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Colorado Workers' Compensation Law Blog

2 of 3 injured workers survive accident at Colorado fracking site

Numerous states, including Colorado, are involved in "fracking," which is a procedure for harvesting oil and gas that is considered highly controversial. A recent accident at one such site approximately 30 miles north of Denver resulted in three injured workers. Two of them survived, but one worker's injuries were fatal, and he or she died at the scene. One of the surviving individuals required surgery for the injuries he or she suffered.

Fracking involves water and chemicals that are mixed with sand and gravel. The resulting mixture is injected into a well with high amounts of pressure. The process is designed to break open rock formations beneath the surface. It is controversial because it may cause earthquakes and the leaching of chemicals into the water supply.

OSHA says workers' rights violated by poultry producer

Every Colorado employee has the right to a safe workplace. When a company violates its workers' rights to be safe in the course of their duties, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration often steps in and conducts an investigation to identify problem areas the company needs to correct. Such an investigation was recently conducted at an out-of-state poultry producer after a complaint was filed.

It was determined that the company was not only putting the lives of its workers at risk, but was also dissuading them from seeking medical treatment for their injuries. Employees were exposed to fall hazards, exposed machinery parts and other dangers. When a worker did suffer an injury, the United States' sixth largest poultry producer -- Wayne Farms -- failed to properly document it.

Corrections officers can suffer a permanent disability at work

Working in a Colorado correctional institution can be dangerous work. The men and women who go "behind the wall" to protect the rest of us are tasked with maintaining order. In the performance of their duties, the potential for suffering an injury that leads to permanent disability or death is ever present.

Injuries can be suffered during anything from a fall to intervening in a fight involving inmates. With all of the potentially dangerous events that can occur in a correctional institution, even an incident that seems innocuous can result in a debilitating injury. Regardless of how the injury was suffered, recovering from it could require a significant amount of medical treatment and physical therapy.

Company violations could lead to permanent disability

Workers in Colorado warehouses and other industrial environments are exposed to numerous hazards, and the risk of injury can be high without proper safety measures in place. When a company fails to make the safety of its workers a priority, injuries could be suffered that lead to permanent disability or even death. This is one reason why the Occupational Safety and Health Administration conducts inspections of businesses in the aftermath of such a tragedy.

OSHA investigators began an inquiry regarding an out-of-state truck terminal in March. A number of violations were discovered relating to forklift and fall hazards. Forklifts that were in need of repair were still in use, and platforms did not have the required guardrails to protect workers from falls of over four feet. Moreover, floors in the facility were not kept clean and dry.

Inhalation of asbestos can lead to permanent disability or death

Colorado workers in certain industries seem to have the highest risk of asbestos exposure -- construction workers, mechanics and those who repair ships. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration reports that no level of exposure to this naturally occurring substance is considered safe. Inhalation can ultimately result in permanent disability or death. 

The difficulty with asbestos is that the fibers are so small, they are not seen with the naked eye. A worker can inhale them without even realizing it. The dangers associated with inhaling these fibers are from scar tissue that builds up in the lungs, lung cancer and a disease called mesothelioma (which attacks the lining of the stomach or lungs). 

Workers' compensation death benefits in Colorado

Workers' compensation benefits can provide financial assistance when an employee is injured and may also be needed by an employee's surviving family when a person loses their life from a work related accident. A family may rely on the income of a loved one and suffer if that person is killed while on the job. Some people may look to professional help when attempting to collect workers' compensation benefits on behalf of a deceased loved one. A middle aged woman recently lost her life at a Colorado work site when she was crushed between two rail cars.

The victim and other employees of the local construction company were responsible for the operation and movement of flatbed railroad cars in connection with the operation of their place of employment. The cars carried materials created and used by the framing company that were either being loaded or unloaded from the business. The afternoon accident took place while the woman and coworkers completed their work duties.

Colorado trucker may have had death benefits

When a person loses their life as a result of a work accident, their family may be entitled to death benefits through workers' compensation. Death benefits can often be used to cover funeral costs and loss of income incurred from the tragic loss of a loved one. An older truck driver in Colorado recently lost his life in an accident that caused his fully loaded truck to tilt and fall on its side.

The workplace accident took place when a large truck attempted to make an afternoon concrete delivery at an industrial site. The truck was in the process of unloading and transferring the heavy rocks when the vehicle became unbalanced. Authorities found the large materials truck lying on its side when they arrived with paramedics. 

Colorado oil industry and workman's comp

The oil and gas industry is a leader in hazardous work environments and may have many employees that require workman's comp after an accident. Workman's comp may be used to cover medical costs, disability reimbursement or funeral expenses -- in the event of a fatal injury. Colorado has seen multiple injuries and fatalities occur among employees within the oil and gas industry over the years.  

Reports indicate that many oil and gas companies in Colorado hire entry level personnel that have a relatively small amount of experience. Some oil and gas work sites in other states have been accused of maintaining workers that are minimally experienced and may not receive routine inspections. An occupational safety consultant that is seasoned with many companies based off of the Bakken shale believes that safety hazards can exist without proper training.

Loved ones of crushed worker may need death benefits

Many young Colorado women and men work hard to support their family and build a secure financial future for those they love. When they are injured or killed at work, their family may face a loss of income and unexpected expenses that death benefits may be able to help with. A person that believes they are in need of death benefits after losing a loved one in a workplace accident may have questions about the process. A young man employed at a steel facility recently lost his life when a large tank fell on him, leaving behind a bright future and young family.

The athletic man worked as a subcontractor for the steel plate manufacturing company and was completing maintenance on a large tank when the tragic afternoon accident took place. The victim was in the process of sandblasting the large piece of equipment when it moved and quickly slid. He was crushed by the 12,000 pound tank that dislodged.

Ways some employers may avoid paying for workers' compensation

Workers' compensation is a benefit that is covered by an employers' insurance. It is the right of employees here in Colorado, and all across the nation, to file for workers' compensation when they are injured while doing their job. However, just because their insurance should cover the costs, some unscrupulous employers still attempt to avoid using it. There are many ways that employees can protect themselves. The following are a few tips that may help them do just that.

The most obvious way that an employer will avoid using workman's comp is by forcing an employee to return to work. They may say that the employee will not have to perform his or her regular duties, but the work could still exacerbate the injury. Similarly, they may offer to pay the employee's regular wages, which are more than they would receive through workers' compensation, but the employee will not be eligible for coverage of future medial treatment, nor protect the employee from termination. The worker may be threatened with firing or delay the entire process until the employee gives up the process. A dishonest employer may request that an employee use his or her own health insurance to cover the medial costs of the injury, but this will prevent the employee from filing for workman's comp in the future. 

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