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Colorado Workers' Compensation Law Blog

2 require medical treatment after explosion at ethanol plant

It is not uncommon for Colorado workers to be around and work with volatile substances while on the job. In order to do so safely, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has enacted certain regulations that companies must follow. However, whether those regulations are followed or not, the possibility workers requiring medical treatment due to working with hazardous substances is always a concern.

For example, authorities are still investigating an explosion that recently occurred at an ethanol plant in another state. The circumstances surrounding the explosion could call into question whether the company had the proper safety measures in place in order to prevent such an event. The damage done to the building may slow down the investigation into the cause of the explosion.

Musculoskeletal injuries can cause permanent disability

Numerous Colorado workers suffer musculoskeletal injuries each year. Many of them are able to manage those injuries, but others are left with a permanent disability. This may affect not only the work they are able to do, but their personal lives as well.

For example, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration says that musculoskeletal injuries are pervasive in the meat and poultry processing industries. In fact, OSHA recently concluded an investigation of a chicken processing plant in another state in which an unknown number of its approximately 960 employees suffer from these types of injuries. The specific injuries include trigger thumb, carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis and shoulder pain.

OSHA says health care industry still has too many injured workers

Every industry has its share of on-the-job injuries, in Colorado and across the country. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the health care industry still has a disproportionately high amount of injured workers. The percentage of workers injured in health care is even higher than in construction and the oil and gas field. For this reason, OSHA's National Emphasis Program on Nursing and Residential Care Facilities is being extended.

All 10 regional offices have been tasked with conducting audits and investigations regarding the medical facilities in their areas to identify safety issues. If any deficiencies or violations are found, fines may be imposed as well. As many Colorado health care workers already know, the most prevalent hazards they face are from lifting/moving patients, slips and falls and exposure to hazardous materials and blood borne pathogens.

A spinal cord injury can lead to a permanent disability

Numerous workers in Colorado suffer spinal cord injuries each year. Just hearing those words can illicit fear for both the victim and the victim's family. This type of injury can cause permanent disability, which in turn completely alters the victim's life.

Most spinal cord injuries involve compression and fracturing of the vertebrae, but the spinal cord remains intact. The signals from the brain through the spinal cord can be interrupted. In an incomplete spinal cord injury, the signals are not lost, so at least some sensory and motor function exists. If the spinal cord injury is considered to be complete, no sensory or motor function remains.

Injured workers: Vehicle knocks down gas station worker

Workplace accidents often happen where and when it is least expected. While many employers and workers comply with safety regulations, every workplace has the potential for accidents that result in injured workers. Fortunately, most Colorado workers are covered by workers' compensation that provides benefits to cover medical expenses, regardless of who was at fault.

In an accident in another state, a gas station worker recently suffered serious injuries when he was struck by a vehicle. Police reports say the worker was busy measuring the fuel level in an underground storage tank. In order to do this, he had to lie down on the ground in front of a parked commercial van.

Window washer could suffer permanent disability after fall

Like other people around the country, Colorado residents see people hanging from tall buildings to clean the windows, and they are thankful they do not have to do that job. Window washers are some of the only workers who spend nearly all of their time above ground as they work. Understandably, the most prevalent hazard these individuals face is falling. If a worker does fall and survives, there is possibility that he or she could suffer a permanent disability.

An out-of-state window washer is facing the possibility of being permanently disabled right now. On Nov. 21, 2014, he was relocating an extension cord from a suspended scaffold around the corner of the building. In order to reach it from his position on the roof, he disconnected himself from his safety harness at an anchor point. He somehow lost his balance and fell 11 stories.

DuPont cited by OSHA after 4 employees fatally injured at work

Several industries around the country and in Colorado routinely use chemicals that are considered dangerous if the proper safety procedures for their use and storage are not followed. One such chemical is a colorless gas called methyl mercaptan, which, at high levels, will attack the central nervous system and cause death by paralyzing the respiratory system. An incident involving this pesticide ingredient led to four men being fatally injured at work.

The employees worked for DuPont, which uses the methyl mercaptan gas in the manufacturing of a pesticide called Lannate. On Nov. 15, 2014, a worker was in a tower without protective equipment and opened a drain vent line and was unexpectedly overwhelmed by the gas. She managed to radio for help, and two other workers came to her aid, but they, too, failed to put on the proper protective gear and were also overcome.

Are you looking for answers about work-related back injuries?

It might have started out like any other workday, with you working on the assembly line, answering phone calls or loading a truck. However, the next thing you knew, you felt a sharp pain in your back as you were packing crates, bending over to retrieve a file or pushing a heavy box.

When you went home that night the pain not only persisted, but got worse. So much so, that you've spent weeks trying to endure the pain while working, hoping that that it will go away, but it just hasn't.

Workers infected by MRSA may receive workman's comp

Working in medical facilities and other health care related industries comes with its own set of hazards. One of them is the possibility of contracting a virulent strain of staph bacteria (staphylococcus aureus) called MRSA (methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus). This bacteria is transmitted from touching the skin of an infected person; it is highly contagious and is resistant to a number of antibiotics. Colorado workers who become infected by MRSA may be able to receive workman's comp benefits to help with medical costs and any wages lost if they are unable to work.

Of course, it would be preferable never to contract MRSA in the first place. Colorado employers need to put the safety and health of their workers first. This means taking steps such as keeping the workplace clean and providing employees with the supplies and facilities needed in order to practice good hygiene, which can help prevent the spread of the bacteria. In order to ensure the best possible bacteria-free workplace, employers should purchase EPA approved disinfectants, which need to be available and used on all surfaces and equipment.

Medical helicopter fleet grounded, nurse fatally injured at work

Every day, the personnel who work for emergency medical helicopter services around the country put their lives on the line to save others. From time to time, they are the ones in need of medical treatment. Recently, a nurse, who is a former Colorado resident, was fatally injured at work during the rescue of an injured hiker in another state.

Details regarding the accident that took her life are sketchy at this point, but what is known is that she fell from the helicopter's hoist from an unknown height. The hoist is attached to the helicopter and is used to lower a carrier down to the patient. Ordinarily, a member of the crew will go with the carrier and uses a harness system to prevent him or her from falling.

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