to the inherent dangers of such jobs, these workers are particularly at risk for workplace injuries. Falls in these kinds of jobs can cause lifelong disabilities or even death. Therefore, it is particularly critical that workers have the protective equipment that can ensure safety in case of an accident.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has created a series of guidelines to help protect workers in high places from fall injuries. These guidelines require that any anchor point to which a worker is attached as part of a fall arrest system provide sufficient support in case of a fall. OSHA specifies that this support must be either 5,000 pounds per person or twice the force generated by a falling worker. While many safety experts advise the use of the 5,000-pound standard, there are anchor points that support less weight that can still be sufficient.

Workplace safety in Franklin County's food industry

The food industry remains an important contributor to Franklin County's economy with the region being home to a number of processing centers that produce bakery products, apple and fruit products, dressings and sauces, and cage-free eggs.

Hundreds of residents in the surrounding area are employed within this industry, supporting their families while keeping our region's economy moving forward. But many people who are not employed in food processing don't realize the dangers that these worker face every day. They can be dangerous jobs, especially in a stressful and hazardous work environment.

Ex-OSHA head testifies to value of enforcement

Workers in Pennsylvania and throughout the country are kept safer through programs from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration that emphasize standards, inspections and enforcement than they are through the agency's employer voluntary program. This was the gist of the testimony of the former OSHA head David Michaels at a hearing on Feb. 27 before the House Subcommittee on Workforce Protections.

Michaels focused on several weaknesses in the agency's Voluntary Protection Program. One was that the initiative lacks a strategic focus and concentrates on individual companies instead of multiple employers. Another is that the companies involved in the VPP are already compliant, so focusing on them does not tend to increase worker safety. The VPP program is costly to administer and takes up agency resources that could be directed toward safety elsewhere. Furthermore, there is a lack of research as to whether the VPP is even effective, unlike other approaches such as enforcement. Finally, the companies that participate in VPP tend to be large and wealthy, meaning they have the resources to create their own safety and health programs.

Fact sheet from OSHA regarding silica rule

Workers in Pennsylvania who are exposed to respirable crystalline silica should be aware of a fact sheet published by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The purpose of the publication is to the assist employers with adhering to the standard established by the agency for breathable crystalline silica for the general industry and maritime sector.

On the fact sheet, employers are provided instructions on what to do to protect employees. They include providing training, evaluating workplace exposures and creating written plans for exposure control.

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