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Augusta Georgia Workers' Compensation Blog

Avoiding blind spot accidents in the workplace

In Georgia and across the US, managers of warehouses and loading docks have begun to express concern over the inadequacy of various safety measures, especially those meant to prevent blind-spot collisions. For example, many workplaces are outfitted with one-size-fits-all convex mirrors without any regard to the environment, the number of intersections, traffic flow and other unique factors.

Accidents between employees on foot and those operating heavy machinery, such as forklifts, are all too common. Though forklifts beep when in reverse, the sound can easily be drowned out by other noises, and forklift operators themselves tend to look the opposite direction or become distracted. This is why industrial safety mirrors and domes should be customized to every facility. This can reduce the number of accidents, increase productivity, prevent lawsuits and higher insurance rates and keep safety managers happy.

Workplace safety across age groups

Many people living in Georgia continue to work long past "normal" retirement age. While many employers recognize the value in having a multigenerational workforce, there are also challenges in establishing and enforcing safety standards that protect workers in different age groups. Unfortunately, some employers may not be aware of the unique health and safety issues that senior workers face. This can result in unnecessary injuries for this age group.

As people age, certain physical changes can take place. Some seniors may find that their eyesight is not as good as it once was and may also experience a reduction in physical dexterity. In addition, older workers may take a longer time to recover from an accident or injury.

Are people followed by workers' comp investigators?

After you file a workers' comp claim, there is a lot you have to contend with; one example is workers' comp investigators. ABC News detailed the various tasks these investigators have to perform, which includes seeing if workers are truly as injured as they claim to be. Businesses and insurance companies rely on these professionals to make sure they provide money to those who deserve it. 

In the event a person has truly suffered injuries, he or she may assume there is nothing to worry about. However, it is not unheard of for investigators to stretch to find evidence to use against an injured party. The insurance company could also use this evidence to pay less than anticipated. People should watch out for potential investigators. 

Blast at chemical facility kills 1 and injures 2 others

Authorities in Georgia have reported than an explosion at an Augusta chemical plant on Sept. 27 claimed the life of one worker and left two others injured. The workplace accident took place at approximately 12.50 p.m. in the vicinity of the Bobby Jones Expressway and Sand Bar Ferry Road in East Augusta. A fire report reveals that first responders arrived at the scene within 10 minutes of the blast, and the chemical company involved said in a statement that work at the facility had been suspended and investigators would be provided with unfettered access to the site.

The accident occurred as workers and contractors were performing work on a wastewater tank. It involved welding a metal plate to the side of the tank that would be used to anchor a metal handrail. Reports indicate that the tank, which contained wastewater, was not pressurized and had been moved to a containment dyke because it was leaking. The air outside the tank was checked for combustible compounds before work commenced, but no tests were performed on the air inside the tank according to the fire report. However, investigators were quick to point out that their inquiries had just begun.

Preventing falls in the workplace

All Georgia employers are required to keep the workplace as safe as possible for employees. This also includes providing proper training for workers and the proper equipment for them to be able to complete the job. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration also helps employers ensure that the workplace is safe by providing advice on how to prevent potentially fatal incidents.

For example, a workplace fatality occurred after a warehouse worker fell 7 feet off a wooden pallet. The pallet was being lifted off the ground by a forklift. It was common practice for the workers to use these elevated pallets to access the inventory that was stored on high shelves, even though the equipment was not designed for this purpose. The worker suffered fatal fall injuries after he slipped from the pallet, causing him to fall. He died at the hospital several days later.

Construction workers exposed to silica

Silica, also known as silicon dioxide, is a hazardous toxin causing health problems in Georgia and around the country. Silica is in dirt, rocks, and sand. Silica dust enters the air when construction company workers are cutting materials. The workers inhale the harmful dust and many suffer as a result.

Asbestos is a material which contains silica fibers that travel in the air. There were at least 27 million workers in direct contact with asbestos products between 1940 and 1980, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Construction companies used asbestos to build and repair structures. More than 200,000 workers died due to their exposure to asbestos.

Safety measures in production facilities important

Georgia distribution centers and warehouses play a vital role in the economy because of their function in the supply chain. However, this type of work exposes employees to many hazards. Facilities managers need to make certain that they strictly adhere to the safety regulations that are enforced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in order to keep their workers safe.

OSHA has identified falls as a leading cause of workplace deaths and injuries. These accidents can happen when workers fall from heights or on the same level. Because of the dangers, OSHA has promulgated a number of safety standards that facilities are supposed to use in their working areas.

Being proactive with workplace accidents

Georgia workers regardless of their occupation may be interested in learning more about preventing injuries in the workplace. In the past, companies have often investigated only those injuries that have actually taken place in their efforts to increase safety. However, a new paradigm suggests it may be better to proactively investigate even potential incidents that nevertheless may have been very serious if they had actually occurred.

There can be many times in the course of operations that a potentially dangerous circumstance arises but goes unreported. For example, a worker might nearly lose control of heavy equipment or almost fall from a high platform. Although no injury has taken place, safety advocates are quick to point out that this is typically more of a matter of luck than anything else. Organizations that only give attention to actual injuries might quickly find themselves in difficulty if someone suffers life-changing harm while on the job.

Should you try to work through pain?

If you have been injured on the job, you may be in pain. Perhaps your back hurts because you got slammed against the wall breaking up a fight between students at school. Maybe your knees ache due to repetitive movements at your janitor job. Whatever the case, you are hurting and afraid of repercussions such as losing your job if you speak up.

However, your injuries can become even worse if you try to struggle through the pain. In the long term, keeping quiet could even render you physically unable to work.

Struck-by deaths are more prevalent in the construction industry

Construction work in Georgia is often considered to be extremely dangerous, especially for those who work around high-speed vehicles or on platforms. In fact, the construction industry has the highest number of struck-by deaths out of all U.S. industries. The rate of struck-by accidents has been so prevalent that the Occupational and Safety Health Administration was pushed to come up with a plan to prevent these incidents.

The Center for Construction Research and Training reported that there were more than 800 construction fatalities caused by struck-by incidents between 2011 and 2015. Of those fatalities, 52 percent occurred when workers were hit by objects or equipment. The remainder of the incidents were caused by vehicle strikes. Of the struck-by incidents involving vehicle strikes, 57 percent occurred in work zones on highways and other roadways. The data also showed that workers who were 65 and older were more likely to die from these incidents than younger workers.

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