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Miami Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Preparedness is the key to workplace safety

Employers in Florida should always be prepared when it comes to keeping their employees safe. It all begins with knowing what hazards an industry faces. The following are a just a few key factors that employers in any industry might need to address.

The first is indoor air quality. A poorly ventilated office building might make the workers sick through pollen and mold exposure. If more than 20% of a building's occupants become sick, then employers are probably facing something called sick building syndrome.

Safety tips for nursing professionals

Nursing is among the world's most noble professions, but the job can be genuinely hazardous. Luckily, there are several safety tips nurses in Florida can follow to help reduce their risk of work-related injuries and illnesses.

One of the most important safety tips is for nurses to regularly wash their hands to prevent the spread of viruses and bacteria. This is a basic task that most nurses take seriously, but it can sometimes be overlooked in a busy work environment. Another critical tip is for nurses to use lift and transfer equipment when moving patients. This is essential for avoiding back injuries, muscle strains and falls. Along the same line, nurses should always practice good body mechanics, be on the lookout for trip hazards and be sure to ask for help lifting patients or objects if they need it.

Workplace hazards to account for during the summer

During the summer months, workers in Florida and most other states contend with hot and humid weather. Employers need to create safety plans to ensure that workers don't get hurt or sick because of heat stress or heat stroke. To keep workers safe, they should be allowed to work during the morning or evening hours when it tends to be cooler outside. Furthermore, they should be allowed to work in shaded areas.

Workers should be given frequent rest breaks in shaded areas and access to plenty of water. Those who are showing signs of fatigue should be allowed to rest immediately. Fatigue should be thought of as a mental impairment that can make it harder to work safely. Drinking water can reduce the risk that a worker becomes dehydrated while on the job. Those who don't like the bland taste of water can add some lemon or other natural fruit flavors to make it more palatable.

OSHA seeks to educate employers about electrical hazards

In many Florida industries, electrical hazards are common. However, injuries from electrical accidents can be extremely serious or even deadly. As a result, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is hoping to raise awareness among electricians, engineers and other employees who regularly perform electrical operations.

According to OSHA, there were two amputations and 15 hospitalizations from January 2015 through September 2018 that were caused by electrical accidents. Additionally, from October 2012 to September 2018, six contractors who were involved in electrical and wiring installation suffered injuries that were ultimately fatal.

Safety violations in the workplace

Workers in Florida should know that one of the standards for which worksites are cited for most frequently by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is that for respiratory protection. The OSHA estimates that five million workers in 1.3 million workplaces in the United States are required to wear respirators. Respirators protect the workers in shops from hazardous mists, vapors, dust, gases and sprays. If workers do not wear the protective respirators, they can incur lung impairment, cancer and even die from the effects of the harmful materials they breathe in. Employers should make sure that workers are wearing respirators when necessary.

Another standard for which worksites are commonly cited is related to control of hazardous energy and lockout/tagout procedures. Workers who have to work with machines or equipment can be severely injured or even killed if there is no proper control of hazardous energy. Accidents in which hazardous energy is the cause make up 10 percent of the serious accidents in several industries. Implementing the appropriate lockout/tagout procedures correctly can help protect workers from hazardous energy incidents.

Loading docks can pose a risk to worker safety

Workers at Florida loading docks are often very busy. Whether located at warehouses, distribution centers or factories, loading docks are the place where freight is received and unloaded. While some are located outdoors, others may be inside a receiving bay. In most cases, workers operate near a storage room or other staging area to hold the freight until it is used. Just as these operations can be vital for a company, they can also be potential sites for dangerous accidents and injuries.

Unloading a large truck is a fast-paced job. In most cases, truck drivers and loading dock workers are on a tight schedule, so they need to move quickly to clear out the truck. They may be dealing with large, heavy items that require specialized equipment for transport. A forklift is one of the most commonly used pieces of machinery in the loading dock area. Unfortunately, over 100,000 workplace injuries every year are related to forklifts or other types of powered industrial trucks such as pallet jacks. Federal workplace safety rules require training for drivers operating forklifts and similar trucks.

Why Do Workers' Compensation Disputes Arise in a No-Fault System?

Although workers’ compensation is intended to be a no-fault system, this does not guarantee the absence of disagreements. Injured workers may find that their employer’s insurance carrier agrees to provide some, but not all the benefits an injured worker needs after a workplace accident.

Steps to Take After a Workplace Accident

Study Shows Prices Paid for Injured Workers’ Medical Care

As regular readers of our Miami, Florida Workers' Compensation Law Blog know, we typically dedicate this space to issues important to people who suffer injuries on the job. A recent study by the Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) helps policy makers, legislators and injured employees across the nation assess how their states measure up in terms of workers’ comp payments to medical professionals.

The 10th edition of the WCRI Medical Price Index for Workers’ Compensation compares prices paid for medical services across 35 states that represent nearly 90 percent of all workers’ comp benefits paid in the U.S. It also tracks changes in prices over the decade from 2008 to last year for services by doctors, physical therapists and chiropractors.

Should employers be more proactive after worker injuries?

An insurance industry publication says it makes sense for employers to take a different approach to employee injuries. Business Insurance says that today employers should be proactive from the moment that a worker sustains an on-the-job injury.

The publication says that when someone is injured in the workplace, a supervisor should accompany the worker to the hospital, clinic or doctor’s office for treatment.

When should you hire a workers’ comp lawyer?

The question is a good one: When should you hire a workers’ compensation attorney? The answer: In an ideal world, you would never hire a lawyer because you’d never get injured on the job. And if you did get injured, your Miami employer would insist that you promptly receive full workers’ comp benefits.

While both of those scenarios are nice ideals, the reality is that people do get injured on the job and far too often, employers and insurers try to deny earned, deserved benefits.

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