Eley Law Firm

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Injured Workers

Denver Workers' Compensation Blog

Construction worker injured at work when he fell into trench

Whenever excavations take place on construction sites in Colorado or elsewhere, all workers are at risk. It is the responsibility of construction company owners to ensure all safety precautions are in place to prevent circumstances that can lead to workers being injured at work. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration prescribes strict safety regulations related to trench safety.

It is not clear whether adequate precautions were in place at a construction site in another state where a worker recently fell into an excavated trench. Reportedly, rescue crews rushed to the scene shortly before noon. They say that although they could hear the worker and talk to him, they were unable to get to him.

Injured workers: Harness can arrest fall but poses other risks

Colorado employers must provide fall protection to all workers that work higher than six feet above a lower level. However, while harnesses and securely hooked lanyards can arrest workers' falls, there are other dangers to contemplate. If employees slip and fall from significant heights, their fall protection will keep the injured workers suspended in the air. It is what happens to the body of the person dangling at the end of the lanyard that can lead to his or her death.

According to medical experts, suspension trauma occurs when a fall victim in a full-body harness is suspended for more than a few minutes. This is also called orthostatic intolerance and can cause weakness, dizziness, fainting and sweating. The immobility and pressure of the leg straps of the harness can cause the accumulation of blood in the veins. Suspension trauma can start affecting a fall victim within minutes -- especially if the person loses consciousness while suspended.

Permanent disability: Welding can cause Parkinson's disease

Workers in Colorado are likely aware of the fact that they can claim insurance benefits after suffering work-related injuries. However, not all employees know that workplace illnesses can cause permanent disability, which also entitles them to workers' compensation benefits. The medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology recently published the findings of a study about Parkinson's disease in welders.

Parkinson's disease includes a variety of symptoms such as stiffness and slow movement. After studying 866 employees exposed to welding fumes in manufacturing plants of heavy machinery, the results indicated a high rate of manganese exposure. Researchers found that such exposure causes a group of disorders associated with particular movement problems.

Injured workers may seek guidance with filing benefits claims

Although Colorado workers likely know that they can pursue recovery of medical expenses after suffering work-related injuries, they may be concerned about the time it will take before they receive benefits. To limit any lost wages, injured workers will likely want to get back to work as soon as possible, but if they are temporarily disabled, wage replacement may be sought. By following the right steps, the benefits may be received without long delays.

The first step after suffering a workplace injury is to seek medical attention without concern about the cost. To ensure prompt attention to the claim, the injury must be reported to the employer or supervisor immediately -- preferably in writing with a copy kept for evidence. The worker will then receive a claim form to fill out. It is also advisable to keep a copy of the completed form before handing it back to the employer.

Ramp agents and repetitive lifting injuries

Anyone who has packed a suitcase knows that it can be surprisingly heavy. Even with extra charges for heavy luggage these days, travelers tend to pack in abundance. Carrying one or two of those through an airport is enough work, but for ramp agents, aka baggage handlers, it's an unending sea of suitcases. A centralized hub like DIA doesn't just move the luggage of those who walk in and out of the DIA gates, but any connecting flight that meets in the middle of the country.

DIA is a hub for Delta, Southwest, United, Frontier and more airlines who use our facilities to move cargo and passengers across the country and internationally. With millions of items flowing through the airport, baggage handlers face an endless stream of heavy lifting. Carts and conveyor belts ease the burden, but the system can only be automated to a point. Oddly shaped items and discerning human eyes are needed for luggage to make it to the right destination.

A bustling airport is a dangerous environment for ground crew

For those who find US highways to be chaotic and full of activity, imagine life on the ground crew at Denver International Airport (commonly referred to as DIA). Instead of cars and trucks zooming past, the runways have a mix of all manner of vehicles. Gigantic airplanes scorch past, demanding the most attention, but fuel trucks, cargo vehicles and maintenance carts all use the same pathways. There are rules in place for the different equipment but accidents still happen.

An airport ground crew is diverse: mechanics, engineers, technicians, baggage handlers and more share a work environment that's open, expansive and always in motion. DIA is a hub for Southwest Airlines, Frontier, United, Delta, American, Alaska and more.

The dangers of robots may lead to fatally injured workers

More and more industrial facilities in Colorado and elsewhere are adding robotic machines to their manufacturing processes. Considering that some employers do not comply with safety regulations related to the safeguarding of machines that have been in use for decades, employees may rightfully be concerned about their safety around the robots that pose even more hazards. Allowing energized robots to work side by side with human employees have already led to severely, and even fatally, injured workers.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently revealed the outcome of an investigation into the June death of a woman at an industrial plant in another state. Approximately 700 people are employed at the factory, which stamps parts for Kia and Hyundai vehicles. Investigators identified no less than 23 safety violations, and the agency issued citations to the company and two temporary staffing agencies.

Towing industry plus harsh winter weather equals injured workers

The harsh weather conditions in Colorado at this time of the year are threatening to the lives of all workers who have to do their jobs outside. Tow truck operators and their assistants are particularly busy in adverse weather. They are kept out in the cold by cars landing in ditches, dead batteries and burst tires caused by extreme pressure changes -- often leaving injured workers.

Employers must keep workers safe from known dangers, and make sure they understand the hazards and know how to protect themselves. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, exposure to extreme cold can lead to hypothermia, frostbite, trench foot and/or chilblains. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration says extreme weather exposure causes harm to thousands of workers every year, and in some cases, fatalities occur.

Scaffold accidents: 10,000 employees injured at work every year

Construction workers in Colorado and elsewhere put their lives on the line every time they climb onto a scaffold. Thousands of construction workers are injured at work every year due to the collapse of scaffold structures. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently reported the shocking details of a contactor in another state that continues to expose employees to life-threatening hazards -- despite being issued with citations for scaffolding hazards on 41 previous occasions.

Employees may find some level of comfort in OSHA's commitment to enforcing compliance with safety regulations. While this may save some workers from suffering severe injuries, the disregard of some business owners is a significant concern. OSHA records show that about 10,000 workers' injuries per year are scaffold-related, and approximately 9 percent of construction worker fatalities involve scaffolds.

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