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Miami Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Staying safe while using a ladder

Ladders are one of the main tools of the trade in many professions. Painters use them to reach higher areas on a wall, electricians use them to install light fixtures, warehouse workers use them to reach items stored on high shelves and roofers use them to initially access the roof. These are just a handful of examples.

Could your asthma be linked to toxic work exposure?

If you are one of the more than 38 million Americans living with asthma, you already know that the condition can affect almost every aspect of your life. But you still have to be able to work and pay your bills, so you struggle on. You take your pills and use your inhaler and hope for the best.

But what you might not realize is that a toxic workplace exposure can worsen your condition and even place you at risk of death.

Industrial steam burns can be quite serious

Florida residents who work in industrial settings can be in danger of injuries from steam burns. This is an occupational hazard for many kitchen workers as well as firefighters who ironically can get steam burns from their own sweat evaporating while they battle the flames.

One thing to keep in mind with a steam burn at work is that the burn can continue damaging the victim's inner skin layers even when the skin's surface looks nearly undamaged.

Did a workplace slip, trip or fall lay you low?

You might not think that a slip, trip or fall at work is a dangerous workplace accident. And, when compared to falls from height, electrocutions and amputations, the repercussions from such accidents may pale in comparison.

But that does not mean that getting injured in a workplace slip, trip or fall is without consequence. You could face lingering and chronic injuries that make it very difficult to return to your regular job duties. In fact, you could be injured very seriously and never again be able to work in your chosen field.

Forklift injuries can be debilitating over time

When you think of all the injuries that can arise from the use of heavy equipment, what comes to mind? Chances are good that forklift accidents are not foremost in your mind.

But that is not to say that bad things can't happen to forklift operators during the course of their duties. It doesn't even have to be a sudden or catastrophic event, as many forklift operators suffer musculoskeletal injuries over time due to the repetitive strain to which their bodies are subjected.

Hospitality and service workers face unique challenges

If you work in a Miami restaurant or hotel, the types of injuries that you can suffer on the job are very different from most other industries. For instance, a sous chef or a line cook might have to cope with serious cuts or burns after an accident prepping food or cooking on the grill.

Someone working in a hotel could be left to contend with the psychological repercussions after an assault on their person by a hotel guest or even a co-worker. These workers may be encouraged to continue to work after the accident or incident that harmed them. They may not be offered time off to recover or to seek treatment that should be covered by workers' compensation benefits.

Shame may convince companies to do better

In 2009, OSHA instituted a rule that said any company in Florida and around the country that was fined more than $40,000 would be mentioned in a press release. The goal was to shame businesses into taking steps that would lead to safer workplaces. An economist from Duke University did a study into whether shame was an effective tool for getting organizations to change their ways. The study results suggest that the answer was yes.

After a company was publicly shamed, violations at companies within five kilometers of that organization went down by 73%. It is estimated that OSHA would need to do 210 inspections to achieve such a decline in violations if it wasn't able to issue press releases. One of the reasons why shaming is effective is that no business wants to receive negative press. Ultimately, companies want to avoid the negative consequences that others had experienced after incurring a major OSHA violation.

Keeping workers safe while working in mines

Those who work in closed spaces in Florida and throughout the country could be exposed to harmful chemicals and other hazards caused by the use of heavy machinery. It is not uncommon for dust and toxic smoke to be kicked up by conveyor belts or other tools used to extract materials from a mine. Companies that use equipment that is not up to MSHA standards could also be putting their workers at risk.

There are several steps that employers can take to minimize the risk of a potentially fatal underground fire. For instance, modern ventilation systems can detect where potentially toxic air may need to be replaced with clean air. Employees should be allowed to wear gas detection units or tools that allow them to breathe in potentially hazardous environments. Finally, it is important that workers are trained to identify hazardous situations, use their equipment and find an escape route in case a fire occurs.

Supervisor training important to improving safety

When Florida construction workers are on the job, they may face a risk of a severe workplace injury. Across the country, construction repeatedly shows up on lists of the most dangerous professions, often simply because there are so many opportunities for harm. Employees may work at heights, with heavy machinery or in unfinished buildings, all of them posing risks for machine accidents, falls or other incidents. When companies fail to train workers who are newer to construction, they may face an even greater risk of a serious injury on the job.

According to one study, there is a shortage of skilled construction workers, and many companies seek to retain these highly trained employees. When companies hire more inexperienced workers, they may need to provide training in order to improve workplace safety and aim to prevent serious accidents. There are a number of factors that can contribute to a safer workplace, including involving workers in safety programs, holding regular safety meetings and providing ongoing training. One of the most important aspects of improving workplace safety is ensuring that supervisors and team leaders are highly trained.

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