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The new electronic record-keeping rule finalized by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) will require employers to submit injury and illness report information directly to OSHA in electronic form. OSHA will then remove identifying information from these reports and make them public and searchable in a database.workchainsaw

Officials hope the new requirements will improve worker safety nationwide. Specifically, they are counting on the notion that by making this injury information public, employers will want to avoid a bad reputation. They want not only to improve public relations, but also ensure they will still attract the best and brightest workers. Potential employees who can easily access a company’s poor safety track record are going to be reticent to even apply.

It’s worth noting the new rule isn’t applicable to every employer. It will apply to employers in certain industries designated, “high hazard.” Plus, the rule also has a provision that extends further anti-retaliation protections to employees who report workplace safety issues or workplace injuries.  Continue reading →

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A furniture store has been ordered to pay nearly $60,000 in fines by federal regulators after discovery of numerous safety violations following a workplace amputation at a Georgia plant late last year. hand

According to a news release by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), a division of the U.S. Department of Labor, the employer was cited for one willful and four serious safety violations after the worker was hospitalized for amputation of a finger.

Workplace amputations are a serious hazard affecting a significant number of workers in Georgia. They are some of the most serious and debilitating work injuries one can endure, and they involve a wide range of equipment and activities. Most often, OSHA reports, they happen when workers are operating an unguarded or inadequately safeguarded power press, power press brakes, conveyors, printing presses, roll-forming and roll-bending machines, food slicers, meat grinders, meat-cutting band saws, drill presses, milling machines, shears, grinders and slitters.

It’s not just normal operation of these machines that can be dangerous, but also prepping, threading, cleaning, setting up, maintaining and clearing jams.   Continue reading →

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A Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) employee was critically injured in a recent work zone crash. It was the second incident in less than a week, with the other resulting in the death of a motorist and injury of another worker. roadconstruction

GDOT is urging caution by motorists, especially as road construction projects are now picking up across the state.

State DOT Commissioner Russell McCurry released a statement saying workers must be allowed to return home to their families at the end of each work day. He said while motorists must always be alert, attentive and cautious on the roads, nowhere is that more important than in a work zone.

“We must keep our employees safe,” McCurry said.  Continue reading →

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Workers’ compensation laws provide that employers who provide workers’ compensation insurance benefits to qualified employees are typically immune from personal injury litigation stemming from workplace injuries and occupational diseases. That’s why workers’ compensation is sometimes referred to as the “exclusive remedy” for workers. scaffoldingsilouette

But questions regarding who is an employer and who is required to provide workers’ compensation insurance and who is a “third party” for legal purposes can be complex, particularly on a construction site. That’s because there are so many different entities – from site owners to general contractors to subcontractors.

When workers are injured on-the-job at a construction site, they should seek guidance from an attorney to explore all possible options.  Continue reading →

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A Georgia work injury that occurred last year when a fire broke out at a manufacturing plant in Winterville has resulted in a citation from the Occupational Health & Safety Administration (OSHA), which asserts the Japanese-based manufacturer violated health and safety protocol. fire5

The agency has proposed penalties totaling $145,000 for one willful, 18 serious and one other-than-serious health and safety violations that reportedly resulted in a Georgia worker suffering burns on 80 percent of his body. Investigators say the 33-year-old maintenance worker was the victim of the indifference to safety displayed by his auto parts manufacturer employer in September 2015.

The severity of the worker’s injury has resulted in an intensive and long-term recovery process. He sustained third-degree burns on most of his upper body. The worker was reportedly operating a dust collector at the time of the incident.  Continue reading →

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In personal injury litigation, when a lawsuit is settled, that’s it. There is no going back to ask the same defendant for more money – even if your injuries are worse or lasted longer than you expected.gavel21

But it’s different with workers’ compensation claims, which can be re-opened when an employee disability has increased or recurred.

Often the first thing we need to explore is whether the case was settled via a stipulation and award or a compromise and release. If it was a stipulation and award, claims can often be reopened. However, with a compromise and release, employers are usually released from any future claims for the same incident. The only exception, usually, is if the settlement was somehow procured by fraud. Continue reading →

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In every job, there is a certain amount of stress involved. But what if your job-related stress impedes your ability to work?box1

In some cases, psychological injury stemming from job-related stress can be compensable under workers’ compensation statutes.

That’s what was reflected in the case of Hart v. Federal Express Corp., recently before the Connecticut Supreme Court.  Continue reading →

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Claims for permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits may survive the non-work-related death of a worker, according to a recent affirmation by the Idaho Supreme Court. funeral

Although this is an out-of-state case, other high courts – including the one in Georgia – may look to this ruling for guidance under similar circumstances.

Permanent partial disability benefits are one of the most common type of workers’ compensation claims, comprising half of all workers’ compensation claims nationwide. PPD is when some form of permanent impairment resulted from the work injury, leaving the worker unable to perform at his or her full capacity. It’s different from total disability, which is when the worker is unable to perform any work due to the on-the-job injury.  Continue reading →

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Many employers require workers to immediately report on-the-job injuries – no matter how small – as part of their company policy. Some take that provision too far and it borders on retaliation when workers do report the injury.sadsillouhette

But O.C.G.A. 34-9-81.1 does require that employees report the accident immediately – but no later than 30 days after the accident – to the employer, employer’s representative, foreman or immediate supervisor. The statute specifically states that failure to do so could result in the loss of benefits.

There may be some allowances for instances in which a worker didn’t immediately realize he or she was injured or did not reasonably know the cause of the injury. But in general, as soon as you know you have suffered a work injury, you must report it.  Continue reading →

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It is not unheard of in Georgia workers’ compensation cases for employers to retaliate against employees who file claims for injury benefits. It is, however, illegal.hardhat

Your Atlanta workers’ compensation attorney can provide you with insight on how best to protect yourself and how to preserve evidence in preparation for a possible future retaliation claim.

Georgia is an at-will state, which means in the absence of a written employment contract, a company can fire a worker at any time, so long as it isn’t for an illegal reason. One reason that would be illegal: As retaliation for filing a workers’ compensation claim. Continue reading →