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Springfield Workers' Compensation Blog

What are the effects of the fatal four?

Working on a Missouri construction site is naturally dangerous. There is a lot going on and hazards are just a general part of the job. However, there are four hazards that tend to cause the most injuries. This is why the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has referred to them as the fatal four. The fatal four include falls, struck by object, electrocutions and caught in or between accidents.

Falls were the most fatal with 38.7 percent of deaths on construction sites being caused by them. Struck by object accidents were responsible for 9.4 percent of deaths, electrocutions for 8.3 percent and caught in or between accidents for 7.3 percent. Of all fatal workplace accidents, 21.1 percent were construction workers. These figures are for 2016 as provided by OSHA.

A workplace injury affects your family too

Whether you are a nurse, trucker, teacher or construction worker, suffering an injury on the job is a serious matter. It could be as minor as a sprain or bruise, but no matter how small it seems, you should report it and seek treatment. This is especially true because you are not the only person affected by your injury. Often, your family will also experience the repercussions of an injury that occurs at work.

Consider the following ways in which this is true. In the meantime, follow your employers' directions for seeking care and filing a claim with their workers' compensation insurer. A workers' comp claim can help alleviate some of the ways that an injury affects both you and your family, too.

How do I know if I have workers' compensation coverage?

If you get injured while on the job in Missouri, you expect that your employer will be responsible and help you with any costs or losses incurred as a result. The state helps to ensure this happens by requiring employers to have workers' compensation coverage. However, not every employer is required to have this coverage and some employers may try to skirt the law by not having coverage. So, how can you know if your employer has workers' compensation insurance?

First, you need to understand the laws for workers' compensation as explained by the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations. The law says that if an employer has at least five employees, then it must have coverage. Employers do have the option of self-insuring, though. This could change the process of collecting benefits if you do get injured.

Truck drivers should beware of weight problems

Driving loads across the state of Missouri requires keen eyes and alert muscles. Unfortunately, truck driving is a sedentary job that does not allow for much exercise, which puts many truck drivers at risk of being overweight. One of the problems that may arise from excessive weight is diabetes, which can hinder a person's ability to handle a truck on the road.

The FleetOwner magazine website points out that drivers inflicted with diabetes face the possibility of losing their driving certification unless they successfully apply for an exemption, showing that they can manage their condition with insulin prescriptions. Many truck drivers with diabetes are prohibited from driving because diabetes can disrupt the body in ways that make it hazardous for a trucker to drive. A diabetes sufferer can lose touch sensations in the feet or hands due to peripheral neuropathy. Diabetes may also result in fluids obstructing the eye, which is also known as retinopathy.

Hazards associated with working on around scaffolding

Construction accidents and related injuries are not uncommon at many Missouri construction sites, highlighting just how potentially dangerous a job in this industry can prove to be. While falls, burns, and cuts and lacerations often result from construction work, many who work in your industry also suffer serious injuries relating to their use of scaffolding, or temporary, elevated platforms that provide access to higher elevations. The attorneys at Hall Ansley recognize just how many construction site injuries occur because of scaffolding, and they have helped many Missouri construction workers who suffered injury on the job pursue appropriate recourse.

Per the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration, construction workers, building erectors and dismantlers and anyone else who frequently relies on scaffolding to perform job duties face numerous risks. Furthermore, the risks associated with working on scaffolding are so severe that they are a factor in more than 60 deaths and about 4,500 injuries annually.

Can stairs cause personal injury?

Many Missouri workplaces feature stairwells to access upper and lower floors, which makes it important that stairs be as safe as possible for workers and building visitors to use. However, not all stairwells will be entirely safe. For a number of reasons, people can slip and fall down a flight of stairs and suffer serious injury.

Findlaw lists several possible causes for a person to fall down stairs. In times of wet weather, people may track in snow, ice or water onto stairs, which can increase slip risks. Debris may also be left on stairs. For example, someone might drop a piece of trash as they climb down the steps, such as an aluminum wrapper left over from lunch. Sometimes children or parents may unknowingly drop toys onto steps.

Why you need to report your workplace injury

Injuries at the workplace, especially in high-risk jobs such as construction, are a frequent occurrence. However, not all injured workers report their injuries to their employer.

Reasons for not reporting a workplace injury vary, but oftentimes the worker may fear employer retaliation, such as termination. Fear of losing your job should not prevent or stop you from reporting your on-the-job injury. 

Can I get a second opinion for my workers' comp?

Completing your Missouri workers' compensation process can be delicate. You do not want to prematurely close off your options for receiving compensation before you understand the full extent of your injuries as well as the treatments and/or rehabilitation efforts you will require. One way to alleviate your worries is to seek a second doctor to examine you before you settle your claim.

According to the Missouri Department of Labor, an important reason to seek a second opinion is when an insurer tries to settle with you. There are sound reasons to settle a claim. Some injured workers may feel that all of their concerns have been addressed and that there is nowhere else to go with their claim. Also, depending on the case, a worker may even secure promises from an insurance company to provide future benefits or payments. 

The risks of workplace forklift use

Forklifts are very handy machines for lifting and carrying heavy loads throughout a warehouse, as well as for loading and unloading cargo from large trucks. But these machines can be dangerous if not used correctly in a Missouri workplace. Injuries may likely result from improper use to both lift operators and pedestrians who walk in close proximity to an operating forklift.

Operating a forklift requires great awareness on the part of the operator. A failure to heed surroundings can lead to any number of forklift accidents and resulting injury. According to OSHA, forklifts can present several hazards that operators should account for as they drive a forklift throughout a facility.

What Workers' Compensation hearings do I have to attend?

If you are injured on the job in Missouri, you probably will file a workers' compensation claim. You will receive benefits as set out under the law. Throughout the process, you may have to attend hearings or other meetings about your benefits to ensure you receive what is due to you. There are several different types of hearings or meeting you may attend.

According to the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, when you first file your workers' compensation claim, it may go in for mediation. This is where everyone involved sits down to discuss your initial claim and reaches a settlement agreement. You may also have a pre-hearing where you discuss any issues surrounding your claim that need resolved before the hearing. It also allows you to present a settlement and have that approved, so you do not have to wait for the actual hearing to take place.

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Hall Ansley, P.C.
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Springfield, MO 65804

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