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Harrisburg Workers' Compensation Law Blog

When can you seek workers' comp for a mental injury?

Most everyone's job at least occasionally makes them sad, angry or frustrated. However, what if your job has caused you to suffer from depression or aggravated your already-diagnosed depression or mental condition?

Proving that your job has caused you to suffer a mental injury such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or anxiety is often more challenging than proving a physical injury. However, people can and do receive workers' compensation benefits for mental issues.

What types of injuries are most common among restaurant workers?

A study previously published by the National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI) captured how at least 3 million workers across the United States are hurt in slip-and-fall incidents every year. Slip-and-fall incidents are just one of several types of accidents that restaurant owners have to train their workers to avoid.

Burns and lacerations are two other leading causes of restaurant worker injuries. When grouped, they account for 33% of the workers' compensation claims filed by employees in this industry.

Can you appeal a workers’ compensation denial?

If you suffer a workplace injury or illness, you may find that you're unable to immediately return to work. Depending on the circumstances, this may lead you to learn more about the workers' compensation system.

Filing a workers' compensation claim sounds easy enough, but it could result in a denial for a number of reasons, such as if your employer argues you weren't injured at work. If this happens, you only have two options:

  • Give up and forgo the benefits you deserve
  • File an appeal

Employers can lessen seasonal workers' risk of injury

With the winter holidays less than three months away, many companies are starting the process of hiring seasonal workers. Delivery companies like UPS and FedEx need extra drivers to deliver packages. So does Amazon, which often uses its own drivers behind the wheel of Amazon Prime vans. Large retailers like Target and Walmart also need seasonal workers in their warehouses and stores.

Many of these jobs involve lifting, bending carrying, packing and other repetitive motions which can lead to musculoskeletal injuries. Seasonal workers are often especially prone to suffer these injuries because they don't do the job year-round. They also may not get sufficient training to bend and move properly to minimize the risk of injuries.

Common risks of truck driver injuries

If you drive a truck, you probably understand the safety risks that drivers face. From the outside, truck driving can seem to be a safe job where you sit in a cab all day. But as a truck driver, you are at risk of several workplace injuries.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) tracks common trucking injuries and their sources. Here are some common risks of trucking according to OSHA:

How to avoid electrocution in the workplace

If you work around electricity, there are various steps you can take to protect yourself against electrocution. Without these, you could make a mistake that results in serious injury or even death.

Here are five tips you can follow to avoid electrocution in the workplace:

  • Turn off the power: For example, you can shut off the power to a circuit or device at the breaker box. Even though it can be a hassle, it's better to be safe than sorry.
  • Test for power: It's easy to believe there's no power if you turn it off at the circuit breaker, but this isn't always the case. Use a non-contact voltage tester to check the circuit and all electrical contacts around it.
  • Only use insulated tools: You hope that turning off the circuit is good enough, but you might as well take another step in protecting yourself. Insulated tools protect you against electrocution, such as in the event that you slip and touch a live wire.
  • Don't disconnect or connect under load: When a device is plugged in, it's under load. You should never attempt to disconnect or connect any device when there's a flow of electricity. Instead, turn off the circuit, connect or disconnect and then test to ensure it's working properly.
  • Use GFCIs when applicable: As a general rule of thumb, it's best to always plug into a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlet. These are designed to detect electrical faults and shut off power to prevent shock. Note: GFCIs are particularly important when working in close proximity to water.

Unions fight for health and safety protections for public workers

Pennsylvania union workers and their representatives lobbied the General Assembly last month to pass both Senate Bill 464 and House Bill 1082. They did so in the hope of motivating state lawmakers to extend the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) protections to its over 577,000 public workers. Right now, only private-sector employees are afforded such protections.

A representative with the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) who had lobbied Pennsylvania lawmakers to pass these bills was asked what motivated him to do so. He noted that far too many public sector workers never make it home safely to their loved ones because OSHA protections don't cover them. He says that this doesn't have to be the case.

Tree trimming and removal: Follow these safety tips

It doesn't matter if you work in the landscaping industry or are trimming a tree as part of another job, it's critical to follow a variety of safety tips.

Tree trimming and removal doesn't sound like the most complicated task, especially if you have experience, but one false move can result in serious injury or even death.

Do you know how to work safely in high winds?

Working outdoors in windy conditions is extremely dangerous, especially if you don't take steps to protect against trouble.

If you find yourself working in high winds, here are five things you should consider doing:

  • Postpone your work: If you're concerned about your safety, it's best to take cover indoors and wait for the wind to die down. Risking your health and well-being is never a good idea.
  • Beware of blowing debris: When the wind picks up, it's possible for debris to fly around the worksite. Wearing goggles, for example, can protect your eyes.
  • Don't work at height: For instance, working on a roof in windy conditions increases the likelihood of falling to the ground.
  • Don't conduct lifting operations: This is the same as working at height, as the higher you are off the ground the more likely the chance of an accident.
  • Use trucks and equipment as a barrier: Maybe you can park a large work truck in between you and the direction the wind is coming from. This won't stop the wind altogether, but it provides some protection from the elements.

What's the human cost of Amazon's quick delivery?

Millions of people who rely on Amazon for everything from household goods and clothes to food and electronics have come to expect most of their purchases will arrive within a day or two -- particularly Amazon Prime members. However, what is the human toll of this race to deliver packages quickly?

Most people have seen or heard reports about poor and even dangerous working conditions at Amazon fulfillment centers where workers rush to fill orders. Workers at one center, during a protest, held up a sign that said, "We are humans not robots!"

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Marzzacco Niven & Associates

Marzzacco Niven & Associates
1909 North Front Street, 2nd Floor, Suite 1
Harrisburg, PA 17102

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