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January 2016 Archives

Injuries and accidents more prevalent in construction

Injuries at work can happen anywhere. Maybe you slip down a flight of stairs on your way to the office or trip over a cord on your way to the bathroom; life is full of accidents. Fortunately, for most workers, workplace injuries are not that serious. Unfortunately, this is not true for construction workers. According to the U.S. Department of Labor in a recent year, over 800 construction workers died on the job. It further estimates that four out of every 100-construction workers are injured in some way every year.

Steelworkers to vote on a new union contract

Steelwork, despite all the advances in safety and technology, remains a dangerous occupation. Steelwork is a unionized endeavor, which means that, if you are a steelworker, most of your benefits come from your union contract and not from government guarantees. Any renegotiated contract is extremely important for new and old steelworkers. The negotiating committee, this past week, decided to allow a union wide up or down vote on the contract.

What happens if you receive third party payments for your injury?

Equipment fails, people don't pay attention or materials are sub-par. The heavy machining work is dangerous and stressful on the machines that help you do your job. That is why these machines have to be tough, reliable and last a long time. However, every now and then, the forklift you were driving or the jackhammer you were operating breaks and you are injured. Can you file for workers' compensation and pursue a lawsuit against the third-party responsible for your injuries? The short answer is yes, and this article will review the legal implications of that scenario.

Protection from OSHA

Many employees in Pennsylvania know how much of a problem it can be if you are injured at work. Not only is there the matter of reporting your injury and the hazard that caused it, but you then have to contend with the injury itself and the time it takes to recover. This can also mean hefty medical bills, a loss of wages and the possibility of a long-term disability. 

Demoted after a workers' compensation claim?

You've suffered a work injury. You were hurt on the job. You have done everything that is expected of you from your employer and the workers' compensation insurance company and the nurse that calls or shows up to your appointments. You are off of work because you were hurt on the job and are collecting workers compensation checks. Work comp is paying for your medical bills for your work injury. None of the doctors you are treating with have released you to return to work. But then they do. With restrictions. Or you are sent to an IME and their doctor says you can go back to modified duty. Generally speaking if you are released to return to work with restrictions and you return to work, either with your employer or another employer you may be entitled to ongoing partial compensation checks ( a reduced amount of work comp checks). but you should always consult with an attorney.

Toxic exposure in the workplace

Many workers throughout the United States are exposed to hazardous chemicals and toxins at work every day. If you are one of these workers, it is important to understand what you can do to minimize your risks. And understand, you always have a right to work in a healthy and safe environment.

Framework of Pennsylvania's industry regulators

Pennsylvania is a longtime industrialized state. In reaction to this heritage, Pennsylvania has a multitude of government entities that regulate many aspects of industrial, construction and other dangerous industries. All of these agencies fall under the umbrella of the Department of Labor & Industry. So, if you find yourself injured in a construction accident, then the first place you should look is there.

Have you been injured on a construction site?

In a blog post from a few months ago, we detailed how the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is trying to reduce the number of construction worker injured in the course of employment, especially by falls and objects falling from overhead. One of the injury types specifically focused on was falls. OSHA sought to reduce the number of incidents that occurred through training and inspections. While these efforts may have reduced some of those accidents, some continue to happen, as is evident by this latest accident.

Do I still get workers' compensation if I am a public employee?

If you work for the city or state, then you may still be included in the standard workers' compensation system. But there may also be a special statutory rule that applies only to public employees. Basically, if you are a public employee then special rules may apply to you, so make sure you do your research before filing a claim. You don't want your claim denied because you missed a few rules or filed with the wrong agency.

An in-depth look at FECA

FECA is the Federal Employment Compensation Act. It is the law that allows all federal employees to seek workers' compensation claims. If you are a federal employee that is injured while on the job, then you will file your FECA claim with the Office of Workers' Compensation Programs. You will always file a claim under FECA regardless of how long you worked for the federal government.

Contacting OSHA for construction accidents

There are countless potential hazards on a construction site, but this is why workers require so much safety equipment and such extensive training. Employers are obliged to do all they can to protect their employees from harm and to remove risks where possible. Unfortunately, all too many things slip through the net and workers in Pennsylvania are endangered every day by inadequate safety gear, a lack of training and failures on the part of their employer. 

Insurance companies and workers' compensation

If you suffer a Work Injury due to the negligence of somebody other than your employer can the Workers' Compensation Insurance Carrier sue the person that caused your injuries even if you don't? The Pennsylvania Supreme Court in the case of Liberty Mutual v. Domtar Paper Co.is going to decide that exact question, as to whether a workers' compensation insurance company can bring a lawsuit against a 3d party tortfeasor for injuries caused to a worker who suffers an injury in the course of his employment if the injured worker doesn't.

Some tips on how to avoid the flu at work

Peak flu season in Western Pennsylvania is usually around February, so you can expect it sometime in the next two months. Millions of other Americans come down with the flu every year, which costs the economy upward of $7 billion in lost productivity and an additional 111 million sick days. The office is one place that many people contract the flu. This happens because many people infected with the flu still go to work. As admirable as this behavior may be, it is risky because it exposes other people to contracting the flu (or any other communicable disease).

Can you choose your own doctor after a workplace injury?

Whether you suffered a herniated disk in your back due to heavy lifting, you were injured in a work-related auto accident or you were exposed to toxic chemicals on the job, you likely have the same questions: Where can you turn for the medical help you need? Can you go to the family physician that has been treating you for the past 10 years, or do you need to find a new health care provider? And will workers' compensation pay for your medical care?

My workers' compensation benefits have stopped

Worried your Workers' Compensation may be stopped? Once you are approved for workers' compensation ideally you would continue to receive your benefits until you have recovered and go back to work. Unfortunately there are a number of reasons why your benefits could be stopped, or at least an attempt made to stop them sooner than you'd like.

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January 2016 Archives | Pittsburgh Workers' Compensation Law Blog a