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Lehigh County Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Do drivers convicted of DUIs have to use Ignition Interlock?

The ignition interlock system was designed to check a person's breath for alcohol before allowing a motor vehicle to start. Every time he or she wants to use the car—regardless of the time of day—the person has to blow into the device. Only when he or she is cleared will the vehicle start.

So, do you have to use this system if you get a DUI in Pennsylvania? As you'll see, the answer can be both yes and no, depending on the circumstances.

Without independent agreement, injured worker wins workers' comp

A recent story out of Fleetwood, Pennsylvania, shows employers and employees the importance of signing contracts in a timely manner. Reportedly, an independent subcontractor hired as a painter for Lee's Metal Roof Coatings & Painting in 2011 is entitled to workers' compensation for injuries received in a fall.

The worker was injured on May 6, 2011, when he fell from a roof, striking his head and injuring his right knee and left ankle. The accident reportedly occurred several days after the contracting company hired the worker. In October of the same year, the injured party filed a workers' compensation claim despite that he was allegedly hired as an independent contractor.

Passenger van dangers and legal remedies

Passenger vans can be an affordable and suitable alternative to buses for Lehigh Valley schools, clubs and other organizations. These vehicles aren't the same as vans sold to large families. Interstate drivers paid for operating commercial vans, with a nine-passenger to 15-passenger capacity, are subject to rules set down by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration wants the public to understand risks associated with these vehicles to prevent van accidents. The government studied fatal 15-passenger van crashes over a 12-year period. Researchers learned about 60 percent of 1,111 fatalities between 1990 and 2002 were the result of single-vehicle collisions -- over 80 percent of deaths in these accidents were due to rollovers.

Tips for protecting your eyes at work

The eyes might be the windows to the world, but they are also necessary when working in most any type of construction and similar work. Protecting one's eyes should be of utmost importance.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that 2,000 U.S. workers suffer an eye injury while working each day. Approximately one-third of these injured workers require care at an emergency room and over 100 will miss a day of work of more. Most of these injuries are caused by an abrasion of the eye caused by substances like wood chips, metal shavings, cement chips and dust. Some of the injuries result in permanent loss of sight because of the penetration of the eyeball. Blunt force trauma can also cause broken eye sockets or damage to the eyeball.

Does workers' compensation cover injuries to federal employees?

Like employees for private organizations, those who hold federal government positions are at risk for workplace injuries. However, the way these employees receive benefits or compensation for such injuries is much different. Where private company employees turn to workers' compensation for recovery, federal employees must rely on the Division of Federal Employees' Compensation.

The DFEC provides many benefits to injured federal employees including monetary compensation for lost wages, payment of medical expenses and disbursing death benefits to survivors. However, the program also provides valuable assistance with returning to work as quickly as possible. Here is a breakdown of some of the work return assistance an injured federal employee might expect:

What are Pennsylvania’s car seat safety rules?

Protecting children from harm is a top priority for Monroe County parents. Parental vigilance includes safeguarding children from dangers like car accidents caused by negligent drivers.

About 7,000 children below the age of 5 are involved in motor vehicle accidents statewide every year. More children in the U.S. are hurt and killed in traffic crashes than for any other reason. Pennsylvania's Child Passenger Protection Act provides guidelines for child safety restraints.

Construction worker killed by tractor-trailer on I-95

Construction zones present many dangers to the people working in them. According to the Federal Highway Administration, in 2010, there were 576 fatalities because of work zone crashes. That amounts to one fatality every 15 hours.

On June 25, at about 1:30 a.m., a 62-year-old construction worker was killed on I-95 near Beltzville, Maryland. According to a captain with the Maryland State Police, a tractor-trailer crashed into the work zone site after it didn't "follow a bend in the road." The contractors that were working had all the right safety equipment where it was supposed to be.

How an attorney can facilitate your workers' compensation claim

Injured workers located in the Monroe County area turn to an attorney for help with a workers' comp claim. Many reasons exist for choosing such an approach, each one unique to the injured person. Those dealing with workers' compensation for the first time often do not know if they need an attorney when moving forward with a claim. This blog post can answer some questions injured Pennsylvania workers might have about workers' comp while explaining how an attorney can help.

In an ideal situation, filing a claim is simple. Many employers keep incident reports and workers' compensation claim forms on hand for employees and some employers even help claimants complete the required paperwork. However, not all situations are ideal, meaning employees might face hardships while attempting to make a claim.

Skin dangers in the Moneroe County workplace

Some Lehigh Valley workers may worry about damage caused by breathing in toxic substances while on the job. Hazardous chemicals and other poisonous materials have several ways to enter the body, including through an employee's skin. Estimates state over 13 million U.S. workers are exposed to dangerous chemicals that cause occupational skin diseases or systemic harm.

You don't have to be working in a laboratory to contract a skin disease or condition caused by toxic exposure. Cosmetologists, farmhands, food service employees and construction workers are among the victims of workplace exposure to hazardous chemicals.

2013 Pennsylvania occupational injuries

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 178 people lost their lives due to occupational injuries in 2013. Seventy-six of those fatalities were due to transportation incidents. Another 31 fatalities were due to contact with equipment and objects.

The number of fatalities due to transportation incidents is actually expected to rise for 2013 when other documentation is received. Even so, the two causes listed above account for 57 percent of Pennsylvania workplace accidents. Fall, slips or trips accounted for another 25 deaths.

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