The start of bring brings a host of lawn care and tree maintenance workers out in full force. But tree care is an especially perilous industry, as illustrated by a recent incident in Massachusetts. tree

According to the Boston Herald, a government employee for the public works department in Ipswich suffered severe injuries as he was struck by a falling tree while cleaning up debris following a brush fire. The worker was helping the state’s forestry division control a brush fire by finding and tamping down hot spots when a tree fell on top of him. He was flown by helicopter to Massachusetts General Hospital. His injuries are not believed to be life-threatening. In Minnesota last month, a worker was seriously injured while trying to remove a tree in St. Louis County. He and his crew were trying to remove another tree when high-powered winds knocked over one nearby, landing on the worker. And in another case, a 20-year-old contract worker for the federal parks service in California was crushed to death by a tree at Yosemite that came crashing down during a powerful storm.

As OSHA notes, there are many serious hazards in tree care work. The two primary dangers are:

  • Falling trees/ objects.
  • Falls from trees.

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In today’s construction and manufacturing industries, moving large, heavy loads is critical to operations. There has been a great deal of technology developed for this purpose, and the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires both careful training and extensive workplace precautions on job sites that utilize cranes. This is imperative because cranes and other lifting devices can be extremely dangerous not just for the operators, but for those working within close proximity to them.crane

OHSA in 2014 updated its standards for operator certification for safe operation of cranes and derricks. The requirement is that by Nov. 10, 2017, all crane operators must be certified, and employers have a duty to ensure crane operators are competent to operate a crane safely. How much that will help improve crane safety remains to be seen, but safer operators certainly will mean safer workplaces.

Recently in Seattle, a crane mishap on a construction site caused major property damage, though amazingly no worker injuries.  Continue reading

An independent contractor at a BMW plant in Spartanburg suffered severe burn injuries while performing maintenance in one of the paint shops. sparks

According to GreenvilleOnline.com, the worker’s injuries were so serious, he had to be airlifted to a medical facility in Augusta after receiving immediate medical attention from first responders. Augusta was the nearest location that specializes in treatment of burn victims.

Although we don’t know the details of what happened at the plant or what led to the injury, we do know the pain machine was not in production at the time of the incident. We also know that as this worker was an independent contractor of BMW, the vehicle manufacturer cannot be responsible for workers’ compensation benefits.  Continue reading

An appellate court in Pennsylvania has ruled a woman who lost her leg in an accident at work at the airport when she tipped a luggage tug should receive workers’ compensation. airport

Although this might seem like a straightforward matter, the fact of what she was doing at the time of the incident muddied the legal waters.

According to The Associated Press, plaintiff was operating the tug at the airport, but was on her way to meet her mother, from whom she planned to get food because she’d forgotten to bring her wallet to work. Continue reading

The Tennessee Supreme Court denied workers’ compensation benefits to the widow of a worker who died of an opioid overdose after taking medication he’d been prescribed following a work injury. pills

This ruling runs contrary to what a number of other state courts have decided, and was actually a reversal of the trial court consensus in Tennessee.

Opioid addiction and overdose has fast become a rising problem for employees and workers’ compensation insurance carriers. Many are discovering that the powerful painkillers used to treat acute and chronic pain following a job-related injury are highly addictive – and potentially deadly. Injured workers grappling with pain are prescribed Vicodin and OxyContin, Percocet and morphine. Continue reading

Smartphones are often in the headlines for in some way contributing to the risk of injuries. Typically, this has to do with their propensity to distract users, whether they are walking down the street, getting behind the wheel, or doing anything else that requires their full attention. iphone

However, a new study by the University of Wisconsin-Madison finds that smartphone technology could be used to help lower the risk of workplace injuries.

Specifically targeted in this study is factory and manufacturing work. Manufacturing companies require workers to make, package, prepare, and deliver products we use each day. The physical demands of this labor can result in a host of serious injuries, including carpal tunnel syndrome and tendinitis. Work injuries are trouble not just for employees and their families, but also for companies, which must pay workers’ compensation benefits and also lose out on time and productivity. Industrial engineering professors say they have found a way to tackle these problems.

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A North Carolina employer has been ordered to pay workers’ compensation benefits to a worker whose shoulder injury was caused by a work accident. Not only that, but also the North Carolina Court of Appeals ordered the company to pay a 10 percent penalty for failing to file its request to terminate the plaintiff’s disability compensation with the industrial commission after her unsuccessful trial return to the job. tires

The plaintiff worked for the defendant employer as a tire builder. While pulling at a tire, she felt her right shoulder “pop.” She was examined by a physician, who determined she suffered a “SLAP” injury, which is an injury that affects the labrum, or the ring of cartilage surrounding the socket of the shoulder joint.

She filed a claim for benefits, and a deputy commissioner awarded the plaintiff benefits for the injury to her shoulder and found her entitled to payment of future necessary medical compensation related to her injury.  That was in 2007. Three years later, the plaintiff suffered another injury at work to that same shoulder. Both sides agreed this was an exacerbation injury, meaning it was a continuance of the previous injury.

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When it comes to workers’ compensation claims in North Carolina, injured workers seeking temporary total disability need to show they are incapable of returning to work in the pre-injury job because the job requirements exceed the injury-related work restrictions, and the plaintiff has made reasonable but unsuccessful efforts to obtain suitable employment. tires

The requirement goes back to the term “disability” as it is understood in the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act, which is the incapacity to earn wages because of the work-related injury. Thus, for the state industrial commission to find an injured worker should receive workers’ compensation for loss of capacity to earn wages, it first has to find the worker was not capable after the injury of earning the same money as before in the same job, was not capable after the injury of earning the same money as before in a different job, and lacked the capacity to earn these wages due to the work injury.

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A worker was killed in a Rock Hill construction accident at a high school campus recently. boom lift

The decedent was later identified as a 20-year-old from North Carolina. He had been operating a boom lift at the time of the incident, since he was working on ongoing brick-cladding repair to the exterior of the high school.

Authorities revealed he worked for a construction subcontractor, and the Occupational Safety & Health Administration has launched its own investigation into the incident. The construction company released a statement expressing condolences and also insisting this was an “isolated incident.”

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Two South Carolina workers were killed and a third seriously injured when a driver left the roadway and struck them as they were working alongside the shoulder of a highway in Aiken County. road construction

According to the Aiken Standard, the workers were employed by the S.C. Department of Transportation. The driver did not stop, but authorities reportedly arrested a 29-year-old for a hit-and-run later that day. (The incident occurred at around 8:30 a.m.) Witnesses to the crash tailed the vehicle, allowing police to identify the alleged driver. He has been charged with two counts of hit-and-run involving death and one count of hit-and-run involving injury.

One victim, 54, had been employed by the state transportation department since 1996, and the other, 64, had been employed by the state since 2012.

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