In 2013, 20.2 percent of the 4,101 worker fatalities in private industry occurred in construction, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. In Philadelphia and on sites everywhere in the U.S., falls took the lead in 2013 for construction worker deaths, accounting for 36.5 percent, or 302, of the total number of fatalities in the industry.
There are a greater number of fatalities from fires and explosions in the oil and gas business than in any other private industry in the U.S., according to Environment and Energy Publishing. E&E states that oil and gas workers in Pennsylvania and the rest of the country comprise less than one percent of the national workforce, but make up ten percent of all fatal workplace accidents from fire and explosions. At Friday & Cox LLC, we understand that when you work with highly combustible materials, you are at risk for injury and death every day.
The construction industry is a dangerous one for people in Pennsylvania and elsewhere in the country. If you work in construction, chances are you are aware of the dangers you face every day. You may have already seen a fellow employee injured or killed in a work-related accident. The attorneys at Friday & Cox LLC are also knowledgeable in the dangers faced by those in the construction industry, and prepared to help them receive compensation when they need it.
One of the worst hazards you may face on a construction site involves trenches or excavations, states the U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration. OSHA requires that preventive safety measures are put in place before anyone is allowed to work inside a trench. Unfortunately, safety violations regarding trenches occur on a regular basis, which may result in injuries or fatalities.
Workers’ compensation law in Pennsylvania exists not only to protect employees in the event of a workplace injury, but also to cover the medical expenses and lost wages for those who are suffering from an occupational illness. A work-related illness is commonly caused by exposure to toxic substances or is an emotional condition related to work, such as stress disorders.
Are contagious diseases covered under workers’ compensation law? According to the U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration, some types of infectious disease claims are accepted. These do not typically include common illnesses that people can contract anywhere, such as the common cold or the flu. More serious contagious illnesses, however, such as tuberculosis, may be considered for workers’ compensation if the illness was work-related.
There are many jobs in Pennsylvania and throughout the United States that are dangerous, high-stress and carry the potential for an employee to experience emotional trauma. Some of the most obvious include active military positions, law enforcement and firefighters. However, you don't have to work in an overly dangerous job to develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
How might you be affected by PTSD? After you experience a traumatic event or an incident causing great stress, you may develop pervasive feelings of fear, anxiety or panic relating to the incident. These emotions may take months or years to lessen and can be debilitating.
Any Pennsylvania resident with a job understands that there are certain risks that come with the job, no matter how seemingly harmless the position is. For example, those working in an office setting where they sit most of the time might suffer from repetitive stress injuries by working on computers. They might also trip and fall over an item left on the floor, or come down with a contagious illness that a co-worker brought to work. Even so, some industries are more dangerous than others. The construction field comes to mind, with its high risk of being injured by operating heavy equipment and other construction duties. The logging and forestry industries are also dangerous jobs due to numerous factors.
The above statement was illustrated earlier in August in a work accident that occurred in Coolspring Township. According to the Pennsylvania State Police, employees from a tree company were cutting down several trees in a wooded area. One of the tree cutters suffered serious injuries when the tree he was working on fell on top of him. The 45-year-old man was hospitalized in critical condition and later flown to a Pittsburgh trauma center. It is unknown yet whether the unfortunate man will recover from his injuries.
The farming industry is a booming job market in Pennsylvania that carries the potential for many workplace accidents. These may include such incidents as faulty machinery causing an injury, products or equipment falling on a worker or livestock injuring someone. Farm workers may also be seriously injured or killed in incidents known as grain engulfment.
According to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, grain engulfment occurs when a worker is buried or suffocated by grain in a silo or other grain storage compartment. There are numerous ways this can happen, which include the following:
- A wall of grain, commonly corn, which caves in on a worker
- Flowing grain that mimics quicksand, sucking a worker down in seconds
- A “bridge” of clumped grain that caves in beneath a worker standing on it, burying him or her in the empty space that often forms beneath such bridges
- Hazardous gases or unsafe oxygen levels present inside a storage bin, resulting in asphyxiation
Forklift mishaps responsible for thousands of injuries
There is irony in the reality that some of the most dangerous jobs in America involve helping others. Police officers, firefighters, EMS workers, nurses and others regularly put their health on the line -- and in many cases their lives are on the line -- to help ordinary citizens in a wide variety of emergencies.
Who do we call in a medical emergency? For most people, the first inclination is to call an ambulance so that EMS workers can assess the situation, begin administering aid and get the injured or ill party to a Pittsburgh hospital as quickly as possible. Those EMTs put themselves at risk of injury every time they answer a call, however.
It's the most common complaint doctors hear from patients who have sustained an on-the-job injury: "My back hurts." Back injuries are the leading type of workplace injuries, according to the National Safety Council.
A recently released study shows that treatment of common back injuries varies widely from state to state. For instance, a worker who injures his back in Pittsburgh might be more likely to undergo surgery than a person who injures his back in San Francisco.