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Tulsa Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Grain engulfment can cause fatal workplace injuries

During the recent national Stand-Up for Engulfment Prevention Week, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration used the opportunity to remind private grain companies in Oklahoma and other states that the hazards their workers face are as severe as those faced by employees of large grain and feed operations. Part of the focus during this campaign was on the three situations that are the most frequent causes of engulfment injuries. Many of these workplace injuries have tragic consequences.

One hazard is the clogging of unloading equipment. Workers sometimes enter the bins without giving a thought to shutting off the power. What they do not realize is that the grain will move quickly as soon as the debris is removed. Everything in the bin, including the worker, will be forcefully sucked in with the grain flow, and engulfment or entrapment in the unloading device can happen in the blink of an eye.

Workplace injuries: Research reveals new hearing-loss hazards

Different hazards pose different types of health risks to employees in all industries across Oklahoma. Not all workplace injuries are noticeable, and while open wounds and fractured bones happen in all workplaces, injuries such as hearing loss are also prevalent but often disregarded. However, cuts and broken bones can heal while hearing loss is permanent, and for this reason, safety agencies advise more hearing conservation.

Although some industries are known to produce excessive noise that threatens employees, researchers recently reported that AFFH industries pose significant hearing-loss hazards. This industry sector comprises of agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting within which the hearing tests of 17,300 employees were analyzed. Researchers say a significant percentage of those had suffered noise-related hearing loss.

Workplace injuries: What is the Multiple Injury Trust Fund?

Injured employees in Oklahoma are entitled to financial assistance through the workers' compensation insurance system if their injuries occurred on the job. However, what happens if a worker suffers several workplace injuries throughout his or her career? Will there come a time when the worker is no longer eligible for benefits?

An attorney at the law firm of Lowell & Lahan in Tulsa can answer those and any other questions about workers' compensation. There is a trust fund that receives taxes that are taken out of every approved benefits claim. The Multiple Injury Trust Fund that sets aside funds especially for victims of multiple workplace injuries.

Typical workplace injuries that lead to benefits claims

Oklahoma, like other states, requires employers to carry workers' compensation insurance. Victims of workplace injuries can typically claim benefits to cover doctors' bills, hospital stays, physical therapy and other medical expenses. Compensation is usually also available for a portion of lost wages, along with vocational rehabilitation for those whose injuries caused disabilities that prevent them from returning to their usual occupations.

Although the list of possible accidents across all industries is endless, some types of injuries make up the majority of workers' compensation claims. Vehicle accidents are said to be the primary cause of employee deaths, and this includes not only commercial truck drivers but anybody whose work duties include driving. Next on the list are slips and trips, which can happen just as quickly on a construction site as in an office, sometimes leading to serious injuries.

Workplace injuries happen despite automated loading dock safety

Loading docks are known to be hazardous areas. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration says statistical evidence indicates that some of the most significant hazards in loading docks nationwide, including in Oklahoma, involve forklifts -- with an estimated fatality every three days. However, safety authorities say that advanced technology to reduce the number of workplace injuries is being introduced all the time.

Advancement in safety technology has eliminated the need for loading dock workers to manually chock or unchock the wheels of trailers or lift levelers. Automated systems are in place in most facilities, and red and green lights indicate when a trailer is secured or released to travel. Sensors are also used to provide warning lights for as long as there is any activity inside the trailer to prevent it pulling away with the forklift driver still inside.

5 oil rig workers suffer fatal workplace injuries in rig fire

All operations that involve oil and gas extraction are dangerous, and only employers who maintain zero-tolerance safety protocols can protect employees from harm. Workplace injuries are prevalent in this industry in Oklahoma and other states, and many lives have been lost due to safety violations. The latest oil rig explosion is under investigation by state and federal investigators.

Reportedly, an uncontrolled gas release caught fire at an Oklahoma natural gas drilling rig on a recent Monday. Authorities say they believe one worker unsuccessfully tried to prevent the explosion by shutting down the well. Five workers were killed in the blast, and their bodies were only recovered on the day following the fire.

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.

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1851 E. 71st Street
Tulsa, OK 74136

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