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Denver Workers' Compensation Blog

Electrocuted man's family likely entitled to death benefits

When Colorado families lose loved ones in fatal workplace accidents, they typically have to deal with unanticipated financial hardship at a time when they might be overwhelmed by grief. Fortunately, in most cases, the workers' compensation insurance program offers death benefits to ease the stress related to the high costs of funerals and burials. Furthermore, survivors' benefits include wage replacement packages to make up for lost income.

After the deaths of two workers in El Paso County on a recent Thursday, their loved ones might find comfort in knowing that financial assistance is available. Reportedly, one of the deceased workers was a 25-year-old man, and the other one was 24 years old. The incident occurred in the vicinity of the Ray Nixon Power Plant while the men took soil samples.

The violence problem faced by health care workers

Health care workers face their share of workplace job hazards that may lead to injury, most notably overexertion along with slips and falls. But one area that sometimes gets overlooked is workplace violence, which has become a major issue.

On a regular basis, nurses, doctors and other health care workers are punched, kicked, beaten, bitten, strangled, stabbed, shot and physically assaulted.

Man injured at work suffers broken bones, tissue damage

Those who work around heavy equipment face many dangers if the machines malfunction or other problems occur. When mishaps happen, there may be a risk of suffering a serious injury based on the equipment involved. Those who are injured at work often sustain significant monetary damages along with their physical injuries. Colorado workers may need to turn to workers' compensation benefits at these difficult times.

Recently, two city workers in a nearby state were carrying out their duties for the parks and recreation department. The men were using a bobcat-type forklift at the time, though the exact nature of their duties were undisclosed. For reasons that are yet unclear, something went awry with the machinery, and one of the men became pinned under it.

The safe way to be an airport baggage handler

The Denver International Airport is considered the world's second-largest based on land area. With more than 52 square miles, it's even larger than Manhattan. And like Manhattan, the airport welcomes millions of visitors each year and also has an ice skating rink, but not quite as famous as the one at Rockefeller Center.

With crowds that sometimes reach close to 200,000 per day, Denver International Airport must do its utmost toward catering to travelers. This includes restaurant workers to serve them food; custodians to clean up after them; pilots, flight attendants and traffic controllers to guide them; and baggage handlers to ensure that their luggage makes it to the right destination.

Mental conditions can increase women's risks for work injuries

It's no surprise that personal stresses from home and family life and affect one's performance on the job. Now there is evidence that a person's mental state can increase the likelihood of a work injury. That's especially the case for women, as documented in a recent study published by the Colorado School of Public Health's Center for Health, Work and Environment.

The study found that anxiety, depression, fatigue and lack of sleep affect women's work injury rates significantly more than those same conditions affect men's work injury rates. Researchers analyzed more than 17,000 workers' compensation claims in different industries at Pinnacol Assurance. The numbers showed that nearly 60 percent of women who were injured on the job were suffering from a mental health condition, compared to 33 percent of injured male workers.

Injured workers: Complacency can have devastating consequences

Many longtime roof workers become complacent if they have been fortunate enough not to be involved in fall accidents. Scores of injured workers are reported in Colorado every year, many of whom suffered preventable falls. However, for falls to be preventable, workers must take steps to prevent them. The problem becomes exacerbated if these "lucky" workers are put in charge of showing newer, younger workers the ropes. Potentially deadly habits are passed on from one generation to the next, with the false sense of security it creates.

The correct way is to take precautions against known hazards but also be alert and prepared for the unexpected throughout every project. In other words, workers must not be complacent because the necessary guardrails are placed on the edges of the roof, and flags are in place to warn them when they get too near the edge. Other unexpected hazards can cause falls that can end in permanent disability or death.

Caught-in/between construction accidents and how to prevent them

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has identified four particularly dangerous types of construction accidents. Known as the "Fatal Four" or "Focus Four", these are:

  • Falls
  • Struck-by objects
  • Electrocution
  • Caught-in and caught-between accidents

This blog post will focus on "caught-in" and "caught-between" construction accidents. These accidents were responsible for the deaths of 275 construction workers from 2011 to 2015, the most recent year for which data is available. Other occupations at risk for such accidents include manufacturing, agriculture, waste collection and disposal, and mining.

Four Colorado employers on the Dirty Dozen List

Every year, the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health (National COSH) issues its "Dirty Dozen" list. This organization reviews the safety records of employers across the nation to identify those it considers to be the most hazardous for employees in terms of occupational deaths, injuries and illnesses.

The 2018 Dirty Dozen list includes four employers with operations in Colorado.

Auto maker Tesla accused of under-reporting injured workers

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration was established to ensure that workplaces are safe from hazardous conditions. Along with conducting regular inspections of Colorado companies, the agency is responsible for investigating reports of injured workers who suffer illnesses or injuries during the normal course of their duties. In the event an employer is found negligent, the federal agency issues citations and fines in order to correct the deficiencies.

Recently, a division of OSHA in another state purportedly opened an investigation into Tesla, the electric auto maker, over reports that the company has failed to fully disclose all reports of workplace accidents. Though the federal agency has not officially commented on the report, it acknowledged that it does not make statements concerning on-going investigations. An independent news organization purportedly conducted its own investigation into reports that Tesla has failed to ensure workers' safety.

Workers' compensation available when employee injured on job

One minute everything is going great, but then something happens. Perhaps the Colorado employee slips on a wet floor, trips on loose carpet or an object hits him or her. The end result is that the employee has been hurt. When this happens, workers' compensation insurance is usually available to take care of the employee.

The majority of employers are required to carry workers' compensation insurance. The purpose of such insurance is to cover the employee in case of a job-related injury or disability. Additionally, this insurance is available regardless of who is at fault for the injury, unless the employee purposefully caused the injury or was in violation of company policy or state or federal law.

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