May 5, 2014

Steel Foundary Fined $2.4 Million for Safety Violations

Rampant health and safety violations at four plants owned by Republic Steel have resulted in a fine of more than $2.4 million against the company. Officials with the U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration reported the hefty fine is the result of more than 100 violations at the firm's various plants, including a fall through a roof, an arc flash incident and a plethora of serious fall hazards.
Charlotte work injury lawyers understand the company has agreed to immediate abatement of all existing hazards, and the implementation of several policies and procedures to ensure those risks don't arise again. In the event of substantial non-compliance with any part of the agreement, the company agreed to pay even larger fines.

OSHA began intense inspections of the Ohio-based firm after a worker fell through the roof at one factory location. At that same location, a worker was injured in an arc flash incident. At another site, the number of fall hazards were high, according to safety inspectors.

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May 2, 2014

Restaurant Worker Slip-and-Falls in South Carolina

Spartanburg workers' compensation lawyers note a slip-and-fall work injury case recently made it all the way to the Oklahoma Supreme Court, which vacated two earlier conflicting rulings on the standard for disability determination.
The case, Kentucky Fried Chicken of McAlester v. Snell, would have been fairly straightforward, but for that standard of review.

The case presents an opportunity to talk about a larger issue, which is workplace slip and fall hazards in restaurants.

The Occupational Health & Safety Administration reports falls cause 15 percent of all accidental, work-related deaths (second only to motor vehicle crashes). The specific risks vary depending on the type of work environment. For example, the fall risks on a construction site are going to be very different from those at a restaurant, but can pose equal dangers if not addressed.

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April 30, 2014

Workers' Compensation for Carpal Tunnel Requires Clear Evidence

Workplace injuries don't always occur suddenly or traumatically. Injuries can happen gradually, often with little notice paid by the worker in the months or years leading up to the realization that something is wrong.
Still, the impact of these types of injuries is often no less debilitating, as the recent case of Evans v. Fidelity & Guar. Ins. Co. reveals.

Workers' compensation attorneys in Concord recognize that in order to secure benefits for clients in these situations, it often takes more time and work on behalf of the claimant. It's critical to establish that the origin of the injury - or its worsening condition - is the result of work duties.

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April 27, 2014

OSHA Issues $2.3M Fine for Worker Asbestos Exposure

Federal regulators slapped a real estate management and development firm with more than $2.3 million in fines, after determining the company intentionally exposed its own employees, as well as 13 contractors, to asbestos and lead hazards.
The exposure occurred during a renovation and cleanup of an old psychiatric center in New York, as the company prepared to have investors tour the site.

Spartanburg workers' compensation lawyers know that while asbestos isn't typically used anymore as a construction material, it was widely employed in a broad range of products for the majority of the 20th Century - even though manufacturers knew of its dangerousness. That's why both state and federal authorities now have very specific rules about how its should be handled and disposed.

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April 26, 2014

Court: Mental, Emotional Injuries of Workplace Violence Compensable

Emotional and mental turmoil resulting from workplace violence can be debilitating, in some cases manifesting in the form of a chemical dependency. As such, the Nebraska Supreme Court ruled in Kim v. Gen-X Clothing, Inc., that the resulting treatment for such dependency should be compensable.
Asheville workers' compensation lawyers recognize this ruling as important because it represents a shift in attitude with regard to our understanding of chemical dependency. Specifically as it pertains to workers' compensation, treatment for chemical dependency can be covered when the claimant can show it is directly related to a traumatic workplace incident.

That's not to say it will be an easy win, but this case shows it is possible.

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April 23, 2014

Remote Workers Face Additional Work-Injury Risks

Many workers do dangerous work off-site and in locations distant from their employer's main place of business. For example, utility and cable repair workers are often out in the field, as are those responsible for cell phone tower maintenance. tower-1334864-m.jpg

When an employee works remotely, it makes it harder for an employer to set and enforce safety rules. Remote workers are more autonomous and may not always follow an employer's strict guidelines. Further, employers cannot supervise a worker who is out in the field and may be unable to provide adequate training or safety equipment to reduce the risk of injury or death.

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April 21, 2014

Whistleblower Protection and Worker Discipline

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has the responsibility of regulating safety on worksites and has the authority to set rules designed to protect workers. OSHA has too few inspectors and too tight of a budget to be as effective as it should be at doing this job. Because of understaffing, OSHA cannot inspect businesses frequently and companies could get away with safety violations for years. fire-hydrant-booster-and-pipes-1434480-m.jpg

Things got worse at OSHA recently when the agency had to cut its budget due to the federal sequester. However, amidst the cuts, OSHA increased its resources for investigating whistleblower cases. Whistleblower cases let employees, those most likely to be aware of safety problems, come forward and provide information about violations or wrongdoing on the part of employers.

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April 20, 2014

Noisy Worksites Make for More Accidents

When coworkers can communicate effectively with each other at work, many accidents on-the-job can be prevented. For example, a coworker could warn his peers of hazardous conditions or do something as simple as shout "look out," in order to stop an imminent accident from happening. Unfortunately, in some workplaces, it is difficult for people to communicate as a result of excessive noise. hearing-impaired-1016277-m.jpg

Excessive noise can result in damage to a worker's hearing that never goes away. A Spartanburg, SC work accident lawyer can represent victims who suffer hearing losses because of loud worksites and help them to make workers' compensation claims. The hearing problems and potential deafness may not be the only issue that workers on loud job sites face either, as a new study reported on in Canadian Occupation Safety suggested that both hearing loss and loud workplaces may increase the risk of all types of workplace accidents.

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April 16, 2014

Parking Lot Injuries and Workers' Compensation Claims

One of the more common areas for the occurrence of North Carolina work injuries are parking lots and parking decks.
Employees traverse them every day, and yet our Greensboro workers' compensation lawyers know these sites seldom receive the same maintenance as the company's interior structure. This is especially true when the lots aren't open to the public. Employee parking lots are frequently the site of back-over accidents, slips, trips and other injuries.

It's been held by many courts and workers' compensation boards in numerous jurisdictions that employees injured in work parking lots are entitled to receive benefits. Of course, there are always exceptions, and a number of factors can play into the decision. These include elements such as lot ownership and maintenance, the on-the-clock status of the worker, whether work equipment was involved, etc. As the recent case of Hersh v. County of Morris reveals, these matters can be complicated. In fact, this case made it all the way to the New Jersey Supreme Court before a conclusion was reached, indicating this was an issue for which both sides felt it worth a fight.

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April 13, 2014

Workers' Compensation for Employees in Transit

There are some Spartanburg workers' compensation claims in which establishing causation or employer liability is fairly simple. These are cases where the worker was clearly at the job site, on the clock and suffered injury in the midst of the work day.
However, in situations where employees travel or are in between job sites, the question of whether an injury is compensable becomes more complex. Motor vehicle travel is one of the most dangerous modes of transportation, so it's unsurprising that we see so many disputed workers' compensation claims arising from these scenarios.

In the case of Carson v. State ex rel., Wyo. Workers' Safety & Comp. Div., the issue before the Wyoming Supreme Court was whether injury and death sustained in a car accident had occurred in the course of employment.

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April 10, 2014

Self-Inflicted Work Injuries Not Compensable Under South Carolina Law

For the most part, if you suffer a work-related injury in South Carolina or some illness that arises out of the course of your duties, you are entitled to workers' compensation benefits.
However, there are a few exceptions. One of those would be cases in which the injury was intentionally self-inflicted. That is, if you deliberately do harm to yourself while at work, your company may not have to pay you workers' compensation benefits.

It's important to note, though, that it is possible for an injury to be self-inflicted, but not intentional - and therefore compensable. In these cases, it all comes down to proving intent, and that can make the procedures a bit more complicated and bit more subjective than in other situations. This is where having an experienced Anderson workers' compensation lawyer can make a difference.

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April 7, 2014

Temporary Worker Protection A Growing Focus

Amid growing concern that legislators have failed temporary workers by allowing regulation of their well-being to slip through the cracks, lawmakers in California are taking action. factory2.jpg

According to a new report by ProPublica, the state may become one of the first in the country to hold company's legally responsible for safety and wage violations by subcontractors and temp agencies that supply them with a temporary work force.

Our Greensboro workers' compensation lawyers have grown increasingly concerned about the ballooning temporary workforce. Although these individuals are entitled to work injury compensation through the staffing agency or subcontractor, the fact is they suffer work ailments at a rate 50 percent higher than the average worker. (In some states, the rate has been noted as more than 70 percent higher).

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April 5, 2014

Poultry Industry Danger Highlighted at Congressional Hearing

In light of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's proposal to allow work-speed increases within the nation's poultry processing plants, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights heard testimony from work safety advocates asserting that such action would not only increase the risk of foodborne illness, but worker injuries as well.
Charlotte workers' compensation lawyers know that North Carolina ranks No. 4 in the country's poultry processing industry, employing some 28,000 workers statewide and producing some 3.7 billion pounds of chicken. That represents more than 25 percent of our state's total agricultural take for the year.

And yet, workers in these plants frequently suffer serious injuries, though they are vastly under-reported. A 2013 report by the Southern Poverty Law Center called "Unsafe at These Speeds" focuses on Alabama's poultry industry, interviewing more than 300 workers and culling federal data from the Bureau of Labor and the Occupational Safety & Health Administration. Alabama ranks third in the nation for poultry production.

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April 3, 2014

Securing Medical Coverage for South Carolina Work Injuries

The effects of a Spartanburg work injury can linger or worsen even after an employee has returned to work. sorter.jpg

The worker may have been medically cleared to return to most of his or her regular duties, but that may not be the end of ongoing pain or a condition that becomes aggravated or grows worse with time.

Workers in these situations are entitled to seek compensation for their continued medical care, and missed time off work. This is true even if the worker is no longer employed at the company where the original injury occurred. In these instances, however, it's important for the workers' compensation lawyer representing you to establish that the current condition is directly related to the prior work injury.

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March 29, 2014

Employers Seek to Reduce Workers' Compensation Costs

Employees who have suffered a work injury in Charlotte need to know from the outset that your employer is more interested in mitigating his or her own costs than ensuring you receive the proper compensation. sparks.jpg

If you needed proof, just look to the recent article printed in Insurance Business America entitled, "InFocus: How agents can slash 20% to 50% from workers' comp costs."

The report indicates that a recent MarketScout study found that across the country, workers' compensation rates rose an average of 3 percent in February, indicating insurance carriers are raising their rates and reducing their offerings. The article outlines ways that employers can reduce their workers' compensation expenses.

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