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Hermitage Pennsylvania Legal Blog

Preparing to return to work following an injury

When workers are injured on the job, a thorough investigation is often required to uncover the reason the incident occurred and to identify ways in which preventative measures may be able to circumvent future accidents. Many businesses in Pennsylvania prioritize protocols that are designed to protect their employees and encourage responsible behavior in the workplace. When an accident does happen, employers may have the option of returning to work depending on the severity of their injury and the circumstances under which it occurred. 

According to the Office of Disability Employment Policy, many companies have employed the use of a return-to-work plan which is characterized by a set of goals and processes the injured employee will follow in order to successfully be able to return to work. These programs have been able to reduce the amount of money employers spend on workers' compensation while encouraging and motivating the injured employee to focus on recovery and healing. 

Can poor road conditions cause crashes?

No one thinks that they are going to sustain an injury in a car accident until it happens. According to the CDC, injury-related deaths cause more deaths than cancer or the flu. One person every three minutes dies from injury.

You may be surprised to learn that dangerous road conditions attribute to a large number of accidents. A recent study shows that 22 percent of Pennsylvania rural roads are in poor condition, and ranks in a three way tie for the first worst state of structurally deficient bridges. How do poor road conditions cause accidents?

Four-story fall claims the life of construction worker

The construction industry in Pennsylvania is one of the most dangerous. Each day, construction workers face several significant risks including falls from heights and the hazards of working in close proximity to hazardous conditions, electricity and heavy machinery. While many companies go to great lengths to mitigate these risks and protect the safety and wellbeing of their workers, accidents can still happen. In serious cases, an accident could result in death. 

This is what happened in a recent construction accident in Birmingham, Alabama after a man fell four stories from scaffolding. He was part of a team working on the construction of a luxury apartment complex when the accident happened. Witnesses said the man fell from the 13th floor to the ninth floor and succumbed to his injuries. The incident is still under investigation to uncover what may have caused the man to fall. Authorities did reveal that as of right now, the incident appears to be nothing more than a tragic accident. It is suspected that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration will conduct their own investigation into the accident. 

Construction's fatal four: the accidents and their causes

As a Pennsylvania construction worker, you may face some of the most dangerous conditions in any profession. The legal team at Douglas, Joseph & Olson Attorneys At Law often assists workers in the construction industry to pursue compensation to cover the costs of their damages caused by an accident.

But what makes your job so dangerous? According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, there are four types of accidents that frequently kill construction workers. Here are the most recent statistics, compiled for 2016:

  1. You are most likely to be killed by falling; 384 workers died because of injuries suffered in a fall.
  2. There were 93 workers who died when an object on the job site struck them; while there were far fewer casualties than falls, it still presents a significant danger.
  3. Almost as many workers died from electrocution as from struck-by accidents; 82 suffered fatal electrical accidents.
  4. A close fourth, accidents that involved workers becoming caught, compressed or crushed by machinery, equipment or collapsing structures caused 72 deaths.

The answers to these questions could prevent brain damage

One of the top causes of traumatic brain injury is motor vehicle accidents. Even so, many people who get into a collision on the Pennsylvania roadways choose not to seek medical attention, even if they feel dizzy or have a headache in the few hours after the crash. 

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, doctors can rarely reverse the damage caused by the blow to the head, but they may be able to prevent further brain damage caused by a TBI.

Workers’ compensation for repetitive stress injuries

Over time, you may begin noticing that performing your job is not as easy as it used to be. You can’t complete tasks as quickly and may need to continually stop because the pain is too much. Some may write these off as symptoms of getting older but age may not be the only culprit. You could be suffering from a repetitive stress injury, and if your RSI is work-related, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.

A repetitive stress injury occurs when continually performing a task that damages one or more parts of the body. Many occupations require repetitive movements that can eventually take a toll on a worker’s body. If you work in an office and type on a computer all day, you can develop carpal tunnel syndrome from constant use of the keyboard. A grocery clerk could strain their wrists by repeatedly using a scanner.

What can you do to prevent falls?

According to the National Institute on Aging, your risk of a fall rises the older you get, and every year more than one out of three Pennsylvanians age 65 and older will suffer a fall. Falling can result in a devastating injury for an older adult, especially if you have underlying health issues such as osteoporosis, which can make your bones more susceptible to fractures. In some cases, a fall may result from the negligence of others; for example, the proprietors of a business may have a broken sidewalk outside or fail to notify visitors of a wet spot on the floor. 

While you cannot control the actions of others, you can take steps to protect yourself from falling. An assistive device, such as a cane or a walker, can help you feel more steady when ambulating. Your physician can refer you to a physical therapist who will be able to help you choose the right device and instruct you on its proper use.

Being aware of the hazards of driving around big rigs

You have probably heard stories about vehicles that were driving carelessly around a big rig and ended up getting in a serious accident. In fact, when you learned to drive, you were probably reminded of the importance of respecting the sheer size of semi-trucks. At Douglas, Joseph & Olson, we have helped many folks in Pennsylvania to overcome the consequences of being involved in a truck accident. 

If you are like many people, you probably attribute the dangers of driving near a truck to be related only to their size. However, there are actually many more reasons why driving around big rigs presents challenges and hazards that you should be aware of. According to Esurance, a few more of the reasons why big trucks can be hazardous if you are driving carelessly around them include the following:

  • They take significantly longer to stop if you slam on your brakes or pull out in front of them. 
  • They create exponentially larger amounts of spray in inclement weather which can create major obstruction if you are driving in a smaller vehicle. 
  • They are much heavier than an average vehicle, especially when loaded with cargo.
  • They have large blind spots which can make it so they conceal your vehicle almost entirely if you are riding right alongside the truck.
  • Due to the height of big trucks, if you are involved in a crash with one, there is a good chance that your car could end up underneath the truck.

Can a coach be held liable for sports-related injuries?

Sports injuries are something that occurs often, especially in contact sports. While coaches work hard to keep players safe, accidents still happen. In some cases, coaches may put their players in harm's way without realizing it. If you are considering coaching a team in Pennsylvania, then it might help you to understand the liability you undertake as a coach.

While you may think liability lies with the school or sports organization under which you are coaching, that is not always true, according to Huff Insurance. Decisions you make regarding practice and play can make you personally liable for injuries. For example, if you do not allow players to drink enough water and one gets dehydrated, you could be liable. Another example is choosing to practice in bad weather. Falls or other injuries caused by the weather could make you liable.

Can you do things at work to stay safer and reduce your risks?

Worker's compensation is an incredibly valuable benefit for you to have. When you are looking for employment, it is in your best interest to find an employer who provides worker's compensation in the event you are involved in a work-related accident. It is especially important if you work in an industry that subjects you to prevalent risks. However, when you take the time learn about how to stay safer in your job, you can reduce your risks and be more confident in your ability to safely perform your job responsibilities. 

According to SafeWise, something that you may not have considered before is that working in an office environment can also disrupt your health and well-being, especially if you do not take measures to ensure that you are maintaining your natural posture. Here are some of the things you can do to stay safe behind the desk:

  • Be familiar with the emergency escape route of the building you work in. 
  • Implement deep breathing and meditation into your routine. You can even practice between phone calls or meetings. 
  • Invest in an ergonomic chair that allows you to maintain a natural posture and supports your neck and back.
  • Do not be afraid to notify your employer if you are uncomfortable or your workstation is not functional. 
  • Know what your rights are so you are aware if your employer is ever taking advantage of your work ethic. 

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