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Slidell Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Noise exposure rules from OSHA and NIOSH

Regulatory groups such as OSHA have set legal limits as to how much noise a worker in Louisiana or elsewhere in the country may be exposed to. The exposure limit per OSHA regulations is 90 decibels per eight hours worked. This is considered to be a 100 percent noise dose. However, workers may be exposed to greater volumes depending on how long that they are exposed to them.

If a worker is going to be exposed to a noise for 15 minutes, OSHA allows it to be as loud as 115 decibels. If a worker is exposed to noise for an hour, the maximum allowable volume would be 105 decibels. NIOSH standards are slightly different than OSHA standards in that a worker may only be exposed to a maximum volume of 85 decibels over a period of eight hours.

Man sues companies after son is killed in explosion

On May 10, it was reported that the father of a worker who was killed in an explosion that occurred in a Louisiana plant in February filed a lawsuit against two companies associated with the plant. It was found that unsafe working conditions may have caused the explosion to occur at the paper packaging plant. The man had only been working there for several days when the accident occurred, and he left behind a 16-year-old son.

According to the attorney who is representing the father, one of the companies had previously had a similar incident occur at another facility several years ago. However, it appeared that it had made little effort to keep these types of incidents from happening. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board were still investigating the incident.

Claims pertaining to robotic systems

Robots are used to make a wide variety of tasks around the home and on the job easier to complete. However, when the robots fail and injure or kill someone, Louisiana residents should know that this can result in the filing of product liability claims.

The number of accidents caused by robotic systems is expected to rise each year due to the significant increase in the use of the systems. For example, surgeons are able to use robots to conduct procedures, which allows them to make smaller cuts using smaller instruments. The robotic systems can also be used to conduct remote surgery, eliminating the need for doctors to be in the same room as their patients.

Report shows that 150 workers die every day

Although unions attempt to ensure that workplaces are safe, Louisiana employees may be interested to learn that, in 2015, it was estimated that 150 workers across the nation died every single day. The fatalities were caused by both work-related injuries and illnesses.

The report, which was released by the AFL-CIO, said that more than 4,800 workers died from injuries that they incurred while on the job and which could have been prevented. Another 50,000 to 60,000 workers died as a result of illnesses that were associated with occupational diseases. Immigrant workers were particularly at risk. The organization claimed that the fatalities were caused by negligence on behalf of the corporations and inadequate safety laws.

OSHA launches young and temp worker safety campaign

As part of its efforts to keep workers in Louisiana and across the country safe, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has launched another safety campaign, and this time it's aimed at a specific part of the workforce: young workers. With the promotional message 'Young workers! You have rights!" the campaign aims to educate both workers and employers about special circumstances that may apply to younger, newer or temporary workers.

The safety campaign serves as a reminder that there are laws restricting work and work duties of people under the age of 18. Information and guidelines for employers and temporary workers are also a big part of the safety campaign. Temporary workers have the same rights to safety and health while on the job as permanent workers. Employers and temporary staffing agencies share the responsibility for ensuring temporary workers' safety.

Workers’ comp vs. disability: Details matter

As an office executive, you think that you are safe while in the workplace. However, dangers lurk everywhere, from a spill in the break room to loose carpeting in the lobby. Even years spent typing away on the computer can lead to debilitating cases of carpal tunnel syndrome.

Imagine that you do have an accident at work one day. You finally tripped on that loose piece of carpeting in the lobby and ended up in the emergency room with a nasty concussion. Head injuries, even seemingly minor ones, can have lasting effects. Due to the possible long-term effects of the injury, you are now wondering if you are entitled to workers' compensation benefits or disability payments.

Confined spaces are a common workplace hazard

Confined spaces like silos, septic tanks, vats and utility vaults can be found in many workplaces in Louisiana and around the country. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, a confined space is an area that is not designed for continuous use but is large enough for a worker to enter. Confined spaces are considered particularly dangerous because they offer limited means of escape in an emergency.

After studying the hazards of working in confined spaces, OSHA introduced a standard designed to protect workers. However, OSHA chose to make its confined space standard performance-orientated rather than prescriptive. While performance-oriented standards allow employers to exercise a certain degree of discretion when deciding how to best protect their workers, prescriptive standards are stricter and specify materials and equipment that must be used and procedures that must be followed. The OSHA standard applies to spaces that contain hazardous atmospheres or materials that could engulf workers and are configured in a way that could make escape difficult.

AGC's construction industry accident findings

Workers on Louisiana construction sites may find of interest the construction safety report by the Associated General Contractors of America that was released on April 4. The comprehensive study outlines construction-related accidents and fatalities and may help construction industry owners and supervisors improve workplace safety.

The top cause for construction-related deaths is from slips, trips and falls. The fatality rate steadily increases in construction workers when they turn 35 and peaks at the age of 65 and older. Perhaps this is because older workers are waning in physical and mental acuity in fulfilling their tasks, or they may sometimes take unsafe shortcuts.

Louisiana construction workplaces and TBIs

According to research from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, the industry that has the most traumatic brain injuries in workplaces around the country is construction. Statistics also show that there were 2210 occupational TBI fatalities from 2003 to 2010.

For its study, the NIOSH used the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to obtain the data for the construction industry. The data was examined in order to compare the fatality rates among cause of death, demographics and industries.

Suffering work-related asthma

Louisiana employees may be interested to learn that an estimated 11 million workers, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, are exposed to airborne agents that are associated with occupational asthma. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention even concluded that an estimated 2.7 million workers across the nation were suffering from asthma that may have been caused or aggravated by conditions in the workplace.

Asthma is a disease that causes the pathways in the lungs to become inflamed and narrowed. When aggravated, work-related asthma symptoms can include coughing, shortness of breath and wheezing. Irritants and certain airborne substances, including smoke and pollen, can trigger asthmatic responses that could potentially be life-threatening if not well-controlled. While many irritants may be caused by breathing them in, skin contact with certain substances can also cause asthma.