He had fallen from a ladder about 15 feet and landed squarely on his hands and broke both arms. No one was holding the base of the ladder and the ladder was more than 15 years old. Wires and metal bars were now holding his bones in place, and workers’ compensation benefits were holding him financially in place. However, since he was only making $11 dollars an hour his weekly compensation benefits were small. As you probably know, the Workers’ Compensation Act does not provide money for pain and suffering, or lost income from other jobs (think about the man who takes on two jobs to maintain a higher standard of living for his family; if he is hurt while working at one job, he is only paid for the income loss at that job, not both).
The employer has a duty to train and teach its employees how to use a ladder. Many employees (particularly young ones) have no idea how dangerous ladders can be: they assume the ladder will hold the load and will be secure when placed in position, and that it is free of defects, no matter how old. OSHA has a list of safety considerations and these tips can be found at the Department of Labor’s web page (click here for a PDF version).
Click through for a graphic video of a ladder accident published by prevent-it.ca, a website run by the Province of Ontario (Canada)’s Ministry of Labor. Be warned that this mock-up video is a public service announcement intended to teach safety. It is scary and not for the faint of heart.
The next time you pull out a ladder at work or at home, think about these warnings and use proper safety techniques to avoid injury.
Today’s post comes from my colleague Rod Rehm of Nebraska.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently launched a fantastic web page on how to stay safe if you have to work during or after a winter storm.
If the weather is poor, staying off the road is clearly the best thing to do. However, if you have to drive during a winter storm, here are some great tips OSHA offers on preparing your vehicle for dangerous weather.
Inspect your vehicle thoroughly.
Brakes: Make sure they provide balanced and even breaking. Check that the brake fluid is at the proper level.
Cooling System: Ensure the proper mixture of 50/50 antifreeze and water.
Electrical: Check the ignition and makes sure the battery is fully charged and that the connectors are clean. Check that the alternator belt is in good condition.
Engine: Inspect all engine systems.
Exhaust: Check the exhaust for leaks and that the clamps and hangers are snug.
Tires: Check for good tread depth and for signs of damage or uneven wear. Check inflation.
Visibility: Inspect exterior lights, defrosters, and wipers. Install winter wipers. _ Check your oil levels.
Insurance medical exams may seem like regular doctor visits, but these docs are not on your side.
Today’s wise words come from my colleague Matt Funk of New York.
Many times insurance medical examinations are considered by injured employees to be the same as Independent Medical Examinations (IMEs). There is nothing farther from the truth. These examinations are bought and paid for by the insurance company and for their benefit.
The insurance carrier doctor is no friend to an injured worker. He or she is a private consultant paid for by the carrier.
You should be prepared for these examinations by knowing your rights and how to protect them:
1) You have the right right to bring a family member or friend with you to the examination. You can bring your spouse into the examination room during the examination. This is important because it allows for a witness to testify at court about the validity of the examination and to dispute tests that the doctor claims to have done.
2) You are permitted to audiotape or videotape the examination.
And there is nothing in the law that requires you to tell the insurance company doctor that you intend to tape the examination.