November 30, 2013

OSHA Looks Ahead to 2014 Worker Safety Regulations

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration sets guidelines for worker safety and establishes rules that employers are supposed to follow. While OSHA is understaffed and conducts far fewer inspections of unsafe workplaces than it should, the agency does establish new guidelines and regulations on a regular basis that are designed to improve working conditions. woman-writing-in-the-agenda-1182879-m.jpg

OSHA has recently announced the agency's 2014 regulatory agenda and the Administration will be changing the rules on a number of important issues. Our Atlanta workers' compensation lawyers urge employers to be aware of changing workplace safety regulations and to make the necessary adjustments so they are not considered in violation.

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November 27, 2013

Amid Overall Decline, Certain Types of Workplace Injury Risks Increase

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has released the 2012 data on occupational injuries and illnesses requiring days away from work. Our Atlanta workers' compensation lawyers know the news wasn't great for workers despite the decline in the rate of nonfatal occupational injury and illnesses cases requiring days away from work that occurred from 2011 to 2012. council-1124775-m.jpg

The rate of injuries or illnesses requiring days away from work decreased but the median number of days that an injured or ill worker took off increased in 2012 by a full day. This could suggest that the injuries that were occurring were more serious in 2012. Trends also suggest that certain types of workplace injury risks are increasing. Employers need to be aware of the top risks that workers face and need to take affirmative steps to try to reduce some of the biggest dangers on the job.

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November 20, 2013

Dangerous Working Conditions for Temps in Georgia

Since the start of the recession in 2008, companies have been increasingly relying on the services of temporary employees, often in warehouses, factories and construction sites.
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Nearly 3 million workers are employed by temp agencies, which are placing these workers in positions that put them at greater risk of an on-the-job injury, as compared to permanent employees.

A recent investigation by news journalism non-profit ProPublica found that temps were about 50 percent more likely than non-temps to be hurt on the job in Florida and California. In Minnesota, they were 72 percent more likely to be injured, 66 percent more likely in Oregon and 36 percent more likely in Massachusetts.

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October 29, 2013

Protecting Georgia's Younger Workers

Currently, about 80 percent of all students are employed during some portion of their high school career. According to the Georgia Department of Labor, child labor laws are created so that these young workers have enough tome to pursue their education and so that they're workplaces are safe. The state's child labor laws were written back in 1878. The federal laws were not enacted until 1938.
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When there are differences in the state and the federal child labor laws, the law that is more stringent is used.

Our Atlanta workers' compensation lawyers understand that there are many fields in which these young workers (under the age of 16) are not allowed to participate, including factory, mill, laundry, manufacturing establishments or any occupation that has been designated hazardous. They also face serious hour restrictions so that they can remain focused on their studies. They are prohibited from working between 9:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. They are also not permitted to work in any gainful occupation during the hours when public or private schools are in session unless said minor has completed senior high school or has been excused from attendance in school by a county or independent school system board of education in accordance with the general policies and regulations promulgated by the State Board of Education.

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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.
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"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).
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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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