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Colorado Workers' Compensation Law Blog

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.

Violence causes social services workers to be injured at work

Employees who work in the social services sector in Colorado and other states are sometimes exposed to the violent behavior of the individuals they are trying to help. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently cited an organization in another state for failure to protect its workers against violence. Every worker has the right to a safe working environment, and known hazards must be addressed to avoid employees from being injured at work.

According to OSHA, the organization provides therapeutic treatment that includes counseling and education in programs that are developed to assist adolescents. Unfortunately, some of the individuals assisted tend to be violent, and workers are exposed to physical assault hazards. Injuries that have been reported include stab wounds, contusions, abrasions and even bite wounds.

OSHA cites plant for disregarding workers' rights after 4 deaths

Companies nationwide, including in Colorado, that are put on the Occupational Health and Safety Administration's severe violators enforcement program will be subjected to follow-up inspections to determine compliance with safety regulations. OSHA recently added DuPont -- the chemical company giant that touts its safety program as world class -- to its list of severe violators. This follows the death of four workers at a DuPont plant in another state where a massive gas leak occurred last November. By its action, OSHA has made it clear that such disregard of workers' rights is inexcusable.

The plant at issue employs over 300 workers. It was found to have a defective ventilation system that allowed exposure to flammable and highly toxic chemicals that are used in the manufacture of insecticides. Reportedly, the flawed design of the ventilation system allowed liquid to build up from condensation. OSHA indicated that workers were then expected to drain the system while being exposed to dangerous chemicals.

5 men required medical treatment for lighting strike at job site

Colorado construction workers understand that they face numerous hazards while at a job site. Most employers implement accepted safety measures, and most employees use the proper safety equipment, in order to reduce or eliminate predictable dangers. Sometimes, however, workers end up needing medical treatment for dangers that are not quite as predictable -- like being struck by lightning.

A new apartment building is under construction on the northeast side of Colorado's second largest city. During a recent storm, a portion of the building being worked on by five men was struck by lightning sometime before 1:35 p.m., which is the approximate time that emergency personnel were called to the scene. Upon arrival, they discovered that all five of the men suffered injuries, but only three of them were transported to the hospital. The other two chose not to be transported.

2 require medical treatment after explosion at ethanol plant

It is not uncommon for Colorado workers to be around and work with volatile substances while on the job. In order to do so safely, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has enacted certain regulations that companies must follow. However, whether those regulations are followed or not, the possibility workers requiring medical treatment due to working with hazardous substances is always a concern.

For example, authorities are still investigating an explosion that recently occurred at an ethanol plant in another state. The circumstances surrounding the explosion could call into question whether the company had the proper safety measures in place in order to prevent such an event. The damage done to the building may slow down the investigation into the cause of the explosion.

Musculoskeletal injuries can cause permanent disability

Numerous Colorado workers suffer musculoskeletal injuries each year. Many of them are able to manage those injuries, but others are left with a permanent disability. This may affect not only the work they are able to do, but their personal lives as well.

For example, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration says that musculoskeletal injuries are pervasive in the meat and poultry processing industries. In fact, OSHA recently concluded an investigation of a chicken processing plant in another state in which an unknown number of its approximately 960 employees suffer from these types of injuries. The specific injuries include trigger thumb, carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis and shoulder pain.

OSHA says health care industry still has too many injured workers

Every industry has its share of on-the-job injuries, in Colorado and across the country. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the health care industry still has a disproportionately high amount of injured workers. The percentage of workers injured in health care is even higher than in construction and the oil and gas field. For this reason, OSHA's National Emphasis Program on Nursing and Residential Care Facilities is being extended.

All 10 regional offices have been tasked with conducting audits and investigations regarding the medical facilities in their areas to identify safety issues. If any deficiencies or violations are found, fines may be imposed as well. As many Colorado health care workers already know, the most prevalent hazards they face are from lifting/moving patients, slips and falls and exposure to hazardous materials and blood borne pathogens.

A spinal cord injury can lead to a permanent disability

Numerous workers in Colorado suffer spinal cord injuries each year. Just hearing those words can illicit fear for both the victim and the victim's family. This type of injury can cause permanent disability, which in turn completely alters the victim's life.

Most spinal cord injuries involve compression and fracturing of the vertebrae, but the spinal cord remains intact. The signals from the brain through the spinal cord can be interrupted. In an incomplete spinal cord injury, the signals are not lost, so at least some sensory and motor function exists. If the spinal cord injury is considered to be complete, no sensory or motor function remains.

Injured workers: Vehicle knocks down gas station worker

Workplace accidents often happen where and when it is least expected. While many employers and workers comply with safety regulations, every workplace has the potential for accidents that result in injured workers. Fortunately, most Colorado workers are covered by workers' compensation that provides benefits to cover medical expenses, regardless of who was at fault.

In an accident in another state, a gas station worker recently suffered serious injuries when he was struck by a vehicle. Police reports say the worker was busy measuring the fuel level in an underground storage tank. In order to do this, he had to lie down on the ground in front of a parked commercial van.

Window washer could suffer permanent disability after fall

Like other people around the country, Colorado residents see people hanging from tall buildings to clean the windows, and they are thankful they do not have to do that job. Window washers are some of the only workers who spend nearly all of their time above ground as they work. Understandably, the most prevalent hazard these individuals face is falling. If a worker does fall and survives, there is possibility that he or she could suffer a permanent disability.

An out-of-state window washer is facing the possibility of being permanently disabled right now. On Nov. 21, 2014, he was relocating an extension cord from a suspended scaffold around the corner of the building. In order to reach it from his position on the roof, he disconnected himself from his safety harness at an anchor point. He somehow lost his balance and fell 11 stories.

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