October 18, 2013

Georgia Power Company Cited After Workplace Explosion

Georgia Power Company's Plant Bowen was recently cited by officials with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration with more than 15 serious safety violations after a generator explosion. It happened back in April during a maintenance shutdown at the plant in Cartersville. All of these safety violations come with fines totaling close to $120,000.
"It is a fundamental responsibility of employers to ensure a safe workplace," said Christi Griffin, director of OSHA's Atlanta-West Area Office.

Our Atlanta workers' compensation lawyers know the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act) was passed to prevent workers from being killed or otherwise harmed at work. The law requires employers to provide employees with working conditions that are free of known dangers. The OSH Act created OSHA, which sets and enforces protective workplace safety and health standards. OSHA also provides information, training and assistance to workers. If you feel like your safety is being compromised on the job, you have the legal right to speak up and raise those concerns. Your voice may prevent a serious work tragedy.

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October 10, 2013

Workers Have Many Reasons for Failing to Report On-the-Job Injuries & Safety Problems

If there is a safety violation on the job or if someone gets hurt at work, an employer could be cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the employee could make a workers' compensation claim to obtain payment of medical bills and other benefits. 1088940_2_annual_reports__3.jpg

Our Atlanta, workers' compensation lawyers know that it is a good thing when employees report unsafe workplace conditions to their employers, as these conditions can then be corrected. When a worker reports a workplace injury, in alerts an employer to the fact that something has gone wrong and caused harm. Additionally, the employee can get treatment for the injury before something worse happens that is more costly to treat and that causes permanent disability.

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October 4, 2013

Atlanta Work Accidents: Employee Safety in Emergency Situations

Workplace safety is important at all times and employers should do everything possible to create a working environment where the risk of injury is minimized. Sometimes, however, an emergency situation will occur. Whether the emergency is caused by a weather disaster, a security risk or an act of violence, such as threats from a gunmen, employees need to be prepared to respond in a way that maximizes safety for all. ambulance-1334532-m.jpg

Our Atlanta, workers' compensation lawyers know that employers are in the best position to train workers to respond to an emergency. Entrepreneur has provided seven tips to help ensure that the risk of harm is minimized and employers should be aware of this advice and put it into action.

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September 30, 2013

Workplace Eye Safety Advice For Employers and Employees

Every year, an estimated 2.5 million annual eye injuries throughout the United States result in $1.2 billion in medical costs and lost productivity. Reducing the number of eye injuries is fundamentally important, and the American Academy of Ophthalmology has declared October home eye safety awareness month in order to alert the public to risks to their eyes that exist in the home. boys-green-eye-1405557-m.jpg

Since around 2,000 workers daily sustain eye injuries on the job, our Atlanta workers' compensation lawyers believe that October is also a good time for both employers and employees to review eye safety tips that can help avoid disaster during working hours.

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September 22, 2013

National Farm Safety and Health Week - A Reminder of Risk of Georgia Ag Accidents

There were close to 500 people who were killed on the job in the agriculture sector in 2012. That's a current fatality rate of more than 21 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers -- the highest fatality rate of any sector. In addition to these fatalities, there were more than 48,000 injuries recorded throughout the year in this industry in 2011 (which is the last year these statistics are available).
To help to keep these workers safe, officials with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) launched "Working Together for Safety in Agriculture - National Farm Safety and Health Week". This week-long campaign is used to help to shine light on the importance of safe work environments for these employees.

There are plenty of opportunities for a work accident in Atlanta, especially in the agricultural field. These workers face serious risks for accidents while working with farm equipment, working in confined spaces and various other dangers. And that's exactly why this week-long safety campaign has been running every year since 1944. The risks are very real in September and October as farmers prepare to work the harvest.

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September 15, 2013

Construction Accidents Up, Despite Nationwide Decline in Work Accidents

According to newly-released statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), officials estimate that there were close to 4,500 people who were killed in work-related incidents in 2012. While that's down from roughly 4,700 in 2011, some sectors, including construction, have begun to see an increase as the economy improves.
Throughout the year, the state of Georgia saw close to 100 workplace fatalities. Although a decrease from the year before, many of these accidents were still preventable. Of the preliminary results of 2012, close to 20 were killed by workplace violence, nearly 25 in transportation accidents, 3 in fires or explosions, close to 20 in falls, slips or trips, 6 in exposure to harmful materials and another 10 resulting from contact with objects or equipment.

Our Atlanta workers compensation lawyers understand that there were increases in the number of workplace fatalities in various industries. The private construction sector was one of the most prominent, with an increase of about 5 percent from less than 740 in 2011 to about 780 in 2012. These numbers increase much more than the number of total hours worked did however, and this increase is the very first after five years of declines.

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September 1, 2013

Georgia Work Accidents - Top 10 Violations Show Injuries Often Forseeable

Atlanta workers' compensation lawyers know that employers are in the best position to prevent on-the-job accidents and injuries by making sure that workers are properly trained and by ensuring that there is a safe work environment in which people can perform their job duties. ladder-rungs-1326879-m.jpg

Unfortunately, not all employers take their responsibilities seriously and there are many workplaces throughout Georgia and the United States where there are safety violations. When OSHA conducts an inspection of a dangerous workplace either as part of a routine inspection or because OSHA has been alerted to problems, OSHA can issue citations to employers for lapses in fulfilling safety obligations. Each year, OSHA releases information on the top 10 violations that lead to citations, and this year's 2013 list has been released.

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August 31, 2013

Georgia Chemical Plant Injuries Follow Presidential Calls for Change

Three workers suffered serious injuries following a Georgia chemical plant blast at a facility in Valdosta. The facility is responsible for processing and disposal of hazardous and non-hazardous waste.
The incident came just two weeks after President Barack Obama called for sweeping chemical plant safety reforms in the form of tighter federal regulation.

Our Atlanta workers' compensation attorneys understand the call for change was prompted by the disastrous chemical plant explosion at a Texas fertilizer facility, which resulted in 15 deaths.

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August 28, 2013

Atlanta Construction Accidents Involving Female Workers Target of Safety Campaign

The construction industry is predominantly male-oriented, with women comprising just 9 percent of positions as of 2010.
Still, it's worth noting that this marks a significant rise, with the number of U.S. female construction workers climbing by nearly 82 percent between 1985 and 2007. While the industry has made strides in this regard, our Georgia workers' compensation lawyers know that the one area that has remained woefully lacking for these workers is safety and health considerations.

Due to the often highly physical nature of the work, things like proper-fitting equipment and adequate sanitation facilities are critical to ensuring a safe working environment. However, for female construction workers, these areas specifically are often sorely neglected, leaving them at higher risk for injury and illness.

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August 20, 2013

Georgia Drilling Injury Risk Spikes as Industry Expands

The U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration recently issued a report highlighting the serious and inherent dangers in the oil and gas extraction industry - timely given the industry's recent eye toward northwest Georgia.
Our Atlanta workers compensation lawyers know this is an extremely dangerous occupation. Between 2003 and 2010, some 823 oil and gas extraction workers were killed on the job. That is an astonishing rate that is seven times higher than what we see for the rate of all U.S. industries as a whole.

As of 2011, OSHA reports there were more than 450,000 workers nationwide employed in the oil and gas extraction and support industries. These workers' responsibilities are varied, but many are highly specialized. The industry is expected to continue expanding, particularly in Georgia.

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August 15, 2013

Silica Dangers Prompt Proposed Rule From OSHA

We tend to hear a great deal about the hazards of on-the-job asbestos inhalation, which has been known to cause a rare and fatal form of cancer known as mesothelioma.
Now, the U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration is focused on promotion of awareness of a similar airborne work hazard: crystalline silica. The agency has proposed a new rule that is aimed at curbing the incidents of lung cancer, kidney disease, silicosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease that American workers suffer as a result of exposure to silica. The agency estimates hundreds of workers die and thousands more are sickened each year by the substance.

Our Atlanta workers' compensation lawyers know that such exposure might not only affect a person's ability to work, but also to breathe. OSHA anticipates that the new proposed rules could potentially result in the prevention of 1,600 silica-related illness diagnoses each year, as well as 700 silica-related deaths.

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July 30, 2013

Georgia Companies Accused of Unsafe Work Practices

Officials with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) are cracking down on unsafe workplaces, and they're making their mark here in Georgia. Recently, officials cited both Ardagh Glass in Warner Robins and Supermarket Equipment Sales in Rutledge for various safety and health violations.
Ardagh Glass Inc. was slapped with one wilflul and one serious safety violation in response to an employee suffering a finger amputation and crushed hand when they tried to remove a glass mold from a bottle-shaping machine at the company's facility in Warner Robins. The willful violation comes after investigators discovered that the company didn't use lockout/tagout procedures when its workers were completing various operations. The serious violation comes as a result of the company failing to make sure that its employers who were working on this equipment were provided with the proper safety equipment. The equipment required for this kind of work is used to prevent contact at the point of operation with moving parts and molten glass.

Our Atlanta workers' compensation lawyers understand that those violations packed a total of more than $75,000 in fines, but that's miniscule when compared to the cost of a human life. In the inspection of Supermarket Equipment Sales, the company was hit with more than 15 health and safety violations. This inspection was launched after a complaint was filed back in February about the company's location in Rutledge. With these fines, a proposed penalty of more than $62,000 was levied.

Supermarket Equipment Sales Serious Violations:

-Exposing the workers to fall, explosion and fire hazards.

-Allowing the amount of flammable/combustible paint stored in the spray booth to go well over a one-day supply.

-The company stored carbon dioxide cylinders in places that were dangerous. They could have been knocked over easily.

-The company did not ensure that two-ton hooks were not overloaded beyond the rated capacity provided by the manufacturer.

-Covers were not in place on all electrical panels.

-The company did not create any kind of specific lockout/tagout procedures for equipment.

-Workers were not trained properly on energy control procedures.

-The company failed to inspect powered industrial trucks for deficiencies before putting them to work.

-Lighting was not properly installed in the spray booths. The lighting was deemed NOT to be explosion-proof.

-Respirators were not properly maintained in sanitary condition.

-The company failed to keep and maintain a written hazard communication program.

They were also slapped with two more other-than-serious violations. Although these violations come with no fine, they're just as dangerous. The company allowed workers to use a powered industrial truck that has not been evaluated or inspected in nearly 10 years. It was also cited for failing to make sure that the fire extinguishers on site were charged and ready to be used.

Each year, there are thousands who are killed on the job in the U.S. It is these types of preventative measures that can help to reduce these risks of fatal accidents. That's why officials with OSHA conduct a series of investigations into the companies in question.

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July 24, 2013

New App in Preventing Atlanta Work Accidents

Falls can be some of the most devastating work accidents in any field. Unfortunately, they continue to be a persistent hazard found in all kinds of occupations. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), these kinds of accidents can happen when a worker is merely walking or climbing a ladder -- in a department store or high up on a construction site.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that, in 2009, there were close to 610 workers killed on the job and another 213,000 seriously injured as a result of fall accidents to the same or lower level.

Our Atlanta work accident attorneys understand that the highest frequency of fall-related deaths was experienced by those working in the construction industry. On the other hand, the highest number of nonfatal injuries resulting from falls come from those in the health services and the wholesale and retail industries. But the risks don't stop there -- as virtually all workers in all industries are at some risk for these kinds of accidents.

Now, there is a new app, available for iPhone and Andriod, that's going to help to eliminate these risks. This new app comes with a multimodal indicator and a graphic-oriented guide for choosing the right ladder for the job while helping to inspect it for hazards, position it for the safest use, and ensuring the proper safety accessories are in place.

One of the best ways to prevent these kinds of accidents is to know and understand the common causes. Make sure to inspect your entire work area to help ensure all hazards are minimized.

Top Causes of Fall Accidents:

-Slippery Floors.

-Cluttered Walkways.

-Unstable Walking/Working Areas.

-Unprotected Edges.

-Holes in the Floor.

-Wall Openings.

-Unsafely Used Ladders.

-Improperly Used Fall Protection.

Thankfully, officials with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) are working hard to prevent these kinds of risks on the job. They've even launched a complete Fall Prevention Campaign.

The campaign aim is to raise awareness among workers and employers about the hazards of falls from ladders, scaffolds and roofs. The educational resources page gives workers and employers information about falls and how to prevent them.

And without prevention, the costs are going to continue to skyrocket. Currently, officials estimate that the costs affiliated with these accidents total roughly $70 million annually. Included in these costs are both medical costs and workers' compensation.

Preventative measures are some of the most important to plan for when executing a job. You want to make sure that the plan is to complete a job safely. Make sure you include safety costs when estimating job costs. Never overlook these factors. Once these estimations are submitted and approved, make sure you get the equipment required and make sure that everyone is properly trained in using it. It's a team effort, and everyone needs to be on board. These safe and strategic moves could wind up saving lives.

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July 13, 2013

Summer Employment: Protecting Our Teens from an Atlanta Work Accident

Today, roughly 80 percent of all students work sometime during their high school career. And that's why we have child labor laws -- to help to make sure that our youngest workers have all of the time they need to tackle their education while also being able to work.
According to the Georgia Department of Education, school with be back in session the first week of August.

Our Atlanta workers' compensation lawyers know our nation first passed a child-labor law in 1878. The federal child labor law, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), was enacted in 1938. According to the Georgia Department of Labor, when there are differences in the state and federal law, the law that provides the tougher and more stringent standard is the one usually observed.

Under the state's child labor section, the rules, regulations and restrictions employers must follow when they have one of these school-aged workers on site are clearly stated. This accounts for all children 18 and under. Special rules exist for workers under 16 and most under 14 are prohibited from working for hire.

In 2010, there were close to 18 million workers in the force who were under the age of 24. These workers accounted for roughly 15 percent of the nation's workforce. It's important to remember that these young workers have a high occupational injury rate. This high rate can oftentimes be explained by the frequency of injury hazards and dangers in the workplaces that they're likely to occupy. Some of these risks commonly include those in the restaurant settings, like slippery floors and sharp/hot objects.

Officials also credit their inexperience and a lack of safety training for higher injury rates.

And lastly, this high rate of injury on the job has been credited to their psychosocial and biologic factors. This means that they oftentimes don't "fit" the job, aren't strong enough for it or have other lacking cognitive abilities when it comes to operating heavy machinery or devices.

Our young workers are reminded that safe work is rewarding work. It's important to remember that your employer is required, by law, to make sure that your workplace is safe and free of all known hazards and dangers. They're required to follow all OSHA safety and health standards to prevent you from being injured or becoming ill on the job.

To Help To Stay Safe On The Job:

-Make sure you speak up and report any unsafe conditions on the job to a supervisor.

-Make sure you're always wearing the proper safety gear.

-Know and always follow your job site's safety rules.

-Exercise your workplace safety rights without discrimination or retaliation.

-If you need help, don't be afraid to ask for it.

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July 5, 2013

Warm Weather Work Injuries -- There's an App for That!

As we've reported on our Georgia Workers' Compensation Attorney Blog, a 42-year-old worker was killed after he overheated on the job. It didn't even happen outside in the heat or the sun, but rather inside the plant.
But as you know, heat can affect a lot of workers, both inside and outside. And that's why officials with the United States Department of Labor have stepped up with a new Atlanta workers' compensation lawyers understand that workers who are exposed to extreme heat or work in hot environments may be at risk of heat stress. Each and every year, there are about 30 people who are killed as a result of heat-related illnesses. As a matter of fact, workplace fatalities from heat exposure are the most common reason for a heat-related citation from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Outdoor operations conducted in hot weather, such as construction, refining, asbestos removal, and hazardous waste site activities, especially those that require workers to wear semipermeable or impermeable protective clothing, are also likely to cause heat stress among exposed workers.

The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 mandated that employers and companies not expose their workers to any environments that are hazardous or dangerous -- and fatalities and illnesses resulting from heat is governed under this clause.

When heat stroke occurs, the body temperature can rise to 106 degrees Fahrenheit or higher within 10 to 15 minutes. Heat stroke can cause death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not given.

And that's where the new app from OSHA comes in.

It allows employees and even supervisors to look at the dangers of the work site by helping to calculate the heat index. With this calculated index, workers and supervisors will be displayed a risk level on their job site.

Once you've got your rating, it only takes one "click" to get reminders about various steps and preventative measures that you can take to help to stay safe given conditions on the jobsite. Some of these measures can include making sure employees are getting enough rest breaks, drinking enough fluids and learning how to spot and treat a heat-related injury or illness.

Working outdoors in hot weather can result in serious illness or even death. Workers exposed to extreme heat may experience symptoms of heat-related illnesses, such as heat cramps, heat rash, heat exhaustion and fainting.

We're already reaching temps in the 90s and that serves up some serious risks as we enter the hottest part of the summer.

Remember that, every year, thousands of workers become sick from exposure to heat, and some even die. These illnesses and deaths are preventable. It is training and knowledge about the effects of heat, how and when to respond to symptoms and how to prevent them from occurring that's going to keep us all safe out there.

Take a minute, cool down and take a peek at this lifesaving app.

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