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Colorado Workers' Compensation Law Blog

DuPont cited by OSHA after 4 employees fatally injured at work

Several industries around the country and in Colorado routinely use chemicals that are considered dangerous if the proper safety procedures for their use and storage are not followed. One such chemical is a colorless gas called methyl mercaptan, which, at high levels, will attack the central nervous system and cause death by paralyzing the respiratory system. An incident involving this pesticide ingredient led to four men being fatally injured at work.

The employees worked for DuPont, which uses the methyl mercaptan gas in the manufacturing of a pesticide called Lannate. On Nov. 15, 2014, a worker was in a tower without protective equipment and opened a drain vent line and was unexpectedly overwhelmed by the gas. She managed to radio for help, and two other workers came to her aid, but they, too, failed to put on the proper protective gear and were also overcome.

Are you looking for answers about work-related back injuries?

It might have started out like any other workday, with you working on the assembly line, answering phone calls or loading a truck. However, the next thing you knew, you felt a sharp pain in your back as you were packing crates, bending over to retrieve a file or pushing a heavy box.

When you went home that night the pain not only persisted, but got worse. So much so, that you've spent weeks trying to endure the pain while working, hoping that that it will go away, but it just hasn't.

Workers infected by MRSA may receive workman's comp

Working in medical facilities and other health care related industries comes with its own set of hazards. One of them is the possibility of contracting a virulent strain of staph bacteria (staphylococcus aureus) called MRSA (methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus). This bacteria is transmitted from touching the skin of an infected person; it is highly contagious and is resistant to a number of antibiotics. Colorado workers who become infected by MRSA may be able to receive workman's comp benefits to help with medical costs and any wages lost if they are unable to work.

Of course, it would be preferable never to contract MRSA in the first place. Colorado employers need to put the safety and health of their workers first. This means taking steps such as keeping the workplace clean and providing employees with the supplies and facilities needed in order to practice good hygiene, which can help prevent the spread of the bacteria. In order to ensure the best possible bacteria-free workplace, employers should purchase EPA approved disinfectants, which need to be available and used on all surfaces and equipment.

Medical helicopter fleet grounded, nurse fatally injured at work

Every day, the personnel who work for emergency medical helicopter services around the country put their lives on the line to save others. From time to time, they are the ones in need of medical treatment. Recently, a nurse, who is a former Colorado resident, was fatally injured at work during the rescue of an injured hiker in another state.

Details regarding the accident that took her life are sketchy at this point, but what is known is that she fell from the helicopter's hoist from an unknown height. The hoist is attached to the helicopter and is used to lower a carrier down to the patient. Ordinarily, a member of the crew will go with the carrier and uses a harness system to prevent him or her from falling.

OSHA investigates after people are fatally injured at work

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration establishes certain safety standards for nearly every industry around the country and here in Colorado. When people are fatally injured at work, the agency steps in and conducts an investigation to determine whether employers are adhering to OSHA's standards. The agency issues citations and assesses fines when violations are found

OSHA recently completed an investigation in another state after two men fell to their deaths while painting a 123-foot water tower. A hoist on the scaffolding failed, a nylon suspension rope gave way and the men fell with the scaffolding. It was discovered that the company that employed the men failed to provide them with the proper safety equipment.

Colorado emergency responders can be injured at work, too

For most Colorado residents, emergency responders are the saviors who appear on the scene of dangerous situations. Most people outside of these professions have no trouble understanding that being injured at work is a real possibility for these brave men and women. However, not many people would automatically think of them being involved in a traffic accident while on duty.

A fire truck responding to the scene of an accident in which a vehicle hydroplaned and crashed into another car became embroiled in a serious accident. The truck flipped over during the incident, trapping five fire fighters inside. After they were extricated, they were taken to a local hospital in their home state for treatment.

Discover more about the causes, consequences of back injuries

In keeping with our firm's commitment to helping you better understand workers' compensation and work-related trauma, we recently published an informative Slideshare presentation examining a very common -- and often debilitating -- type of workplace injury.

OSHA says company not prepared to handle injured workers

Colorado road construction crews often find themselves in remote areas where access to emergency medical services may be limited. Moreover, cell phone coverage could also be nonexistent. This could mean that injured workers must rely on their co-workers for help when an accident occurs.

The family of a man who died as a result of an on-the-job injury may never know whether his life could have been saved if his co-workers had been trained in first aid and had a way to call emergency responders immediately. The victim was part of a construction crew repairing a road damaged by flooding in 2013. Somehow, a truck at the site backed over him.

Do you get to choose a doctor after being injured at work?

Each year, thousands of workers in Colorado suffer a variety of on-the-job injuries. Workers' compensation benefits are ordinarily available for those workers to cover medical and medical-related expenses, a portion of lost wages and other needs, depending on the nature of the injuries. One of the first priorities after being injured at work is to find a doctor.

Under Colorado law, you are entitled to choose between two doctors -- the names of whom are to be provided by your employer. If your employer does not provide you with such a list, you may choose any doctor you wish. It is important to note, however, that the insurer might not approve of the doctor you choose. This is just one of the reasons why it is beneficial to have an attorney represent your interests and protect your rights when it comes to dealing with workers' compensation issues.

A woman without proper safety equipment could be injured at work

Women around the country -- including many here in Colorado -- have entered industries traditionally staffed by men. One of those industries is construction. The equipment and clothing provided to them needs to be properly fitted in order to prevent them from being injured at work.

Personal protective clothing (PPC) and personal protective equipment (PPE) that does not fit a woman's body properly increases her risk of injury. Obviously, a woman's body measurements are different from a man's measurements. The makers of equipment and clothing designed to protect construction workers from on-the-job hazards have addressed this concern.

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