August 19, 2013

Soup Kitchen Injury? Paid Volunteering and Workers' Compensation

Workers' compensation is provided to any worker injured while "in the course of performing work-related duties." Some employers and insurance companies have contested claims when the accident occurred while an employee was at a work function or outside of the office. A new trend in larger companies raises questions about workers' compensation: volunteering on the clock.


Companies, including U.S. Bank, are offering employees the ability to volunteer their time while still on the clock. A recent NPR report chronicles the work of several U.S. Bank employees who are able to spend up to 16 hours a year at a soup kitchen. While the program gives employees the opportunity to give back and certainly gives the business "community credit," what does it mean for workers' compensation? Our Greensboro workers' compensation attorneys are experienced in protecting the rights of all employees who have suffered a job-related injury.

In similar programs nationwide, employers are allowing their employees to remain on the clock while volunteering their time at local organizations. Some of the employees admit that they wouldn't have time or wouldn't do the volunteer work, if it wasn't for their employer's incentives. Still, this boosts the morale of workers, bolsters camaraderie between workers, and also gives back to the community. For many workers this is a positive outlet. For employers, the program also has a number of benefits. But does the volunteer worker program complicate workers' compensation claims?

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August 16, 2013

Appalachia Worker Killed in Coal Pillar Accident

Coal mines are notoriously dangerous work sites. In addition to lung disease and other chronic illnesses contracted while working in a mine, victims are also at risk of collapse or explosion. In a tragic work-accident case, a coal miner from Appalachia was killed and two other miners were injured earlier this month. Local and federal investigations are still underway to determine the cause of the accident and identify responsible parties.


Victims of coal mining accidents and their families are entitled to workers' compensation. Our Spartanburg workers' compensation attorneys are experienced with the investigation and documentation of complex claims and are dedicated to helping families recover the support that they need and deserve. We are committed to remaining abreast and aware of developments involving work-related accidents in North Carolina and the Appalachia region.

The accident occurred in an underground coal mine in Kentucky. According to local agencies investigating, a 56-year-old worker was killed in the accident. Two other coal miners suffered injuries while trying to retreat. The fatal accident occurred at the processing operation of the coal mining plant. Preliminary reports indicated that the side of a coal pillar burst as a continuous mining machine was operating, trapping the miners. The other victims reportedly did not suffer life-threatening injuries; however, they were taken to the hospital for medical treatment.

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August 13, 2013

Health Care Employees Have Highest Rate of Work-Related Injuries

When considering common work-related injuries, the most dangerous industries are assumed to be construction, industrial work, farming, or fishing. While these industries carry a higher risk of fatality, the most work-related injuries in the U.S. occur in the health care industry. According to recent reports, health care workers suffer more injuries and illnesses on the job than in any other industry.

Health care workers face a number of potential dangers on the job. In addition to exposure to illness, bacteria and disease, workers can be physically injured in violent attacks by mentally ill patients, suffer injuries because of equipment, or suffer from repetitive stress injuries. Our Asheville workers' compensation attorneys are dedicated to helping victims recover compensation after a work-related injury. We are also committed to raising awareness surrounding the safety of workers in the health care industry.


Safety advocates blame the limited federal safety standards and lack of inspections of health care facilities. According to a report published by Public Citizen (a national safety advocacy non-profit), health care workers had 654,000 workplace injuries in 2010. This is 152,000 more injuries than the 2nd most dangerous industry for workers: manufacturing.

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August 10, 2013

Injured Workers Face Risk of Retaliation

The workers' compensation benefits program allows workers to file claims without having to prove fault. This gives the employee the right to collect compensation for lost wages and medical costs without having to go through the civil process of filing a lawsuit. While there are many benefits to the workers' compensation system, it is also riddled with complications and issues for those who file. In addition to suffering from reduced access to claims or funds, recent reports indicate that many workers may also face retaliation from their employers.


Filing a workers' compensation claim requires medical documentation as well as additional paperwork to ensure timely and accurate recovery. When you or someone you love is faced with the devastating consequences of a work-related injury, remember that you are entitled to benefits, regardless of negligence or fault. Our Asheville workers' compensation attorneys are dedicated to providing strategic counsel and advocacy and helping victims and their families recover the benefits they deserve.

According to a recent report, the number of workplace injuries has dropped by 31% over the last 10 years. While optimists may see this as a sign that workplace conditions are improving, others have identified a more sinister reason for the drop in claims. Some workers believe that companies are retaliating against those who file claims for workers compensation benefits. Though workers' compensation claims have dropped, there were 100 state and federal retaliation claims, double the rate of the previous year.

While employers may claim that the decline in injury claims is indicative of a safer work environment, unions and workers' rights advocates assert that the claims process discourages workers from filing injury claims. Even the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration has found that too many injuries have gone unreported. Employers and companies have been reminded that federal law prevents retaliation against employees who file workers' compensation claims.

OSHA representatives have also stated that the majority of accidents arise out of unsafe working conditions, not worker negligence. This could leave companies liable for fines and other violations if a worker injury leads to an investigation. Dangerous job sites can result in a number of injuries. The top five reasons for disability were overexertion, falls, injuries from climbing or bending, fall to a lower level and being struck with an object.

For employers, a workers' compensation claim could result in lost hours and payouts for medical expenses. Though safety inspections and crackdowns may improve worksite safety, other legislation has made it more difficult to qualify for workers' compensation benefits. In some cases, injuries were left unreported because they weren't identified for months or ears. For example, exposure to harmful chemicals may not be immediately apparent.

Some employers have responded to injuries saying that it is the worker's fault, even penalizing them for bringing a claim. In the unstable job market, many employees are afraid to bring claims because of the potential consequences they could face. Ultimately, this is counter to the goals of the workers' compensation which aims to quickly bring relief to workers injured on the job. Workers' compensation claims can be complicated and require an experienced advocate to protect our rights, review your case and present all necessary documentation to support your claim.

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August 7, 2013

Wal-Mart Fined for Worker Safety Violations

Every year, Wal-mart seems to face a number of legal problems, including employment class actions and issues involving worker rights. Consumer and employee watchdog groups have routinely found violations that can put worker rights and safety at risk. In the newest instance of exposure, Wal-Mart has entered a settlement to improve safety for workers. The company was scrutinized after being fined by the government for workplace violations involving work trash compactors and hazardous cleaning chemicals.

Under the agreement, Wal-Mart has agreed to improve work safety conditions for employees at more than 2,800 stores nationwide.


Employers are required to follow federal regulations to ensure worker safety. They must also take a reasonable and informed approach to ensuring that processes and procedures protect workers, especially when involving dangerous chemicals or machinery. Our Spartanburg workers' compensation attorneys are experienced with complex claims involving worker injury. We will take an aggressive and proactive approach to help victims and their families recover the compensation they deserve.

Recently, issues surfaced concerning safety for employees who use trash compactors and cleaning chemicals and stores nationwide. An advocacy group for Wal-Mart employees has lauded the agreement and indicated that the handling of hazardous materials led to dangerous conditions and poorly maintained equipment for workers. Evidently, this was a widespread problem that affected employees nationwide.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is charged with ensuring that companies follow federal regulations and safety guidelines. After an inspection at a store in New York, OSHA found a significant number of violations that left the company liable for fines. If you or someone you love was involved in a workplace accident, an experienced advocate and independent investigation can help you to protect your rights and recover the compensation you need and deserve.

According to an announcement earlier this month, Wal-Mart and Sam's Club stores in 28 states have agreed to improve worker training and safety programs when handling equipment and cleaning chemicals. In addition to improving safety conditions, the retail store has also agreed to pay a $190,000 fine to address the safety issues. A spokesperson for Wal-Mart has asserted that immediate action was taken to address the problems.

In the event of a workplace accident involving dangerous chemicals, heavy machinery or hazardous materials, OSHA may be called in to investigate or determine the cause of the accident or injury. Remember that workers' compensation claimants need not prove that the accident was their fault or that negligence caused the accident. A worker need only prove that the accident occurred while in the course of performing "work-related duties."

In this case, safety issues were identified before a serious accident or injury occurred. Unfortunately, many OSHA inspections and the findings of violations occur after it is too late. A workplace left unexamined could expose a worker to burns, fires, explosions and other serious accidents or injury. For victims of workplace injury, after the fact safety violation findings may seem inconsequential, even if a company agrees to make necessary improvements. By intervening early, OSHA may have been able to prevent a serious accident or injury to a Wal-Mart employee.

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August 3, 2013

Gas Leak Fatal to Produce Farm Worker

Some occupational risks are higher than others. For individuals who routinely work with gas and power lines, any mistake or accident can be fatal. In a recent local tragedy, a gas leak at a produce farm caused an explosion which killed one worker and sent a dozen others to the hospital. The accident sheds light on the importance of workplace safety checks and the site maintenance to ensure employee well-being.

A gas leak or explosion is likely to cause serious injury and fatalities. For victims and families of farming accidents, workers' compensation is available to cover medical expenses and lost wages. Families who have lost a loved one in a fatal farming accident may be eligible for workers' compensation death benefits. Our Spartanburg workers' compensation attorneys are experienced in helping victims protect their rights and in helping our clients recover the full benefits they deserve after an accident.


Produce farms, like other industrial sites, are regulated by OSHA and must follow protocols and safety measures to ensure safety of workers. When dealing with hazardous chemicals, power lines, and other machinery, workers may be at risk. Employers must be proactive to ensure that employees are properly trained, have the right equipment, and are in safe working conditions to prevent serious accidents or injury.

Investigators of this case are still trying to determine the cause of the gas leak that caused the death of the local worker. In the end there were also 15 emergency workers and civilians who were sent to the hospital with carbon monoxide poisoning. The emergency call was made after two workers were found unconscious--one was slumped over at the wheel of a forklift. The other worker was on the floor in the refrigerated room at the produce farm. Investigators suspect that there was a gas leak in the produce farm's refrigerator building.

According to reports, 911 dispatchers received a call from Norton Creek Farms around 7 in the evening. When emergency crews arrived, responders were overcome by gas and many of them required treatment. The worker was pronounced dead at the scene and many victims were taken to nearby South Carolina hospitals.

Due to the high number of injuries, the hospital established triage for the workers brought in for medical treatment and care. In addition to emergency medical workers, police officers and fire fighters also responded to the scene. By responding quickly to the accident scene, many of the emergency crew workers avoided serious and permanent injury.

In this case, the farm worker and the emergency response crews are entitled to workers' compensation benefits. Emergency responders often face a number of grave dangers when responding to an accident call. To ensure that benefits are properly recovered, victims must provide correct and accurate medical documentation. An experienced advocate can review your case, collect relevant documentation and effectively present your claim for benefits. If your claim was previously denied, an experienced workers' compensation attorney can review your case and explore your options to appeal.

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August 2, 2013

Reducing the Risk of Worker Prescription Use

In previous posts we have discussed the danger of prescription drugs and job performance. According to recent reports, the long-term use of prescription drugs has been costly to families, workers and their employers. In addition to reduced function and capacity, some workers are at risk of overuse and the dangers of addiction. The health risks associated with the use of opiates in particular has raised concern for many medical professionals. For employers, drugs may delay an employee's return to work and lead to additional workers' compensation claims.

Workers who suffer job injury may require pain medication and other prescription drugs after an accident. Our Greensboro workers' compensation attorneys are dedicated to helping these work injury victims recover medical support and obtain appropriate treatment after an accident. We are also abreast of current trends in the workers' compensation industry and dedicated to keeping local employers and employees informed of worker-related issues, including the overuse of prescription medication.


According to the Workers' Compensation Research Institute (WCRI), nearly 80 percent of workers who suffered from an injury were prescribed at least one opioid prescription. Some workers used as many as 6 different prescriptions over the course of 12 months after an injury. While the majority of patients are simply following doctors' orders, some of the patients could be susceptible to addiction and overuse of the drugs. If you or someone you love has been prescribed a narcotic after an injury, be wary of the potentially addictive nature of these drugs.

Some safety advocates have urged drug testing patients to determine which workers could be abusing or addicted to the prescription medications. Others suggest reducing the use of unnecessary medication in the treatment of injured workers. Those who could be impacted by a worker injury include employers, medical professionals, insurers, and law makers who have a stake in worker and patient health.

In South Carolina and North Carolina, a study found that 10 percent of workers prescribed opiates were taking opioids on a long-term basis after an injury. This study and analysis defined "long-term use" as patients who received opioids within three months of an injury and continued use three to six months after an injury. In these cases, only one in four of the workers were tested for drugs. The study considered 300,000 workers' compensation claims and the 1.1 million prescriptions affiliated with those claims in 21 different states.

To prevent long-term or overuse, workers should continue to be monitored by health professionals. Treatment guidelines recommend psychological evaluations and check-ins to manage the potential for addiction. In most states only 4 to 7 percent of workers received follow up treatment and additional services, even when prescribed for long-term use.

Employers and employees have an interest in monitoring the use of prescription drugs to prevent additional injuries while on the job and to prevent long-term complications, including addiction. Employers want their employees fully restored and healthy and to reduce workers' compensation claims. Victims of workplace injury should not have to choose between pain relief and recovery, but they should be aware of the potential risks associated with long-term prescription drug use.

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July 31, 2013

Dangers of Combustible Dust: OSHA Reports

Combustible dust is a notorious hazard in a number of industries. According to OSHA, a combustible material can burn rapidly when in a fine partical form. Dust suspended in the air at the right concentration under certain conditions can become explosive. Some materials, including aluminum or iron, under certain conditions can become flammable or highly explosive when in the form of dust.

Employers and industry leaders, as well as government agencies, including OSHA, are responsible for regulating work conditions and ensuring that combustible dust is properly eliminated. Our Charlotte workers' compensation attorneys are experienced with complex cases involving work accidents and injuries. We are aware of the very dangerous nature of highly combustible dust and urge employers to take appropriate action to prevent workplace injuries and fatalities.


The force of an explosion from combustible dust has been known to cause significant employee injuries and deaths. In some cases, a combustible dust explosion can demolish an entire building. The U.S. Chemical and Safety Hazard Investigation Board has identified 281 combustible dust explosions between 1980 and 2005. These accidents lead to the deaths of 119 workers nationwide. The explosions also resulted in over 700 injuries and the damage to countless industrial facilities.

Materials that can be combustible in dust exist in a range of industries including food, tobacco, plastic, wood and paper, furniture and textiles. Combustible dust also exists in textiles, pesticides, pharmaceuticals and metal industries. Workers in these and other industries should be aware of the risk and follow appropriate safety protocols to prevent injury. In the event of an explosion or injury, workers and their loved ones have the right to pursue workers' compensation benefits.

This week, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board will hold a public meeting in Washington D.C. The board may designate an OSHA combustible dust standard as its first "Most Wanted Chemical Safety Improvement," due to the very dangerous nature of the material. Leadership in OSHA is the audience for the meeting and the board is slated to consider whether the three previous recommendations are not acceptable. After several investigations the board has not found that OSHA adequately implemented safety management.

The meeting will focus on three main recommendations. The first is in response to an investigation in a Delaware refinery which found that the storage tanks could be involved with the potential release in a covered process with 10,000 pounds of a flammable substance. The second recommendation involves a Texas refinery which should require additional oversight of organizational changes that could impact process safety. A third recommendation calls on OSHA to issue a fuel gas safety standard for construction and general industry.

The meeting and review of standards in the treatment of combustible dust is intended to broaden OSHA oversight and create enforceable safety standards to protect the well-being of workers. We are committed to raising awareness about the dangers of combustible dust and urge North and South Carolina employees and workers to stay abreast of all safety measures in all impacted industries.

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July 28, 2013

Acupuncture May Provide Relief for Workers With Chronic Pain

Workers who have been injured in an accident or who suffer from repetitive stress may be vulnerable to chronic pain. In addition to medication, rehabilitation and other therapies, new studies indicate that acupuncture could be beneficial to workers with mild to severe pain in limbs, joints, muscles or in the head and neck.

Chronic pain can be debilitating and leave victims unable to work or manage day-to-day tasks. Our Charlotte workers' compensation attorneys are experienced in the complex nature of chronic pain and work to help our clients recover financial support after an injury. We are also committed to staying abreast of treatment options to help workers and families cope with the stress of injury and pain.


While many people have attested to the benefits of acupuncture in treating pain, new evidence suggests that acupuncture can relieve back pain and headaches. In a study recently published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, researchers found that acupuncture is more effective that other treatments in reducing chronic pain.

The study compared the use of placebo needles in a "fake" acupuncture treatment, with legitimate acupuncture pressure points. Researchers reviewed responses from nearly 20,000 participants and found that pain had been reduced in patients that received legitimate acupuncture treatment. They also reviewed previous studies that came to opposite conclusions. The authors assert with confidence that acupuncture can conclusively assist with pain management.

After a work-related injury, it is important to file a claim and seek medical attention as soon as possible. Consulting with a workers' compensation advocate can also ensure that your claim is properly filed and that injuries are properly documented. If you suffer from pain, you should continue to seek medical treatment and have your procedures documented by a professional. Filing an accurate and timely claim can ensure that you receive the compensation you need and deserve after a work-related accident or repetitive stress injury.

Acupuncture studies indicate that workers and other victims of chronic pain can benefit from the ancient Chinese medicine practice. Using new studies and combining results with a review of older data also provided evidence that acupuncture is beneficial in reducing chronic pain. The team of researchers proved that acupuncture substantially relieved chronic pain in the back, neck and shoulders of participants in the study. Additionally, acupuncture reduced pain related to osteoarthritis.

Participants rated their pain on a scale of 0-100 and the pain ratings fell from 60 to 30, on average, after having acupuncture treatment. Ratings remained around 43 for those who had standard care and no acupuncture treatment. Researchers believed that the findings were so significant that they could not be simply a "placebo effect."

For those who are not familiar, acupuncture is an ancient Chinese remedy which focuses on the concept of maintaining balance and a flow between points of the body. It has been found to cure chronic illnesses, headaches, cramps as well as sleep disorders and depression. The treatment involves the insertion of needles at designated points on the body to unblock a flow of "chi" and other elements. The practice is centuries old and becoming more common in Western cultures.

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July 25, 2013

Patient Mental Health Issues Pose Risk to Workers

There are some occupations that pose serious risks to workers. Industries like fishing, logging, oil, and construction are known to create severe workplace hazards. In the medical profession, nurses and doctors can be exposed to infectious disease, toxic chemicals and the risk of needles. A less studied work-related hazard is faced by medical professionals charged with working with patients in a behavioral health unit.

Nationwide, hospitals and other medical facilities are becoming more aware of the health hazards posed to workers. Workers have been known to suffer from attacks and assaults including, hitting, punching, and even biting. For many workers, the consequences have been severe, even fatal. Our Spartanburg workers' compensation attorneys are experienced with helping employees recover the financial support they need after a work-related accident or injury. We are also dedicated to investigating and pursuing less-common workers' compensation claims, including behavioral health related injuries.


In any industry, employers are responsible for making sure that employees have a safe working environment. In construction and other industries involving heavy machinery, safety mechanisms and equipment must be in place. Similarly, employers must protect employees from hazardous materials and other potential dangers. In the medical and behavioral health industry, hospitals and other employees must protect workers from being assaulted by patients.

In a recent case, a hospital could face fines up to $8,000 after The Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued two citations against the facility for violations. The agency found that the hospital failed to implement programs and procedures to protect workers from injuries that resulted from attacks. The second violation was for failing to log patient attacks in an OSHA log. In a statement released by the Labor Department, one of the violations was "serious," meaning that it was issued with a substantial probability that death or serious harm could result from the violations. In this case the employer knew or "should have known" of these hazards but failed to take remedial measures.

Patient assault is under the umbrella category of "workplace violence" which has historically gone underreported. Though workers in the behavioral health field are at risk, no workers are immune. Health care professionals, particularly in the behavioral health sector are at a high risk of facing these hazards. Hospitals and other health care employers must take necessary steps to ensure that workers do not face the risk of harm or fatality.

The OSHA release did not provide details of the allegations or dates, but the hospital at issue contested the claims, stating that the facility is not a forensic psychiatry unit and therefore does not require physical modifications to the workplace. According to the Department of Labor, the hospital has 15 business days to respond to the citations. They can request an informal conference with representatives or contest the citations before an independent board. The hospital officials plan to meet with OSHA and to clarify that the hospital is safe for workers.

Workers in the behavioral health industry have the right to file a claim in the event of an assault. Remember to have your injuries documented and to take necessary steps with the help of an experienced advocate to best protect your rights and interests.

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July 21, 2013

Workers Who Contract Lung Disease May Have Risk of Osteoporosis

Lung disease is a persistent threat for workers throughout the United States. The mining industry is notorious for exposure to toxins that can result in disease; however there are other industries that can also pose a threat to workers. Long-term exposure can result in mesothelioma, lung cancer, and other lung diseases. New evidence indicates that workers who suffer from lung disease may also be at risk of contracting osteoporosis.

Occupational hazards range from immediate accidents and injuries, to disease and other ailments caused by long-term exposure. For victims and their families, the long-term consequences and costs can be overwhelming. In addition to medical expenses and the inability to work, many victims will never make a full recovery. Those who suffer from chronic or fatal lung diseases will not survive. Our Charleston workers' compensation attorneys are experienced in helping victims and their families collect financial recovery after a work accident, injury, or illness. We also stay abreast of work-related illness issues that affect the lives of our clients and their families.


While osteoporosis was once thought of as a "woman's disease" it has now been linked to men who have previously suffered from chronic lung-disease, including asthma. Osteoporosis, also known as "brittle-bone disease" can immobilize victims and leave them vulnerable to cracks, fractures, and breakage of the bone. According to research, men who suffer from chronic lung disease are at a higher risk of developing osteoporosis later in life. The chance of contracting osteoporosis is higher for those who have been prescribed a common asthma medication.

Historically, the majority of studies linking lung disease to osteoporosis have focused on women. Researchers were interested in understanding this relationship when examining males who suffer from lung disease. Researchers looked at 130 men who had lung disease and compared them with 41 men who did not suffer from a chronic lung disease, finding a prevalence of osteoporosis among men with lung disease. The results were staggering, finding that men with lung disease had 5 times the chance of contracting osteoporosis.

Men who used asthma drugs called glucocorticoids had a risk 9 times higher than for men without lung disease. Researchers have pointed out that even though inhaled versions of the drug cause fewer side effects than oral prescriptions, both versions of the drug had the same likelihood of causing osteoporosis. Medical researchers are not certain why the risk of bone disease is related to lung disease, however, they suspect that it involves the formation of the bone and that reduction in oxygen depletes the bodies ability to build and maintain strength.

Any lung disease can leave a victim unable to work. For many suffers, the pain can be unbearable, and the disease, deadly. Osteoporosis, in turn, could result in broken bones which could cause loss of mobility and permanent damage. Workers who suffer from osteoporosis or lung disease may be entitled to workers' compensation. If you or someone you love has contracted a work-related illness, you should consult with an experienced advocate who can help to document your illness and file a timely claim.

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July 21, 2013

OSHA Fines Oil Industry Giant Halliburton for Violations

Offshore drilling for gas and oil is one of the most dangerous professions in America. Oil rig accidents involving explosions, fires, and other catastrophes continue to plague workers and their families nationwide. In North Carolina, South Carolina and throughout the Southeast region families will send their loved ones to work on oil rigs for weeks and months at a time. In the event of a fatal explosion or accident, many of these workers will never return.

In 2008, there were 120 workers killed in the oil and gas industry, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Workers in the oil industry are at risk because of their long hours and routine work with combustible materials. The oil rig workers also perform their duties on a platform with heavy equipment, including cranes, are constantly swaying overhead. Our Charleston workers' compensation attorneys are experienced in complex claims involving large companies and employers who violate safety measures.


The oil rig industry is regulated by the U.S. Department of Labor and OSHA to ensure safety compliance and workers safety. In a statement released earlier this month, serious safety violations were levied against Halliburton in relation to an accident that caused the death of a worker last January. According to reports, a worker died as a result of injuries he suffered when a high-pressure pipeline dislodged from the ground and struck him in the head.

This month, the oil industry giant Halliburton was cited for workplace safety violations for the first time in the company's history. Halliburton is a Houston-based multinational company that provides supplies, products and services to the oil and gas industry. According to reports, the company has not been previously cited for any OSHA violations. Authorities indicated that the company failed to maintain a safe worksite and violated known regulations. These violations produced significant safety hazards, which ultimately resulted in the death of a worker.

Serious violations occur when OSHA finds a "substantial probability that death or serious harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known," according to regulations. After a company is fined by OSHA, they have 15 business days to respond to the request. Companies can contest the findings before the OSHA commission. If Halliburton does not contest the violations or if the company fails to succeed in challenging the fine, it will be liable for $7,000 for each violation.

It is a hazardous business, however, companies and employers are responsible for ensuring the safety of workers. In the event of a violation, these companies can be fined or held liable. Workers injured on the job and families of workers killed on the job are entitled to compensation to cover medical costs and lost wages. In the event of an oil rig accident or injury, victims or their loved ones should contact an experienced workers' compensation advocate who can investigate the case and determine who was at fault for the accident. In addition to workers' compensation, workers and their loved ones may be able to bring third-party claims.

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July 19, 2013

U.S. Craft Breweries Put Worker Safety at Risk

Nationwide, there are a growing number of craft-brewing companies that are expanding their production, bottling and distribution. With the rising trend of craft breweries, worker safety has been put at risk. There have been numerous injuries caused by explosions and fires as well as a rising death toll over the past few years. Brewery owners and workers should be aware of the safety risks and take necessary steps to prevent injury and accidental death.

According to recent reports, between 2009 and 2012, at least four workers have died in craft brewery accidents in the United States. Our Greenville workers' compensation attorneys are dedicated to worker safety and helping victims and their families recover financial support in the event of an accident, injury or wrongful death. We will assist in investigating an accident, filing necessary documentation and advocating on behalf of victims and their families.


Craft breweries, or smaller breweries, can pose additional risk to workers. According to OSHA records, there were fewer deaths at larger facilities that produced 10 times more beer. This means that smaller breweries are probably not implementing the same safety measures as large brewing companies, or that they are less monitored. The same reports indicated that there were four times as many safety violations at the smaller craft breweries.

The Brewers Association defines a craft brewery as one that makes 6 million barrels or less per year. A craft brewer title also requires that the recipe is traditional and less than 25% of the company can be owned by an alcohol drinkmaker. Brewery experts say that the oversight of smaller companies is lacking because there aren't enough resources to keep tabs, especially as the trend is only growing. The number of injuries may also be under reported. The craft brewing industry has expanded from a niche market into an $10 billion dollar industry. To meet the needs of a quickly growing industry, employee safety has sometimes been overlooked. Many of the entrepreneurs in the brewing industry do not have a chemical or industrial safety background and do not know how to keep grounds safe or to train employees.

Brewery accidents and injuries can range from explosions and fires to serious injuries caused by heavy machinery, falls or electrical injuries. Reported accidents include death caused by fire or explosion and a keg that compressed because of pressure, which exploded and killed a worker. Craft industries should be consulting with safety experts to ensure that machinery is safe for use and that kegs pressures are kept at safe levels.

Safety inspectors and OSHA officials found 547 violations including 250 serious violations in breweries between 2003 and 2011. The brewers were fined a total of $222,000 for their violations which ranged from failing to enclose sprockets to not ensuring that machinery was disabled when an employee was inside.

In the event of a catastrophic workplace accident, victims and their families may be entitled to workers' compensation benefits. In addition to workers' compensation for medical expenses and lost wages, victims may also be able to pursue third-party claims for additional losses. In these complex cases, a personal injury and workers' compensation attorney can assist in sorting through the viability of your claims.

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July 17, 2013

Lack of Training and Supervision Leaves Victim Permanently Injured

There are a number of ways that workers can be injured on the job: slip and fall, dangerous tools, falls from scaffolding, explosions and burns, toxic exposure, and other accidents. These accidents are foreseeable when a worker is improperly trained or does not have the proper equipment or assistance to complete a job.

In a recent case, a South Carolina worker has filed for workers' compensation after being caught in a water hose and dragged onto a conveyor belt. In addition to filing for workers' compensation benefits, the worker is also suing the mining company and contractors for injuries he sustained while on the job.

In the event of a workplace injury, victims should seek immediate medical attention and consult with an advocate who can assist with the workers' compensation filing process. Filing claims as soon as possible can ensure that injuries are properly documented and that paperwork is completed in a timely manner. Our Charleston workers' compensation attorneys are dedicated to helping victims and their families collect the full compensation they deserve after an accident or injury.

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According to reports, the worker was given a mining assignment but was not provided with an experienced miner or a supervisor who could spray off the belt structure with a hose. The complaint alleges that the water hose got caught behind him in his belt and he was pulled on to the conveyor belt. The miner was wrapped in the hose and hoisted onto the conveyor belt, pulling his right arm into the roller and the belt.

In this case, there was no experienced miner or supervisor assisting the victim, who was not trained to perform the work assigned to him. An experienced miner or supervisor is required, according to safety regulations. According to the lawsuit, the victims' injuries were sustained as a direct result of the mining and contracting companies errors in forcing him to perform the work without assistance and without proper training.

The victim of this work-related accident suffered serious injuries, including a crushed forearm and upper arm, burns, nerve injury, lumbar facet syndrome, scarring, and significant loss of function. He is also suffering from pain, numbness, weakness and a limitation of movement. Because of these injuries, he has also suffered a permanent loss of earning capacity. When a victim suffers permanent injuries and is no longer able to continue working, third-party claims may be a viable option to recover additional financial losses.

Workers compensation claims are usually limited to medical expenses and lost wages; however, a worker can collect additional financial damages if a third-party is found negligent for injuries. In this case, the injured working is seeking additional compensation due to the negligence of the mining company and third-party contractor. Workers' compensation claims involving serious injuries can be complicated, especially when involving third-party claims. Victims should consult with an advocate as soon as possible and document all injuries, medical treatment, therapeutic care, as well as other losses related to the injury.

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July 13, 2013

Sleeping Difficulties and Pills Linked to Work Injuries

Employers are responsible for ensuring worker health and safety on the job. While employers can control how employees are trained and whether they have proper safety equipment, there are other safety factors that are difficult to monitor. Employees must often undergo drug and alcohol testing to ensure they do not pose a risk to themselves or others. Recent studies have shown that workers may face additional risks if they suffer from sleep problems or take sleep medications.

According to reports, 13 in 100 workplace injuries may be related to poor sleep or fatigue. Our Charleston workers' compensation attorneys are dedicated to helping protect the victims of work-related injuries and to prevent future injuries in the workplace.


Researchers have found that there are a number of different causes of poor sleep, including insomnia, sleep apnea, or restless leg syndrome. In addition to leaving you tired, poor sleep habits can also be related to obesity and diabetes. In a number of recent studies, sleep deprivation has been known to cause accidents. It is no surprise that fatigue and a lack of sleep can also result in workplace accidents and injury.

Using a range of data collected from interviews, questionnaires, and medical reports, a recent study found that workplace injuries were more likely when involving people who had sleep difficulties. Analysts of the data also found a relationship between those who had sleep problems and those who suffered from work-related injuries. The contract was striking: people with sleep problems were 60 percent more likely to suffer an injury with work.

In addition to poor sleep, researchers attribute a number of these accidents to the use of sleep aid medications. Individuals who were taking an over-the-counter or prescription medication for sleep problems were the most likely to suffer a work-related injury. Those in jobs that are highly physical, including construction, farming, mining or other industries, were more likely to suffer severe injuries caused by sleep deprivation.

Symptoms of sleep deprivation may result in a feeling of grogginess and the inability to focus on tasks. Workers could forget safety equipment or miss an important step that could result in serious accidents or injury. Those responsible for operating heavy machinery could pose a significant risk to themselves or others when on the job. Any symptoms of sleep deprivation could impact job performance and ultimately increase the risk of work-related injury.

Sleeping problems can impact mood, response time, and overall well-being. If you suffer from insomnia or other sleep problems, you should consult with a doctor to protect your health and well-being. Be careful about taking any medications that could impact your ability to function on the job. Though we all have an occasional restless night, you should seek medical attention if you have regular issues with sleeping. Failing to get adequate sleep could impact your job performance and increase your risk of injuries.

In the event of a workplace accident, any victim of injury is entitled to compensation, regardless of who was at fault or what caused the accident. Even if you suffered from a sleep-related injury, you are entitled to workers' compensation.

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