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Lehigh County Workers' Compensation Law Blog

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.

Construction worker pinned, killed by crane in accident

Construction is one of the most dangerous fields in which to work. Although the U.S. has relatively strict safety standards for construction zones, accidents still happen regularly. This is due somewhat to the hazardous nature of the work, but also because construction companies and subcontractors do not always follow regulations.

We do not yet know the cause of a fatal construction accident from late in January. Though this tragedy did not take place in Pennsylvania, it is a typical example of the sort of incident that can cause serious injury and death at a construction site.

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.

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