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Colorado Workers' Compensation Law Blog

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.

Amid the Denver construction boom, concern about worker safety

From high-value office buildings to residential construction to the FasTracks light rail project, all types of construction are booming in Denver.

Overall, construction is up 50 percent from last year. The growth has led to a labor shortage, with Colorado's unemployment rate in the construction industry the second lowest in the nation.

But construction work remains dangerous work, both in Colorado and across the country.

A vivid reminder of the danger of fatal construction accident came last week in the annual memorial service in New York City for construction workers killed on the job. In this post, we will take note of that memorial, as well as recent efforts by safety regulators in the Denver area to protect the safety of construction workers.

Workers Memorial Day underscores denial of workers' rights

During commemorations of Workers Memorial Day, the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations expressed its concern over the rising number of workplace fatalities nationwide, including in Colorado. The organization continues to fight for workers' rights to make a living and provide support for their families without having to risk their lives. The president of the organization said big corporations profit from the labor of workers who are offered little or no safety protection.

It was noted that the over 4,820 workers who lost their lives in on-the-job accidents in 2014 are only part of the shocking statistics. It is estimated that occupational diseases claimed the lives of between and 50,000 and 60,000 additional workers. Overall, this equates to the deaths of 150 workers every day -- mostly from preventable causes that could have been avoided by complying with safety regulations.

Some hospitals disregard workers' rights to safe workplaces

Employees of hospitals in Colorado are exposed to multiple health hazards. Chemical substances that are handled by health workers can be life threatening. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently issued citations after an investigation was launched to determine compliance with safety regulations at a hospital in another state. Workers' rights include protection from safety hazards, and hospitals are being closely monitored to limit instances of health workers being injured at work due to safety violations.

OSHA investigators found that workers were exposed to methylene chloride without the knowledge that it is a cancer-causing substance. Employers must provide safety training that will equip workers with the knowledge needed to identify hazardous chemicals and also ensure they know what to do in cases of contamination. Inspectors determined that exposed workers were not monitored.

Company cited for violating workers' rights to safe work places

Owners of tank cleaning companies nationwide, including those in Colorado, have to comply with safety regulations pertaining to the particular hazards of that industry. Failure to do so is a violation of workers' rights to safe workplace environments that are free of known hazards. Following the completion of a recent investigation in another state, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration proposed $226,000 in penalties for a company's continued failure to protect its workers.

The inspection followed the death of one worker and the need for two others to be hospitalized last October. OSHA said the employer sent workers into the confined space of the tank without testing the potentially toxic air inside. Workers were not provided with respiratory protection, nor were their safety harnesses attached to rescue lines.

Baggage handling at DIA: What factors contribute to work injuries?

You probably know very well how astoundingly busy Denver International Airport (DIA) is. To quantify it, more than 54 million passengers streamed in and out last year. Plenty of cargo came through as well.

All types of airline industry workers struggle to keep up with this volume. For baggage handlers, however, it's particularly challenging because so much lifting and bending often causes injuries.

In this post, we will take note of some of the common hazards for baggage handlers and discuss the role of workers' compensation when injuries occur.

Family of worker killed at glass factory can claim death benefits

Losing a loved one in a workplace accident is naturally a devastating experience for any Colorado family. Along with the emotional loss, the sudden lack of income can leave a family struggling. Fortunately, death benefits offered through the workers' compensation insurance fund may relieve the financial burden. A man in another state recently lost his life after a workplace accident at the premises of a glassware manufacturer.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the incident in which the collapse of a brick ceiling caused the worker's death. The 52-year-old man was reportedly a masonry worker who was part of a crew rebuilding a tank for glass manufacturing. Two other workers who were also in the tank at the time reportedly escaped injury, but the fatal victim was buried under a load of bricks. Fire fighters tried to rescue him, but he died before they could extricate him.

Death benefits may be available to family of woman in freezer

Colorado workers in the hospitality industry may be exposed to the dangers posed by walk-in freezers in the kitchens of hotels and restaurants. Sadly, when a person is trapped inside a freezer, he or she may not be discovered before it is too late. Investigators are looking into such an incident that recently claimed the life of a worker in another state that could result in the award of death benefits to her survivors.

Although the cause of the death of the 61-year-old woman will be determined during an autopsy, the reason for her failure to open the freezers door from the inside is being investigated. It was reported that she entered the freezer on a recent evening and never exited. Her body was discovered approximately 13 hours later on the morning of the next day.

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