Articles Posted in South Carolina work accident

Injury of workers at dental practices are nothing to smile about. In recent years, as reported by Dental Economics, inspections of dental practices by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) are on the rise. Although some are characterizing these inspections as a means to drum up revenue, the reality is that workers in dental practices face very real hazards that need to be taken seriously and addressed.dentist

OSHA reports dental professionals may be at risk for exposure to a wide range of potential hazards, including bloodborne pathogens and other chemical agents, ergonomic risks, excessive noise, and workplace violence.

In spite of this wide range of issues, OSHA doesn’t have any specific standards when it comes to dentistry. Some of the dangers that would apply to dentistry are addressed in general industry standards.

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Federal inspectors with the Occupational Safety & Health Administration were recently reviewing safety at a Florida construction site when they looked up to see a familiar sight:  workers installing shingles on a roof with absolutely no fall protection. The sight was a familiar one because, according to OSHA, it was the eighth time in five years this roofing contractor had been cited for this offense. Specifically, the company is accused of failing to protect workers from falls by ensuring those working at six feet or higher have the benefit of some type of fall arrest or protection system. roofing contractors

U.S. safety standards outlined in 29 CFR 1926.501(b)(13) require that workers in these conditions must be given at least a personal fall arrest system, a safety net, or a guardrail.

On seven prior occasions since 2011, this company had been cited for repeated, willful, and serious violations for its failure to provide fall protection systems, as well as a lack of eye protection. Several workers were spotted working with powered nail guns with zero eye protection.

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Federal regulators have slapped a Wayne County sawmill with a fine in excess of $200,000, accusing the owners of intentionally and repeatedly violating numerous federal workplace safety laws.sawdust

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) alleges that Wayne Lumber & Mulch Inc. has engaged violations that include:

  • 3 willful
  • 9 repeat
  • 12 serious
  • 3 other-than-serious

For a total of 27 violations, federal authorities are proposing a fine that tops $214,600. This recommendation comes just two years after OSHA cited the same company for 40 violations back in March 2014. At that time, OSHA initially recommended a fine of $82,000, but ultimately agreed to a settlement for exactly half that, $41,000. Now, however, OSHA officials say it’s clear the company didn’t take those earlier violations seriously.  Continue reading

In workers’ compensation cases, part of what employees gave up in the “grand bargain” for no-fault benefits for workplace injuries and illnesses was the right to sue their employer for negligence. That means even if a worker would likely have received more compensation as a result of a personal injury negligence lawsuit, the employee can’t sue the company so long as the injury is covered under workers’ compensation laws. gavel7

Co-workers also are protected under this provision, and workers can’t sue them, even if their negligence caused or contributed to the accident.

But sometimes the question of who is “co-worker” – particularly on a construction site – can get tricky. That’s because there may be a number of different contractor and subcontractors, and some may under state law be extended protection under the exclusive remedy provision. It’s important to differentiate because when one can take action against a third party, recovery in addition to workers’ compensation may be obtained.

This was the issue in the recent case of TIC Energy & Chem, Inc. v. Martin, recently before the Texas Supreme Court. Of course, it’s important to point out that case law varies from state-to-state, but this case outlines situations we see crop up in North Carolina cases too.  Continue reading

Trench collapse accidents put workers at high risk of injury and death.trench

Just last year in Columbia, you may recall a worker died at a construction site of new student housing, where the 31-year-old was buried 6 feet below ground level when a cave-in occurred. The man had been an employee with the city. A similar incident occurred on Fort Bragg a year before, when a civilian contractor was buried under 18 feet of dirt after a trench collapse. It was determined a rock or large clump of dirt knocked the wall loose.

Such tragedies of course aren’t unique to North Carolina and South Carolina. In March, a construction worker in Northeast Ohio was killed in a trench cave-in that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently deemed “preventable.”

According to a recent article by The Cleveland Plain Dealer, OSHA imposed a nearly $45,000 fine against the worker’s employer, citing the company for one repeated and five serious safety violations that played a role in causing the worker’s death. Continue reading

In the first independent assessment of the so-called “opt-out” alternative to workers’ compensation since the ProPublica/NPR think piece last year, the International Association of Industrial Accident Boards and Commissions (IAIABC) took on the issue. workers

What researchers discovered is troubling, especially in light of the fact that an opt-out alternative is still technically on the table for workers in South Carolina.

The crux of the research is that these programs – also referred to as “employer alternatives” or “the option” – are bad for workers. They give companies a choice of either buying a traditional workers’ compensation policy or formulating one of their own. Oklahoma has already enacted such a plan, and proposals for similar alternatives have been weighed in South Carolina and Tennessee. What the study authors found was that under opt-out plans, workers are subjected to:

  • An inherent conflict of interest;
  • Barriers to benefits;
  • Unequal treatment;
  • Limited appeals;
  • Little to no independent oversight.

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Work-related back injury claims are some of the most common for workers’ compensation. gavel21

That was the underlying reason plaintiff sought benefits in Hartzell v. Palmetto Collision LLC, recently before the South Carolina Supreme Court.

Plaintiff appealed the decision by the appeals court to reverse his medical benefits claim stemming from a work-related back injury. He argued there was substantial evidence to support the original ruling of the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission to award him workers’ compensation for his back injury. He insisted the injury was reported within the required timeline and therefore the appeals court made a mistake in reversing his award of benefits.

The South Carolina Supreme Court agreed, reversed and remanded.  Continue reading

When you are injured in a work-related accident, you probably know you can seek benefits through workers’ compensation. What you may not realize is there are many different types of workers’ compensation, depending on the extent of your injury, when/ if you can return to work and if you do return, whether your injuries will have a lasting debilitating effect.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The recent case of Tchikobava v. Albatross Express involved several different types of workers’ compensation benefits, including temporary total disability and permanent total disability.

According to Nebraska Supreme Court records, plaintiff was employed by defendant as a truck driver when he sustained injuries in the course and scope of employment. He and his team were driving a semi-trailer from New Jersey to California. Continue reading

A new study published by Canadian researchers in the journal Thorax revealed workers who suffer obstructive sleep apnea have a heightened risk of suffering a work injury.sleep

The condition, which results in a person waking up multiple times each night when their airways become blocked, is likely to lessen a person’s senses and dull their reflexes as they are carrying out their daytime duties.

The fact of a pre-existing condition does not mean that a person cannot recover damages for injuries suffered at work. Nonetheless, both workers and employers should be aware of heightened risk factors and take steps to help reduce the impact these conditions can have.

Researchers at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver analyzed data from more than 1,200 sleep clinic patients and discovered that those who suffered from sleep apnea were twice as likely as their peers to suffer some type of workplace injury. What’s more, they were three times as likely to suffer form an injury that directly resulted from failed vigilance. These would be things like tripping, getting burned or falling.  Continue reading

Was a worker acting within the course and scope of employment when he tried to rescue a co-worker who had fallen into a concrete pit of methane gas at a work site? worker1

A lower court in Pennsylvania ruled yes, but now the company has appealed to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, which has agreed to hear the case.

The case raises important questions about whether those who step in to help others in danger on the job will themselves be protected under workers’ compensation laws if they are hurt. Continue reading

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