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Chambersburg Injured Workers Blog

Nurses face high rate of workplace injuries

With an aging population in Pennsylvania, nurses are facing even more workplace demands as the number of elderly patients needing hospital and nursing care increase. With that increase comes the risk of nurses injuring themselves on the job.

In 2016, registered nurses working private industry in the United States missed 19,790 days of work because of injury and illness, a significantly higher rate than all other occupations, including construction.

Report examines workplace safety at military contract sites

Military construction contractors in Pennsylvania may be particularly concerned about job safety. Of course, many construction workers are already well aware of the potential for serious workplace accidents and injuries, especially when using heavy equipment or working at heights. Various forms of tightened regulations as well as private initiatives aim to make many construction sites safer places for workers, avoiding severe and often disabling injuries. For example, New York City implemented rules for mandatory safety training before workers could start on building jobs throughout the city.

However, little specific attention has been paid over the years to the safety situation of construction workers doing contracted work for the Department of Defense. The U.S. Government Accountability Office conducted research to assess previous violations by contracting companies that work with the DOD and examine how safety records are dealt with by the department. The report examined 192 construction companies' safety records between 2013 and 2017. All of the companies involved had DOD contracts during the specified period. The study noted that 52 companies had 195 serious violations, including seven workplace fatalities, 20 workers hospitalized and four more severe injuries.

Improving electrical worker safety using OSHA resources

OSHA is trying to raise awareness of the safety risks that engineers, electricians and all electrical workers have to face. Though OSHA has been focusing on electrical safety in the states of Nebraska, Missouri and Kansas, the safety organization has concerns and tips that apply to electrical workers in Arizona as well.

Between January 2015 and September 2018, OSHA conducted a series of inspections in the three aforementioned states after receiving reports of 15 hospitalizations among workers in the electrical industry. There were also two cases of amputation and six cases, spanning October 2012 to September 2018, where an electrical and wiring installation contractor was killed on the job.

OSHA releases list of top safety violations in 2018

Employers in Pennsylvania should never wait until an OSHA inspector comes by to do something about workplace safety. Employers must comply with standards at all times. Unfortunately, inspectors uncovered all kinds of safety violations in 2018, and OSHA has released a list of the most prominent ones in an effort to raise awareness.

The top violation was linked to fall protection. This does not just pertain to the construction industry. Employees may violate the rules of ladder safety or roofing safety. Employers may neglect to install guardrails, toe boards or warning signs. Second, many job sites violated the protocols for hazard communication. Some did not update safety data sheets while others failed to train workers on the safe handling of hazardous chemicals.

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.

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