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Lehigh County Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Allegedly drunk cops hit Pennsylvania flour truck head-on, 2 dead

Last weekend, a group of off-duty police from Linden, New Jersey, and a friend were on their way home from an evening at a strip club. According to reports, the officer driving that car had earlier posted a photo on Instagram showing three shot glasses he captioned, "Jack Daniels Fire on the house."

That may explain why the man's car was later caught headed the wrong direction on the West Shore Expressway on Staten Island just before 5:00 a.m. Unfortunately, it's only too common for intoxicated drivers to become confused and drive against the flow of traffic, and this time it led to tragedy. The car with the off-duty officers and their friend smashed head-on into a tractor-trailer for Snavely's Mill, a northeastern Pennsylvania flour processor.

Is there a real risk from chemical exposure during welding?

Yes. If you work construction or in a heavy-industrial setting, welding might be something you see every day. Whether it's your job to operate a welder or you work nearby, however, you need to be aware of the potential hazards of exposure to potentially toxic welding fumes and chemicals associated with the welding process.

Unfortunately, toxic exposure is a serious risk in many industries. In the context of workers' compensation law, the phrase "toxic exposure" simply means workplace exposure to a chemical, dust, or other toxin. Sometimes this causes immediate injury. Other times, it can cause or contribute toward a worker developing a serious, long-term occupational illness.

Truck driver turns self in to face charges in construction death

Road construction crews on the highway usually must work near traffic rushing by. Though state law penalizes drivers for causing accidents in construction zones, and crews put up barriers, cones and signs, accidents still happen. A construction worker has almost no time to react to a car or truck bearing down on them, and likely will suffer terrible harm when hit.

A driver who fails to notice or ignores warnings to slow down for road workers can easily cause a worker’s death. That is what happened last summer, when a truck driver struck two construction workers on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, killing one of them. After being charged in the crash, the driver turned himself in to Pennsylvania State Police earlier in March.

Even minor workplace hand injuries can be very debilitaitng

Anyone who has ever had a hand injury knows how much even a minor wound to a finger or palm can impact your ability to work. Any job that involves using your hands can become impossible, especially if the injury occurred at the workplace.

Hands can be struck by a heavy object, penetrated, twisted, jammed, bent abnormally or crushed. These accidents can cause injury to the hand’s ligaments, tendons, joints, bones or muscles.

Working on scaffolding can lead to a serious construction accident

Working in construction means spending time on scaffolds. According to the U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration, 65 percent of construction workers, or an estimated 2.3 million workers, do their job while standing on scaffolding.

Scaffolds allow access to parts of the building high above the ground, but they also put workers at risk of becoming serious hurt in a fall. Safety precautions can reduce that risk, but accidents do happen. One study found that 72 percent of scaffold accidents at construction sites were caused by three scenarios: the planking or support collapsing, the victim slipping and the victim being hit from above by a falling object.

Construction worker killed by falling forklift attachment

Construction workers in Pennsylvania often leave the state to seek work to support their families. Being separated from their spouse and children can be painful, but the money is necessary.

Unfortunately, no construction zone in any state is completely free of the risk of a deadly accident occurring. In a tragic example, a 30-year-old construction worker died recently when he was hit by a heavy piece of equipment.

Types of work-related back injuries

The back is the part of your body that holds you upright. Many work tasks require a strong, flexible back, and an injury can severely limit what you are able to do. Back injuries can take a long time to recover from.

The back can get injured in a variety of ways. According to the National Institutes of Health, common forms of back injury include sprains, strains, herniated disks and fractured vertebrae.

When you can't turn to your employer after a work injury

You may have worked for your current employer for years before your accident. If it was your first time getting hurt at work, it may be a scary time, as you rehabilitate and hope you regain full function of your injured body part eventually.

One motivation to heal is so that you can go back to work at full capacity. Few want to be laid up any longer than they have to be. Unfortunately, this loyalty to one’s employer does not always work both ways after an on-the-job injury.

21 more ex-miners diagnosed with mesothelioma

Since the use of asbestos has been significantly limited in recent years, it may be tempting to assume that mesothelioma is no longer a major issue in America. But a report of 21 new cases from a single mining region show this is not the case. Though this story is not from Pennsylvania, it should serve as a reminder that mesothelioma often lays dormant in the body for years before it emerges.

The Minnesota Department of Health announced recently that it has identified 21 new cases of mesothelioma, the deadly disease connect to asbestos exposure, out of a group of 69,000 mine workers the agency has been studying since the late 1990s. That brings the total number of cases among workers from that specific mine to 101 diagnoses since 2003.

Are all work injuries eligible for workers' comp?

Workers' compensation provides employees with critical financial benefits that workers need in the aftermath of a work accident or when work conditions contribute to an injury or illness. This employer-provided insurance is intended to help cover costs associated with an employee's medical bills and lost wages.

Most employers in Pennsylvania are required to carry this type of insurance, and many are happy to have it because it also shields them from being sued by employees. This means that workers are generally able to secure financial benefits without having to go through a lengthy court process or prove that any party was negligent. However, there are some factors that could exclude a worker from being eligible for coverage.

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