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Denver Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Serious risks associated with construction industry

A construction worker faces a higher-than-average risk of being involved in a workplace accident. Every day, Colorado construction site employees put themselves in the line of danger when executing their jobs. While a machinery accident may result in only minor injuries, a crane accident can cause serious injuries or even death. Depending on the circumstances, workers’ compensation may be required as one means of providing financial support to victims unable to work for some period of time.

Fatal construction accidents are more common than many people may wish to know. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2012 data, the construction sector saw more deaths than any other in the state of Colorado. A total of 21 out of 82 workplace fatalities happened on construction sites. This is more than twice the number of deaths that occurred in the mining sector as well as in businesses in the transportation and warehousing industry.

Denver roofers receive a record number of OSHA citations

Even a little bit of damage on a roof can cause major destruction. In addition to mold, leaks and other issues, Colorado homeowners may have to worry about roofers suffering a work injury. Not only should roofing companies be diligent in protecting their employees, but consumers should take care to hire businesses with proper safety policies. As recent reports indicate, the local roofing industry is not always up to par with safety standards.

The Colorado Roofing Association notes that homeowners could be held liable if a roofer is injured while working on their residence. If a contractor is uninsured, the association states that the homeowner may face a lawsuit and be held financially responsible for injuries and even property damage. The agency is warning consumers to avoid companies that do not carry the proper insurance and licenses.

Possible anthrax exposure sparks FBI investigation at CDC lab

There are many threats that workers face no matter what kind of job they hold. A slip-and-fall or equipment malfunction can happen in just about any Colorado business, prompting a workers’ compensation claim. Exposure to toxic chemicals or substances is a bit more industry-specific, and the results of such an incident should be taken seriously. As a recent accident demonstrates, it is imperative for organizations to address potential issues promptly and thoroughly.

According to initial reports, workers at a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lab in Atlanta did not inactivate samples of anthrax appropriately. The substance was then used in experiments in three other labs that did not have the tools necessary to handle live anthrax. As a result, the CDC has stated that up to 86 workers may have been exposed to the substance, which can be lethal when left untreated.

Colorado worker dies under 4,000 pounds of glass

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is a government agency that has the task of ensuring that businesses in the country are operating safely. Many Colorado companies have been inspected following on-the-job injury cases or as part of a random evaluation. In some instances, a business may receive instructions on how to improve operations in order to decrease the risk of an accident. When management ignores those recommendations, results can be deadly.

In 2011, inspectors from OSHA fined an Aurora window company more than $11,000. Investigators found violations that included issues with power tools, trucks, machinery and safeguards along exit routes. Today, following a deadly incident, the organization is returning to the business to open another investigation.

OSHA: Fatal accident resulted from company's negligence

There are several measures that both employers and employees should put in place in order to avoid a workplace accident. Many Colorado on-the-job-injury cases are a result of some kind of negligence, whether it is a lack of training or an unsafe environment. There are some circumstances in which the federal government is expected to play a role as well through identifying safety shortcomings. Those inspections can play a vital role in reducing the number of serious incidents.

Since February 2008, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has inspected a beet-processing company’s operations, including those in Colorado, 16 times. On those visits, investigators found 30 violations. The federal organization often makes unannounced inspections based on factors such as workers’ compensation claims, accidents and complaints, according to a spokesman.

Distracted driving is a risk for Colorado transportation workers

Distracted driving is a growing problem. In Colorado and around the country, thousands of car accidents occur due to a motorist texting or engaging in other inappropriate behavior behind the wheel. In addition to the individuals in the vehicle, there are transportation workers who are exposed to the risk of distracted driving. According to recent statistics, many people have suffered a work injury as a result of being employed on the road. One state agency hopes that raising awareness about the dangers of texting while driving will reduce the number of workers who are injured or killed.

Over the course of just five days, three accidents occurred in which a vehicle struck a Colorado Department of Transportation vehicle. According to a spokesperson with the agency, a highway worker dies every work week as a result of an accident in the United States. Annually, car accidents are responsible for work-zone accidents that cause the injuries of 37,000 people and the deaths of roughly 600 people.

OSHA: Heat-related illness is a serious threat to outdoor workers

Summertime can mean many things: sunny days, vacations and trips to the swimming pool. In Denver, it also means the weather warms. While many people welcome the heat, there are certain professions that may be adversely affected as the temperatures rise. Heat-related illnesses can be serious and result in workers’ compensation claims. As a government agency reminds us, there are several things employers can to do protect workers.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration notes that heat caused 31 deaths and more than 4,000 illnesses in 2012. The agency issued 11 citations for heat-related issues in 2013. Hot weather can be particularly dangerous for individuals who work outside in professions such as landscaping and construction. New workers in those situations may be especially susceptible to problems, the agency notes, because they have not yet acclimated to the weather. Illness may start as a rash or cramps before quickly becoming exhaustion or even heat stroke.

Health programs could reduce workers' comp claims, sick days

There are a number of things that both employers and employees can do in order to increase safety in the workplace. Many companies in Colorado offer extensive training, have ergonomic furniture and put measures in place so workers know what to do in the event of an emergency. There are certain factors that may increase the likelihood of on-the-job injury cases, such as the presence of toxic substances or heavy machinery. According to a recent study, an individual’s weight is also a risk factor.

According to a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins, obesity is a growing problem for both employers and workers. Currently, nearly 35 percent of adults in the United States are obese, though Colorado is the leanest state with just 20.5 percent of the population in that category, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. When those individuals are in the workplace, a study shows that the odds of a workers’ compensation claim, disability and missed days increase.

Colorado workers' comp policies do not cover PTSD

Being a member of law enforcement may mean putting your life on the line every day on the job. While there are physical risks associated with the work, there are also emotional aspects to consider. Denver authorities may often encounter situations that take a mental toll on them. As such, there are individuals now pushing for workers’ compensation to cover the expenses associated with post-traumatic stress disorder.

A deputy in South Carolina knows first-hand why the change is important. After shooting and killing a man during a domestic dispute response, he sought compensation for the depression he experienced but was denied. Many states across the country will provide compensation to members of law enforcement who experience PTSD as long as there is a physical injury present but will not cover it by itself.

Workplace injury, illness killed roughly 54,600 people in 2012

With advances in technology and medicine, it may be hard to believe that there are people who still die every day as a result of a workplace injury. In Colorado, employees across a number of industries may be at risk for either becoming hurt or falling ill because of the nature of their jobs. While the amount of people who suffered a work injury may have declined over the years, many still feel that the numbers are not where they should me.

There have been several measures put in place to help improve the safety of the American workplace, such as efforts by the current federal administration and the Occupational Safety and Health Act instated in 1970. However, a report recently released from the AFL-CIO reveals that the number of workplace injuries and deaths across the country is still high, with approximately 150 people dying every day.

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