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Harrisburg Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Watch for signs of occupational hearing loss

Hearing loss isn't necessarily an inevitable fact of aging -- but it is a common occupational hazard that affects many different kinds of workers. Factory employees, construction workers, police officers, firefighters and paramedics, for example, are among some of the diverse types of workers who can suffer job-related hearing loss.

According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), there are about 30 million workers in this country who are exposed to noise levels that are above 85 decibels on a regular basis -- which is enough to cause permanent damage to their hearing. To give you an idea of what that means, a normal conversation is usually about 60 decibels -- so it's not a huge difference!

A Bala Cynwyd tree worker is burned in a freak accident

A Bala Cynwyd tree worker was seriously injured when they were electrocuted and burned by electrical wires on the morning of April 11.

Calls first started flooding into Lower Merion Police dispatch shortly after 11 a.m. that fateful morning. When firefighters and paramedics arrived, they found that the tree worker had suffered severe burns when his body made contact with the high-voltage electrical lines. His ankles and elbows were the most seriously burned.

Did you suffer a concussion at work? Seek immediate treatment

Even if you don't work in a physically intensive industry, there's still a chance you could suffer an on-the-job injury. For example, if you're an office worker, a slip-and-fall accident could result in a concussion.

If you hit your head at work, stop what you're doing and ask a co-worker to assist you. In the most serious of situations, don't hesitate to call 911 for immediate help. Otherwise, ask someone to drive you to a local hospital.

How to help yourself avoid distraction while driving a car

Distracted driving is a social scourge that has received significant media attention in recent years. From major plot lines involving distracted driving crashes on popular network television shows to awareness campaigns and advertisement by police agencies and state governments, attempts at raising awareness have certainly succeeded.

Most people readily understand how dangerous distracted driving can be. However, they may not actually take adequate steps to prevent themselves from engaging in that dangerous practice. If you haven't sat down to think about avoiding different kinds of distractions while you drive, you could actually be driving distracted more often than you think.

How often are workers exposed to toxins at work?

A United Nations (UN) toxins specialist published a study late last year about the risk of toxic exposure that workers from all around the world face. He noted that a worker dies from hazardous work conditions every 15 seconds. Every 30 seconds, they die after coming in contact with toxins.

During the past two months, there have been various cases of toxic exposure that have gained the attention of news reporters throughout the United States.

What are some careers that put you at risk of lung disease?

An average adult takes 20,000 breaths each day. Certain pollutants including dirt, fibers, germs, chemicals, smoke and dust may cause some individuals' lungs to function differently others. Those who work in industries in which they're surrounded by these are at increased risk for developing Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), cancer, an infection, fibrosis or scarring.

Exposure to certain hazardous chemicals can affect your lungs' ability to function as intended. There are some steps that you can take if you work in a high-risk job to minimize your risk of lung problems though. Two of the most important steps that you can take are to wear protective clothing and to better ventilate the area that you're working in.

Feeling ill? Your workplace could be making you sick

The alarm clock rings in the morning. You turn it off but really feel like throwing it against the wall and hiding under the sheets. You really, really don't want to go to work today. You just don't feel well or feel like yourself, at least.

Have you ever considered that your workplace could be making you sick?

Truck drivers are prone to on-the-job injuries

The trucking industry has one of the highest workers' compensation claim rates. This is often a direct result of drivers spending a long time behind the wheel, partaking in physical activity, eating poorly and neglecting to exercise.

As a trucker, it's imperative to do whatever you can to avoid injury, as even a minor setback can keep you off the road for an extended period of time.

The top causes of bicycle-car accidents

As a bicyclist in Pennsylvania, there are many safety risks to keep in mind as you pedal down the road. Knowledge of these risks can help you avoid a serious accident with a motor vehicle that results in injury or even death.

Here are four of the top causes of bicycle-car accidents:

  • The door zone: Many bicyclists spend so much time paying attention to moving vehicles that they forget about those that are parked. Once a driver parks on the side of the road, they'll eventually exit their vehicle. If their door opens in your path, you could strike it head on at a high speed, referred to as a "dooring" accident. It's critical to take special care when driving next to parked vehicles.
  • Running a red light or stop sign: You expect every driver to obey the rules of the road, but this isn't reality. There will always be people who run red lights and stop signs for no reason. If this happens while you're traveling through an intersection, you could be part of a collision.
  • Right turn: If you're traveling in the same direction as motor vehicles, a driver making a right turn could cut in front of you. If there's not enough space to make the turn, the vehicle could clip your bicycle.
  • Motor vehicle in the bike lane: Even though it's against the law for a motor vehicle to drive in a bike lane, there are times when this happens. For example, a driver who is not paying attention to the road may drift into the bike lane, thus striking you or causing you to quickly move out of the way.

OSHA eliminates some required workplace injury, illness reporting

In January, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a new rule that lessens required workplace injury and illness reporting for many businesses. Under the Obama administration, OSHA began requiring businesses with at least 250 employees to electronically submit reports detailing each of these injuries and illnesses. The new rule removes that requirement.

The safety agency contends that it's making this change to protect sensitive information about workers from being disclosed. In a statement, OSHA said, "By preventing routine government collection of information that may be quite sensitive, including descriptions of workers' injuries and body parts affected, OSHA is avoiding the risk that such information might be publicly disclosed under the Freedom of Information Act." It also noted that this reporting change would "decrease [the] burden on employers."

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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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