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Harrisburg Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Two little-known facts about our Human Relations Act

Under a wide variety of circumstances, including if you’re injured or become sick as a result of your work conditions, Pennsylvanians have broad protections in federal, state and sometimes local laws against discrimination and being wrongfully fired.

The familiar federal act that protects disability rights for all Americans gets a lot of attention, but Pennsylvania has a separate and in certain ways comparable law. To help you remember the Pennsylvania law that might someday have your back when you need it most, here are two striking and memorable features of our Human Relations Act (PHRA).

Common causes of workplace ladder accidents

Using a ladder can make many jobs easier. However, it also increases the risk of a serious workplace accident.

There are many common causes of ladder accidents, including the following:

  • Use of a damaged ladder: If you neglect to inspect a ladder before use, some form of damage could result in an accident. For example, if a rung is loose or missing, it will greatly increase your risk of slipping and falling.
  • Putting a ladder in the wrong place: You must set your ladder on firm and level ground. Also, don't place a ladder in close proximity to vehicle or pedestrian traffic.
  • Carrying a heavy load: Using a ladder is difficult enough when you're not carrying anything. If you attempt to carry a heavy load, such as a toolbox or shingles, it increases the risk of being pulled off the ladder.
  • Choosing the wrong size ladder: There is more than one type of ladder, and you must choose the one that's the right size for what you're going to be doing. For example, using a portable ladder when you need an extension ladder can result in trouble.

Are you prepared in case a dog bites your child?

A 4-year-old girl from Susquehanna Township recently received 30 to 40 stitches after a dog attacked her causing severe bite wounds on her neck. According to a local news report, police have since filed charges to hold the dog’s owner responsible.

Unfortunately, children like this 4-year-old are especially vulnerable to dog bites. Children are more likely than adults are to be bitten by a dog, and the injuries sustained from a dog bite are usually more severe for children. Dog bites cause children more injuries than bicycles, skateboards and even playgrounds, and bites to the face, neck and head are especially common.

Danger of Amazon fulfillment centers may outweigh the paycheck

Workers in south central Pennsylvania may be familiar with Amazon fulfillment centers. The warehouses can be popular for their high minimum wage. But many say that the poor conditions of the fulfillment centers overshadow the value of the wages.

Amazon workers have started to speak up about the issues they see in their workplaces. Some of the claims employees have made include:

Do your driving habits help prevent collisions on your commute?

Taking a job that requires a long commute may be the best choice for your situation, but the extra time you spend on the road may increase your odds of being involved in a serious traffic collision. Fortunately, some driving habits can help minimize this risk.

You may be practicing some safe driving habits without even realizing it. However, you may also have some unsafe driving habits that could be risking your safety and the safety of others on the road.

Two common construction accidents often lead to brain injuries

As a construction worker, you are probably well aware that your job carries a higher risk of injury than may other jobs have. One of the most serious and potentially life-altering types of injury you could receive is a traumatic brain injury (TBI).

In general, most TBIs are caused when someone falls or is struck by or against an object. If proper precautions are not taken, a construction site can be ripe for these types of accidents.

'Gig' employment and workers' compensation

The "gig economy" is exploding. People who drive for Uber and Lyft, deliver for Grubhub and DoorDash and run errands and do household repairs for TaskRabbit and Handy are part of that workforce.

These workers fall into the category of independent contractors rather than employees. They have considerable freedom to choose when and how much they work. However, they also get few, if any, benefits -- including workers' compensation benefits to cover lost wages and medical expenses if they're injured on the job.

Common types of elevator accidents

If you work in a building with an elevator, there's a good chance you use it regularly. While this is the most efficient way to get from one floor to the next, it also puts you at risk of an accident.

There are many types of elevator accidents, with these among the most common:

  • Free falling: If an elevator malfunctions while in use, it could result in a quick fall to ground level. Not only can this cause physical injury, but it's also likely to leave emotional scars.
  • Jerking to a stop: You expect an elevator to operate smoothly, but this doesn't always happen. If an elevator jerks to a stop, you could end up on the ground with serious injuries.
  • Stuck for an extended period of time: It's difficult to imagine how challenging it would be to spend an extended period in an elevator. This is even worse for people who are claustrophobic. It can result in emotional injuries.
  • Fall upon exiting an elevator: For example, if the elevator doesn't stop flush with the floor, it creates a trip hazard. Subsequently, you could fall when exiting it.

How do doctors determine the severity of a brain injury?

Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) can result in a wide variety of symptoms. Because the brain is such a complex organ, each TBI can be considered a unique injury. If you have a loved one who recently received a TBI, the unique nature of the injury can make it difficult to predict what lasting symptoms your loved one may experience, what treatments he or she might benefit from and what abilities he or she may recover in time.

The impact the TBI has on your loved one can depend on several factors, including, the specific type of injury, the part of the brain that was injured and the severity of the injury. While the type of injury and affected part of the brain may seem simple enough to understand, many do not understand how doctors are able to measure the severity of an injury.

Work hazards cause nearly a third of all sarcoidosis cases

A study published earlier this month in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine sheds light on how various occupational factors can cause workers to develop certain diseases and conditions. One of those is sarcoidosis.

Researchers determined that nearly one-third of all newly diagnosed are caused by workplace hazards. They also noted that at least 10% of those who develop sarcoidosis also suffer from other respiratory conditions such as bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma.

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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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