The oil and gas industry is booming in the U.S., bringing much needed jobs to Pennsylvania. Yet, with the rewards of these types of jobs also comes great risk in the form of serious injuries and death. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, fatalities in the oil and gas fields have reached their highest level since the statistic was first recorded. Additionally, non-fatal injuries in these industries jumped to a five-year high in 2012, to 2,600.
A previous post on our Pittsburgh Workers' Compensation Law Blog discussed the building demolition that led to the crushing of a Salvation Army building and, ultimately, the death of six individuals and the injuries of many more. Since the occurrence of this tragic construction site accident in June, OSHA has been researching the business practices of the demolition company. OSHA has now announced the citations that will be faced by the company for its poor and unsafe demolition practices that placed many construction workers and others around the site at risk.
The accident was caused by an unbraced wall that fell on top of the nearby thrift shop's roof. According to OSHA's news release, there were many violations of the demolition construction standards found at the site where the work was being completed.
It is important for all employees in Pennsylvania to understand their rights under the state's workers' compensation regulations. The vast majority of employers within the state are required to carry workers' compensation insurance. This insurance provides money to injured workers who have suffered injuries while executing duties in their line of work.
Two employees working at a denture manufacturing plant in Falls Township, Pennsylvania were recently injured when a chemical with which they were working unexpectedly exploded. The two individuals were filling a pail at the plant with nitric acid, a chemical frequently used in the manufacturing of dentures, when the chemical suddenly exploded.
As many readers in Pennsylvania are likely aware, the majority of employers in the state are required to carry workers' compensation insurance. The insurance is necessary because when an employee becomes injured the employer will be able to provide workers' compensation benefits.
In addition to the requirement to carry insurance, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires employers to post reports annually that summarize the injuries and illnesses suffered in their workplace. These reports must be posted in a location that can be viewed by employees. In addition, OSHA's website displays general numbers about incidents at some workplaces. However, this information does not provide specific details about the type of injury. However, OSHA may soon increase the level of detail that must be shared by employers.
At this time of year, municipalities throughout Pennsylvania have work crews busy clearing up leaves from public areas. At first thought, vacuuming leaves may not seem like a very dangerous job. However, a Pennsylvania worker was recently injured at work in an accident involving a leaf vacuum.
According to police, the man was working with a public works crew when he somehow ended up under the wheel of a leaf vacuum. The purpose of the leaf vacuum is to feed leaves into a dump truck. The 27-year-old worker was transported to a medical facility for treatment of his injuries and was listed in fair condition.
Previous postings in this blog have discussed the workers compensation claims process for injured workers and how obtaining the full compensation to which one is entitled can can quickly become very complicated. As if the process in general isn't complicated enough, a new development in the Pennsylvania workers' compensation system has increased the level of difficulty injured workers are experiencing in obtaining the compensation they need to aid in their recovery.
At the beginning of last month the state's Department of Labor and Industry went through an overhaul of the computer system used to process workers' compensation claims and assign them to judges. The $45 million project has seen more than its fair share of issues.
As many of the previous postings in this blog have discussed, there are numerous workers in Pittsburgh who are exposed to dangers in the workplace each day. These dangers can lead to a workplace injury. When an employee is injured on the job, he or she is often entitled to workers' compensation. However, workers' compensation settlements are not limited to the physical injuries of an injured worker. Some workers may also be able to recover workers' compensation benefits due to the onset of an occupational disease.
Recent studies at the University of Pittsburgh show that shift work can lead to an increased risk of developing diabetes. Shift work was defined in the study as working past 9:00 in the evening on a non-overtime basis. The findings were alarming. According to the study, any amount of shift work, even if it is for a short period of time, is connected to a higher risk of diabetes.
Numerous previous postings on this blog have discussed OSHA inspections that were initiated as a result of a workplace accident or a work-related injury. However, there are others ways that an employer can become subject to an OSHA inspection. A situation that recently arose in Pennsylvania shows readers exactly how that can happen.
NEJ Abatement Group, which is based out of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is facing almost $17,000 in fines issued by OSHA for six different violations involving lead hazards. The investigation was initiated after the Pennsylvania Department of Health reported some concerns about the company to OSHA. OSHA had the authority to conduct an investigation under its National Emphasis Program on Lead.
Coal mining is one profession that is inherently dangerous and those who work in this field are aware that every day they go to work they are being exposed to dangers that many people in other professions do not have to face. However, even if that is the case, the companies that own coal mines must take the necessary steps to ensure the safety of their workers. They must also carry workers' compensation insurance to cover those times that their employees are injured at work.
An industrial accident that recently occurred at a coal mine owned by Pennsylvania-based CONSOL left one worker with a head injury that ultimately led to his death. The miner died while en route to the hospital to receive medical treatment.
Previous posts here have discussed the dangers involved in certain lines of work. There have also been many postings that have discussed an employer's responsibility to take reasonably appropriate action to ensure their employees are working in as safe an environment as possibly in an effort to prevent an on-the-job injury.
In addition to employers taking action to ensure workplace safety, there are often research projects that are initiated to determine not only what factors are driving an injury at work but also what can be done to move toward eliminating these factors and ensure less people are injured on the job. Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh have recently received a grant from the Alpha Foundation to study mine safety, health and training.