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Colorado Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Workers' compensation benefits also available for back injuries

While the construction and manufacturing industries are typically associated with workplace injuries, other less physical occupations can also be hazardous. Office and retail workers also face risks of suffering a work injury. Many of these workers suffer back injuries that cause long-term medical problems. Fortunately, workers' compensation benefits may be pursued by similarly injured workers in Colorado.

Actions that can cause back injuries include long hours of sitting or standing with a bad posture, repeated lifting, moving and placing of items -- regardless of the weight of the articles. Working in cramped spaces that force workers into unnatural stances can also be damaging. Although there is much that companies can do to reduce these injuries, employees can also focus on protecting their backs.

Warehouse work: by any other name, it involves injuries

The word 'warehouse" may sound like the 19th century when we're living in the 21st. After all, leading companies like Amazon and Walmart have created sophisticated storage and delivery systems across the country that are called distribution centers, not warehouses.

These operations have raised the logistical bar very high. It may well be that in the not-too-distant future, robots will pack the nation's products and drones will deliver them.

In the meantime, however, humans continue to work in settings that are essentially warehouses - even if the name isn't used - and many people get injured there. In this post, we will provide a reminder about the work-related injuries that can occur in warehouses.

Workers' rights: Unprotected equipment kills meat plant worker

It is no secret that meat processing plants in Colorado and other states are regarded as some of the most hazardous places to work. Although government statistics indicate that work conditions have improved over recent years, thousands of workers who prepare poultry, pork and beef still compromise their health and safety for millions of consumers. Many claim that workers' rights continue to be violated at slaughterhouses across the country.

A widow of a Colorado meat plant worker described the conditions under which her husband lost his life. Workers are exposed to a variety of hydraulic saws and industrial blenders, metal chains, marinade pumps, steel hooks and conveyor belts. All these are required for disassembling hogs, chickens and cattle as they turn the animals into specific cuts of meat. They have to avoid blood and water on the floors to prevent falls and cope with the hazards of cutting themselves or others while working unprotected.

Violence at work: Supervisor injured at work by battering worker

Along with protecting their workers against on-the-job injuries, company owners in Colorado and across the country must also protect their employees against workplace violence. There have been instances in which workers have been injured at work due to assault. After an alleged violent attack by an employee, a supervisor in another state landed in the hospital with serious injuries.

According to a police report, a call was received by 911 about an incident at a construction site. Upon their arrival, a severely injured supervisor was found, buried under some soil. The employee who called 911 reportedly told officials that another worker had assaulted the supervisor. According to the witness, the worker was unhappy about a remark made by the foreman.

Medical treatment needed after exposure to hazardous chemicals

Colorado workers typically rely on their employers to provide safe work environments. Unfortunately, not all company owners prioritize workers' safety, as is evident at a facility in another state at which workers were exposed to hazardous chemicals. Two workers had to receive medical treatment after exposure to an unidentified corrosive chemical.

The incident reportedly occurred on a recent Tuesday afternoon at a company that provides various industries with gases and chemicals specifically for industrial use. One would expect a keen awareness of the potential dangers of exposure to hazardous chemicals in the light of the company's line of business. However, circumstances in which workers suffered injuries were allowed to exist.

First responders and work comp in Colorado: the issue of PTSD

The physical injuries that many first responders suffer are serious and significant. They include such things as a police officer getting shot or a firefighter suffering a fall in a burning building.

The mental injuries that these front-line workers may suffer are not as straightforward, but they can result in devastating damage. Numerous first responders run into severe psychological problems, and many take their own lives due to untreated post-traumatic stress.

How is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that is work-related handled under Colorado's workers' compensation law? In this post, we will address that question.

Galvanized chute manufacturer disregards workers' rights

Workers play an essential part in the success of any business. However, many employers in Colorado and other states fail to recognize the importance of the health and safety of their employees. A company in another state is facing proposed fines of up to $422,680 for violations of workers' rights to safe workplace environments.

Employees of the company are exposed to the dangers of galvanized steel and the chemical hazards associated with it. The company manufacturers chutes for laundry and trash. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration says it issued citations after an inspection at the facility more than a year ago, and those violations have not yet been abated.

1 in 5 injured workers with TBI suffered falls at work

According to reports by the Brain Injury Institute, workplace accidents that cause traumatic brain injuries are far more prevalent than might be expected. Although vehicle accidents remain the number one cause of TBI, injured workers reporting falls come a close second, and many of these occur at workplaces in Colorado and across the country. There may also be a misconception that only certain industries such as construction pose fall hazards, but the truth is that even office environments can be dangerous.

The Institute reports that one in five reported TBIs resulted from falls on uneven or wet surfaces or trips over random objects irresponsibly placed in walkways. It was also noted that the increased number of fall accidents in workplaces may be partly attributed to statistics that show that the number of older workers -- over age 65 -- has doubled over the last 30 years. The importance of protective steps to avoid fall hazards in the workplace is underscored by recommending protective clothing, such as hard hats, closed shoes and gloves, along with providing non-slip walkways.

Did violations of workers' rights cause death at biofuel company?

One worker was killed and another one suffered injuries in a workplace accident at a biofuel company plant in another state. As is common when fatalities occur in workplaces in Colorado and elsewhere, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration will investigate. Investigators will determine whether violations of these workers' rights to safe workplace environments caused the tragedy.

An OSHA area director reported that a welding incident sparked a fire in a distillation unit where a contractor was working. Reportedly, the worker was rescued and then airlifted to the closest burn unit. Sadly, he succumbed to his injuries after being admitted to the medical facility. Another worker suffered less severe injuries, and he was released after receiving medical treatment.

Workers' rights violations alleged by employees of cement company

Colorado workers may expect an international company that is a world leader in its field of industry to recognize the importance of a safe and healthy workforce. Sadly, this is often not the case, as became evident after the Occupational Safety and Health Administration received complaints of dangerous working conditions that allegedly violated workers' rights at a cement production facility. An inspection followed at one of the company's manufacturing facilities in another state.

The investigation was launched last November as part of OSHA's National Emphasis Programs related to silica hazards and amputations. Investigators found that the allegations were well-founded as many safety violations were identified. Workers were reportedly exposed to excessive noise without the company having a hearing conservation program in place. With regards to silica exposure, no respiratory protection was available and no medical evaluation programs were established.

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