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Denver Workers' Compensation Blog

Workers' compensation: Lead poses risk for gun range workers

Workers at gun ranges in Colorado and other states will know the risks posed by firearms, and they are probably aware of all the elements of firearm safety. However, many of those employees may not realize the dangers of the lead dust to which they are exposed every day. With every bullet that is fired, lead dust fills the air, causing harm to employees who might soon have to rely on workers' compensation benefits because of ill health due to lead exposure.

Authorities explain that a standard bullet comprises a copper cover, wrapped around a lead core, sitting on lead primer and gunpowder. The lead primer ignites when the gun is fired, and this lights the gunpowder, causing the lead core to get hot. Next, the bullet ejects through the gun's barrel with a trail of lead particles following it as it travels through the air. Inadequate ventilation in a shooting range allows these particles to be inhaled and accumulate on the workers' clothes.

VIDEO: You have rights after a work injury. Call the Eley Law Firm.

When a worker is injured on the job, workers' compensation benefits are designed to cover the cost of medical care, lost wages and any ongoing occupational or physical therapy needs. Those benefits are provided regardless of whether any party was negligent or at fault.

Yet a no-fault approach is no guarantee against disputes. Workers' compensation claims can be denied, in whole or in part, leaving an injured worker without the resources needed to make ends meet until he or she is able to return to work.

Get vital information into your medical record

Some types of work injuries are obvious. When a worker breaks an arm in a fall or suffers burns in an explosion, there is physical proof of the injury. But the effects of an injury that causes back pain, or a concussion, or a repetitive stress injury may not be so apparent. Because workers' compensation insurance companies wish to keep their claim costs low, they may try to limit benefits for these kinds of injuries, or deny some claims altogether.

However, when information concerning the pain and physical limitations you are suffering is in your medical record, the insurance company will find it much more difficult to limit your benefits or deny your claim. Your doctor is the key to getting this vital information into your medical record.

Deadlines in Colorado workers' compensation

Having just suffered an injury while working, you may be wondering what to do now. Be assured that you have the right to claim workers' compensation benefits. But to get those benefits, you have to be proactive. There are things you have to do and deadlines you have to meet.

To facilitate the efficient processing of claims, the Colorado workers' compensation system requires injured workers, employers, and insurers to meet certain deadlines. This blog post will discuss these deadlines from the worker's perspective and what a claimant should do if he or she misses a deadline.

Construction worker fatally injured at work after fall from roof

Working at heights will always be hazardous. Too many workers are fatally injured at work in fall accidents, and many victims wear no fall protection. One such a fatal workplace accident recently claimed the life of an employee of a Colorado Springs company. The company is one of the contractors working on the expansion of a sports center in another state.

Information about the tragedy is scarce, but police say they received an emergency call shortly before noon on a recent Monday. The caller said a worker had fallen off a roof. Paramedics arrived at the construction site to discover the worker had fallen from an estimated height of between 35 and 50 feet. The cause of the incident is unknown.

Airport baggage handling injuries in the ramp area

Airport workers can suffer injuries anywhere, but those working in the ramp area are particularly vulnerable. Workers loading and unloading baggage onto planes must often perform their duties in cramped spaces which force their bodies into awkward positions. At Denver International Airport, ramp area baggage handling operations in winter are frequently complicated by severe weather conditions. Accumulation of snow and ice can increase the potential for accidents during the baggage loading and unloading process. Workers in the ramp area also risk injury from vehicles and hearing loss from excessive noise.

In this blog post, we look at some of the injuries that ramp area baggage handlers can suffer, and some ways to minimize the likelihood of such injuries.

Injured at work: What if boss decides to pay medical expenses?

Some Colorado business owners may try to avoid filing workers' compensation claims for fear of having their insurance premiums increased. One of the ways this may be done is for the employer to pay for the medical expenses of an employee who was injured at work. While this practice may be illegal, it could lead to financial consequences never anticipated by the company owner.

One example is an on-duty worker who steps on a nail and has the small wound sterilized and dressed by a medical provider. The amount on the bill seems insignificant, and, instead of filing a workers' compensation claim, the employer decides to pay from his own pocket. What the boss failed to realize was that the worker was a diabetic who then developed complications, and the minor puncture wound ultimately leads to a foot or leg amputation.

A comorbid condition can complicate a workers' compensation claim

In recent years, the number of older workers has steadily increased. In April 2017, the percentage of people in the workforce aged 65 and older reached 19 percent - the highest it's been since 1962.

Along with the increase in the number of seniors in the workforce, workers' compensation risk managers are reporting an increase in the number of claims involving work injuries and comorbid conditions. What is a comorbid condition? It's a disease or disorder that exists simultaneously with a primary injury, disease, or disorder. Some examples of comorbid conditions are obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and mental health issues. A comorbid condition can exist independently or be related in some way to the primary injury, disease, or disorder.

Does Colorado workers' compensation cover work-related stress?

Stress is part of the lives of many people nationwide, including those in Colorado. However, if excessive stress follows workplace conditions, the expenses related to the treatment might be compensable by workers' compensation. These are not easy claims to navigate, but with the right help, benefits may be obtained.

Work related stress could be the result of exposure to hostility at work, abusive supervisors or more. Other factors that may cause work-related stress include discrimination, unwarranted criticism, promotion refusal and other instances of employee rights violations. Workers in construction or other hazardous industries may have traumatic experiences that may cause stress. This could even be the witnessing of a co-worker suffering a catastrophic injury, which can cause trauma to a person who may fear a similar incident occurring.

Injuries in airport baggage make-up rooms

In the second of our blog posts on airport baggage handling, we look at injuries that happen in the baggage make-up room.

Speed in baggage handling is a concern in every airport. But given the size of the facility, it's especially important at Denver International Airport. Thus, workers at Denver International Airport are under constant pressure to maintain speed and efficiency at all stages of the baggage handling process. This is especially so at baggage sorting stations at the gates during periods of high plane arrivals and departures.

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