Is Florida Deporting Undocumented Immigrants Who File Workers Comp?

Generally, all injured workers whose employer has workers’ compensation or is required by the state to have workers’ comp insurance have the right to file a claim after being hurt on the job. All states allow this, as the states know that whether they like it or not, undocumented immigrants are an important part of the United States economy. Many employers, whether right or wrong, rely on this labor in the hospitality industry, the restaurant industry, the construction industry and more. No matter how someone feels about this reality, states recognize that it is essential for an injured person to have access to medical treatment and a portion of lost wages after a job accident. However, Florida immigrants are facing a large problem due to a loophole in this law that is allowing police officers to use the workers’ comp filing against them for deportment proceedings.

In the Florida workers’ comp law, it is a crime to file a claim using a false identification. Insurance companies that review workers’ comp claims have actually been turning people into the police to avoid having to pay out workers’ comp benefits. This is not only terrible for the employee, who is already injured and will have other difficulties, but the employer, who has lost an employee and the economy as a whole. Further, many of these immigrants have their own families in this country that they support through their employment. Deportation of the breadwinner will seriously harm these remaining family members, who may fall into poverty and then become even more dependent on the states for assistance.

Undocumented workers and immigrants already have enough to fear in today’s political climate without having to further worry about being deported after being seriously injured at work. Anyone injured at work, whether a citizen, resident, work permit holder or undocumented immigrant should always speak to a lawyer after being hurt. A consultation with a lawyer is 100% confidential, and the attorney can guide the person towards their best options moving forward.

Who Is Responsible for Workplace Safety Other Than Management?

More than 100,000 workers are seriously injured by falls every year. Falls are the leading cause of death in the construction industry, so the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is vigilant for signs of fall safety violations.

Workers can be seriously injured falling through incomplete roofs or open skylights. Additionally, equipment can fall through those same openings and injure workers below.

Guardrails are mandatory for workers exposed to a drop of six feet or higher, and toeboard protections are needed to protect workers on lower levels from falling tools.

OSHA requires businesses to appoint a “competent person” to supervise workers at every work site. By definition, a competent person needs to be someone “capable of identifying existing hazards or working conditions which are unsanitary, hazardous, or dangerous to employees.”

Competent people must also have the authority to take “prompt corrective measures to eliminate [workplace hazards].” Essentially, this person represents management and makes sure that workers abide by OSHA regulations.

US Demco of Brooklyn Inc., a New York contractor, was fined $45,200 for failing to provide fall protection while workers demolished a three-story residential building.

The construction company also failed to provide guardrails or toeboards for workers on the second and third floor. More importantly, the construction site failed to assign a competent person to oversee the work.

OSHA determined that management had risked workers’ lives by failing to provide adequate safety equipment or supervise their workers. The company has 15 days to contest OSHA’s findings.

Spevack Law FirmPersonal Injury Lawyers

Why Does Texas Give Employers the Option to Provide Workers’ Comp?

The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) says that the first workers’ compensation laws in Texas came in 1913. At the time, the legislators believed that employers should have the freedom to decide if they want to provide workers’ comp to their employees.

They feared that government run programs would limit the property rights of an employer since there was no due process of the law.

However, in 1917, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that it was legal to require employers to participate in workers’ compensation programs.

If an employee is injured on the job and the employer does not carry any compensation coverage, the employee is the one who will suffer. The only way for an employee to be compensated for their injuries is to hire an experienced lawyer who can fight for their right to fair compensation.

Allison & Ward – Austin Workers’ Compensation Attorneys  

 

Are Workers Safe Around Mechanical Power Presses?

A mechanical power press cuts and shapes large metal pieces for the automotive industry, but the machine’s size, power and speed can put workers at risk. Every year, thousands of workers suffer amputations, crush injuries, and lacerations from mechanical power presses.

After an inspection by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Metal & Wire Products Co. Inc. received several citations for inadequate safety procedures while using their mechanical power presses.

The company was cited for violating OSHA’s lockout/tagout and machine guarding procedures. Management also failed to install brake-monitoring safeguards, use safety blocks, or inspect presses weekly.

Violations of machine guarding and lockout/tagout procedures expose workers to numerous hazards. Machine guards protect operators from the machine’s moving parts, while lockout/tagout procedures keep workers from using faulty equipment.

OSHA’s safety measures may seem excessive, but one mechanical power press can cause incredible damage. Crush injuries and amputations can change workers’ lives, and make it difficult for victims to find future employment.

Larrimer & Larrimer, LLCColumbus Workers Comp Attorneys

Why do Hotel Workers Sustain More Injuries?

According to a report by Hotel Workers Rising (HWR), “hotel workers are 48 percent more likely to be injured on the job than the typical worker in the service sector.”

Additionally, hotel workers face higher rates of serious injuries than any other service sector employees do.

A study conducted by the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) concluded two things about why this happens and what should be done to fix the problem:

  • Housekeepers have to clean bathrooms and lift beds at a fast speed, which puts them at a higher risk for serious injury.
  • To reduce injury, the hotel industry needs to slow the pace of work and decrease the amount of work.

The UCSF study found that 75 percent of housekeepers experienced work-related pain. The pain was so great for the hotel workers that 73 percent visited a doctor, while over half had to take time off work.

Many hotels keep the housekeepers understaffed, which puts additional pressures on the existing staff to work even faster and harder. This has forced the housekeepers to skip meals and breaks, when studies have shown that rest periods have proven essential in reducing injuries.

Allison & Ward – Austin Workers’ Compensation Attorneys  

 

Paint Creek Fire District Rewarded for Safety Excellence

Photo of worker's injury claim formThe Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) presented the Paint Creek EMS/Fire District with a Safety Intervention Grant, in recognition of their outstanding workplace safety procedures.

Safety Intervention Grants are considered an investment in future workplace safety. The BWC helps companies identify successful policies, awarding the grants to businesses who have already shown a consistent commitment to safety.

The Paint Creek emergency response unit transports patients to hospitals, performs water, rope, and off-road rescue, and provides educational outreach for health issues. Some of their daily responsibilities, like loading and unloading ambulance patients, can cause back and shoulder sprains, lacerations, and crushed fingers.

The BWC’s CEO presented the assistant fire chief with a $30,000 Safety Intervention Grant to purchase a Ferno iNix patient transport and loading system. The new equipment would mechanically lift patients into the ambulance, reducing the strain on emergency responders.

 

Larrimer & Larrimer, LLCColumbus Workers Comp Attorneys

$7.25 Million Awarded to Mesothelioma Victim in Asbestos Suit

According to the Washington Examiner, on March 13, the family of a man who died of mesothelioma was awarded $7.25 million by a Philadelphia County jury.

After being diagnosed with mesothelioma in January 2010, the man alleged that while working on Navy ships at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard from 1965 to 1970 he was exposed to asbestos-containing products. The man’s family filed a lawsuit on his behalf in November 2010, against the manufacturers of the asbestos-containing products he claimed led to his mesothelioma.

Prior to the trial RSCC Wire & Cable, one of the defendants, made a $2,500 settlement offer, which was rejected. The jury dismissed all of the defendants’ defenses during deliberations, then decided in favor of the family of the mesothelioma victim, awarding them $3.6 million in survival damages and $3.6 million for wrongful death.

Sponsored by Harrell & Nowak, L.L.C., located in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Lung Irritation Could Be Chronic Silicosis

If you work at a construction site, shortness of breath, respiratory irritation and fatigue can all be signs of a serious lung condition called chronic silicosis. Chronic silicosis is a disease that develops over time as a person breathes in microscopic bits of crystalline silica, a component in all sand and stone. Construction workers are at a high risk for the disease, especially if your duties include:

  • Sand blasting
  • Jackhammering
  • Mixing Concrete
  • Drilling or cutting concrete
  • Tuck pointing
  • Tunneling

When you breathe in, the small bits of crystalline silica create tiny cuts in your lungs. These make you more susceptible to respiratory diseases like tuberculosis. They also cause scar tissue to build up in your lungs, making it difficult for them to function correctly. This can cause shortness of breath and irritation of the nose, throat and lungs. If exposed for longer periods, side effects can include respiratory failure and death.

Employers can protect their workers from chronic silicosis with a few small steps:

  • Making sure work areas are properly ventilated
  • Wetting the stone before cutting
  • Requiring the use of N95 NIOSH certified respirators

The consequences of chronic silicosis can be dire, even fatal. If you believe you are suffering from this disease, please consult a doctor immediately.

Sponsored by Larrimer & Larrimer LLC of Columbus, OH

Do You Work an a Hospital? Statistics Show Injuries Increasing Among Hospital Workers

More so than construction and manufacturing, hospitals are one of the most dangerous places to work in terms of employee accidents. Most hospital injuries result from repeatedly lifting and repositioning limited mobility patients, exposure to contagious patients and interactions with violent patients. In addition, a culture of “patient first” pervades hospitals. While it is a virtuous notion, it often results in employees disregarding their own health.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), there were approximately 273,700 workplace injuries in hospitals in 2011. The hospital industry is an outlier, statistically. Construction, manufacturing and other industries have all dramatically reduced the incidence of workplace injuries in the past decade; however, hospital injury rates remain high.

Sponsored by Larrimer & Larrimer, LLC of Columbus, OH

Is Workplace Noise Something To Worry About?

Most workers do not think about hearing loss as a work place injury because it develops gradually over time. However, hearing loss can have devastating effects on the victim. A sign of the onset of hearing loss is an inability to understand conversations taking place only a few feet away. As the threshold of audibility lowers, the victim will no longer be able to understand words spoken directly to him. Eventually, he or she will lose hearing entirely.

Hearing loss compounds the likelihood of workplace accidents because it will be harder for the worker to accurately follow safety instructions. If you work in a loud environment, be sure to bring ear plugs or wear shooting range headphones. Hearing loss is permanent, so take precautions whenever possible.

Sponsored by Larrimer & Larrimer, LLC of Columbus, OH