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Category Archives: Workers Compensation

Safety Tips for Oil and Gas Workers.

Safety Tips for Oil and Gas Workers

The U.S. oil and gas industry supports much of this country’s energy needs but the work can be dangerous for employees. Accidents can be prevented, and it is up to employees and their employers to understand and practice important safety protocols every single day.

What Are the Safety Hazards for Oil and Gas Workers?

  • Explosions and fires: The ignition of flammable gases and vapors like hydrogen sulfide can cause explosions and fires. They can be ignited by cigarettes, open flames, static electricity, welding tools, and other sources.
  • Falls: Oil and gas workers who stand on platforms and other elevated surfaces can fall and become seriously injured.
  • Struck-by/caught-in/caught-between: These happen when workers get struck or caught in or between hazards like high-pressure lines, falling equipment, or moving vehicles.

Other hazards include vehicle collisions, machine hazards, confined spaces, and hazardous energy. Here are safety tips for oil and gas workers and their employers:

Wear the Proper Safety Equipment

High-visibility clothing is crucial for oil and gas workers, and includes reflective, high-visibility fabrics and striping. Safety gear like helmets, the proper footwear, goggles, and respirators also prevent accidents and injuries.

Orientation and Training

Employers are responsible for workplace safety, and this includes ensuring that all employees are trained and given orientations when first hired. Part of this is learning safety procedures like a stop-work authority, and mentoring programs can help with all of this. Employees should also have documentation of the company’s standard operating procedures.

Everyday Safety

Even though oil and gas job sites are different from office workspaces, it is still important to remember the basics. Drilling areas must be clear of slippery surfaces, damage, and other tripping hazards. Proper lighting is also important. The rule of thumb here is to be aware of your surroundings.

When small accidents occur, they should be logged in and reported. This way, a minor issue can be addressed before it escalates. Serious site accidents must also be reported and thoroughly documented.

Short Service Employees

Some oil and gas workers are hired on a short-term basis and while the extra hands may be needed, they can present more risk to themselves and others. These workers should also have orientations and be properly trained and supervised. After all, they are exposed to the same hazards as the other employees.

Lock-Out Areas

During the extraction processes, certain areas and equipment are left dormant for repairs, testing, and equipment movement. These must be clearly marked with tags, signs, or tape. Employees who work in these areas have to be instructed on the procedures. Employers are responsible for explaining the dangers of reenergizing and restarting equipment that is in lockout or tag-out status.

Trained employees can be authorized to lockout machines, and no one else should attempt to do so. The trained workers can also be responsible for maintenance and repair operations. Untrained, unauthorized personnel can cause serious accidents when they do not understand or follow the proper procedures.

Vehicle Movement

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), four out of every 10 oil and gas worker fatalities are from vehicle incidents. Managers must manage the safety protocols for employee transportation, which is often in distant, remote areas. Trained drivers should complete pre-trip inspections and should never speed. It is also best to only use approved driving surfaces and to be alert for any hazards.

Maintenance Procedures

Like any other worksite, maintenance is key for safety. This pertains to more than just the equipment; vehicle and tool maintenance is also important. There should be maintenance schedules and regular walk-throughs to check the site for possible problems and adherence to safety rules: complacency leads to work-related accidents.

Physical and Mental Health

Oil and gas industry work can take a toll on one’s physical and mental health. If you have chronic pain, see a doctor. The same holds true for your mental health. When you are not feeling well at work, focus and alertness can be impacted. It only takes a second to become injured when you are distracted. Just as importantly, if you have a chronic illness, get that checked out as well. It could be serious and could be work-related.

Understand Emergency Procedures

Drilling rigs are constantly changing work environments, and employees get moved around from spot to spot. This means that you might be familiar with your area, but not others. Walk the job every now and then to understand where things are. Look over the emergency evacuation plan, know where the safety equipment is, and memorize the escape routes.

Speak Up

Oil and gas industry employees who notice hazards can do themselves and everyone else on the site a big favor by pointing them out to supervisors. This is all about open communication, which should be encouraged by employers. That goes both ways, of course. Safety managers have to be proactive about communicating workplace risks in real time. Weekly safety meetings, emails, and other methods keep everyone in the loop and should be an important part of the workplace.

Hazardous Energy Accidents

Oil and gas industry workers can be injured or lose their lives when hazardous energy is not safely controlled. Accidents can lead to burns, crushing, electrocution, lacerations, fractures, amputations, and worse. Here are some examples of how these accidents happen:

  • A piece of equipment’s internal wiring shorts out and electrocutes an employee.
  • A conveyor system jams and then releases suddenly, crushing an employee who was attempting to fix it.
  • A steam valve suddenly turns on, burning the employees who were working nearby.

The Delaware Work Injury Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Offer Trusted Legal Guidance to Injured Oil and Gas Industry Workers

If you work in the oil and gas industry and were seriously injured on the job, it helps to have an experienced team on your side. At Rhoades & Morrow, our knowledgeable, skilled Delaware work injury lawyers have handled many of these cases and always fight to protect our clients’ rights. For a free consultation, call our Wilmington, Delaware offices at 302-427-9500 or complete our online form. With offices in all three counties of Delaware, we serve clients throughout the state.

Repetitive Stress Injuries in the Workplace.

How to Reduce Repetitive Stress Injuries in the Workplace?

Repetitive stress injuries affect the nerves, muscles, ligaments, or tendons and are caused by constant use or repetitive motions. This persistent overuse of the same muscles and other structures leads to temporary or permanent injuries to that part of the body. Repetitive stress injuries frequently affect the arms, shoulders, elbows, knees, wrists, fingers, and thumbs.

Repetitive stress injuries commonly affect workers who perform the same physical tasks for prolonged periods of time. These injuries impact many different types of workers and cost employers billions of dollars in lost productivity and Workers’ Compensation claims every year.

There are steps workers can take to prevent these debilitating injuries:

  • Take short, frequent breaks from repetitive tasks. This is actually better than taking one long break during the workday.
  • Maintain good posture when sitting, standing, and bending to reduce undue stress on certain body parts.
  • Create an ergonomic workspace where everything you need is easily accessible and requires the least amount of strain.
  • Stretch often throughout the day, focusing on areas of the body involved in rigorous and repetitive tasks.
  • See your health care provider at the first sign of strain. Without intervention, repetitive stress injuries can worsen and become chronic conditions.
  • Schedule a physical therapy screening to assess your risk of overuse injuries and to learn targeted stretches and exercises to prevent injuries and improve symptoms.

What Are Symptoms of Repetitive Stress injuries?

The goal is to prevent repetitive stress injuries before they occur. However, it is still important to recognize the signs and symptoms of overuse so you can get the necessary treatment and possibly avoid more serious complications. Repetitive injury symptoms include:

  • Pain and/or stiffness.
  • Numbness and/or tingling.
  • Clicking or popping in the affected joint.
  • Weakness or fatigue in the hands, arms, or legs.

What Are the Most Common Repetitive Stress Injuries?

Overuse injuries vary based on the motions and parts of the body stressed by repetitive motions. Here are the most common overuse conditions:

  • Tendinitis: Tendinitis is inflammation of the tough, fibrous tendons that connect muscles to bones. Repetitive activities are one cause of tendonitis. This painful condition often affects the elbow, shoulder, hip, knee, and Achilles tendon. Gardeners, woodworkers, and painters who do not take precautions to prevent overuse may develop tendonitis.
  • Back strains and sprains: Ligaments are fibrous bands of tissue that connect two or more bones at a joint. Because the back bears a considerable amount of the body’s weight during walking, lifting, and other activities, it is highly vulnerable to these types of injuries. In fact, after headaches, strains and sprains are the most common conditions reported to health care providers. Back strains and sprains are common among workers in construction, health care, and transportation.
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome: Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common example of a repetitive stress injury, accounting for 90 percent of neuropathy diagnoses in the United States. This condition is caused by a constriction of the carpal tunnel located in the wrist that houses the median nerve. The median nerve provides movement to the forearm, wrist, and hand and transfers sensory information from the hand to the brain. As the carpal tunnel becomes restricted from injury or inflammation, the person may experience numbness, tingling, and loss of function in the hand or wrist. Heavy keyboard users, delivery drivers, cosmetologists, and carpenters are just a few of the many professions at risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome.

I Developed a Repetitive Stress Injury. Am I Entitled to Workers’ Compensation?

With so many variable at play, it is difficult to say without a consultation with a lawyer. However, if you were hurt on the job during the course of your normal work responsibilities, you may be entitled to benefits for your medical care, lost wages, and other compensable expenses under Workers’ Compensation law.

How to File a Workers’ Compensation Claim in Delaware?

If you are injured at work, you should report the injury to your employer as soon as possible and request medical attention. Failure to complete these steps can make you ineligible to collect benefits.

If your injury is not the result of a single accident or event, you must report your condition after receiving a diagnosis for a repetitive stress injury. Save all documentation related to your condition and your care. Give your employer notice of a claim for compensation for the period of disability starting from the third day following the accident or knowledge of a diagnosis.

Your employer is required to collect this information and submit a report in writing to the Office of Workers’ Compensation within 10 days. If you cannot reach an agreement and your claim is denied, you have two years from the accident or diagnosis date to file a petition. While legal representation is not required, it is beneficial for navigating the complex Workers’ Compensation system and building a strong case for benefits.

Wilmington Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Advocate for Workers Suffering From Repetitive Stress Injuries

For decades, our Wilmington Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow have been fighting for the rights of workers across the state. We oversee complex work injury cases. If you have been injured at work and need help with your claim, contact us today. Call 302-427-9500 or complete our online form to schedule a free case review today. We have offices in Wilmington, Bear, Milford, and Lewes, Delaware. With offices in all three counties of Delaware, we serve clients throughout the state.

construction worker

What Types of Chemical Injuries Happen on Construction Sites?

A construction site is an inherently dangerous place. Heavy machinery and equipment, power tools, working at heights, and unfinished electrical work are just some of the occupational hazards that construction workers are exposed to on a daily basis. However, one safety hazard that is often overlooked is the risk of injury from toxic chemicals. Hazardous chemicals cause more than 190,000 illnesses and 50,000 fatalities every year in the United States, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Unfortunately, construction workers may not even realize they have been exposed to a dangerous chemical until they develop a health condition or injury related to toxic exposure, such as:

  • Respiratory conditions.
  • Skin disease.
  • Cancer.
  • Lung disease.
  • Neurological injuries.
  • Reproductive damage.
  • Endocrine disruption.

Exposure to toxic chemicals can cause both minor conditions, such as skin allergies and long-term serious injuries, including damage to the lungs and other internal organs. In the worst cases, exposure can lead to life-threatening illnesses like cancer.

What Are Some of the Chemicals Used in Construction?

Chemicals are everywhere in the materials used for construction, and their use is strictly regulated by OSHA. Some of the most dangerous and prevalent types of chemicals found on construction sites include the following:

  • Lead: Used in plumbing fixtures and for soldering.
  • Mercury: Contained in compact fluorescent lighting (CFL) fixtures, electrical devices, batteries for cordless power equipment, and commercial and residential thermostats.
  • Halogenated flame retardant chemicals: Used as insulation between walls and around wiring.
  • Polyvinyl chloride: Commonly used to coat pipes and insulate electrical wiring as well as for flooring, taping compounds, ductwork, sheet roofing, shingles, and block insulation.
  • Cadmium: Found in steel products with rust protection coatings.
  • Silica: Contained in concrete, stone, bricks, tiles, and sand.
  • Asbestos: Used in many insulating materials before the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) banned most asbestos products.
  • Zinc: Use of galvanized steel in construction is common, and the protective coating is made from zinc. Cutting and welding zinc-based materials or zinc coated materials can expose workers to toxic fumes.
  • Formaldehyde: A preservative used to treat the wood for construction.

How Do Chemical Injuries Occur in the Construction Industry?

Chemical exposure on construction sites can happen in different ways. Dangerous chemicals can be present in solid, liquid, or gas form, such as dust, fibers, mists, and fumes. They can travel through the air and be breathed in, swallowed, or absorbed through the skin. Some chemicals release toxins as they break down. Others become even more threatening when they come into contact with heat and fire.

New construction may require the handling, cutting, or welding of materials containing hazardous chemicals. Demolition of older buildings can release high volumes of toxic smoke and gases when they are deconstructed, including substances that have deemed too dangerous for further use.

Workers can be injured by chemicals through exposure to materials that they use every day, such as industrial solvents, primers, and soldering agents. However, construction accidents involving chemicals can also seriously harm workers.

Preventing Chemical Injuries in the Construction Industry

OSHA has mandatory procedures to clearly identify and safely store hazardous chemicals and requires that employers train workers on how to safely handle them. Additionally, employers must provide safety equipment to workers at risk for toxic chemical exposure, including eye protection, air filtration, and gloves.

Proper ventilation is essential for protecting workers from the unseen threat of exposure to and absorption of chemicals being used in construction. Emergency escape routes must be planned and posted so that workers know what to do in the event of a fire or the release of toxic chemicals.

Training must be given in a language that the worker can understand to ensure they fully comprehend the health risks associated with the chemicals in their environment. They should know how to use the personal protective equipment (PPE) associated with each task.

Workers’ Compensation for Construction Workers

Construction workers who are injured on the job are eligible for Workers’ Compensation benefits, however, those with serious and life-threatening injuries or illnesses may need more than what their benefits provide. Depending on the circumstances, there may be more legal options available for compensation. While the Workers’ Compensation system prevents employers from being sued for workplace chemical injuries, if another party’s negligence contributed to the toxic chemical exposure, they could be held liable. Examples of third-party liability include:

  • A chemical manufacturer or distributor who failed to disclose and warn of the safety hazards associated with their product and the types of PPE needed.
  • A property owner of the construction site where the toxic chemical exposure happened failed to follow OSHA regulations and safety guidelines.
  • A subcontractor who failed to follow OSHA regulations and safety guidelines for working with toxic chemicals.
  • A manufacturer or distributor who failed to properly warn of the dangers to workers operating the machinery.
  • A manufacturer of PPE that was faulty and failed to keep workers safe from exposure to toxic chemicals.
  • A storage company who failed to properly store the toxic chemicals.

A successful third-party claim can recover compensation for the types of non-economic damages not included under Workers’ Compensation, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and diminished quality of life. Consult with an experienced lawyer to determine if you are eligible to file a claim for benefits.

Wilmington Construction Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Advocate for Construction Workers Suffering From Chemical Injuries

If you are a construction worker who suffered chemical injuries on the job, our Wilmington construction accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow can help. Our experienced team can answer all of your questions. To schedule a free case evaluation today, call us at 302-427-9500 or contact us online. We have offices in Wilmington, Bear, Milford, and Lewes, Delaware. With offices in all three counties of Delaware, we serve clients throughout the state.

outdoor workers winter

What Are Common Dangers of Outdoor Winter Working Conditions?

While the winter season can be beautiful and enjoyable for many families, it does not come without its risks, especially for those working outdoors in the harsh conditions. Outdoor workers can be injured in unique ways during the cold winter months. Outdoor workers are vulnerable to the following hazards during the winter season:

  • Slip and fall accidents: A slip and fall can happen at any time of year but especially during snowy, icy winter conditions. Outdoor workers are particularly prone to winter slip and falls. Injuries from a slip and fall can be serious, such as broken bones, head injuries, neck injuries, and back injuries.
  • Motor vehicle accidents: Many workers are injured or die each year in work-related motor vehicle accidents. Some workers are required to travel each day as part of their job, such as a traveling salesperson. During the winter, they are especially vulnerable to accidents. Winter driving conditions have the potential to be extremely hazardous for those who work outdoors.
  • Hypothermia: This is a dangerous condition where the body temperature drops to a point where it cannot be restored. Under these conditions, the body starts to shut down blood flow to the skin, arms, and legs in an attempt to reduce heat loss. Untreated hypothermia can lead to total failure of the heart and respiratory system and can be fatal. All workers should recognize the signs of hypothermia and know what to do should it occur.
  • Frostbite: This happens when prolonged exposure to the cold damages skin tissue and the tissue underneath. It commonly affects the fingers, toes, face, and ears and can be permanent and require amputation. Outdoor workers should watch out for the early signs of frostbite, and they should get medical attention immediately if it begins to occur.
  • Trench foot: This is a foot injury caused by prolonged exposure to wet and/or cold conditions. It does not involve freezing and can occur in temperatures as much as much as 59 degrees Fahrenheit, but it is most common in a range of 30 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Trench foot can be painful and lead to damage of the nerves, muscles, skin, and blood vessels. This is a serious and painful condition that should be treated immediately.

Any worker whose job requires them to stay outdoors for prolonged periods in winter conditions is at risk for cold stress injuries and illness. This includes construction workers, utility workers, delivery drivers, postal workers, and highway and transit workers.

All outdoor workers should know the hazards of the winter season. Both workers and employers should follow ways to prevent injury during winter and all year-round.

How Can Outdoor Workers Stay Safe in the Winter?

Now that you know the common dangers of working outside in the winter, you should know some tips on how to stay safe and avoid these hazards. Some helpful tips for outdoor workers include:

  • Wear the right gear: Being prepared for the outdoor winter conditions can prevent many workplace injuries and illnesses. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommends that outdoor workers wear at least three layers of clothing to protect against the cold. The layers should be loose-fitting to allow circulation, as tight clothing can cut off blood circulation to the extremities. The base layer should be moisture wicking to remove wetness from the body. The middle layer should be insulating, and the outer layer should be waterproof to prevent the worker from getting wet. A hat is also vital as well as insulated boots. If possible, a mask that covers the face and mouth can also be used as long as it does not affect safety or work tasks.
  • Eat well and stay hydrated: Outdoor workers should take frequent breaks to warm up and stay hydrated with warm liquids and soups. Eating well provides the body with enough calories to stay warm while working outside in cold temperatures. If possible, outdoor workers should take a few quick breaks throughout the day to warm up, eat, and drink.
  • Use the buddy system: All outdoor workers should use the buddy system to recognize the signs and symptoms of cold stress and injuries. By doing this, workers can keep each other safe by recognizing signs of cold-related illnesses and injuries. This will help prevent serious injuries.

Additionally, outdoor workers should be trained to recognize that a colleague may be having trouble and needs help by being familiar with these signs and symptoms:

  • Signs of hypothermia include shivering, slow or slurred speech, memory loss, drowsiness, exhaustion, and disorientation.
  • Signs of frostbite include numbness, white or yellow looking skin, slower motor function, and an inability to pick things up.
  • Signs of trench foot include tingling or itching, pain, swelling, numbness, or a prickly sensation.

What to Do if You Have a Work-Related Injury

If you have been injured on the job while working outside in wintery conditions, seek medical attention immediately, and then report your injury to your supervisor or manager as soon as possible. It is important to see a doctor after any type of work accident, even if you are not sure if you have an injury because you may not be in a position to evaluate your condition on your own. Reporting your injury to your employer right away is important because there are time limits for filing for Workers’ Compensation benefits.

Wilmington Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Can Help You if You Have Been Injured in a Workplace Winter-Related Accident

If you have questions about filing a claim for benefits, or your claim has been denied, one of our experienced Wilmington Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow can help. Call us at 302-427-9500 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. We have offices in Wilmington, Bear, Milford, and Lewes, Delaware. With offices in all three counties of Delaware, we serve clients throughout the state.

Wilmington Construction Injury Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Assist Injured Welders.

What Are Common Injuries Sustained by Welders in Construction?

Welding is among the most highly-regulated professions in the United States, yet workers in this industry continue to face serious dangers on the job. The tools and materials welders use in construction make them vulnerable to accidents and injuries. Proper safety training, equipment, and procedures are essential for protecting welders.

Listed below are common injuries seen in welders.

Eye and Face Injuries

Welders wear extensive equipment to protect their eyes and face from heat, chemicals, and airborne debris. If shields, helmets, safety goggles, and other gear are not provided, or if they are defective, workers may experience painful lacerations, burns, and other trauma to the upper body.

Electrocution and Burns

Electrical injuries are skin or internal bodily injuries caused by contact with low-voltage and high-voltage sources. This occurs in several ways. Contact with a live conductor can cause electric shock. Electrical welding injuries also occur when the welder unknowingly creates a bridge between the live welding supply (electrode) and the return (workpiece).

Burns are the most common, nonfatal, electrical injury. Burns happen when an individual makes contact with energized electrical wiring or equipment. Musculoskeletal injuries, broken bones, and amputations are some complications of electrical injuries.

Welder’s Flash

Welder’s flash, or arc eye, is a painful eye injury that occurs when the unprotected eye is exposed to UV rays. Welding flames and arcs produce intense, visible UV and infrared radiation. If the eyes are unprotected, UV radiation damages the outer corneal cells of the eye, damaging the nerves underneath. This painful injury is like a sunburn on the eyes.

Hearing Damage

Among all of the construction trades, welders experience the highest rates of noise-related hearing impairment. A high noise level is considered to be above 85 decibels as perceived by the human ear. Air carbon arc gouging, flame cutting, and other welding tasks may produce noises levels up to and over 100 decibels.

Because it has no real symptoms, noise-induced hearing loss often goes undiagnosed and untreated until it has progressed and is more resistant to treatment. Unfortunately, in some cases, hearing loss is irreversible.

Chemical Exposure

Welders are also exposed to a range of metals, gasses, and decomposition materials on the construction site. Acute exposure to these substances may result in temporary eye, nose, and throat irritation, dizziness, and nausea. More severe conditions include ulcers, cancers, and organ and nervous system damage.

Workers’ Compensation for Welders

Every worker should be able to do their job in a safe and hazard-free environment. However, some occupations come with a higher risk of injuries. Welders who are injured in a construction accident may be entitled to Workers’ Compensation to cover their medical costs, lost income, and other expenses.

Workers’ Compensation benefits cannot make injuries go away, but they can provide some peace of mind knowing expenses are covered.

Wilmington Construction Injury Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Assist Injured Welders

If you are a welder and have a work injury, contact one of our Wilmington construction injury lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow for legal assistance. Call us at 302-427-9500 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. We have offices in Wilmington, Bear, Milford, and Lewes, Delaware. With offices in all three counties of Delaware, we serve clients throughout the state.

Wilmington Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Represent Sick and Injured Miners.

Observe National Miners Day

Dec. 6th is National Miners Day, which is held every year to increase safety awareness for high-risk industries like mining. The observance was first established in 2009 to remember miners who have been passed away on the job. Like all employees, miners are entitled to safe work environments, and this important observance highlights ways to achieve this goal.

Before it became a national observance, in 1907, the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) started National Miners Day to honor workers who were killed in a serious mining accident that year. Over 360 miners perished in two West Virginia mines that year due to a serious explosion. Before 1907, other mining disasters killed tens of thousands of miners.

The mining tragedies of the early 20th century paved the way for the creation of the U.S. Bureau of Mines in 1910. This organization conducts research that enhances the health and safety of miners. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is another important agency that works to eliminate mining-related injuries, illnesses, and fatalities.

As of 2022, there are over 62,000 employed in the coal mining industry, according to IBISWorld’s Coal Mining in the U.S. Industry Report. Mining companies and safety organizations commemorate National Miners Day by focusing on training and awareness for their employees and the public.

What Risks Do Miners Face?

Explosions are not the only significant risk that miners face. Coal workers’ pneumoconiosis (CWP), also known as black lung disease, is often seen in people who have been exposed to coal dust for long periods of time. Although modern technology has decreased the number of mining explosions over the years, thousands of people still die each year from black lung disease.

Coal dust exposure can also cause other obstructive lung diseases, like chronic bronchitis and emphysema. While smoking cigarettes has not been shown to increase the likelihood of developing black lung disease, it can worsen the damage and possibly lead to COPD. Non-smoking coal workers have a much lower risk of getting COPD than coal workers who smoke.

Another health problem that impacts miners is whole-body vibration (WBV). This can happen when miners sit on heavy machinery like jumbo operators that are working on uneven surfaces. The signs of WBV include cardiovascular changes, digestive problems, vision impairment, and painful musculoskeletal disorders.

Heat stress is also possible in the mining industry, especially in hot and humid work environments. The symptoms of heat stress include fatigue, distress, and heat stroke. This can happen in open and closed pits, but UV stress is from exposure to sunlight. Excess UV radiation puts workers at a higher risk for skin cancer as well as eye damage, nausea, headaches, and dehydration.

Heavy machinery and drilling produce constant noise that can lead to significant hearing damage in miners. Even when employees get used to the sounds, damage can still happen. In many cases, the hearing loss is not noticed until it is too late.

Miners who do a lot of heavy lifting and repetitive work can also suffer from musculoskeletal disorders that affect their muscles, nerves, blood vessels, and bones. These medical problems can be caused by slip and falls and other accidents.

Preventing Accidents in the Mining Industry

The NIOSH Mining Program’s research includes:

  • Preventing explosions and fires.
  • Improving mechanical and electrical safety.
  • Monitoring and limiting toxic substances and dust.
  • Analyzing ground control and ventilation.
  • Avoiding slip and falls and musculoskeletal disorders.
  • Worker inexperience and fatigue.
  • Reducing glare and improving illumination.

Facility inspections help reduce mining accidents. Citations can be issued for violations, and miners and equipment can be withdrawn until the hazardous situations are corrected. All workplace accidents, complaints of hazardous conditions, and violations should also be investigated by governing authorities.

The Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act of 1969 provided needed funding for state health and safety training programs, with grants provided by the MSHA. Mining operation training programs and health and safety conferences are critical for this industry, as is proper oversight. Mining plans need to be reviewed, as do a company’s ventilation, training plans, roof control, and emergency response protocols. Instructors also need to be trained and certified to direct safety programs.

Health Screenings for Miners

In the U.S., coal miners are required to complete free medical exams before they begin working in the industry and three years afterward. Miners who continue working in the field should be offered the same exam every five years following the initial screening. There is no cost for coal miners to take the examinations, which take place at NIOSH-approved medical facilities or jobsites.

These basic examinations include blood pressure screenings, chest X-rays, and lung function tests. The health care professional administering the exam will also record the miner’s work history and perform a respiratory health assessment.

Additionally, miners who are injured on the job are entitled to file for Workers’ Compensation benefits. Those who need help with a claim can seek legal guidance from a lawyer.

Wilmington Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Represent Sick and Injured Miners

High-risk professions like mining put employees in danger. If you have a job-related illness or injury from work, contact one of our skilled Wilmington Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow. Call us at 302-427-9500 or complete our online form today to schedule a free consultation. We have offices in Wilmington, Bear, Milford, and Lewes, Delaware. With offices in all three counties of Delaware, we serve clients throughout the state.

Wilmington Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Help Bar and Brewery Workers With Their Claims.

Safety Tips for Bar and Brewery Workers

Whether you view brewing beer as an art or a science, or both, there is no denying that the bar and brewery industry can be just as dangerous as many other workplaces. A brewery is filled with specialized equipment and many moving parts that employees have to be aware of to prevent injury. The same can be said for those that work at a bar.

According to a Reuters analysis of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) data, today’s smaller craft brewers are almost four times as dangerous as larger breweries. From safety issues such as slip and falls to unsecured kegs causing crushing injuries or chemical spills, working in the bar and brewery business can be quite hazardous.

Bar and brewery owners have a responsibility to their workers to promote and maintain a safe environment. However, workers have to do their part, stay alert, and communicate with each other to be as safe as possible. Here are a few safety tips for bar and brewery workers:

  • Safety first: If you are working at a brewery or bar, following safety procedures should be done every day. Attend regular safety meetings and keep the lines of communication open.
  • Lifting: Lifting heavy cases of alcohol can put a major strain on the body, considering that some cases can weigh anywhere from 30 to 100 pounds. When lifting heavy, it should be done in the proper manner, which is close to the body, between mid-thigh and mid-chest height. Do not bend or twist the spine when lifting, as that will likely lead to injury. Furthermore, do not lift too much in one load, instead, separate the load into smaller loads to make it more manageable.
  • Soft tissue injuries: Lifting heavy objects can also cause soft tissue injuries, which are injuries to the muscles, tendons, joints, and tissues. Repeated motions can one especially susceptible to injury. Bartenders who shake and twist constantly can develop carpal tunnel syndrome, while repeated bending and looking down can adversely affect the spine, neck, and shoulders. Even standing or walking for long periods of time can cause soft tissue injuries. Be sure to get proper rest before a shift and allow time for an adequate rest schedule during a shift.
  • Slip and falls: With many moving components of the bar and brewery business, slip and falls are quite frequent as well. Make sure to frequently clear the floors of any clutter and debris and communicate to each other of possible hazards, and do not assume everyone spots the hazards. Let others know of your presence to avoid coworkers bumping into each other.
  • Broken glass: Broken glass can also cause a slip and fall, as well as cuts and lacerations that could lead to infection. Wear thick gloves if you decide to pick up broken glass and dispose of it in a glass receptacle. Otherwise, clear the area and sweep up the broken glass. If it gets into the ice, even if you think it may be in the ice, the ice must be thrown away. Announce that the ice is contaminated, melt the ice, and then clean out the area.
  • Chemical burns: There are many hazardous chemicals as well. Cleaning solvents and sanitizing chemicals are used constantly and can be deadly if ingested, as well as cause skin irritation. Vapors from ethanol can cause fires and can even lead to an explosion. Workers should know the dangers of chemicals and gases.

Wilmington Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Help Bar and Brewery Workers With Their Claims

If you work at a brewery or at a bar and have a workplace injury, contact one of our Wilmington Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow if you need help with your claim. Call us at 302-427-9500 or fill out our online form for a free consultation. We have offices in Wilmington, Milford, Bear, and Lewes, Delaware. With offices in all three counties of Delaware, we serve clients throughout the state.

Wilmington Construction Injury Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Advocate for the Rights of Injured Workers.

What Are Common Amputation Hazards on Construction Sites?

Construction work is dangerous. Without proper safety precautions, workers can easily get injured on the job. One of the most devastating and life-changing injuries is amputation. According to a report by the Amputee Coalition, about three in every 20,000 construction workers suffers from an amputation injury.

Whether a worker loses a body part immediately in an accident or at a later point in time, it can mean having to find another way to earn a living or dealing with chronic pain afterwards. Construction workers should be aware of the following safety hazards that can result in amputation:

  • Falls from heights: Falls are extremely common on construction sites and a frequent source of injury. Falls can result in injuries to fingers, hands, arms, toes, feet, and legs that can eventually require amputation of the injured area.
  • Caught in/between accidents: Workers are at risk of crushing injuries if they get caught in running machinery or between two objects, such as a truck and a wall.
  • Being struck by an object: Falling debris or work materials are hazards on construction sites that can lead to amputations. Workers can also be struck by moving cranes or pulleys and other heavy equipment.
  • Machinery: Construction machinery used to bend, pinch, or shear materials is highly dangerous. This type of machinery is required to have safety guards that should never be removed except to clean or repair the machine.
  • Explosion of flammable materials: Explosions can be caused by improper storage of flammable materials or by electrical sparks. Severe burns and other injuries from explosions can necessitate amputations.

Preventing Amputation Injuries Among Construction Workers

Many injuries and Workers’ Compensation claims can be prevented by following safety regulations from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and eliminating amputation hazards through methods such as:

  • Inspecting equipment regularly: Equipment should be regularly inspected for missing safety guards, worn or broken parts, frayed cords, and other signs of wear.
  • Routine maintenance: Performing routine maintenance on equipment can ensure that it is working properly and will not malfunction while in use.
  • Good housekeeping practices: A clean work site reduces the risk of debris or materials falling and injuring workers. It also eliminates many of the hazards that can cause workers to slip and fall.
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE): PPE should be worn when necessary, such as gloves, steel toed boots, and fall protection systems.
  • Training: Workers should be trained to recognize amputation hazards and how to avoid them as well as the safe and proper way to use machines on site and using PPE.
  • Marking vehicle paths: On a construction site, vehicle paths should be clearly marked. Trucks should have working backup alarms, and in difficult situations, use of a flagger should be employed to ensure no one is behind a vehicle going into reverse.

Wilmington Construction Injury Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Advocate for the Rights of Injured Workers

If you are a construction worker who has an amputation injury, contact one of our Wilmington construction injury lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow for legal help right away. Call us at 302-427-9500 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. We have offices in Wilmington, Bear, Milford, and Lewes Delaware. With offices in all three counties of Delaware, we represent injured workers throughout the state.

Wilmington Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Represent Injured Factory Workers.

Why Is it Important for Factory Workers to Get Enough Sleep?

Despite the fact that getting enough sleep is a crucial part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, a growing number of Americans are functioning on too little sleep. If you work in a factory and you have trouble getting the recommended number of hours of sleep each night, you are at an increased risk of suffering a serious workplace injury.

Often, factory workers either work long shifts or they work the night shift, which means that they are working when most people are sleeping. Studies suggest that an increasing number of workers are expected to work long hours on a regular basis. This makes it challenging for workers to keep up with their other responsibilities, like family obligations, housework, and other tasks. In addition, it can make getting enough sleep that much more challenging.

The following are examples of how shift work and long hours can negatively impact factory workers:

  • Lack of sleep.
  • Not enough time to recover from work.
  • Increased risk of illness and injury.
  • Higher rates of insomnia.
  • Physical and emotional fatigue.
  • Increased risk of long-term health risks, including heart disease and cancer.

Getting the recommended hours of sleep on a regular basis has a number of benefits, such as:

  • Maximizes productivity: The brain needs sufficient sleep in order to recharge and function. When you get enough sleep on a regular basis, you are going to be more alert, able to concentrate for prolonged periods of time, and be more productive throughout the day.
  • Improves safety: When you are feeling drowsy at work, you are more likely to make careless mistakes that can cause serious workplace accidents. Drowsiness can affect your ability to think clearly, which means that you may not identify a potential hazard as quickly or easily as you would if you were well-rested. In addition, even a minor mistake can have devastating consequences if you are driving or operating heavy machinery.
  • Improves overall health: Poor sleep habits can have a negative impact on your physical and mental health. In fact, studies show that individuals who are well-rested are able to regulate their emotions and impulses more effectively. That means that you are less likely to lash out at a coworker or make an impulsive decision.

What Can Factory Workers Do to Get Enough Sleep?

Getting the recommended number of hours of sleep is easier said than done. This is particularly true for night shift workers whose circadian rhythm is disrupted. Shift workers and employees who work the night shift often experience the impact of a disrupted sleep cycle more than other workers. However, there are proactive steps you can take to improve your sleep and reduce the risk of injuries:

  • Establish a bedtime routine. Taking some time to wind down at the end of the day lets your body know that it is time for sleep. Consider taking a warm shower, doing some light stretching, reading a book, or practicing some meditation. Be as consistent as possible with your nightly routine.
  • Avoid heavy foods, alcohol, caffeinated drinks, or other stimulants before bed. If you are working a night shift and you need a snack, avoid heavy, greasy foods and opt for something more nutritious.
  • Exercise regularly. This can improve the quality of your sleep, as well as reduce stress levels.
  • Plan ahead. If your work schedule is unpredictable, or you work rotating shifts, it is important that you gradually adjust your sleep and awake times in the days leading up to a change in hours.

If you do become injured in a workplace accident, you may be eligible for Workers’ Compensation benefits. If you need help with your claim, speak with a lawyer as soon as possible.

Wilmington Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Represent Injured Factory Workers

If you are a factory worker and suffered a serious injury at work, do not hesitate to contact one of our Wilmington Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow for legal assistance. We will help you navigate every step of the claims process. To schedule a free consultation, call us at 302-427-9500 or contact us online. We are located in Wilmington, Bear, Milford, and Lewes, Delaware. With offices in all three counties of Delaware, we serve clients throughout the state.

Wilmington Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Can Help You if You Have a Work-Related Electrical Injury.

What Are Common Electrical Injuries That Occur on Construction Sites?

Electrical hazards are among the most prolific dangers on a construction site. Temporary power sources, exposed wires, and exposure to the elements are just a few of the many possible dangers that construction workers face each day.

Even if you do not work directly with electrical systems or electrically-powered equipment, you could face dangers caused by such items. You might accidentally contact something that is carrying an electrical current and suffer electric shock or even electrocution.

Electric Shock or Electrocution

Electric shock and electrocution can occur on construction sites. They most often occur whenever construction workers accidentally contact high-voltage power lines. Electrocution is the most lethal and results from direct contact with power lines.

Electric shock occurs when a power line is not grounded properly and sends an electrical current through a worker’s body. Electric shock might not kill a worker, but it could in some scenarios. Instead, it often results in burn injuries that require medical care and time away from work.

Burn Injuries Caused by Electrical Ignition of Gases

An arc or flash caused by electrical equipment or exposed power lines could ignite flammable or explosive gases. Those gases could cause serious workplace injuries or death to construction workers.

A sudden release of electrical energy causes an electric arc or flash that releases electricity into the air. If that air is mixed with flammable gas, the gas could ignite or trigger a catastrophic explosion.

Injuries Caused by Falls and Moving Objects

Electrical lines and equipment also could create tripping and falling hazards for workers. When a line or a piece of equipment is exposed or otherwise lying on the ground, a worker might catch a foot on it or step on it and lose balance. The resulting fall could cause a serious injury or even death when working from an elevated position.

When workers fall, they also might drop an electrical tool or another object. The item might cause blunt force trauma or worse if it has moving parts that are sharp or otherwise very dangerous for workers to contact.

How Can Electrical Injuries Be Avoided?

It is important to identify high-risk areas that might pose significant risks of accidents and injuries. Dangerous areas should be clearly marked with cones, markings, and safety barriers, and workers should know of the risks.

Worksites should be regularly inspected to ensure workers are safe from exposed wires and other electrical dangers. Workers should know the correct lockout/tagout procedures and practice them regularly to help shut down electrical current when done working or if a dangerous condition might exist.

Workers should have good safety equipment, including face shields, helmets, and gloves that help protect against electrical shocks and other worksite hazards. Qualified electricians should be on the jobsite to properly maintain and repair any faulty electrical lines or systems.

Wilmington Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Can Help You if You Have a Work-Related Electrical Injury

If you have a workplace electrical injury and need help with your claim, speak with one of our Wilmington Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow. You can call us at 302-427-9500 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. We are located in Wilmington, Bear, Milford, and Lewes, Delaware. With offices in all three counties of Delaware, we serve clients throughout the state.

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