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Lehigh County Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Are repetitive stress injuries like carpal tunnel truly serious?

For whatever reason, a lot of people don't take repetitive stress injuries seriously. Maybe it's because they're harder to conceptualize than sudden, traumatizing injuries. Maybe people assume the slow degeneration of your bones, muscles and tendons is just a fact of life.

Workers' compensation insurers routinely fight repetitive stress claims, even when they're fully backed up by medical evidence. That doesn't mean repetitive stress injuries don't qualify for workers' comp -- they do. Sometimes it seems like insurers just deny them on principle.

Close bars later to keep millennials from moving? At what cost?

Among the many reasons people are drawn to our state, Pennsylvania is home to some of the world's finest colleges and universities. According to at least one state lawmaker, however, the area's history, architecture, culture, and business opportunities aren't enough to convince the graduates of those fine colleges to settle down here. To do that, he argues, we need better nightlife.

If highly-educated millennials are moving away, that's not good news, of course. Young college graduates form a crucial part of the economy and one of the most likely to produce new businesses, innovations and jobs. Would improving the nightlife opportunities in selected areas -- specifically, allowing bars to stay open later -- persuade these future leaders to stay? If so, is it worth it?

Telecommunications workers risk fatal tower falls, other hazards

Having a cellphone or smartphone, is pretty much a necessity for many people -- and a coveted item for many others. Unfortunately, all that convenience may be coming at a price you didn't expect. Over the last two years, OSHA reports that 25 workers have died at communication tower sites and many more have been injured. Those injury and fatality rates jumped suddenly over previous years, so OSHA has a special project in place aimed at reducing the risk to those who build, repair and maintain cellphone towers and equipment.

What are the risks of working on or around cellphone towers?

Hazardous noise: a top workplace health issue for decades

When you think of the term "workplace injury," what comes to mind is probably along the lines of a construction worker being struck by a mishandled object; a machine operator flipping the wrong switch; or a warehouse worker straining her back when a heavy box shifts. You might even picture someone suffering from a repetitive stress injury like carpal tunnel syndrome.

Preventable hearing loss is among the most common job-related injuries, and yet few people ever think they may be at risk. Did you know that an estimated 30 million people are exposed to hazardous levels of noise on the job? It's true and, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, thousands of people suffer permanent, significant loss of hearing every year -- for example, over 21,000 in 2009 alone. That's why OSHA and the BLS have considered hearing loss from work-related noise levels as one of the top occupational health issues in the U.S. for more than 25 years.

A lawyer can level the playing field after your truck accident

You've been hit by a truck. It came out of nowhere and did a lot of damage. Now, seriously injured, you're dealing with the stress, anxiety, pain and fear of major medical treatment -- just when you also can't work. You're worried about how you'll possibly pay for everything. The trucker's insurance adjuster wants to talk. What on earth should you do?

There are at least five things you need to know:

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.

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