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Lehigh County Workers' Compensation Law Blog

What are construction's Fatal Four?

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration is staffed with the responsibility of keeping workers safe at their place of employment. Along with state partners, the agency takes great pride in protecting the well being of more than 130 million workers. Even so, no agency is able to prevent every workplace accident.

According to OSHA, nearly 5,000 people were killed on the job last year. This works out to approximately 13 deaths every day of the week.

Third-party blame in commercial vehicle accidents

Human errors are responsible for a large number of motor vehicle crashes. However, Pennsylvania drivers aren't the only ones who can be careless. Negligence may occur behind the scenes, particularly in commercial vehicle accidents.

A deadly accident involving a repurposed amphibious vehicle made national headlines in September 2015. reported five college students lost their lives after a so-called duck boat swerved into a charter bus on a West Coast bridge. Fifty people were hospitalized with injuries.

Can I receive workers' comp and disability payments concurrently?

Each year, workers' compensation programs are responsible for nearly $60 billion in medical benefits and cash for injured and ill workers. The biggest disability insurance program in the country, though, is Social Security Disability Insurance. Ninety-five billion dollars was paid out in 2008 to workers considered disabled.

Injured or ill workers who meet SSDI requirements may collect payments alongside state workers' compensation benefits. In addition, some may also qualify for Medicare benefits. Self-insurance or workers' compensation insurance is required by law for more than 90 percent of people employed in all states except Texas. These employees are covered from the very first day of employment.

Slips, trips and falls among the Pennsylvania workforce

Of all the workplace accidents that can occur in Pennsylvania's industries, slips, trips and falls sound the most inconsequential. It is true that many of these accidents merely result in scrapes and bruises; however, many others can cause consequences that are far more serious. In truth, slips, trips and falls actually represent the majority of reported workplace accidents, many of them resulting in death.

While some accidents are simply accidents, others in the slip, trip and fall category could have been prevented by employer action. When business owners or supervisors take the initiative to assess and evaluate the workplace for conditions that might lead to an accident, it benefits the employer and the employees alike. Some of the ways these kinds of accidents can be reduced or eliminated include:

Police not blaming alcohol for State College pedestrian death

One concern Brodheadsville parents have about their children, no matter how old kids are, is road safety. Parents start out by warning children about playing too close to a road or crossing a street and later progress to advice about driving. Parents understand what young children and some adults don't – terrible car accidents happen.

A Penn State University engineering student was killed recently while crossing a State College street. The 23-year-old Wexford native was the third person to die at the same intersection since last summer. The car accident victim was rushed to a local medical facility and flown to a Danville hospital, where he died.

New rule proposed for mobile mining machines

The Mine Safety and Health Administration has proposed a new rule with the hope that it will prevent 70 mining injuries and 15 fatalities over the next decade. In addition, MSHA believes that the implementation of the rule would bring unquantified savings to the operators of mines because there would be fewer mining accidents that would delay production.

The rule would require scoops and coal hauling machines to have proximity detection systems in underground metal and non-metal coal mines. The proximity detection systems:

Diesel exhaust and particulate matter is hazardous to workers

Today's industrial workforce relies heavily upon equipment and machinery to complete important tasks. Many of these machines and conveyances use diesel engines, which often release toxic fumes into the air through their exhaust systems. If not controlled, these fumes can be hazardous to the health of workers as well as other people in the vicinity.

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration has a lot to say about diesel exhaust and diesel particulate matter or DPM. OSHA describes these substances as soot particles containing ash, carbon, sulfates, silicates and metallic abrasion particles. Pennsylvania workers at particular risk of exposure to diesel matter include equipment operators, miners, oil and gas workers, vehicle maintenance workers and many others.

Parent of teen who caused fatal car crash sentenced

An unlicensed teen, vacationing in the Poconos last year, lost control of a Chevrolet Suburban and crashed. The Pennsylvania car accident claimed the lives of three 15-year-old boys from Bucks County and injured three other teens, including the 15-year-old driver. The owner of the vehicle, the driver's father, told investigators his daughter did not have permission to take the vehicle.

Authorities later learned the father, now 54, lied to avoid responsibility for letting his daughter get behind the wheel. A judge recently held the father accountable for his actions by sentencing the defendant to a prison term of 6 ½ to 16 years. The man also must pay $73,000 in restitution for what a Wayne County judge said was the out-of-state defendant's "irresponsible" and "selfish" behavior.

How are school buses to be improved upon?

When you put your children on the bus in the morning, you expect them to be safe and you believe the driver to be qualified to transport this precious cargo. Sometimes, this is a major assumption. Did you know that there were 340,039 fatal crashes during the years of 2004-2013 and of those accidents, 1,214 involved a school bus or transport? Astounding as it may seem, this is the truth.

In this same time period, there were 1,344 people who died in school sponsored traffic accidents. This translates to 134 fatalities per year. That is just too many. With the size of the bus, you would think that the kids would be safe. Unfortunately, this isn't true. What exactly is the definition of a school transport?

Seeking solutions for Pennsylvania drunk driving accidents

Unfortunately, many residents in the Lehigh Valley area of Pennsylvania have suffered personal injury or property damage due to drunk driving accidents. This group of people includes accident victims themselves as well as family members of the victims. What makes it even harder for these victims is the simple fact that the problem of driving drunk is entirely preventable. Yet people continue to choose to get behind the wheel in a highly inebriated state, thereby taking their lives and the lives of others in their hands.

More people across the nation now recognize that the problem of drunk driving accidents is very nearly at the epidemic level. As such, many states have tightened their focus on putting an end to this tragedy. Pennsylvania is no exception and our lawmakers and police officials are also searching for ways to end drunk driving and reduce motor vehicle accidents.

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