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Lehigh County Workers' Compensation Law Blog

What your employer should do to protect you from toxic exposure

Hazardous and toxic chemicals are a fact of life in many Pennsylvania workplaces. With proper precautions, the health risks to the workforce can be kept to a minimum.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has several suggestions for workers looking to protect themselves from toxins. They include:

Tendinitis can be the result of repetitive work tasks

Tendinitis is a painful, debilitating condition that can affect nearly any part of the body. It perhaps receives the most attention when a star athlete comes down with it, but anyone can develop tendinitis, especially if their job involves repetitive tasks.

Thick cords called tendons connect our muscles to our bones. Over time, work like carpentry, house cleaning or painting can inflame or irritate a tendon, causing pain in the affected area. The pain can gradually increase, or can appear without warning.

Commonwealth Court denies benefits for holiday party accident

A big factor in many controversial workers’ compensation cases is whether the injured person was doing something that was in the course of his or her work duties at the time of the accident. When an employer can convince the administrative law judge that the injury occurred outside of the victim’s work duties, the victim will not receive workers’ comp benefits.

In an example, a woman who suffered broken bones and cuts when she fell down the stairs outside of a workplace holiday party has been denied workers’ compensation by Commonwealth Court. The accident occurred during a party for the staff of state Sen. Michael Stack, Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor-elect.

Pennsylvania's workers' comp appeal board turns 100 in 2015

It has been 100 years since Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board came into existence. It has gone through many changes in that time, but it remains the next place to go for injured workers whose initial claim for workers’ compensation gets denied.

In 1915, the Workmen’s Compensation Board came into existence to hear petitions and appeals arising from decisions made by Workmen’s Compensation Referees. The first thing that readers probably have noticed is that the committee’s name refers to “workmen” only. It was not 1996 that the Board’s name changed to the Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board, recognizing that women can and do get hurt on the job.

Forklifts can cause serious injury to warehouse workers

Just because working in a warehouse does not put you near active manufacturing equipment does not mean that you are completely safe from accidents on the job. A warehouse full of heavy boxes on high shelves poses many potential dangers, especially if management does not make the safety of its workforce a top priority.

Working in a warehouse often means using a forklift to carry inventory from place to place. Forklifts are useful pieces of equipment, but they can also place the user and nearby co-workers at risk.

Pennsylvania worker awarded workers' comp for robbery PTSD

When a worker suffers emotional or psychological trauma on the job, he or she may require mental health treatment before he or she can return to work. Though post-traumatic stress disorder and similar conditions are very real, victims sometimes have a hard time obtaining workers’ comp if their work-related injuries are purely mental.

Some of this may be based on lingering ignorance about mental illness. It may also be partially due to the fact that a mental disorder cannot be seen on an X-ray or blood test.

OSHA tries to limit toxic chemical exposure on the job

Ever heard the old saying “better living through chemistry”? Industrial chemicals have an important function, but they are often hazardous to human health. Producing, handling or using these substances could cause serious illness, burns or other trauma, unless the employer follows the law and makes workplace safety a priority.

Among the possible consequences of exposure to hazardous chemicals and similar substances include cancer, irritation, sensitization, fires and chemical burns. To minimize the risk of these workplace injuries occurring, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has several regulations in place that employers must follow.

Healthcare workers get hurt on the job more than anybody

Places like hospitals and doctor’s offices where people go to get well are among the most common places for workplace injuries, according to a new U.S. Department of Labor study. The federal agency says that healthcare workers like nurses’ assistants have some of the highest incidence of workplace injuries in the American workforce.

One-third of workplace injuries and illnesses are musculoskeletal disorders, or MSDs. These include injuries like pinched nerves, herniated discs, carpal tunnel syndrome, sprains and strains. Workers can get injured this way through physical overexertion, perhaps by lifting or pushing heavy objects, or performing repetitive motions.

Construction zones almost seem designed to cause accidents

Construction workers in Pennsylvania know that their jobs can be dangerous. Accidents may not happen every day, but when they do, they can range from bumps and bruises to permanent disability to death.

In fact, if a visitor from another planet landed at the average construction site, it may conclude that the zone was designed to hurt injury. There is tall scaffolding, from which a worker might fall dozens of feet to the ground. There are pieces of heavy machinery that can crush someone. Beams and other objects can fall from above and hit workers below. Even hand tools and nails can cause injury.

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