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Archive for the ‘Workers’ Compensation’ Category

What Careers Are Most Vulnerable To On-The-Job Heart Attacks?

heart attackWe’ve all heard about job-related stress, but have you ever heard of anybody actually having a heart attack attributed to their work? Though most people think that only injuries like strains, sprains, fractures and concussions count as job-related injuries, it is actually quite possible for a job to lead to a heart attack, and for a worker who has suffered a job-related heart attack to file for and collect workers’ compensation. Though a work-related heart attack can happen in just about any career, there are some jobs that make workers much more vulnerable to on-the-job heart attacks.

These include:

  • Any kind of desk job – It may seem as if a desk job is the safest possible type of career, but studies have shown that people who sit at a desk all day are at higher risk for heart disease than those who work at active jobs. Research has shown that when we sit too long it can lead to dysfunction in insulin sensitivity and in enzymes ability to dissolve fat.
  • First responders – Whether you’re a firefighter, an emergency medical technician/paramedic, or a police officer, you’re at risk for heart attack. In fact, 22 percent of on-the-job deaths in police and 45 percent in firefighters are due to a heart attack.
  • Bus drivers – Driving a bus is a toxic combination of stress and being sedentary. One study showed that 51 percent of bus drivers suffer from high blood pressure, as well as high cholesterol, body weight and heart disease.
  • Shift workers – No matter whether you’re working a shift because you’re a physician or nurse, or because you work in a factory, studies have shown that people who work irregular hours throughout the nighttime have a much higher risk for a heart attack then do people who work normal daytime hours. This is blamed on a disrupted circadian rhythm, which in turn leads to insulin dysregulation, obesity, insomnia and other medical issues linked to heart attack.
  • Bartenders and cocktail waitresses – Though many states have introduced no-smoking policies, bars are often exempt from the rules, leaving staff in these establishments vulnerable to the harmful effects of cigarette smoke. Exposure can lead to a heart attack.

If you have suffered a heart attack on the job, there’s a good chance that you may be entitled to file a workers’ compensation claim. For more information about your rights and the process, contact Vanasse to schedule a meeting with our workers’ compensation practice in Lancaster today.

How Do I Calculate My Worker’s Comp Benefits?

workers' compYou’ve been hurt at work, and it’s bad enough that you’re going to have to miss a good amount of work. What are you going to do now? You and your family rely on your weekly paycheck to pay the bills as well as the extras. Now you have medical bills to pay, as well as a loss of income. The good news is that you have a safety net: workers’ comp.

Most people don’t pay attention to the existence of workers’ comp until the time comes when they need it. Workers’ comp is a no-fault insurance policy that your employer provides for you. It specifically compensates you for your medical expenses, including rehabilitation and recuperation, as well as providing a portion of your income to help you pay your other bills when you have to miss work during your period of recovery.

Calculating your workers’ comp benefits is not difficult. Pennsylvania’s lawmakers have established a formula that is based on your gross average weekly wage from all of your employers. That means that the calculation includes your salary, hourly wages, bonuses and tips, and even what you have been paid for overtime, vacation or lodging for business-related trips. The amount of time that you have worked for your employer can come into play also, particularly if you are paid a set amount each pay period.

Once you have calculated your gross average weekly wage, it gets compared to the Department of Labor and Industry’s threshold for the statewide average weekly wage and paid on a sliding scale, with those who are paid the least getting the highest percentage of their average pay. For 2018, the maximum weekly compensation rate that you can be paid has been set at $1,025.00, and compensation is based on two-thirds of your weekly wage. If your average weekly rate falls between $1,537.50 and $768.76, you will be paid 66 2/3% of that amount each week ($1025 = 66 2/3% of $1,537.50). If your average weekly wage falls between $768.75 and $569.44, you will receive $512.50 per week, and if your average weekly wage is $569.43 or less, you will be paid 90% of whatever your weekly wage is.

This is the most basic calculation of what your workers’ comp benefits will be, but it is important to note that there are often other factors that can come into play. For assistance in making sure that you are getting the compensation that you deserve, contact our office today to set up a free consultation to discuss your case.

What is the Busiest Time of Year for Agriculture in Lancaster, Pennsylvania?

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is one of the nation’s top agricultural producers, and Lancaster County leads the way.  The area, which is just an hour’s drive east of the state capital and less than two hours west of Philadelphia, ranks first in the state for the value of its agricultural crops and production, as well as its livestock and poultry. The area supplies much of the nation’s grains, vegetables, eggs, milk, and tobacco, with dairy farming the area’s leading agricultural business.

 

The county’s position as a national leader makes sense when considering that it boasts more farms than any other county in the nation. It also is a national leader in the number of food processing employees. Between the area’s 6,000 farms, wide-ranging farmland and its supporting industry, Lancaster County provides more than 51,000 jobs, with the number of employees surging during the summer, the area’s busiest time of year for agriculture.  With an increased number of people working there is a related increase in the number of work-related injuries. For the vast majority of those injured employees, workers’ compensation provides a lifeline that pays for the medical treatment that they need and the wage replacement that helps them while they recuperate.

Agricultural work is notoriously dangerous. From accidents that can occur when working with heavy machinery and equipment to injuries caused by farm animals or exposure to chemicals and pesticides, farm workers are at significant risk for injuries major and minor, and even death. Though some people believe that agricultural workers in Pennsylvania are not entitled to workers’ compensation, that is only true in some scenarios. Every farm employer who pays one agricultural worker $1,200 or more or who employs one employee for thirty days or more per year is required to provide workers’ compensation, though the state has decided that undocumented workers are not entitled to replacement wages.

Fortunately, workers who are injured on the job have the ability to pursue compensation from other sources, even if they are unable to collect workers’ compensation. Personal injury lawsuits can be filed against third parties whose actions, products or negligence have contributed to injuries, and employers who do not provide coverage are also able to be pursued for compensation. If you are a Lancaster County employee who has been injured and you need information on how we can help, contact our office today.

 

 

 

Understanding Potential Teacher Risks During the Back-to-School Season

Teacher RiskIt’s that time of year. Office supply stores and Target have dedicated aisle after aisle to binders and crayons and backpacks, and teachers are back in the classroom, putting the final touches on their lesson plans and making sure that their classrooms are color-coordinated and ready. We all think of teachers as underpaid heroes, but few of us are aware that their profession is among the most at-risk of on-the-job injury and illnesses.  Not only do a large percentage of our schools represent unhealthy environments that put teachers at risk of toxic exposure, but teachers are facing new challenges that may lead to workers’ compensation claims, including the risk of injury caused by interactions with their students.

The top causes of teacher workers’ compensation claims in the United States include:

  • Slip and fall accidents –30% of all school-based workers’ compensation claims
  • Being struck –27% of all school-based workers’ compensation claims
  • Strain injuries –24% of all school-based workers’ compensation claims
  • Cut, puncture or scrape – 5% of all school-based workers’ compensation claims
  • Exposure to toxins – 5% of all school-based workers’ compensation claims

Beyond the same types of slips, trips, and strains that are seen in almost every work environment, the other major on-the-job-injury risk that teachers face comes from violence in the classroom or on campus. Roughly 25% of school employee injuries arise from interactions with students, and experts say that teachers are victimized far more frequently than the public realizes — in fact, they have indicated that the problem has reached the level of being a national crisis. A report issued by the Department of Education in 2015 indicated that injuries suffered by teachers led to more than $2 billion in losses included both lost workdays and workers’ compensation benefits.

Teachers are also exposed to a number of toxins in their classrooms, but the most concerning is the risk of exposure to asbestos. Most of America’s school buildings were constructed prior to the 1970s, and that means that asbestos-contaminated products were used in their construction. Asbestos ceiling and floor tiles and asbestos insulation are extremely common, and though they are not a concern when they are intact, as soon as those items begin to break down, there is a risk of microscopic asbestos particles being inhaled or ingested and leading to an increased risk of malignant mesothelioma, asbestosis, and other asbestos-related diseases. Other toxic exposures in schools include mold, mildew, and lead.

There are a number of actions that school districts can take to guard against the most common workplace injuries, including:

  • Promoting a hands-off approach to situations where students are acting out
  • Preventing winter slip-and-falls, and similar accidents caused by slippery floors, debris in the hallways or lunchrooms, etc.
  • Encouraging teacher fitness to minimize the risk of strains

If you are a teacher or school employee who has suffered an on-the-job injury, contact us to set up a free consultation to discuss your rights.

 

Avoiding Injury During a Seasonal Job

Emergency Room entranceSpring, summer, fall and winter. Each season offers different seasonal job opportunities for people looking for extra money. Whether you’re a college student home on break or a homemaker looking to earn a little extra gift money before the holidays, it’s important that you understand your rights as a seasonal employee as well as the risks that are involved. For example, did you know that seasonal workers are at a much higher risk for workplace injuries than is true of full time or part-time workers who are in the same job through the course of the year?  It’s true. Whether you’re talking about helping out during the harvest or retail sales during the Christmas shopping season, you need to focus on safety and understand what your rights are in the event that you get hurt on the job.

There are a few reasons why seasonal workers are at greater risk than others. The most common reason is that workers who are viewed as being short-term help, and who are hired to fill in during the busiest times of the year, are often not given the same amount of training as those who employers view as long-term employees. Where companies are willing to invest in people who will be staying with them for an extended period of time, those who are only going to be with the company for a few months aren’t seen as worth the time or money. Though this may not seem like a big deal to the seasonal worker, safety should always be a priority: you need to know what the hazards of the job are, what to do in an emergency, and proper use of equipment. Cutting back on training and safety instructions for seasonal employees is short-sighted. When this type of on-the-job training isn’t provided, it leaves employees far more vulnerable to injury, and far more likely to end up needing to file for workers’ compensation from their employees.

Workers’ compensation is not only available to employees who work throughout the year. When seasonal workers are hurt on the job, they are just as eligible for this benefit as the rest of a company’s employees. Workers’ compensation provides relief by paying for medical expenses and can also provide a portion of lost wages. If you have been hurt on the job and need information about your right to file for this important benefit, contact us today to set up an appointment.

The Most Common Workers’ Comp Injuries in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania State SealWhen you think of all the different types of work and work environments that exist in the state of Pennsylvania, it is easy to imagine that there is a wide variety of injuries that are suffered by the state’s workers. But according to the Pennsylvania Bureau of Worker’s Compensation, though the state agency tracks claims in a way that is broken down by industry and occupation job descriptions may vary, the injuries suffered across different occupations remain largely the same. The following are the state’s most commonly reported work-related injuries and illnesses reported each year that result in workers’ compensation claims.

 

Back Injuries

 

More than any other type of injury, workers in Pennsylvania are at risk for hurting their back, and especially their lower back. Though the work setting may vary, in most cases back injuries are a result of overexertion. Back pain affects most people at some point in their lives, so it is not a surprise that workers who are required to push, pull, or lift as part of their job description would be particularly vulnerable to this type of injury.

 

Finger Injuries, Wrist and Arm

 

At first glance, finger injuries may seem too minor an injury to warrant a workers’ compensation claim, but many occupations’ workers rely on their hands, whether they are in a construction or industrial setting or typing on a keyboard. Our fingers are vulnerable, and so are our wrists and arms. When they are injured and we are unable to use them, it can lead to a real disability.

 

Knee Injuries

 

The knee is a particularly vulnerable part of the body, and when workers’ job responsibilities involve standing, walking, or climbing they are put under stress. When the structural elements of our knees undergo strains or tears, recovery can be time-consuming and workers often need surgery or a long period of rehabilitation before they can return to work

 

Head Injuries

 

When workers fall or are struck from above by falling objects, they often suffer skull injuries. Those who work with chemicals or flame are vulnerable to materials being splashed in their eyes or faces, and this can result in disfiguring scars, while those who work in high noise environments are vulnerable to hearing loss.

 

If you have suffered a work-related injury in the state of Pennsylvania and you need assistance filing a workers’ compensation claim, contact our Lancaster law office today to set up a convenient time for a consultation.

The Most Common Summer Seasonal Job Injuries

First Aid Kit Whether you’re a student or teacher who is off for the summer, a full-time year-round employee looking for extra work or a person who relies on seasonal employment as your source of income, the summer season brings big opportunities. Theme parks and farms, ice cream stores and golf courses are all looking for extra help to manage the increased flow of business that warmer weather and vacation season brings. Unfortunately, summer’s seasonal jobs leave you vulnerable to countless workplace injuries. Though many people think of seasonal work as providing fewer protections than full-time employment, when it comes to workers’ compensation, most employees are covered.  Though nobody wants to incur a work-related injury, it’s nice to know that your employer is required to provide compensation for medical expenses, as well as for lost wages and other expenses depending upon the situation.

 

Each type of job has its own risks, and not all summer seasonal job injuries are related to the weather or weather-related activities, but some are. Here are the four most common summer seasonal job injuries.  

 

  • Dehydration

You’ve heard the warnings about needing to drink more water, but most people don’t take them seriously, and that includes employers. Everybody needs to drink plenty of water each day, but if you are working in a high-heat situation or outside in the sun, it becomes even more essential. Your employer should provide you with a break time and you and your coworkers should be checking with each other to make sure you’re staying hydrated.

 

  • Heat Stroke

If your job has you working in the sun or in a space that is not cooled or well-ventilated, you stand a good chance of suffering from hyperthermia. When a person becomes too overheated, the body can shut down its symptoms. You need to make sure you are hydrated, take breaks, and have the opportunity to cool down frequently.

 

  • Motor Vehicle Accidents

You may think that accidents are more likely to happen in the winter time, but statistically speaking the summer is the most dangerous time to be in the car. If your job involves you driving or riding in a vehicle, you need to be aware of this risk, especially around construction sites, which tend to be more prevalent when the weather is warm.

 

  • Falls

Falls are one of the most common workplace injuries all year long, but they are especially common when it’s warm out. You need to stay alert to avoid serious injury, but if you do fall and get hurt, workers’ compensation should reimburse you for your expenses.

 

Whatever your on-the-job injury, workers’ compensation is there to provide for your needs. For representation and information about your case, contact us today to set up an appointment.

Dressing to Work in Extreme Heat

sun and cloudsThe hottest days of the year are right around the corner, and with high heat comes additional risk for those who work outside. Whether your job is under the baking sun or inside in high-heat conditions, both situations put you at risk for heat-related injuries or illnesses. Though workers who are injured or sickened at work are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits including compensation for medical expenses and lost wages, the best answer is always to avoid injury in the first place. Here are some tips for dressing to work in extreme heat.

How Heat Can Lead to Fatalities, Injuries and Illnesses

Heat can take several different forms, from high air temperatures or humidity to radiant heat and direct physical contact with hot objects. The human body is made to maintain a constant temperature and when it comes into contact with too much heat or overheats itself, it attempts to cool itself. When the air temperature is warmer than the body it makes it difficult for the body to do that, and instead, it absorbs the heat’s energy. From a localized standpoint this results in a burn and from a whole-body standpoint it can raise the heart rate and cause whole-body symptoms. Heat-related illnesses include:

  • Burns
  • Sunburn
  • Heat rash
  • Heat cramps
  • Heat exhaustion
  • Heat stroke

If your job demands that you work outside in the sun, the following type of clothing can provide you with much-needed protection:

The fact sheet offers these tips for workers who must work in the heat:

  • Guard against sunburn by covering up and wearing tightly woven clothing. Use sunscreen and wear a hat that protects the neck, ears, eyes, forehead, nose and scalp. Wear UV-absorbent shades.
  • Those who work in the sun are best served by clothing that has an aluminized outer layer that is reflective. Clothing should be breathable but still provide protection against any hazards imposed by the job’s responsibilities
  • Those who work in high heat industrial environments of over 200 degrees must be protected by specialized suits and a system that provides breathable air.
  • Those who work with hot objects need protective gear that will not deteriorate or auto-ignite.

In all cases, high heat workers are reminded to hydrate frequently and to take breaks if they believe that they are overheating. If you suffered a heat-related injury on the job and need information about workers’ compensation, contact us today to set up a convenient appointment.

What are the Most Common Food Service Injuries?

food service injuriesWorking in food service can be extremely rewarding and offers a wide range of opportunities. From fast food spots to four-star restaurants and from serving or busing tables to working behind the line as a sous chef or head chef, you can earn a fair income, learn a lot, and spend time with interesting people. Unfortunately, these jobs come with risks and food service injuries are common.

Those who work in customer-facing roles can hurt themselves reaching across tables to serve or clear. They can trip on a slippery fall, or even find themselves face-to-face with robbers. Those who work in the kitchen are subject to the risk of burns and other injuries from stoves and ovens, knives and electrical appliances, as well as exposure to hazardous chemicals. Even the employees that work at drive-thru windows or who deliver food can end up injured on the job.

No matter what your position or how you were hurt, if you were injured while working in a food service establishment you may be entitled to workers’ compensation.

Workers’ compensation is a no-fault insurance policy that covers nearly every worker in America. It represents an agreement between employer and employee that means that injured workers will not need to file a personal injury lawsuit against their employer, and in exchange, their employer will insure them and provide compensation for medical expenses, as well as for any time needed away from work to recuperate and recover.

For those who work in food service, some injuries are more common than others. According to Cintas Corporation, one in every 20 on-the-job injuries occur at eating and drinking establishments, and the top four restaurant injuries are:

  • Lacerations and punctures – these are a result of working with knives, as well as the risk from broken dishes.
  • Burns – Restaurant workers face the constant risk of burns from hot stoves, fryers and boiling water, as well as from touching hot plates and other hot surfaces. Though many minor burns are treated on-site, others require medical attention.
  • Sprains and strains – These occur to both front of the house and kitchen employees, and usually result from improper lifting and reaching.
  • Eye injuries – In most cases these are incidents that occur in the kitchen because of splashes from grease, hot liquids and sanitizing chemicals

When you’ve been hurt on the job, you need to know your workers’ compensation rights to make sure that you receive the benefits to which you are entitled. Contact our office today to learn more.

 

Do Temporary Workers Have Access to Workers’ Compensation Insurance?

Back Injury - Lancaster Workers Comp - Vanasse LawSummer is on the horizon, and that means that students and teachers are going to be searching for employment. Whether you’re enmeshed in the 9-months-per year world of education or seek temporary or seasonal work for any other reason or at any other time of year, temporary workers are an important part of the workforce. Where full time and part-time employees are entitled to workers’ compensation insurance in case they get hurt on the job, many seasonal workers wonder whether temporary workers also have access to these important protections.

Workers’ compensation insurance exists to provide medical expenses and wage replacement for injuries or illnesses that occur on the job or as a result of the job. Injured workers can file claims to have their medical expenses fully compensated, while wages are reimbursed at a specified rate and percentage based on established schedules. In the state of Pennsylvania, this coverage is extended to temporary and seasonal workers, though there can sometimes be questions as to who is responsible for providing them with coverage.

The reason for this confusion revolves around who has actually hired the employee. If a temporary worker has applied directly to a company for a job and that company has employed them, then that company is responsible for providing their workers’ compensation coverage: the injured employee would report their injury directly to them and they would be listed as their employer on their workers’ compensation claim. But many temporary workers are placed in jobs through staffing or placement agencies that they list themselves with, and that means that the agency is their employer. Their workers’ compensation insurance is provided by the staffing agency unless their contract with the employee or the contracting client specifically states otherwise.

To apply for workers’ compensation, a temporary worker needs to report their injury to the company that has hired them. The notification should include details such as when and where the injury took place and how the injury occurred. Workers’ compensation is a no-fault type of insurance, so workers do not need to worry about attributing blame or having made a mistake before their injury. If you are a temporary or seasonal worker who has suffered an injury and you need more information on your rights, contact us today to set up a convenient time to meet and discuss your case.