Workplace injuries are supposed to be fully covered by workers' compensation insurance. However, for injured workers to claim their full benefits, they need to understand the nature of their injuries and the ways that those injuries are diagnosed. That way they can be sure they have all the medical substantiation of their conditions necessary to meet the requirements in the law. Most of the time, this is not a difficult task to achieve, because most injuries are fairly apparent. Even when they involve internal damage, such as when an organ is injured, typical symptoms tend to be easy for injured workers to identify and seek help with. Brain injuries are a little bit different.
Workplace safety is an ongoing concern for everyone on your team, and for good reason. As part of managing your safety, the state requires your employer to carry some kind of compensation insurance for injuries at the workplace. Effectively managing workplace safety means going beyond that though. It means working to ensure that you are properly trained to be safe during the conduct of your duties and to respond safely in the case of an accident, and speaking up to learn more if you feel underprepared.
It is difficult to be a Maryland resident and not know something about the infamous sequestration issues in Washington. Yet the details of the potential cuts can be complicated and thus escape many. It is important to know however that some cuts might affect government organizations such as OSHA whose efforts keep the workplace safe for employees. Unfortunately, these cuts could result in an increase in workplace accidents for Maryland residents.
Many workers have jobs that do not have a single location of employment or require them to travel long distances. In such circumstances, work accidents can occur in a variety of locations and settings. For one Maryland public employee injured on a highway on his way home from a job, the question of whether his injury is covered under Maryland workers' compensation law is open for question.
One of most dangerous jobs in America is working in highway construction. Workers are not only exposed to heavy equipment and dangerous chemicals but workers may also face inattentive drivers on the road. Work injuries can be devastating to construction workers and their families. Each year across America nearly 700 people die and more than 40,000 are injured in road-construction related accidents. In Maryland, between 2008 and 2011, 25 people have been killed in work-zone -- the majority of those fatalities were the drivers of vehicles.
The Maryland Court of Appeals, the state's highest court, has ruled that former Washington Redskins punter Tom Tupa is entitled to worker's compensation after a career-ending injury he suffered during warm-ups in 2005. The decision was unanimous. This case has shed light on the rights of professional athletes to seek worker's compensation benefits in the team's home state as well as where the person is injured -- the Redskins are technically based out of Virginia.
According to nonprofit consumer advocacy group Public Citizen, between 2008 and 2010, construction injuries and deaths cost the state more than $700 million. In a report, the group suggests that by awarding construction contracts to companies with stronger safety records, the amount paid out and the number of injuries sustained can be decreased. At this time, Maryland does have a screening process for contractors (on past performance, for example) but there is no process in which the past health and safety records are reviewed.
Workplace injuries are often associated with construction jobs and positions in other blue collar industries involving physical labor. With the amount of people spending their work hours in front of a computer, it's no wonder that attention is being given to the amount of injuries caused by sitting at a computer all day. Although these injuries aren't a result of workplace accidents per se, Maryland readers may be aware of the negative results of sitting at a computer; including back and neck pain, eyestrain and carpal tunnel syndrome.
This hasn't been a good year for safety at outdoor concert venues. In one incident, weather caused a stage to collapse killing a number of people and injuring some 40 others. This past weekend a man at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia suffered a work injury when a tower he was on collapsed.
Road accidents are not uncommon here in Maryland or anywhere else. The personal injury or wrongful death that occurs is never a pleasant thought, but it's not really unexpected. What is unexpected, and really hard to imagine, is an accident in which a person is run over by an asphalt roller. That horrendous reality is being investigated now by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).