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Colorado Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Truck driver fatally injured at work when struck by a trailer

Employees nationwide, including in Colorado, are entitled to coverage under the workers' compensation insurance system. Any worker who is injured while at work, even off-site, may pursue financial relief through worker' compensation. It is a no-fault system, so, regardless of who was at fault, those injured at work -- or families who have lost loved ones in workplace accidents -- may pursue benefits to assist with medical expenses and/or end-of-life costs, along with lost wages.

A 26-year-old truck driver recently lost his life in a work-related accident in another state that appears to have been the result of distraction. According to police, they were called to the scene of an industrial accident on a recent Wednesday morning. Upon arrival, police officers found the truck driver approximately 30 feet behind the vehicle. Responders from the fire department pronounced the driver dead at the accident scene.

Company disregards workers' rights with cadmium exposure

Colorado employees of companies involved in electroplating are exposed to life-threatening hazards. The Chemical process involves extremely hazardous chemicals, including lead and cadmium. In connection with one of its recent inspections, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently noted that, sadly, some employers disregard their workers' rights to safe environments by repeatedly violating safety regulations.

The electroplating company is based in another state, and OSHA determined the company had not established necessary safety programs despite being cited for exposing workers to cadmium and lead in 2010. Some of the repeat violations included the failure to provide informational training related to the hazards of cadmium exposure. Furthermore, initial exposure was not determined, and the employers failed to ensure that workers were medically able to wear their respirators when necessary.

Worker fatally injured at work when bulldozer lands in wastewater

Operators of heavy mechanical equipment in Colorado and other states are typically exposed to severe risks. Regardless of how many years of experience a worker has, situations can arise that may be life-threatening. A 57-year-old operator of heavy construction equipment at a refinery in another state recently lost his life after he was fatally injured at work. His family said he never discussed the dangers of his work because he wanted to spare them the anxiety.

It was reported that the accident happened at a Total refinery shortly after midnight on a recent Sunday morning. Authorities say the worker was operating a bulldozer, pushing coke residue into a pit near a levee. For reasons not yet determined, the heavy machine tipped over and landed in a scalding hot wastewater pool.

Injured workers: Silica dangers at Colorado fracking sites

Colorado workers at fracking sites are exposed to a disease that dates back to ancient times and one that remains a severe threat. The danger is in the silica particles -- often too small for the eye to see -- that are contained in the sand that is used in the fracking process. After a 2012 study, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) alerted the industry of the potential danger which can cause lung cancer in injured workers.

Airborne dust containing minute crystalline particles of silica are inhaled by workers. The particles slice into the insides of the lungs and build up over time. This can ultimately cause lung cancer, but symptoms may only present years after exposure. For this reason, statistics of worker claims related to silicosis are not available yet, and it is unknown how many workers are unknowingly already affected.

Injured workers: Conveyor belt rips off woman's hair and scalp

Safeguarding workers from the dangerous moving parts of equipment and installing devices to prevent unexpected activation during cleaning and maintenance of machines are two of the safety violations that are often committed by industrial employers nationwide, including in Colorado. There are frequent media reports about injured workers losing fingers or limbs in workplace accidents that were caused by such violations. In addition, clothing and even hair can be caught in unprotected machine parts -- often with devastating consequences.

In July, a worker in another state suffered a horrific on-the-job accident. While working in a recycling plant, her ponytail got caught in a moving conveyor belt. She describes how painful it was and says that she still doesn't know from where she got the strength to prevent going into the massive rollers of the machine. She managed to pull free but lost 70 percent of her scalp in the process.

Colorado man dies after being injured at work in crane rollover

When construction projects are to be carried out on rough terrain, it is the responsibility of the employer to assess and evaluate the area to identify risks and address potential hazards. Workers must be made aware of dangerous areas, such as the presence of ditches, in areas where crane operators have to work. Furthermore, employers must provide safety gear. Disregard of safety regulations can result in employees being injured at work or, worse, dying because of a workplace accident.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently completed an investigation into a fatal May workplace accident in another state. Investigators determined that safety violations by the company caused the death of a worker from Colorado. It was reported that the man died within 10 days of starting the job on the construction site. He was the operator of a rough-terrain crane that weighed 90 tons.

OSHA issues fines for companies violating workers' rights

Companies nationwide, including those in Colorado, are allowed to hire workers from foreign countries on a temporary basis. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently issued two affiliated companies in another state and its owner with penalties of $1,792,000. This followed a conclusion that foreign workers were exploited and exposed to life-threatening asbestos hazards while their workers' rights were being violated. OSHA also put one of the two companies in its program for severe violators.

According to OSHA inspectors, employees were not informed of the health risks involved in the renovation of an old school. It was determined that the company owner and supervisors were fully aware of the dangers posed by asbestos. Nevertheless, the workers -- mostly Spanish speaking individuals -- were not warned. Employees were not provided with training in appropriate methods to work with asbestos, nor were they issued respirators to protect them.

Driver receives medical treatment after chemical burn

When chemical spills take place at workplaces in Colorado and other states, the consequences can be devastating. Because such a spill is typically unanticipated, workers or bystanders are not prepared for the hazard, nor are they likely to be wearing protective clothing. While some chemicals can be life threatening, the consequences of some such accidental chemical spills require no more than minor medical treatment.

A chemical spill that caused no fatalities occurred at a warehouse in another state on a recent Wednesday. A spokesperson for the fire department said the incident occurred while a truck driver was delivering chlorine to the warehouse. For unknown reasons, the chlorine apparently came into contact with an unnamed acid, causing a dangerous chemical reaction.

Insurance adjusters may not reveal all your workers' rights

If you have suffered a workplace injury, you may need to pursue a claim for Colorado workers' compensation benefits. The complexities of the laws, rules, hearings and court rulings involved may seem overwhelming. The experienced attorneys at the Eley Law Firm in Denver focus on protecting workers' rights. While navigating such a claim, it is not always true that your employer or any insurance adjusters are on your side.

By consulting with one of our experienced workers' compensation attorneys prior to making decisions or agreeing to any findings made by the insurance adjuster, you may avoid jeopardizing your claim. You have a number of rights, including the right to choose a treating physician. Once a doctor is selected, however, both parties must agree before the physician may be changed. If you are ordered by the insurance company or your employer to go to a different physician, you may want to consult with your attorney before doing so.

Man injured at work after company refuses requested safety gear

A company in another state that repairs disaster-stricken buildings nationwide, including Colorado, was recently cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The citations were issued to both the employer of a worker who was injured at work and the staffing company that places employees with the company. OSHA determined that this workplace accident was entirely avoidable.

Investigators recorded that a temporary worker suffered severe contusions and fractured arms when he fell through a 12-foot high roof. It was reported that the worker requested a safety harness to protect him in the event of a fall accident. Although this would have prevented the worker's injuries, the request was refused. According to OSHA, the company issued all workers with the necessary safety equipment on the day following the accident, showing that it was well aware of the safety regulations.

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