Recently in Injuries among Younger Workers Category

December 16, 2014

"Tech Injuries" a Growing Health Concern


A large number of American workers spend their days in an office, sitting at a chair, staring at a computer. While repetitive stress injuries, including carpal tunnel, are a rising source of workers' compensation claims, there are other "tech injuries" that are becoming a growing health concern for physicians, employees, as well as employers. Tech injuries are not only caused by certain postures we use when hunched over laptops, tablets, and mobile devices, but other strains on the body that could take their toll over the years, and decades.

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According to a 2010 study, children who were looking at screens more than 2 hours per day were 60% more likely to have a psychological problem in later years. Kids between the ages of 11 to 16 who used iPads suffered back pain. Another study found that 84 percent of young persons, aged 18 to 24 suffered back pain, which lost in an average of 1.5 working days lost per year. These are only a few of the myriad injuries that can set in on younger and older users. With more Americans working on computers rather than performing heavy labor activities, workers' compensation claims are changing as well. Here are some common "tech injuries" reported by American physicians:

Continue reading ""Tech Injuries" a Growing Health Concern" »

November 20, 2014

Roadside Construction Worker Killed in Hit and Run


Highway construction workers face some of the most dangerous conditions every time they head to work--speeding trucks, distracted driving, drunk driving, and generally reckless drivers can put the lives of construction workers at risk. In a tragic case, a South Carolina member of a highway construction crew was struck in a fatal hit and run accident. According to reports, the crew was re-paving Highway 170 around 2:00 a.m. when a Pontiac came speeding through the work site. The driver crashed into the crew and killed a 53-year-old worker. An immediate investigation was launched to catch and apprehend the driver.

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Later in the early morning, a 28-year-old female driver was picked up in a traffic stop. She is being charged with hit and run involving a death and felony DUI, criminal allegations that could result in serious penalties upon conviction. This case is still under investigation and the South Carolina Highway Patrol is encouraging any witnesses or individuals with additional information to come forward.

Continue reading "Roadside Construction Worker Killed in Hit and Run" »

November 19, 2014

Firefighter Suffers Cardiac Arrest, Dies on Duty


Firefighters risk their lives every time they head out on an emergency call. Not knowing what to expect on the scene, many will face high-levels of stress in addition to dangerous circumstances. In a recent case, a South Carolina firefighter and paramedic suffered a heart attack in the bunkroom of his station and died after he went into cardiac arrest. According to the United States Fire Administration (USFA), the 29-year-old firefighter had responded to several emergency calls and worked on a fire prevention detail only hours before he died of the fatal heart attack.

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Though fellow paramedics and responders tried to save the firefighter, their attempts were unsuccessful. According to reports, the cause of death was listed as "over exertion." When a worker suffers from a heart attack while on the job, compensation can be more complicated, depending on the facts of the case. The workers' compensation system allows workers to collect lost wages, hospital expenses, and wrongful death benefits without having to prove fault. Any worker is entitled to workers' compensation so long as they were injured while in the course of performing work-related duties. When an employee suffers from a heart attack, the individual circumstances are important to determine whether it is a compensable event.

Continue reading "Firefighter Suffers Cardiac Arrest, Dies on Duty" »

December 24, 2013

Welder Injuries in North Carolina Often Substantial


The U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration not long ago released a report indicating that welders are at serious risk of an on-the-job injury.
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Burns were among the most common injuries, though fume damage to lungs, UV light damage to eyes and noise damage to ears also occurred with frightening frequency.

The fact that we are well aware of the kinds of welding-related injuries to North Carolina workers make it all the more upsetting when employers fail to make safety a top priority. Yet that's reportedly the case at a large welding firm in Connecticut, where federal OSHA officials have fined the company nearly $170,000 for violating a host of workplace safety regulations.

Continue reading "Welder Injuries in North Carolina Often Substantial " »

May 15, 2013

Keeping Teens Safe Through Summer Job Season


With summer break quickly approaching, our teens will be heading back into the workforce. To prepare youth for the 21st century workforce, the Employment and Training Administration, Office of Workforce Investment, Division of Youth Services coordinates youth workforce development investments.
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Amid getting our young ones ready for summer jobs, officials with the White House push Summer Jobs+. This is a program that helps to get assistance from companies, non-profit organizations and government officials to work together to get more jobs to low-income and disconnected youth. These young employees are between the ages of 16 and 24, have had close to 200,000 jobs created for them through the effort.

"America's young people face record unemployment, and we need to do everything we can to make sure they've got the opportunity to earn the skills and a work ethic that come with a job," said President Barack Obama.

Our Rock Hill workers' compensation lawyers understand that it's an excellent opportunity for these young adults. Working teaches them independence and responsibility, but we have to make sure that they're protected on the job and that they understand their rights as an American worker.

Workplace hazards associated with specific jobs are another major cause of injuries and illnesses. Employers must work to reduce or minimize hazards while training employees to work safely on the job.

Safe work is rewarding work. Your employer has the responsibility to provide a safe workplace for you. Companies and employers are required to follow all OSHA safety and health standards to help to prevent you from being injured, becoming ill on the job or getting killed on the job. If you are under age 18, there may be limits on the hours you work, the jobs you do and the equipment you use.

Your Rights as a Youth Worker:

-You have the right to work in a safe environment.

-You have the right to get the proper health and safety training. It's required to be presented in a language that you best understand to keep you safe on the job.

-You have the right to ask questions if you don't understand anything at work.

-You have the right to be provided with the proper safety gear and with the training and knowledge to use it correctly.

-You have the right to speak up and to voice concerns about your safety on the job without fear of discrimination or retaliation.

-You have the right to file a complaint with OSHA if you feel like your employer isn't keeping you safe on the job or if they aren't following any of the federal safety standards.

So you know your rights and you're ready to get out there and make some money, now it's time to get proactive and to make sure you're safe on the job. If you spot unsafe conditions, make sure you report them. If you're provided with safety gear, make sure you wear it. Always follow the rules of the workplace, make sure you're asking questions and get some help if you need it. Don't be afraid to speak up. Your safety relies on it.

Continue reading "Keeping Teens Safe Through Summer Job Season" »

March 10, 2013

Restaurant Injuries and Young-Worker Safety in the Carolinas


For a young person looking for employment, there are a limited array of available options. One industry that reliably hires and employs young workers, however, is the restaurant industry. Young workers routinely take jobs in fast food, as bus boys or dishwashers, as waitresses and waiters or at other roles within all types of restaurants. 1341160_hotel_fasade_1.jpg

Unfortunately, OSHA indicates that young workers employed in restaurants are in a risky environment. Hazards exist in all aspects of the food service industry, including drive-thru work, clean-up, serving customers, cooking, delivery and food preparation. These hazards can become worse and much more dangerous if employers do not train their employees or do not follow proper safety precautions. Our Spartanburg workers' compensation attorneys urge everyone to pay careful attention to what restaurants are doing. Young workers who work in these facilities, often for minimum wage, also need to understand some of the key risks that they face.

Restaurant Injuries and Young Workers
According to OSHA, potential hazards on the job site at restaurants may include:


  • Strains and sprains as a result of lifting heavy trays, twisting out of place to reach items on high shelves or bending.

  • Slips and falls as a result of wet floors or debris in walkways.

  • Burn injuries and scalding injuries from serving or preparing hot foods.

  • Respiratory or other health problems from breathing in car exhaust when working a drive-thru window.

  • Cuts from using knives to prepare food.

  • Electrical injuries such as from using dishwashers or other kitchen appliances in the preparation of food.

  • Heat exhaustion from serving or delivering food outdoors.

  • Frostbite or hypothermia from working in freezers, stocking or cold-storage areas.

  • Repetitive stress injury from serving, standing for long periods of time or other movements that put stress on the joints and muscles.

  • Workplace violence due to robberies.

These are just some of the many different types of workplace injuries that young workers in the restaurant industry are susceptible to experiencing. Restaurants are busy places with lots of customers and lots of potential hazards. It is essential that employees exercise care for their own safety when in the workplace, but it is even more important for employers to create a safe working environment and healthy conditions for all of their workers.

Keeping Kids Safe from Restaurant Workplace Injuries
It is imperative that employers follow all OSHA guidelines regarding work conditions and child labor to protect young workers. For example, workers under age 16 are generally limited from performing late-night work, especially during the school year. Workers under the age of 18 may also be prohibited from using certain type of restaurant and food-service equipment such as electronic meat slicers.

If a young worker does fall victim to a workplace accident, he or she should be sure to understand the legal rights available. Young workers, even those who are working part time, may be covered under state workers' compensation laws and entitled to make a claim to have medical bills and disability costs covered.

Continue reading "Restaurant Injuries and Young-Worker Safety in the Carolinas" »

December 6, 2012

Worker Killed in Excavation Project on NC State's Centennial Campus


The North Carolina State's Centennial Campus witnessed a fatal work accident recently.

It happened when a worker got trapped under several feet of dirt while completing a trench project, according to NBC 17. The North Carolina State Police report that workers were hired with J.F. Wilkerson Contracting in Morrisville. They were installing a 16-inch, 18,000-foot line pipe when the trench collapsed. The accident site was near the intersection of Achievement and Main Campus Drive. The 39-year-old worker wasn't recovered by emergency responders until about two and a half hours after arriving on the scene of the accident. They had to vacuum out the soil from the trench. They weren't able to approach it any other way because of the unstable ground conditions.
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Our Raleigh workers' compensation lawyers understand that there were close to 300 workers who were killed in trenching and excavation accidents in the U.S. from 2000 to 2006.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), close to 70 percent of these fatalities occur within companies that have less than 50 employees. Regulations and consensus standards describe engineering controls, protective equipment, and safe work practices to minimize hazards for workers during trench work and excavations. Employers need to make sure that they know these regulations inside and out before starting any project. The safest of their employees relies on it.

The project is run by the City of Raleigh. These water lines were eventually going to lead to Lonnie Poole Golf Course.

The company hired for the job was recognized back in 2006 as an overall winner for a national safety award by the National Utility Contractors Association.

Joe Wilkerson, the founder of the company, said that he decided to make safety a number one priority when he saw his company noted for having a poor safety record in The News & Observer in the 1970s.

This isn't the first time the company has worked with the city either. In the project's case, they were the lowest responsible bidder and were therefore chosen for the job.

The truth of the matter is that these kinds of jobs are extremely dangerous and require the utmost attention to detail to ensure that all workers are safe! It's important to make sure that all workers are properly trained. The job needs to be planned well in advance and the proper safety equipment needs to be provided to workers at no cost. There should never be any workers under the age of 18 in these trenches. Companies are also urged to call 8-1-1 before digging into the ground to avoid hitting any utility line and to avoid causing a serious accident. Trenches should never be approached or entered when unprotected. Safety is a group effort. Make sure your employer and your fellow coworkers keep safety as a number one priority!

Continue reading "Worker Killed in Excavation Project on NC State's Centennial Campus" »

October 22, 2012

Contest for New Technology to Inform Young Workers


Developers, students and anyone else who's good with a computer has been invited by the U.S. Department of Labor to enter the Workplace Safety and Health Challenge.

Officials are looking for a tool that can help to effectively demonstrate the importance of recognizing and working to prevent on-the-job dangers for young people across the country. Safety advocates are also asking designers to help young workers to understand their rights in the workplace. If you want to enter, all you have to do is create a tool that can be used on smartphones and Internet browsers, or even one just for social media platforms. You have until the 30th of November to do so. You can make this a game, you can make it an app, or you can make it a social game.
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"New technologies have the promise of making our safety and health resources even more accessible for workers and employers," said the assistant secretary of labor OSH, Dr. David Michaels.

Our Greensboro workers' compensation lawyers understand how critical it is to make sure that our young workers are well aware of their rights and their responsibilities on the job. All too often, these workers are hesitant to speak up about work and safety concerns in fear of causing a commotion or being disciplined. The truth of the matter is that voicing these kinds of concerns should be encouraged. Employers are not allowed, federally, to take disciplinary actions against an employee for discussing safe work practices and other similar topics.

In 2010, there were close to 18 million workers who were under the age of 24 in the U.S. These workers account for close to 15 percent of the workforce nationwide. These workers are also at some serious risks for work accidents because of their inexperience and their unfamiliarity with their rights. In 2009, there were close to 400 workers under the age of 24 who were killed because of injuries sustained on the job. Close to 50 of these fatalities involved workers who were under the age of 18. In addition to these fatalities, there were another 800,000 young workers injured on the job during this time, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Each Submission for the Worker Safety and Health Challenge Must:

-Demonstrate the importance of being educated in workplace health and safety hazards.

-Inform these young workers about common hazards that can be found on the job.

-Inform young employees about the consequences of on-the-job injuries.

-Youth work accident, injuries and fatalities statistics from OSHA.

-Must address state workers' compensation programs and/or other government sources.

Make sure you talk with your teen about their rights on the job. Being an educated worker can help to reduce your risks of a work accident and can help to make the workplace safer!

Continue reading "Contest for New Technology to Inform Young Workers" »

October 14, 2012

Work Accidents and Educating Younger Workers in the U.S.


There are close to 20 million workers in the United States who are under the age of 25.

According to Challenge.gov, these young workers account for less than 20 percent of the country's workforce. Yet in 2009 there were close to 400 workers between the ages of 13 and 24 who died because of injuries sustained while at work. There were also another 80,000 injuries required medical attention sustained on the job by these young employees.

The truth of the matter is that the rate of emergency room-treated work injuries is twice as high for workers under the age of 25 than for workers who are older. Workers, especially our younger ones, need to be aware of the dangers, the risks and the hazards that can be found on their job site. They also need to be aware of what preventative and safety measures can be taken so that they can protect themselves.

Our Charlotte workers compensation attorneys understand that, many times, these workers aren't aware of their rights to a safe workplace. It's important that we help to make sure that our young workers are safe on the job and they know their rights. Knowledge is key to preventing work accidents.
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Officials with the Department of Labor (DOL) are asking young workers to get involved. They are asking teens and young adults to find a way to get work safety information out to their peers. They're asked to use inforomation that is publicly available via the federal government. It's a new contest and it comes with some pretty cool prizes!

Contest Rules:

-Provide your submission with tools that help to demonstrate just how important it is that you know about workplace safety and health dangers and hazards.

-This information should include educational materials to not only warn young workers about the dangers that can be found on the job, but the risks for injury and death that accompany these risks. Information from your state's State Worker's Compensation data, from NIOSH, from the Bureau of Labor Statistics or from OSHA are required to be incorporated into your submission.

-You must address the importance of preventative measures, like personal protection equipment (PPE) and other engineering controls.

-Provide tools that will help young workers to better understand their rights on the job.

-Submissions are asked to be creative and simple to use. They're also asked to be cited and should target the ages of 13 to 24, but should also be able to effectively communicate the same information to workers of all ages.

There will be four prizes awarded, totaling more than $30,000. There will be 1 Grand Price, 2 Category Prices and 1 People's Choice Award.

Contest and programs like this are so important because our young working population faces some serious risks for accidents.

Continue reading "Work Accidents and Educating Younger Workers in the U.S." »

July 20, 2012

Working to Protect Young Employees Over Summer Break and Beyond


Officials with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) are so concerned with the safety of our young workers that they've dedicated an entire webpage to this vulnerable group. It's called "Young Workers: You Have Rights!"
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Employers are required under federal law to make sure that all employees are provided with a safe and healthy work place. To achieve these standards, employers are required to make sure that they follow all of OSHA's safety and health standards. For workers under the age of 18, employers are required to follow specific rules regarding how many hours teens can work, what kind of equipment they're allowed to use and what kind of work they're allowed to do.

Our Greensboro workers' compensation attorneys understand that young workers have rights and we need to make sure that these rights are protected! These young workers have a right to a safe work place, to receive the proper training for the job they're asked to complete, to be able to ask questions if they don't understand instructions or if something seems unsafe, to use, be trained and to be offered the proper safety gear and to also exercise their workplace safety rights without the fear or retaliation or discrimination. Our teen workers are urged to file a confidential complaint with OSHA if they think that there is a hazard on the job or if they feel that their employer is not following federal safety standards.

You might want to also offer your teen with some safety tips for how to protect themselves on the job. They're urged to report any and all unsafe conditions to a shift leader or supervisor, to wear any safety gear that is required to complete the job, to follow any and all safety rules, to ask questions if something is not understood and to ask for help whenever it's needed.

Common Hazards that Young Workers Face on the Job:

-Stressful work conditions

-Pressure to work faster

-Dangerous work that is illegal or inappropriate for youth under the age of 18

-Inadequate supervision

-Inadequate safety training

-Unsafe equipment use

Young workers are most oftentimes likely to face these hazards while working in some of the most common job positions. These positions include jobs at convenience stores, grocery stores, restaurants, retail shops, food service, fast food joints and in various maintenance, cleanup or janitorial jobs.

From 2003 to 2007, there were more than 300 workers who were under the age of 18 who were killed on the job in the U.S. There were thousands more who were injured. Parents and guardians need to talk with their young ones about the risks and the dangers that they can face on the job in addition to ways that they can address these issues. Knowledge can help to reduce the risks of these accidents and keep our teen workers safe.

Continue reading "Working to Protect Young Employees Over Summer Break and Beyond" »

July 5, 2012

Teens and Risks of Work Accidents in Charlotte and Elsewhere through Summer


Our teens are out there trying to earn an extra dollar while they've still got some time away from school. It's the one time of the year when they get to shut their text books and hit the workforce in hopes of making some cash.

During this time, we're asking parents to check in on their young workers and their jobs to make sure that everything's going well. You want to make sure that they're not being overworked, that their compensation is appropriate, that they're performing jobs that they can do and that they're aware of their rights on the job.

Work accidents in Charlotte and elsewhere are likely among these young workers as they're less likely to speak up about any mishaps on the job not only because they may not know any better but also because they may not want to jeopardize their summer position. We need to make sure that our young workers are aware of their rights as a worker in the U.S. and that they know how to voice their concerns on the job.
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The Department of Labor is monitoring child labor law compliance and there are strict rules and regulations governing the employment of young workers. The most common federal law that restricts the employment and abuse of child employees is the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). These laws were created to help to protect the educational opportunities and to help keep an eye on them while working. Oftentimes, these young workers work in positions that are far too advanced for their abilities. This is how accidents and injuries result.

Our Charlotte workers' compensation attorneys understand that there were more than 2 million individuals under the age of 18-years-old in the state of North Carolina in 2007. Of this population, many of them sought out summertime jobs. Under FLSA, children under the age of 16-years-old are limited as to which positions they can hold and how many hours they can work.

President Obama is helping to get these kids to work during their summer breaks as he recently launched the Summer Job+ 2012. This program helps to provide hundreds of thousands of summer gigs to low-income and disconnect young ones across the nation.

Workers under the age of 18 may not work with:

-the storing or manufacturing of explosives.

-roofing or any job on top of a roof.

-excavating or trenching.

-mining other than coal.

-driving a vehicle on the job.

-manufacturing tile, brick or other related products.

-any power-driven metal-forming, shearing or punching machines.

-compactors, balers, power-driven paper-products machines.

-power-driven bakery machines.

-ship-breaking, demolition or wrecking operations.

-power-driven meat-processing machines

-power-driven woodworking machines.

-any exposure to ionizing radiation or any radioactive substances.

-any forestry service, timber tract, forest fire prevention or fire fighting.

Continue reading "Teens and Risks of Work Accidents in Charlotte and Elsewhere through Summer" »

May 8, 2012

Teens' Risks for Work Accidents in Rock Hill and Elsewhere through Summer


As we head into the summer season, students throughout the state will be let out of school for their summer break. During this time, many students will be out in the working world and will be on the hunt for a summer job. It's during this season that we also see an increase in the number of teen work accidents in Rock Hill and elsewhere.
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In 2010, there were nearly 17 million employees across the United States who were under the age of 24-years-old. Our Rock Hill workers' compensation attorneys understand that this young age group of employees accounted for nearly 15 percent of the country's workforce.

Unfortunately, this young age group has a high rate of injury on the job because they typically hold occupations in which hazards are common, like in restaurant settings. In addition to the dangers that can be found in their work environments, the inexperience of these young workers also makes them likely to be the victim of a work-related accident, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The younger the worker the more obstacles they must overcome on the job, including inadequate strength, fit, cognitive abilities, etc.

During this time, parents are urged to talk with teens about the rights that they have on the job:

-To work in a healthy and safe place.

-To be adequately trained for job-required tasks.

-To be paid at least the minimum wage for work completed.

-To work without the fear of being harassed or discriminated against.

-To ask for changes in the workplace because of medical conditions or religion beliefs.

-To help someone who may be investigating the workplace for possible violations.

-To start or join a union.

Parents should also discuss employer responsibilities:

-To provide a healthy and safe workplace.

-To provide the necessary safety gear for each employee.

-To adequately train all employees.

-To talk with employees about hazards that may be found on the job.

Lastly, parents are urged to talk with teens about their responsibilities at work:

-Ask for all of the training needed to completely the job safely.

-Know and understand all of the safety procedures.

-Look out for coworkers' safety.

-Respect coworkers.

-Never take shortcut.

-Find out what to do if there's a work-related injury or accident.

-Report and dangers or hazards to the supervisor.

There were nearly 340 workers under the age of 24-years-old who were killed in work-related accidents in 2009. Nearly 30 of these fatalities occurred to workers under the age of 18-years-old. Parents are urged to make sure that the young worker in their family understands and recognizes their rights in the workplace to help to reduce their risks of a serious or fatal work-related accident.

Continue reading "Teens' Risks for Work Accidents in Rock Hill and Elsewhere through Summer" »

February 29, 2012

Job Injuries in Anderson Increase for Working Teens


For a teenager or young adult, having a job can instill confidence, responsibility, independence - and the extra spending money doesn't hurt either.

However, a job can also mean risking a work-related accident in Anderson and elsewhere in South Carolina, especially if they're not knowledgeable about their rights as worker.

There were nearly 18 million workers under the age of 24 in the U.S. in 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These younger workers accounted for nearly 15 percent of the workforce during the year.
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These young workers have substantially higher work injury rates than their older counterparts. This is at least partially explained by the fact that these workers are often placed in menial or lower-skilled labor jobs, where there are a greater number of hazards present.
Restaurants, for example, are a popular employer of younger workers. In this industry, workers face dangers associated with cooking equipment, knives and slippery floors.

Younger workers are also affected to some extent by inexperience or a lack of training. But it is the duty of the employer to ensure these younger workers are adequately trained and protected from potential injury.

Our Anderson workers' compensation attorneys understand that the younger a worker is, the more likely they are to face certain obstacles that increase their risks for an accident. Some of these include inadequate strength and cognitive abilities to operate certain equipment.

Our focus here on young workers stems from the fact that they'll soon be out looking for summer jobs. We'd like to help parents help their teens safe on the job.

In 2009, there were nearly 340 employees under the age of 24 who were killed in work-related accidents. This includes about 30 fatalities among workers who were under the age of 18.

From 1998 to 2007, there were nearly 800,000 injuries to these young workers. Every single one of them wound up in a hospital emergency room. The injury rate for these young workers is actually about twice as high as the rate for workers older than 25.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's South Carolina Edition of TalkingSafety, about 80 percent of teens work by the time they finish high school. Each year, about 53,000 are injured on the job. Unfortunately on-the-job safety is one of the last things on the minds of these young workers. That's why TalkingSafety is helping these young workers to ask questions and to make demands on their employers. Teen workers should be able to recognize hazards in any workplace, as well as understand how these risks can be mitigated. TalkingSafety is asking parents to talk with their teens about what their rights are as an employee and what they should expect from an employer. Urge your working teen to speak up about dangers and risks that they observe in the workplace. They may be young, but they are still entitled to a safe working environment. Let's help to protect these workers and help them through another successful summer of work.

Continue reading "Job Injuries in Anderson Increase for Working Teens" »

February 24, 2012

North Carolina Work Accidents Spike after Recent Snow Storm


As you know, portions of our state were recently slammed with a snowstorm. As much as 9 inches of snow was dumped in areas of West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky and North Carolina, according to the Los Angeles Times. The storm left the coast midweek, leaving storm clean-up and power crews to deal with the mess -- as well as the risks associated with working in these dangerous conditions.
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With the conditions that were left by the snow storm, workers are facing increased risks for work-related accidents, injuries and illnesses. Power workers are in charge of cleaning up downed power lines and storm cleanup workers in charge of getting the debris cleaned up and the roadways back in working order. With the icy conditions, workers are facing risks for some serious winter-related work injuries in North Carolina.

Our North Carolina workers compensation lawyers understand that employees who work in winter storm cleanup efforts run the risk of experiencing frostbite, hypothermia, wind chill, being electrocuted by downed power lines, being crushed by collapsing structures and transportation-related accidents. Luckily, there are simple steps that employers and employees can take to help to reduce these risks. Employers and employees are asked to keep an eye on one another when working in these dangerous conditions to make sure that everyone is safe. Safe work practices are a group effort.

Dangers associated with working in winter storms, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA):

-Traffic accidents because of slippery roadways.

-Slips and falls because of slick walkways.

-Carbon monoxide poisoning.

-Frostbite, hypothermia and other cold weather exposure-related illnesses and injuries.

-Being hit by a falling object, including utility poles, tree limbs and icicles.

-Electrocution from downed power lines.

-Falls from heights.

-Collapsing roofs.

-Burns from fires and active power lines.

-Exhaustion.

-Dehydration.

-Back injuries from clearing snow.

Frostbite and hypothermia may be one of the most common injuries experienced in these types of winter work scenarios, but luckily there are simple steps that you can take to reduce the risks.

How to avoid hypothermia and frostbite:

-Eat warm and high-calorie foods, like pasta.

-Drink warm water. Sweet drinks are the best, like sport-type drinks or sugar water. You want to avoid drinks with caffeine during this time.

-Always use the buddy system so you can keep an eye on one other. Never venture out by yourself.

-Avoid overworking yourself. Energy is needed to keep your muscles loose and warm.

-Work during the warmest time of the day.

-Take frequent breaks in warm areas to let the body warm itself up.

-Layer your clothing to help yourself adjust to the changing temps. Peel off layers as the temps warm up.

-Make sure employees are trained to recognize and deal with cold-induced injuries and illnesses.

Continue reading "North Carolina Work Accidents Spike after Recent Snow Storm" »

December 24, 2011

North Carolina Scissor Lift Accidents Common at Work When Employees in Charlotte, Asheville are Not Trained Properly


You may remember the tragic story of the college student who was fatally injured at a college football practice last year while filming the team's practice. The student was employed by the University of Notre Dame but was not properly trained about how to operate the scissor lift, which contributed to the fall accident that took the young man's life.
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Asheville workers' compensation attorneys see so many red flags associated with this particular work accident. Young workers must be properly trained when they are required to operate dangerous equipment, especially if weather or other factors can cause a severe or fatal injury to occur.

Scissor lifts are large pieces of equipment powered by hydraulics which contain a platform that is raised and lowered by a scissor motion below its base. Without proper training of safety precautions, scissor lift-related accidents in Charlotte, or elsewhere are quite common, especially when performing job responsibilities in an outside environment. The college student raised the lift upwards of 39 feet into the air during a practice that entailed wind gusts of over 50 mph. The lift was blown over and killed the young man.

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) has issued a hazard alert to organizations following this incident. Employers and young workers should be familiar with the following hazards related to using a scissor lift if you are required to use equipment to complete your job responsibilities:

-High winds or inclement weather conditions can cause the lift to fall over.

-The lift can fall over when it is positioned on uneven ground or in a particularly soft area due to excessive amounts of rain.

-Weighted objects on the platform can cause the lift to fall over.

-A worker may fall off the platform if no personal protective equipment or guard rails are being used.

Not only are workers at risk of fall accidents from a raised scissor lift, they can also be subject to electrocution hazards. A worker that comes into contact with electrical lines while standing on the platform is at severe risk of being electrocuted.

Employers have a responsibility to take the necessary precautions to keep workers of any age safe while performing job duties. The following initiatives must be taken to prevent scissor lift-related work accidents:

-Inspect the equipment before it is about to be used by a worker.

-Stay away from parking the apparatus near slopes, holes or ground obstructions.

-Park the scissor lift at least 10 away from electrical lines upon its full extension.

-If rain, sleet, snow or wind is expected, prohibit workers from using a scissor lift.

-Make sure the lift is limited two one or two people using minimal equipment.

-Provide workers with fall protection such as a harness to prevent them from falling off the platform to ground level. Always make sure guard rails are in place before using the equipment.

-The scissor lift must be tested, inspected and maintained according to the manufacturer's recommendations.

-Train all employees on how to properly use the equipment. Never permit an untrained employee to use the scissor fork in a raised position.

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