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Tulsa Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Workplace injuries: Severity does not cause benefits eligibility

Most Oklahoma workers know that they will be entitled to workers' compensation benefits if they should be injured on the job. However, some may think that the severity of workplace injuries determine eligibility for benefits. This is not true, and any illness or injury that is work-related and suffered while an employee was on duty, sober and not taking part in horse-play is typically compensable.

Workplace injuries include broken bones, repetitive stress injuries and other physical injuries along with emotional or mental injuries like depression and post-traumatic stress disorder after suffering or witnessing a catastrophic injury. Although the severity does not define eligibility, it will determine the level of compensation provided.  The financial relief offered will depend on the medical treatment and the impact of the injury on the victim's ability to continue working, or the time spent recovering.

Workplace injury: 2 fatalities follow grain engulfment

Employers in all industries must protect the health and safety of their employees. Sadly, this is often not the case, leaving employees in Oklahoma and other states extremely vulnerable to potential workplace injury incidents. A company in a neighboring state contends that employee safety is its priority. However, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has apparently cited this company 24 times after inspections at its facilities in 13 different states over a period of seven years.

The latest incident in which this grain company was involved claimed the lives of two workers who became trapped when they were overwhelmed by grain in a bin on a recent Tuesday. The company did not provide any information about the circumstances that led to the tragedy. It is also not known whether the two employees were equipped with personal protective equipment at the time of the incident.

Fatal workplace injury in oilfield kills 35-year-old worker

Workers in the Oklahoma oil fields face multiple life-threatening hazards on a daily basis. For that reason, compliance with prescribed safety regulations is vital. The slightest violation can lead to the loss of life. Safety authorities are investigating a fatal workplace injury that occurred in Okmulgee County on a recent Thursday morning.

According to a report by the police, they received an emergency call at approximately 10:30 a.m. to inform them of a fallen oil derrick that caused injuries. Reportedly, a worker wearing a harness was at the top of the tower, pulling up sucker rods from the well. Co-workers say they saw the platform shaking before it tipped over.

Asbestos removal contractor suffers workplace injuries in fall

Construction workers in Oklahoma face multiple hazards whenever they are on building sites. Scaffolding is particularly dangerous, and a significant number of workplace injuries result from collapses and other defects in scaffold structures. The fire department of Tulsa reported a recent incident in which a construction worker was injured.

Reportedly, emergency services were called to a construction site at which a building is being remodeled into a hotel. Reportedly, a contractor who was involved in asbestos removal fell from the scaffold and suffered serious injuries. According to his employer, the incident occurred immediately after a safety meeting when the worker got onto the scaffold platform.

Serious workplace injuries caused by overhead power line

Construction company owners in Oklahoma are responsible for the health and safety of their employees. This is no easy task, considering the many safety hazards with which construction workers have to deal. If employers fail to provide comprehensive safety training to ensure workers are aware of the dangers, workplace injuries will occur.

One of many deadly hazards to which construction workers are frequently exposed is electric power lines. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has strict regulations related to construction work near power lines, but these rules are often disregarded. One such an incident left a construction worker with serious burn wounds earlier this month.

Concern over the numbers of farm-related workplace injuries

Farms and ranches are great places to live or work, but the risks farmworkers face must not be ignored. Some of the safety hazards they encounter are not present in any other workplace. Authorities say farm-related workplace injuries caused the deaths of more than 400 people in 2015 nationwide, including in Oklahoma.

Reportedly, incidents involving transportation such as tractors that overturn were what caused most of the fatalities. The most concerning aspect of the statistics is that an average of 113 youths under the age of 20 die every year in accidents on farms nationwide. These numbers are made up mostly of young workers between 16 and 19 years old.

Workplace injury: Construction worker dies in sewer line tragedy

Working in confined spaces can produce some of the most hazardous circumstances on Oklahoma jobsites. Although the Occupational Safety and Health Administration prescribes specific safety regulations to protect against workplace injury in such conditions, not all employers make comply. A construction worker in another state recently died within the confines of a 24-inch diameter pipe.

Reportedly, the incident occurred shortly after 6 p.m. on a recent Wednesday while a 22-year-old contractor's employee was lining a sewer pipe to stop leaks. The fire chief reports that the worker was trapped by the collapsed lining, approximately 25 feet into the horizontal sewer line. Rescuers who specialize in dealing with confined space emergencies had to be brought in to cut away the pipe and the liner to reach the worker.

Workplace injuries: The hazards of road construction zones

Road construction zones in Oklahoma and other states will always be hazardous areas. This was underscored again when two workers were struck by cars moving through construction zones in another state. The accidents occurred within three days of one another. It is not only the heavy equipment that these workers use that pose risks of workplace injuries but also the vehicles that travel through the areas.

A coordinator for road safety in that state said this is a particularly busy time for work crews because many projects must be completed before winter. One man was fixing potholes years ago when he was struck by a drunk driver. His son says he is often amazed at the disregard other drivers show for the safety of road construction workers. He says these workers put their lives on the line to make the roads safer for those who do not consider the safety of the workers.

Workplace injury: Scaffold collapse kills 3 TV tower workers

Oklahoma workers whose jobs involve working on communications towers will be aware of the dangers to which they are exposed every time they are working at extreme heights. Three workers recently lost their lives when a scaffold structure on which they were standing collapsed. The chances of suffering a fatal workplace injury increase significantly when great heights are involved.

The investigators of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration are working on finding the reason for the collapse of the scaffolding at a 100-story TV tower in another state. The federal agency said they have not had to investigate a broadcast tower accident of such magnitude in over five years. Reportedly, the work crew's job involved the replacement of an antenna when the collapse occurred.

Workplace injury: Know the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning

Employers in Oklahoma must ensure the safety and health of employees. Compliance with safety regulations is necessary to avoid workplace injury. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health points out the dangers of carbon monoxide as an area of concern.

NIOSH says employers and workers do not realize that even areas that seem well ventilated pose risks of carbon monoxide poisoning if gasoline-powered equipment is operated there. Generators, pumps, cutting saws and other tools or engines produce dangerous levels of carbon monoxide. Because it is odorless and colorless, employees can be overcome before they even realize the danger. CO overexposure is possible even with open windows and doors and using a fan to ventilate the area.

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