Recently in Carolina Work Accident Category

November 25, 2014

Campos v. Daisy Construction Co. - Benefits for Injured Undocumented Workers


The subject of illegal immigration and undocumented workers tends to be a particularly heated political issue, especially when the issue comes to federal and state benefits secured by these individuals.
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Many states, including North Carolina, still recognize the rights of workers injured on the job to be at least minimally reimbursed for medical expenses by the employer's insurer - regardless of the worker's immigration status. This almost changed earlier this year with H.B. 369, which would have stripped these benefits from undocumented workers. The law would have exempted companies from paying workers' compensation to workers who were undocumented where it could be shown employer didn't know worker was here illegally at the time of hiring due to false representations by worker.

The measure was tucked into a bigger bill of criminal reforms, but was later removed amid stark opposition from health care lobbyists worried injured workers would show up en mass without coverage, resulting in more than $1 billion in additional charity care provided by state hospitals. Those costs are also absorbed by taxpayers. Others worried this would encourage companies to hire illegal workers and then turned a blind eye to misrepresented immigration status until it became beneficial to know otherwise.

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July 5, 2014

Job Security and Recovery After Work-Related Injury


Workers who suffer on-the-job injury may have more to worry about than just physical recovery or medical bills. According to recent reports published by the Workers' Compensation Research Institute (WCRI), employees who have filed workers' compensation claims are often concerned about retaliation or job loss following the injury. Furthermore, individuals who have some security in their employment may fare better in their recovery. Research indicates that those who feel that they have job security after an injury have shorter periods of disability than those who fear they may be fired.

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These studies show both the emotional and psychological damage of a work-related injury and also the reality that some employees may hesitate to file a claim because of job security issues. Our Asheville workers' compensation attorneys are dedicated to protecting the rights of individuals who have been injured on the job. In addition to raising awareness to secure workers' rights, we are also staunch advocates for clients seeking to recover workers' compensation benefits or third-party damages.

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June 14, 2014

Burley v. U.S. Foods - The Commission Isn't Always Right


An out-of-state trucker may now pursue workers' compensation benefits in North Carolina for a back injury he sustained out-of-state, based on the fact that the division headquarters was local. This was despite the state's Industrial Commission's initial refusal to accept jurisdiction over the matter.
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The North Carolina Court of Appeals later accepted review of Burley v. U.S. Foods, et al. at the plaintiff's request, and ultimately reversed the commission's finding in favor of the plaintiff.

Charlotte workers' compensation lawyers know this case reveals that workers should not necessarily be discouraged by the outcome of the initial hearing. This is not the first time the commission's decision has been successfully challenged, and it certainly won't be the last.

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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.
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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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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 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.
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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 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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March 25, 2014

Court: Workers' Comp Laws Bar Estate From Wrongful Death Case


The estate of a residential treatment counselor who worked at a mental health clinic will not be allowed to proceed with its wrongful death action against two administrators at the facility, according to a recent ruling by the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts.
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Although the ruling in Estate of Moulton v. Puopolo is technically only applicable in that state, our Asheville workers' compensation lawyers know that the reasoning is based on a legal principle that is relevant to North Carolina injured workers and their families.

The basis of the decision is this: Workers' compensation laws serve to act as an exclusive remedy to injuries that arise out of the course of employment. That means that eligible employers are usually immune from personal injury or wrongful death claims that result from workplace hazards. Personal injury actions and wrongful death claims resulting from work injuries must be filed against third parties other than the employer.

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March 22, 2014

Proof of Casual Relationship Required for Compensable Work Injuries


The lingering effects of a work-related injury can last a lifetime. If a worker has to undergo continuing treatment for that earlier injury, our Winston-Salem workers' compensation lawyers will fight to make sure that the new expenses are covered.
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It's important for workers in these situations tounderstand that proving correlation between current medical treatment and a previous work injury can be a complex matter. However, it's imperative that there be ample and continuing documentation proving that the two are connected. Otherwise, an administrative law judge could reject your claim.

That's what happened in the recent case of Bodily v. State ex rel. Wyo. Workers' Safety & Comp. Div., which was reviewed by the Wyoming Supreme Court.

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January 10, 2014

Protecting Workers in Wicked Winter Weather


Working in a cold environment -- whether it be cold weather, cold water, or an indoor freezer -- is part of the job for many in the Carolinas, especially during this time of year. One of the major hazards you face when working in the cold is losing your body heat. If your body becomes so cold that it can no longer produce more heat than it loses, you are becoming a victim of hypothermia, frostbite or trench foot.
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Hypothermia occurs when body heat is lost faster than it can be replaced and the normal body temperature (98.6°F) drops to less than 95°F. Hypothermia is most likely at very cold temperatures, but it can occur even at cool temperatures (above 40°F), particularly if a person becomes chilled from rain, sweat, or submersion in cold water, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Our workers' compensation lawyers in Greenville know symptoms of these conditions are relatively similar to just being cold -- and that's why it's important that everyone on your job site be able to point out these conditions and know what to do. Early symptoms of hypothermia include fatigue, shivering, confusion, disorientation and loss of coordination. Later symptoms include blue skin, no shivering, dilated pupils, slowed breathing, slowed pulse and a loss of consciousness.

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September 23, 2013

Health Risks for Oil Spill Clean-Up Workers


In the event of a national emergency or catastrophe, crews may be sent from around the region or the world to help with clean-up and restoration. A recent report indicates that workers who tended to the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill may have suffered a high-risk exposure that has increased their risk of liver cancer, leukemia and other terminal conditions.

According to a recent study published in the Journal of American Medicine, there are dangerous health repercussions for the workers involved in the clean-up after the Gulf oil spill. Our Spartanburg workers' compensation attorneys are experienced in handling claims on behalf of injured workers and their families. We are vested in helping workers collect the compensation they are entitled to after a work-related accident or when diagnosed with an occupationally related disease.

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After the BP oil spill, chemicals were used to break up the crude oil which have proven to be hazardous to workers. There are now more than 170,000 people who worked on clean-up and could suffer from toxic exposure. In addition to the chemical dispersants, workers were also exposed to benzene, contained in the oil, which is a high-risk carcinogen.

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September 5, 2013

August 6 Safety Stand-Down at Work Sites in the Carolinas


Officials with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), along with trade associations and employers throughout the Carolinas are conducting a one-hour safety stand-down at various work places and construction sites on August 6th. This stand-down has been organized to support the national outreach campaign from OSHA that is designed to raise awareness about the risks, consequences and preventative measures regarding workplace falls.
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During this time, workers are going to voluntarily stop work from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. so that the work site can conduct safety training that is designed to help to prevent on-the-job fall accidents.

Our Charlotte worker's compensation lawyers understand that there were more than 260 people who were killed in fall accidents in construction in the U.S. in 2010. These accidents accounted for a significant amount of the fatal accidents in the industry. When employees work from heights, like on roofs, ladders and scaffolds, employers are required to plan projects that ensure that the work is completed safely. In order to do this, employers are required to make sure that each worker has the proper fall protection and the right equipment to complete the job. But in addition to making sure that they have the right equipment, employers are also required to make sure that these workers are provided with the proper training to understand how to set up and use this equipment. These kinds of accidents can be avoided and we can save some lives through 3 simple steps: plan, provide and train.

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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.

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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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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.

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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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