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Denver Workers' Compensation Blog

Medical treatment is crucial at the first signs of heat illness

Summertime is ideal to get construction projects done in Colorado. However, it is the most dangerous time for construction workers whose employers fail to train them on the dangers of dehydration, sunburn, heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. It is also crucial for employees to recognize that heat exposure can cause death, and they need to know how to determine when a coworker needs medical treatment.

Workers need to acclimatize by gradual exposure to the sun at the start of the season and after being away from work. Frequent drinks of cool, electrolytic beverages or fresh water are essential, as are regular breaks in cool, shady areas. A high-fat lunch can exacerbate the load on the body to control the core temperature. A bigger breakfast is recommended along with a light lunch that includes fruits, salads and vegetables. Urine frequency and color can indicate dehydration as dark yellow urine produced only once or twice a day might be a sign of dehydration.

Teens in summer jobs must learn their workers' rights

Every summer, many Colorado teens get their first tastes of what it is like to have a job. Teen workers typically want to impress their employers, and they would execute any order to the best of their ability. First-time employees who do not have comprehensive knowledge of their workers' rights yet might compromise their own safety, and authorities report that the injury rate of workers under the age of 24 is almost double that of older workers.

Teen workers must know that they are entitled to receive adequate training for the jobs they have to do, and they are allowed to refuse tasks that seem unsafe. However, reluctance to speak up is natural, and it might be to their own detriment. Although they might not want parental interference at that age, it might help if parents underscore the importance of self-preservation.

Scientists want more protections for local miners

At a recent panel, scientists debated with mine operators about the current regulations against coal dust and black lung disease. Scientists argued operators “should go above and beyond” the standard protections for miners and use new tools for monitoring safety conditions.

The debate follows a recent report from the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), an organization of researchers that advises the government. The report stated a sharp increase in black lung disease in 2000 and suggested the current approach for miners is no longer enough.

Workers' rights and the safety of temporary employees

Questions are often asked about the responsibility of primary employers such as staffing agencies and host employers for the safety of temporary workers in Colorado. Employees and even employers may be unsure about this, but the answer is that these workers' rights to protection are the same as the rights of full-time workers. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, it is the joint responsibility of primary and host employers.

The primary employer, which is the staffing agency, must be in constant communication with the host company, although the primary employer must determine the presence of any hazards at the host company. It is their responsibility to make sure they send workers to safe environments, and also to inform employees of any potential risks or dangers involved in the assignment. Workers then have the right to refuse that job and seek reassignment from the primary employer.

How to improve symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome

When your hands are your livelihood, discomfort in your hands is a frightening prospect. Feelings of numbness or tingling in your fingers could be symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. Before you start to panic, know there are techniques that may improve the symptoms of carpal tunnel.

Carpal tunnel occurs when there is pressure on the median nerve. The median nerve passes through a narrow tunnel in your wrist, known as the carpal tunnel. The tunnel is made of ligament and bone, and if swelling occurs, it causes the tunnel to narrow and can pinch the median nerve. This nerve controls feeling in all your fingers except your pinky finger, so pinching the nerve is what causes the numbness and tingling.

Tesla threatening to withhold severance from whistleblowers

Safety in the workplace needs to be a foremost concern for large companies. This is especially true for companies in the manufacturing industry. Heavy machinery, conveyor belts, hydraulic arms and other pieces of equipment can lead to very serious injury when employees are not properly trained to use and work around them.

Vehicle manufacturer Tesla, Inc. has been under scrutiny recently for multiple worker safety concerns. The company was initially accused of under-representing workers’ injuries and not adhering to safety standards, and now they appear to be threatening to cut employees’ severance benefits should they raise safety concerns or whistleblow after termination.

Injured at work due to violations of forklift safety rules?

Forklifts often bring out the boys in men. However, regardless of the temptation to have some fun, these machines must be seen for what they are -- dangerous. Workers who are injured at work are typically entitled to workers' compensation benefits. However, if injuries occurred during horseplay on a forklift, claims might be denied. Colorado employers are responsible for the safety of employees, and one way to avoid forklift injuries is to enforce safety regulations.

Only those who are adequately trained, certified and authorized must operate lift trucks. The operator must always wear the seat belt to avoid being ejected if the machine flips over. When driving a loaded forklift up an incline, the vehicle must travel forward with the load in front. When bringing a load down the slope, the forklift must be reversed down with the weight of the cargo facing the incline. Workers on the ground must never walk underneath the forks of the truck, nor must the forks be used to elevate other workers to higher levels.

How many teens will be injured at work in summer jobs this year?

Colorado teens who take on summer jobs are often entering the workforce for the first time. It is an exciting time, their first steps to becoming financially independent from their parents. The last thing on their minds would likely be the possibility of being injured at work. However, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration notes that a significant number of work-related accidents involve new workers under the age of 25.

Records of workers' compensation claims that were filed by young Colorado workers show certain types of injuries that are more prevalent than others. These include strains, sprains, punctures, lacerations and contusions. However, some more serious injuries and even fatalities occur every year. Safety authorities urge supervisors and senior workers to use this time to instill sound safety practices into new workers to set standards for the future.

ACL injuries can be painful and disabling

We hear about professional athletes suffering knee injuries all the time. These can occur when undue stress is placed on the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) which connects the upper and lower parts of the leg. When the knee is twisted or bends too much, the ligament can stretch or partially tear. In severe cases, the ligament can be torn entirely. Some athletes recover from these injuries, while for others, an ACL injury marks the end of their careers.

But ACL injuries can happen to working people as well as athletes. In particular, workers doing manual labor, such as construction workers, furniture movers, and warehouse workers, are particularly vulnerable to ACL injuries.

The construction industry can be a dangerous one for its workers

Earlier this year, two construction workers were killed and five others injured at a Denver construction site when a fire broke out. Many of the workers were treated for broken bones, which they received from either jumping from the second and third floors, or by trying to catch the workers that were jumping.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), 21 percent of all workplace fatalities in 2016 were in the construction industry. And while falls are the number one cause of injury and death, other construction site hazards include unstable scaffolding and ladders, lack of protective equipment, and unsafe electrical wiring.

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