Recently in North Carolina Personal Injury Category

July 18, 2014

SC OSHA Investigating Plant Explosion

In the event of a workplace accident, including an injury or fatality of an employee, it is likely that there will be both an internal investigation as well as an OSHA investigation. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is responsible for ensuring that employers maintain safe working conditions. If an investigation reveals regulatory violations, OSHA also has the authority to fine the responsible entity or entities. South Carolina OSHA is going to be investigating an explosion that injured three workers at an Edgefield plant.


According to reports, two employees are in critical condition as a result of the explosion.
Workplace accidents should be investigated by OSHA as well as an independent advocate who can help to preserve evidence and protect the rights of workers. Our Spartanburg workers' compensation attorneys are dedicated to raising awareness to increase workplace safety. Our team will also investigate any workplace accident to identify misconduct, regulatory violations, or wrongdoing. In addition to helping victims recover compensation, we are also prepared to take on third-party claims against all responsible individuals or entities.

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April 26, 2014

Court: Mental, Emotional Injuries of Workplace Violence Compensable

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

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

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February 14, 2013

North Carolina Workplace Violence a Top Concern

Last month, a gunman burst through the doors of a Greensboro lumber company, killing three and critically wounding a fourth. Authorities later found him at his home, also critically wounded from a self-inflicted gunshot, a rambling manifesto beside him. gun1.jpg

Our North Carolina workers' compensation attorneys understand authorities soon learned that the shooter also worked at the plant. They are exploring the possibility that he may have lashed out after suffering some form of workplace harassment.

The incident unfolded at the same time the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released its 2013 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries report. The annual study analyzes the fatal workplaces injuries that occur each year in the U.S. - including those that involve violence.

What the agency discovered was that homicidal acts carried out at work overwhelmingly involved firearms - about 80 percent.

Between 2006 and 2010, an average of 550 employees were killed annually in work-related homicides. In 2010, the most recent year with available data, there were nearly 520 workplace homicides, accounting for more than 10 percent of all workplace fatalities this year. Of those, nearly 80 were multiple-fatality homicides, just like in Greensboro, where two or more people were killed.

It's also worth noting that despite the term "going postal," the vast majority of these incidents didn't involve government workers. In fact, 83 percent of these incidents occurred in private-sector businesses. About a dozen incidents occurred in schools, but that really only accounted for about 4 percent. The retail trade industry meanwhile accounted for nearly 30 percent of all fatal workplace shootings. The leisure and hospitality industry accounted for 15 percent, while transportation and warehousing accounted for 8 percent.

And again, we're only talking about those incidents that result in death. The Occupational Safety & Health Administration estimates that roughly 2 million workers suffer some form of workplace violence each year.

What all of this tells us is that situations like what happened in Greensboro last month aren't some tragic fluke. It's a serious problem that requires the careful consideration by employers to put preventative systems in place.

Some things to keep in mind when deciding what type of systems might be most effective:

  • Four out of every five workplace homicide victims are men;

  • Robbers and other assailants accounted for more than 70 percent of homicides to men, but 37 percent of those involving women;

  • Relatives or acquaintances were responsible for nearly 40 percent of workplace homicides involving women;

  • Individuals with no prior personal relationship to the victims accounted for about two-thirds of all workplace homicides.

OSHA recommends adoption of the following measures:

  • Secure the workplace. Where it may be appropriate, install video surveillance, alarm systems and extra lighting. Also, minimize access to outsiders with the use of ID badges, guards and electronic keys.

  • Set up drop safes so you limit the amount of cash on hand.

  • Offer field staff cell phones and handheld alarms and require them to keep in regular contact throughout the day.

  • Tell employees to never enter any place where they feel unsafe.

Continue reading "North Carolina Workplace Violence a Top Concern " »

December 9, 2012

Sleepy Workers Increasing Accident Risks in the Carolinas

We trust the drivers of planes, trains, trucks, buses, limos and taxis to get us to where we need to be safely. Unfortunately, these workers are likely to suffer sleep problems. According to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) and the 2012 Sleep in America poll, the plane and the train operators were the worst of the bunch. They reported sleep-related job performance more than any other occupation.
Whose sleepiness on the job is affecting their performance and safety?

-More than 25 percent of train operators.

-Roughly 23 percent of pilots.

-Only about 15 percent of non-transportation workers.

Our Asheville workers' compensation attorneys understand that sleep is vital to work safety. When employees are sleepy on the job -- accidents happen. It's important that employers are allowing their workers with plenty of time to catch up on some Z's before and after work. This is especially important for workers who are working fluctuating shifts and those who work overnight.

Serious Errors Resulting from Sleepiness:

-One out of every five pilots.

-One out of every six train operators.

-One out of every six truck drivers.

The people listed above say that they've had a "near miss" on the job because of their sleepiness.

Sleepiness isn't only affecting these workers on the job either. It's also affecting their commute to and from work. Again it's the operators of planes and trains that are at risk. According to the 2012 Sleep in America poll, these workers are much more likely than non-transportation workers to be involved in a car accident cause by sleepiness while heading to or from work.

"We should all be concerned that pilots and train operators report car crashes due to sleepiness at a rate that is six times greater than that of other workers," said Dr. Sanjay Patel with Harvard Medical School.

It's these positions in which the margin of error is small. We need these workers to be well-rested and at the top of their game. It's not only going to help to protect them on the job, but it's also going to help to keep each of us safe who rely on their services.

The bottom line: Sleep improves performance.

Advice for the Sleepy:

-Make sure you're lying down and going to bed at the same time each day/night.

-Use your bedroom only for sleep. This will help to strengthen the association between your body and bedtime.

-Make sure your room is dark, cool and quiet. Make it comfortable to you.

-Create a bedtime ritual to help to calm yourself down. You can read a book, take a warm bath, listen to calming music or anything else that will help to ease you into the bed.

-Clear your mind. Keep your worries for the next day. There's no use in worrying yourself out of sleep.

-Make sure you're exercising regularly, but don't do it around bedtime.

-If you suffer from excessive daytime drowsiness, snoring, or episodes of "stop breathing" during sleep, contact your physician or health care professional for a sleep apnea screening.

Continue reading "Sleepy Workers Increasing Accident Risks in the Carolinas" »

November 12, 2012

Protecting Workers with Safety Equipment -- An Employer's Responsibility

Employers have a responsibility to keep workers safe and protected on the job.

One of the biggest responsibilities is to provide employees with the proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). This kind of equipment is designed to protect employees from serious workplace illnesses and injuries that can result from contact with electrical, physical, mechanical, radiological, chemical and other workplace hazards.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), protective equipment goes way beyond just face shields. For deserving occupations, workers should also be provided with respirators, earplugs, vests, gloves, coveralls, goggles, safety shoes, hard hats and safety glasses -- whatever is required to complete the job safely! It's also a federal requirement that employers make sure that workers are using these devices in the conditions they're designed for. Having PPEs is no good if they're not used.
In Title 29 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), it states that employers are required to conduct a hazard assessment of their workplaces to figure out which hazards are present that would require the use of protective equipment. When this is determined, the equipment must be provided and the workers must be required to use it in a sanitary and reliable condition. Our Asheville workers' compensation attorneys understand that this isn't always the case. Unfortunately, workers are sent out in dangerous conditions without the proper protective gear they need. This is how careless accidents happen.

PPE is essential, but it's usually the last line of defense after engineering controls, administrative controls and safe work practices. Listed below are the conditions of each safety control.

Engineering Controls: When a work environment or a machine is changed to make operation safer.

Administrative Controls: When how/when workers are completing their jobs. Changing these factors can many times reduce the risks for accidents, injuries and fatalities.

Work Practices: Training workers in the safest and most effective ways to complete the job without and hazard or accident risks.

Employees must be properly trained to complete the following:

-Use PPE properly. Each device should be thoroughly understood by all using workers.

-Know when PPE should be used. Workers should be required to use the PPE in these conditions.

-Know which PPE is needed for each job. Different jobs require different PPE.

-Understand the limitations of PPE. PPEs can help, but they can also restrict. Be sure you know when each is in effect.

-How to put on, wear, adjust and remove PPE.

-How to maintain PPE and keep it in good-working order. Ensured safety relies on the condition of these devices.

If you feel like you're not being provided with the proper PPE on the job, it's your job to speak up. If you feel in any way that your safety is in jeopardy, then you should not be working in those conditions. It's an employers responsibility to make sure that each work area is safe for each employee.

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October 29, 2012

North Carolina Work Safety: Generator Safety Risks

Generators are used on many work sites across the nation. While they're convenient and help to make many workdays a lot easier, they can also come with a slew of risks that can seriously injure or kill users.

Portable generators are internal combustion engines that are used to create electricity where none is available. These devices are key when remote or temporary power is needed. They're commonly used during recovery and cleanup efforts after disasters. You better believe that a slew of people, both workers and residents, will be using generators to clean up the mess left by Hurricane Sandy.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), some of the most common causes of injury and death from generators include electrocution and shocks when they're not used properly or are improperly connected to various structures, like trailers, shops, offices and residences.

Our Asheville workers' compensation lawyers understand that there are specific safe work practices that need to be carried out when using these devices. Employers are required to make sure that these practices are followed and that each employee is trained in how to use these devices, how to spot hazards, how to correct these hazards and what to do in the event of an emergency. One of the first things that should be done in these situations is making sure that these generators are properly maintained and are operated in accordance with the manufacturer's use and safety instructions.

These devices aren't only used by workers either. Many of the homes in the area have a backup generator out in their garage. It comes in handy when disaster strikes, whether from large power mishaps or from natural disasters -- like Hurricane Sandy. Whether you work with a generator or not, it's a good idea for you to review the following safety tips below and share them with friends and family -- really anyone who uses a generator.

More Safe Work Practices:

-No one should ever attach a generators directly to the electrical system of a trailer, office or home, unless the generator has a correctly installed open-transition switch.

-Only manufacturer cords should be used when plugging in appliances to the generator. All tools and appliances should be plugged directly into the generator.

-Make sure you use extension cords that have a grounding conductor, are heavy duty and are 3-wire flexible cords.

-All generators and connected equipment should be inspected before, during and after use.

-Make sure that you're using the proper ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) as the manufacturer instructs.

-Never use underrated cords. You want to use cords that use heavier gauge wires.

-Never attach appliances that have any frayed cords.

-When possible, your best bet is to use battery-operated tools.

According to federal standards with OSHA, the frame of a generator that is portable does not need to be grounded (connected to the ground) and the frame can serve as the ground.

Continue reading "North Carolina Work Safety: Generator Safety Risks" »

September 25, 2012

NC Work Safety Initiatives a Vital Use of Resources

It's an employer's responsibility to make sure that the workplace is safe and free from known and preventable hazards. This is true in every industry for every company. Everyone, from the owner of the company to the most recent hire must be able to recognize dangers on the job and must be properly trained to complete the tasks for which they've been hired. Dangers must be identified and eliminated. But you're going to need a program in place to make sure that this is completed efficiently.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), workers and their employers are urged to take that responsibility seriously. Officials with OSHA are here to help, to reduce the risks for work-related accidents, injuries, illnesses and deaths. Not only is it a federal law to keep workers safe, but it should be a moral law, too!

Our North Carolina workers' compensation attorneys understand how important it is to invest in safety practices and procedures on the job. As a matter of fact, officials with OSHA say that an effective health and safety program on the work site can save an employer up to $6 for every $1 they invest. Not only should employers be investing in employee safety, they should also recognize that this is an investment that's going to benefit them, too. These kind of programs, when effective, have the ability to lower overall costs, increase productivity of workers as well as maintain a higher worker morale. Safety and health programs are a win-win for everyone. Employers save money and employees are better insulated from on-the-job injury.

Work accident are often quite costly. However, there is an opportunity for a significant savings in lost workdays as well as workers' compensation payouts when the number of accidents, injuries and fatalities are reduced through proper safety training and other initiatives.

One of the best things that you can do to help to reduce these risks is to comply with OSHA's safety and health standards. Compliance with voluntary programs is also highly encouraged. In the end, taking a proactive approach to workplace safety can save time and money.

You need to make sure that these kinds of programs are tailored to fit your company and your workplace. There are five components that complete a comprehensive safety and health program, including education, training, prevention, control participation and evaluation.

Everyone has to work toward a common goal -- safety!

It's important that workers and employers communicate. Make sure that your company's safety and health policy is clearly posted in the workplace. Make sure that everyone is involved in making policies to maintain a safe environment.

Lastly, hold regular meetings to discuss your efforts and how they are working -- and make the necessary changes to improve your work-safety program!

Continue reading "NC Work Safety Initiatives a Vital Use of Resources " »

July 30, 2012

Bill Signed to Help Ensure Workers' Compensation Throughout NC

Gov. Bev Perdue recently signed a bill that will be used to help to track down and reprimand employers who don't offer workers' compensation to employees. According to Insurance Journal, media groups have voiced concerns, saying that employer information should be kept as a public record. A provision of this movement would call for the information sent by the Rate Bureau to the commission to remain private due to proprietary concerns.
The approval of House Bill 237, was the result of criticism of North Carolina's loose efforts to help to enforce the current workers' compensation law. Too many workers in the state were being injured on the job and weren't being compensated. They were left to deal with the injury and the financial problems on their own because their employer failed to maintain state-required workers' compensation insurance.

Our Asheville workers' compensation attorneys understand that, under the new law, employers' and company's coverage status collected by the privately run non-profit North Carolina Rate Bureau is required to be shared with the state-run Industrial Commission. This Commission is used to help to ensure that employers have workers' compensation coverage available to workers. The Commission adjudicates workers' compensation claims.

The bill was sponsored by Nelson Dollar, R-Wake.

There were many articles ran by news sources recently which cited thousands of employers in the state who weren't offering this coverage to their workers. Even though companies are required to let the Industrial Commission know when they get, renew or discontinue their workers' compensation policies. Still, the Commission hardly ever gets word of it until a worker files a claim and it's too late. After these cases, the Commission would investigate the company and the claim. When no coverage was identified, the companies were hardly ever penalized for disobeying the law.

Right now, workers can go to the Industrial Commission's website to see if their employer has workers' compensation insurance.

If you don't have access to an on-site health provider, your employer can instruct you to go to a designated health care office in case of a work accident. If appropriate to the seriousness of your injury, you're to report to that facility.

If there is no employer health care provider on-site or designated off-site, you are to get the appropriate medical attention from elsewhere. Depending on your circumstances and the characteristics of the injury, you may be able to obtain medical attention from your family doctor or from an emergency room. You should also tell your selected healthcare provider that your injury is work related. Tell them where you work and other employer information so that the healthcare provider can bill treatment as a Workers' Compensation claim.

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July 15, 2012

OSHA Campaign to Reduce Fall Accidents in Carolinas

Safety officials with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) are working to spread the word about a work safety campaign that is being used to help to protect workers in the construction industry.

Fall accidents in the Carolinas are a leading cause of construction accidents. Nationwide, there were more than 10,000 employees in the construction industry who were injured from fall accidents while working from heights in 2010. More than 250 workers were killed in these accidents.
Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis, with OSHA, made the announcement of the launch of the new campaign at the Action Summit for Worker Safety and Health. This was one of the many events held to honor Workers' Memorial Day. This Memorial Day is used to recognize all of the workers who we lost as a result of accidents that could have been prevented. The Los Angeles event was held by officials with the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health, the Labor Occupational Safety and Health program of Los Angeles and the University of California.

Our Greensboro workers' compensation attorneys understand that there were nearly 5,000 employees killed at work across the country in 2010. During the same year, there were about 150 workers who were killed on the job in the state of North Carolina, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Nationwide, more than 10 percent of all fatal work accidents were the result of a falls to a lower level. Falls are the second leading cause of fatal work accidents among all industries behind transportation accidents. What's most unfortunate about these kinds of accidents is that they're easily prevented. Workers and employers clearly require more education, more training and more preventative resources to help to reduce the risks of these accidents.

According to Solis, the best way to honor workers who we've lost is to recognize them on Workers' Memorial Day and to work harder to make sure that no other families have to endure the pain and suffering that accompany these kinds of accidents. Falls are the deadliest of accidents in the construction industry. They are also one of the most avoidable. Solis adds that about a third of all constriction worker fatalities are fall-related. The message of the new campaign is a simple one -- Safety Pays. Falls Cost.

The new fall campaign was created by officials with OSHA and with those at the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) as well as NIOSH's National Occupational Research Agenda program. Officials will be working with everyone in the construction industry to help to provide the proper education, safety materials and preventative measures to help to eliminate the risks of these kinds of accidents.

Continue reading "OSHA Campaign to Reduce Fall Accidents in Carolinas" »

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.
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" »

June 30, 2012

Pyrotechnic Work Accidents in Charlotte and Elsewhere Likely with Fourth of July Holiday

Officials with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) are cautioning employers in the pyrotechnics/fireworks industry to protect their workers from the dangers that they're going to face with the Fourth of July holiday and while handling these explosives at public events.

Every year, there are about 9,000 fireworks injuries in Charlotte and elsewhere that result in a trip to the emergency room. About 6,000 of these injuries occur during the 30 days that surround the Fourth of July holiday.
"As we look forward to celebrating July 4 with fireworks and festivities, we must also consider the safety of workers," said Dr. David Michaels with the Occupational Safety and Health.

Our Charlotte workers' compensation attorneys understand that it's an employer's responsibility to make sure that all workers are safe and protected on the job. To do this, the appropriate measures and procedures need to be followed. This is especially important during this time of year for employees who display, handle, sell and make these dangerous pyrotechnic materials.

To help employers and employees to stay safe during this explosive holiday, officials with OSHA are offering a Safety and Health Topics web page. On this page, workers in both the fireworks display and the sales of fireworks positions will be addressed. There are descriptions of common dangers and hazards that come along with working with fireworks. Employees and employers are also provided with a number of solutions to help to reduce risk of injury.

Employers are also provided with safety posters to hang about the work areas as well as a video that will help to demonstrate the most effective work practices for these workers. This information has all been provided by the National Fire Protection Association.

Information from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives as well as the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is included in the site's references.

Pyrotechnics include many devices to detonate, launch, or initiate an explosive material. Each company and employer is required by federal law to make sure that each employee is free from recognized dangers and hazards that are causing or are probably going to cause any injury or death.

All employers are required to make sure that they have the appropriate local and state licenses, permits and inspections completed prior to conducting business. They are also required to post and enforce smoke-free areas within 50 feet of areas in which fireworks can be found.

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June 28, 2012

Fall Accidents in Asheville and Elsewhere: Preventable On The Job

Falls are a common cause of work-related injuries in Asheville and elsewhere regardless of which industry you work in.

A fall accident can result from walking up stairs, climbing a ladder or even tripping over a power cord in the office. Others can be more serious like ones affecting ironworkers who work nearly 100 feet in the air. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that there were more than 600 employees killed and another 212,800 employees injured because of fall-related accidents in the work place in 2010.
Fatal fall accidents most frequently occur to those who work in the construction industry although the highest number of injuries typically occur to those who work in the wholesale and retail as well as the health service industry. Some of those who are at particularly high risks for fall accidents include those who work in extraction occupations, construction, transportation and material moving, building cleaning and maintenance as well as healthcare industries.

Our Asheville workers' compensation lawyers understand that there are certain circumstances that are oftentimes associated with these kinds of accidents. Many times, unprotected edges, unstable walking areas, clutter, slippery surfaces, wall openings, floor holes, misused fall protection and even unsafely placed ladders are likely causes of these kinds of accidents, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

According to federal safety laws and regulations, employers are required to provide employees with performance-based protection for fall prevention. Unfortunately, many of our county's work places have unacceptably unsafe work practices in addition to the already low safety culture and fall-related injury and fatalities continue to be far too high each year.

Experts report that these kinds of accident cost roughly $70 billion each year in just the U.S. alone. These costs are comprised of medical costs as well as workers' compensation costs. Reports indicate that we're not the only country that's facing these problems though. For that reason, officials with the international public health community are working together to help to create strategies to help to reduce these risks.

Employers are urged to enact fall prevention procedures, standard and equipment.

Falls continues to be one of the leading causes of work-related injuries. In 2008, falls accounted for nearly 60 fatalities in the manufacturing sector along. These incidents also contributed to nearly 24,700 injuries that resulted in days away from work in the same sector.

If you've been injured in a fall-related accident on the job, you're urged to visit a doctor and have your injuries treated immediately. After you do that, it's critical for you to contact an experienced attorney to help you to fight for your rights and for the compensation that you deserve.

Each year, nearly 9 million people are admitted through an emergency room because of fall-related accidents.

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June 26, 2012

Heat-Related Work Accidents in Rock Hill and Elsewhere Likely through Summer

It's getting hot out there and our risks for a heat-related work injury in Rock Hill and elsewhere are increasing by the day. A lot of workers are exposed to heat through both outdoor and indoor work environments. Workers who work around radiant heat sources, high air temps, high humidity and those who perform strenuous physical activities have high risks for these accidents, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

These workers can include those who work within areas like steam tunnels, construction, smelters, mining sites, chemical plants, food canneries, laundries, commercial kitchens, confectioneries, bakeries, electrical utilities, rubber products factories, glass products facilities, brick-firing and ceramic plants, nonferrous foundries as well as iron and steel foundries. Those who work outdoors are also at serious risks, including those who complete emergency response operations, hazardous waste site activities, landscaping, asbestos removal, gas well and oil operations, farmers and those in construction.
Our Rock Hill workers' compensation lawyers understand that there are thousands of workers who suffer injuries and illnesses on the job because of occupational heat exposure. Some of these injuries are even fatal. When a worker completes tasks outside or in a hot indoor environment, their body must be able to get rid of excess heat to maintain a stable internal temperature. This is usually done from blood circulations and by sweating. Unfortunately, when the air temps and the normal body temp are close to each other, the cooling of the body gets harder. This is when serious problems arise.

Employers are required to make sure that their employees are not at risk for a heat-related accident. They're required to take all of the safety precautions to prevent an accident. That includes making sure that work areas are not too hot, that workers are provided with breaks to cool off when needed and that they're not being overworked in hot temps.

Luckily, there are ways to help to prevent these kinds of accidents. Employers and employees should consider engineering controls for this, including...

-Fans to cool off workers.

-Increasing general ventilation.

-Air conditions break rooms and work areas.

-Eliminating steam leaks.

-Insulating hot surfaces.

-Reflective shields to redirect radiant heat.

-Local exhaust ventilation at points of high heat production or moisture (such as exhaust hoods in laundry rooms).

All workers should be trained to recognize the symptoms of a heat-related illness. Early recognition and treatment may be the last line of defense against one of these accidents.

Recognizing Heatstroke:



-Rapid heartbeat.

-Light headedness.

-Vomiting or nausea.

-Cool, moist skin.


-Clusters of red bumps on skin.



-Extremely high body temperature.

-Excessive sweating or red, hot, dry skin.


If any of the symptoms are recognized, it's critical for a worker to cool off immediately. Sit them in a cool, shaded area and cool them off. Call for medical attention if symptoms don't go away. These illnesses can turn fatal in a matter of minutes.

Continue reading "Heat-Related Work Accidents in Rock Hill and Elsewhere Likely through Summer" »

June 17, 2012

Work Accidents in Asheville and Elsewhere Likely Among Hydraulic Fracturing Operations

Those who work in hydraulic fracturing operations are at high risks for a work-related accident in Asheville and elsewhere. Because of the dangers that these workers face, officials with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently issued a hazard alert asking for employers of these workers to take the proper safety precautions to protect them from silica exposure.
The recent hazard alert is comes on the heels of a study that was conducted by industry partners and officials with NIOSH. The study pointed out the real risks that these workers are at for overexposure to silica and they're pretty serious.

Our Asheville workers' compensation attorneys understand that respirable silica is a hazard common to many industrial processes and industries. Unfortunately, there are large quantities of silica sand used in hydraulic fracturing. Because of this, officials with NIOSH launched a cooperative effort back in January of 2010 to look at records of hydraulic fracturing operations and risks of silica exposure. Through the study, officials teamed up with the oil and gas industry to test out the air at various work sites in more than 10 states. The workers that had the highest risks for silica exposure-related injuries were those who worked downwind of blender and sand mover operations.

Employees who work around silica all day run the risk of developing silicosis. This is a disease that results from inhaling silica day after day. Silicosis is a disease that occurs when the tissue in the lung reacts negatively to silica that has been inhaled. This disease causes both inflammation and scarring of the lungs. When this happens, the victim will notice difficulty breathing as the lung is not equipped to absorb oxygen as well. Silica, when overexposed, can cause lunch cancer. It has also been attributed to a number of other diseases, including kidney and autoimmune disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and tuberculosis.

After concluding the study, officials with OSHA and with NIOSH concluded that employers need to make sure that their employees are protected from these dangers. The silica alert offers information to help employers to properly train workers and to properly protect them. Work practices and engineering controls are the best way to keep these workers safe.

The alert covers the health effects of breathing in silica, as well as recommends ways a number of ways to protect workers and it tells us how OSHA and NIOSH can help. Both employers and employees need to be aware of the dangers that silica dust presents. Employers are required, under federal law, to ensure that workers are properly protected from exposure to silica.

"It is important for employers and workers to understand the hazards associated with silica exposure," said OSH's Dr. David Michaels.

Continue reading "Work Accidents in Asheville and Elsewhere Likely Among Hydraulic Fracturing Operations" »

June 14, 2012

Work Accidents in Asheville and Elsewhere Targeted with Renewed OSHA Alliance

The Alliance has been renewed amid ongoing efforts to prevent work-related injuries in Asheville and elsewhere. The Alliance between the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and members of Altec Industries Inc. focuses on work-related hazards that oftentimes lead to tip-over-, electrocution- and fall-related accidents.

Employees in many industries, but especially in the construction industry, face serious risks on a daily basis for these kinds of accidents when the proper safety precautions are not taken. The Alliance is focusing on these dangers for those who work with digger derricks, chippers, tree care devices, cranes as well as insulated and non-insulated aerial devices.
"OSHA is continuing its Alliance with Altec Industries Inc. to help prevent worker injuries and fatalities in the utility, telecommunications, contractor and tree care industries that Altec services," said David Michaels, Secretary of Labor for OSH.

Our Asheville workers' compensation lawyers understand that employees who work with these machinery are at serious risks for serious if not fatal accidents on the job if the proper safety precautions are not taken by both employers and employees. These precautions include being provided with the proper safety equipment for each and every task. It's an employer's responsibility to make sure that their workers are safe, are taken care of and are kept away from all known hazards and dangers on the job site. It's a federal obligation and failure to do so can result in some serious consequences.

Through the recently-renewed alliance, safety advocates will be working together to spread the word about the dangers associated with their industry. Construction continuously has the highest rates of fatal accidents in any industry. Officials with the Alliance are working to educate these workers and are working to provide them with the proper training to help keep them safe on the job. Lastly, the Alliance is working to make sure that each and every employee is aware of their rights.

The Alliance's Goals:

-To provide workers and others in the field, even those with limited English-speaking abilities with info, access and guidance to various training resources.

-Work to encourage employers to better protect the safety and the heath of its employees.

-To encourage more employers to help employees understand their responsibilities and rights under the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act).

This Alliance will be creating various assistance materials on the safety of cranes and will continue to offer OSHA staff members with Best Practice Seminars on Wood Chipper Devices, Insulated and non-insulated Aerial Devices, Digger Derricks and Mobile Cranes.

Training & Education through the Alliance:

-Works to develop effective worker training and education programs.

-Arranges for the setup and the delivery of this worker training.

-Helps to create and execute employer seminars that are aimed at reducing workplace dangers and risks.

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