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Category Archives: Workplace Accidents

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 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 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.

Delaware Construction Injury Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Get Benefits for Injured Construction Workers.

Poor Mental Health Leads to Construction Accidents

The construction industry has a reputation for being a competitive workplace full of tough, strong men. In this kind of environment mental health issues are rarely discussed or dealt with openly. Studies show that workers who suffer from mental health disorders or psychological distress are more at risk for a workplace accident. Physical symptoms of mental illness include loss of appetite, lower quality of sleep or insomnia, and a decreased ability to focus. On a construction site, this endangers not only the worker suffering from mental illness, but the workers around them and can lead to serious and devastating injuries.

Mental Health Issues in the Construction Industry

What are the factors in the construction industry that lead to mental health issues? It starts with the fact that construction is a male dominated industry and men are less comfortable talking about their mental health, with “strong and silent” is the prevailing archetype for “manly” men. Add to that the stresses of work being unsteady in that it is often seasonal, the threat of layoffs during economic downturns, long hours, and weeks on site away from family, and the result can be loneliness and isolation, depression, anxiety, or chronic stress.

The link between mental health and accidents is somewhat of a vicious circle. The illness and injury rate in construction is the highest of any industry. Construction workers who are injured in a workplace accident may suffer psychological trauma and chronic pain as a result. Chronic pain conditions can lead to substance abuse, which in turn increases the risk of a workplace accident. Construction workers who distracted by pain or contending with mental health issues may also become careless or forgetful about safety protocols and use of personal protective equipment, leading to more accidents.

Common Accidents and Injuries in Construction

Construction requires the use of power tools, heavy machinery, motorized vehicles, scaffolding, and electrical equipment to name just a few of the safety hazards. Common accidents that happen in construction work include:

  • Falls: falls from scaffolding, ladders, or roofs can cause serious head injuries, back injuries, spinal cord injuries or death
  • Struck by object: Examples of this type of accident are materials falling from upper levels of construction, a crane or forklift losing its load, or debris from power tools striking a worker. Head and eye injuries, lacerations, contusions, and broken bones are all common injuries from struck-by accidents.
  • Caught in/between: Workers can get caught in or between moving vehicles or equipment and suffer crushing injuries, amputations, or internal organ damage
  • Electrocution: Open wiring and working near power lines are safety hazards that can cause severe burns and fatalities

The above accident types are known as “the fatal four” kinds of accidents that kill construction workers on site. However, more construction workers die by suicide than the combined rates of all “fatal four” deaths.

Preventing Accidents Related to Mental Health

Employers need to take the lead in creating a work environment in which workers feel it is safe to talk about the mental health issues they may be facing. A healthy work environment involves caring for workers as well as profit or the company’s bottom line. Employers should provide training and education about mental health issues as well as counseling services and resources for workers to get help instead of suffering in silence.

Delaware Construction Injury Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Get Benefits for Injured Construction Workers

For questions about benefits for construction injuries or help filing a claim, contact the experienced Delaware construction injury lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow. We will fight to get you the maximum benefits available to you. Call 302-427-9500 today or contact us online to schedule a free consultation about your case. With offices in all three counties of Delaware we represent injured workers throughout the state.

Wilmington Construction Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Advocate for Injured Clients.

What Causes Scaffolding Accidents On Construction Sites?

Millions of American workers in the construction industry perform their jobs on scaffolds. Unfortunately, builders and construction companies do not always follow all necessary safety protocol to keep their employees out of harm’s way. Although scaffolding accidents are preventable, they are more common than many people realize. The injuries that can be suffered in scaffolding accidents can be severe and life-altering for workers and their families. In the most devastating cases the outcome of a scaffolding accident can be fatal.

A scaffold is a temporary work platform used by over 2 million workers in about 65 percent of the construction industry. Construction workers use scaffolds to elevate themselves, equipment, and materials. When these complicated systems of metal of aluminum pipes are not used properly, the consequences can be deadly.

What are Common Causes of Scaffolding Accidents?

Although there are ways to stay reasonably safe when working on scaffolds, there are numerous issues that can lead to scaffolding accidents on construction sites.  Some of the most common causes of scaffolding accidents include the following:

  • Defective scaffolding: A high number of scaffolding accidents are the result of a problem with the scaffolding itself. If scaffolding is improperly designed, manufactured, or assembled, it can be considered defective and dangerous. When a scaffolding defect causes an accident and subsequent injury, the companies that designed, manufactured, and sold the scaffolding may all potentially be held liable.
  • Improper scaffolding maintenance: It is important that scaffolding be properly maintained in order to preserve its structural integrity and prevent scaffolding accidents. Failure to replace old scaffolding and inadequate maintenance can lead to safety hazards that often result in serious injuries. Slipping or tripping on scaffolding due to factors such as slippery surfaces or lack of guardrails is also a common occurrence that can have serious consequences.
  • Inadequate planking: Sturdy planking is essential to protect workers on all types of scaffolding. Scaffolding is supported by fabricated frames, posts, mast climbers, pump jacks, and other mechanisms. If planking on scaffolding is weak and inadequate, workers can be exposed to fall risks that result in severe or fatal injuries.
  • Poor work training: The construction of scaffolding and working on scaffolding both require specific training. Workers who erect scaffolding must be properly trained in the construction methods and safety standards of the specific type of scaffolding. Equally as important is employees who work on scaffolding must be properly trained on the specific risks involved. According to OSHA, inadequate training regarding fall protection is a common construction site violation.
  • Inadequate access to safety equipment: Scaffolding accidents can occur even when scaffolding is properly designed, manufactured, and constructed. Therefore, it is crucial that construction workers be provided access to appropriate safety equipment. Lack of access to safety equipment is a leading cause of preventable injuries and fatalities on construction sites. When construction workers are forced to perform their jobs on scaffolding without adequate fall protection, they can face extreme risks and potentially fatal injuries.
  • Failure to protect workers from falling objects: Builders and construction companies are also required to protect workers against injuries from objects that can fall from overhead. Falling tools, construction materials, debris, and other dangerous objects can cause serious injuries for construction workers. Scaffolding should be covered whenever possible and necessary to prevent these injuries.
  • Negligent co-workers: Many individuals work alongside each other on construction sites. Co-workers who are untrained or unexperienced, or are careless about safety risks, can cause dangerous circumstances. A co-worker’s mistake when working on scaffolding can have severe consequences. When a worker or family member is involved in a scaffolding accident caused by another worker’s negligence, then that worker’s employer may be fully liable for the accident-related losses.
  • Ignoring safety standards: OSHA has established extensive and thorough safety standards for scaffolding, which builders, construction companies, contractors, and sub-contractors must comply with. In addition, many private organizations publish scaffold safety standards. When established and applicable safety requirements are not followed, multiple issues can lead to serious or fatal scaffolding accidents. Examples of these dangerous issues include overloading scaffolding and placing scaffolding too close to hazardous energy sources.

What Are Common Scaffolding Accident Injuries?

As scaffolds are used to access significant heights, many scaffolding accidents result in serious injuries or death. A fall from the height of a scaffold, whether it be due to an incorrectly maintained platform or a lack of proper safety gear, can result in a devastating outcome.

There are numerous injuries that can result from scaffolding accidents, some of which include:

  • Amputations
  • Broken bones and fractures
  • Fatalities
  • Head trauma or traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Joint, muscle, and tendon injuries
  • Lacerations and scarring
  • Paralysis
  • Paraplegia
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries

Individuals other than workers can be seriously injured in scaffolding accidents. Pedestrians and visitors to a construction site can be serious harmed or even killed when scaffolding collapses or objects fall from their great heights.

What Should I Do After Being Injured in a Scaffolding Accident?

It is highly advisable to seek legal counsel from an experienced construction accident lawyer if you or a loved one has been involved in a scaffolding accident. Following a scaffolding accident on a construction site, it important to discuss your rights with a knowledgeable construction accident lawyer who can help you navigate what can be a complex legal process. Additionally, if you lost a loved one due to a scaffolding accident on a construction site, it is essential to consult with a dedicated construction accident lawyer. You may be eligible for and other benefits to help you manage expenses and loss.

An experienced construction accident lawyer will know how to negotiate with insurance carriers and other representatives, investigate the accident site, consult with experts, and help you understand why the accident happened. It is important that you have a skilled construction lawyer to work with you and pursue the fair compensation you need and deserve. Going through the necessary steps after a devasting scaffolding accident can be overwhelming and complicated. Having a construction lawyer to assist with the necessary details of your case will allow you to recover from your physical injuries and emotional trauma.

Wilmington Construction Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Advocate for Injured Clients

If you have been injured because of a construction accident, whether as a worker, bystander, or family member, you will want an experienced Wilmington construction accident lawyer at Rhoades & Morrow to assist with filing all necessary claims so that you can be compensated for the damages and loss you suffered. Call us today at 302-427-9500 or contact us online for a free consultation. With offices in Bear, Milford, and Wilmington, we serve clients throughout Delaware.

Wilmington Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Uphold Injured Workers’ Rights.

Amusement Park Workers and Worker’s Compensation

Amusement parks are popular attractions that sometimes are open all year. More than 270 million people visit amusement parks every year in the United States.

There are nearly 6,000 amusement and theme parks located across the nation, including several in Delaware. Many amusement park workers are seasonal employees, and many of those workers are college students who enjoy working at amusement parks while earning money while away from school for the summer. The potential for error rises when amusement parks are at their busiest and hundreds or even thousands of people are lining up to enjoy their favorite rides and attractions.

Many Potential Dangers for Amusement Park Workers

Amusement park workers often face hazards that generally are not normal at most other types of employment. The most common dangers include falling from an elevated platform, or slipping and falling while manning a water ride.

Many amusement park rides require workers and passengers to navigate on elevated platforms, such as a rollercoaster. The higher up the workstation is, the more dangerous the fall becomes if you were to slip, trip, or otherwise fall from an elevated work platform.

Maybe you are working on a log run that is elevated and uses water. When the log splashes below, it generally sprays water over a large area, creating a potential slip-and-fall hazard that might cause you to suffer a work-related injury.

An amusement park worker might be struck by a heavy moving object, run over by a ride, or crushed between two large objects. Someone might accidentally drop an object or knock it off an elevated location and create a falling-object hazard.

Electrical hazards also abound at an amusement park. Any faulty equipment might create an electric-shock hazard or potentially electrocute a worker. Such dangers are just a few of the very many that might cause an amusement park worker to suffer a work-related injury.

Amusement Park Safety is Critically Important

The unique nature of the types of work done at an amusement park makes it essential to ensure that workers are thoroughly trained in the safe use of the equipment. Any mistakes could lead to catastrophic injuries or possibly death for workers and customers alike.

The employer should put every worker through general safety training that helps them to understand how to work safely and ensure safety throughout the amusement park. The employer also should ensure that workers are trained for specific rides and other attractions and how to work them safely.

The training should inform workers on the specific dangers that might arise and how to handle them. Whenever working directly with customers, it also is important for workers to know how to safely screen passengers for certain rides so that they can enjoy them safely.

For example, a would-be passenger might be too short, too tall, or weigh too much or too little to safely enjoy one of the rides. Physically unqualified passengers should not be allowed onto respective rides, which might lead to a serious injury or death.

Proper safety training and providing workers with the right tools to make the job safe for everyone can help to minimize dangers at amusement parks.

Amusement Park Workers Are Covered by Workers’ Compensation

There is nothing amusing about suffering a work-related injury. The circumstances might be unusual, like those that might happen at an amusement park, but the effect is equally devastating for the injured worker.

Fortunately, amusement park workers are covered by Workers insurance that the state requires your employer to carry.  Workers’ Compensation will pay for your medical costs and time away from work when you miss more than three days.

Workers’ Compensation covers work-related injuries and illnesses. When you file a claim and accept the benefits, you give up the right to sue your employer for your injury and other damages. Your employer also cannot fire you and should allow you to return when your health and doctor allow it.

What to Do if You Are Injured While Working?

Whenever you suffer an injury while working, you should do your best to notify your employer as soon as possible.

If the injury is not life-threatening or very serious, you should try to notify your immediate supervisor. If the injury is very serious, you should obtain medical care right away and notify your employer as soon as possible afterward.

It is very important to document the cause of the injury accident to help support your Workers’ Compensation claim. The sooner that you can document the cause, the less likely your Workers’ Compensation claim would be denied.

Your employer and their Workers’ Compensation insurer should have a list of acceptable medical services providers who can provide you with medical services. You also can see your personal doctor, but you would have to use a doctor who is approved by your employer and the insurer.

What if the Workers’ Comp Claim is Denied?

Sometimes, an insurer will deny a Workers’ Compensation claim. If that happens to you, you should notify your supervisor right away in hopes of correcting it. You also retain an experienced Workers’ Compensation attorney to help you file an appeal to state authorities.

Your attorney can help you to file a strong and well-support claim for benefits. Officials with the Delaware Department of Labor’s Office of Workers’ Compensation could review your case and possibly get your benefits approved.

If your claim remains denied, your attorney could help you to file lawsuits against your employer, the Workers’ Compensation insurer, and other potentially liable parties.

Wilmington Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Uphold Injured Workers’ Rights

If you suffered a workplace injury and your claim was denied, our knowledgeable Wilmington Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow can help to uphold your rights. You can call us at 302-427-9500 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation at our law office in Wilmington, Delaware. With offices in all three counties of Delaware, we serve clients throughout the state.

hazards utility workers

What Are Hazards for Utility Workers?

Utility workers or power line workers are one of the most essential workers in our country. They keep the electricity flowing. Without electricity, our communities and society would shut down and many people would be harmed and injured. Even though the job is extremely important, being a utility worker is one of the most dangerous jobs there is in the United States. Given the nature of the position and the fact that utility workers work with huge amounts of electricity every day, accidents can be deadly.

Dangers Faced by Power Line Workers

There are different types of environments that utility workers have to perform their jobs in. Because of their importance, they are not stopped by rain, snow, ice, wind, daytime, and in the middle of the night. Power line workers may have to work hundreds of feet in the air or in dark and dank tunnels. Given their potential job sites and conditions, there are many ways that utility workers can suffer on the job injuries. Here are some examples of the dangers that they face:

  • Electrocutions: The main cause of serious injuries and deaths for utility workers and power line workers is being electrocuted. Utility workers are constantly working around live electrical wires where just the smallest mistake or mis-step can cause an employee to suffer significant electrical burns or even a fatality.
  • Falls from Heights: Because power line workers are often working from heights, there is always a risk of falling. These workers sometimes need to work dozens of feet in the air up to hundreds of feet in the air. If safety devices and fall protection devices fail or are not used properly or are not used at all, the risk of falls increases significantly.
  • Slips, Trips, and Falls: In many industries, workers face the risk of slip and falls. Because most of the work that power line employees perform is outside and subject to the environment, their risk of slip and falls is high. When utility employees have to work outside in heavy rain, snow, and ice, they could easily fall, causing serious work-related injuries.
  • Falling Things: Every time you see a utility employee working up high on a utility pole, you will see them wearing a hard hat. This is for good reason. One risk that utility workers face are things falling from above them and hitting them in the head. It could be a piece of equipment or something dropped from another worker.
  • Explosions, Fires, and Burns: Due to the type of equipment utility workers use and work around, there is a risk of explosions, fires, and burns. Also, power line workers can suffer from electrical burns.
  • Automobile Accidents: Utility workers have an increased risk of being involved in car and truck crashes. Power line workers will often be working on or near electrical and telephone poles on the side of roads. There is a risk of them being struck by a vehicle as they are walking around their vehicles. There is also a risk of their trucks being struck while they are parked on the side of the road and the utility workers are up in their buckets working on the power lines.

The above work-related injury risks are unique to power line workers, but they are still subject to the risks of common work injuries such as back injuries caused by heavy lifting or other types of physical injuries.

The Importance of Personal Protection Equipment

One of the many ways to prevent utility worker injuries is to use personal protection equipment (PPE) whenever appropriate and whenever possible. PPE can be many types of specifically designed clothing and gear for the utility industry. It can change depending on the type of job and environment being worked on. Many of the PPE gear and clothing is required by Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations.

Here are some examples of PPE that utility workers use:

  • Arc flash rated clothing.
  • Hard hats
  • Harness for fall protection
  • Hearing protection
  • High visibility vests
  • Rubber sleeves
  • Safety goggles
  • Specialized de-electric shoes and boats
  • Specially designed rubber voltage gloves and leather gloves to protect against electrocutions
  • Specially designed work pants

When PPE is not used or not used properly, power line workers can suffer serious work-related injuries. Employers are also obligated to properly train new and current utility workers to use the PPE properly.

What Can a Workers’ Comp Lawyer Do For You?

Many injured workers do not believe that they need to be represented by a lawyer: this is a mistake. You never know if your employer or their workers’ comp insurance company is paying you the right workers’ comp benefits. You have unpaid medical bills that you keep getting at home despite the fact that it is for treatment that is work related. You also may be receiving your weekly wage checks late or not at all. Also, sometimes your checks are different amounts with no explanation.

By speaking to an experienced Delaware workers’ comp attorney, you will at least have the peace of mind that they are treating you correctly and that your rights are being protected. Even if there is nothing that the lawyer has to do immediately, there may come a time that you will need them to fight the insurance company.

Delaware Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Help Power Line Workers Receive the Workers’ Comp Benefits They Deserve

If you are a utility worker and have suffered a serious work-related injury, you will need to be represented by a knowledgeable and skilled workers comp attorney. Our experienced Delaware workers’ comp lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow have decades of experience in helping injured workers. Call us today at 302-427-9500 or fill out our online form for a free consultation. With offices in all three counties of Delaware, we serve clients throughout the state.

food delivery driver

Do Food Delivery Drivers Qualify for Workers’ Compensation?

Food delivery has become big business in recent years. Since the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic started, there has been a huge increase in the number of people ordering food. Not all delivery workers are in cars. In big cities, deliveries are often made by bicycle, scooter, or even on foot. No matter the delivery method, the sheer nature of a delivery job has inherent risks to the person delivering the food.

If a delivery worker is injured on the job, they may be entitled to Workers’ Compensation in certain circumstances. Delaware requires almost all employers to provide employees with Workers’ Compensation coverage for work injuries and occupational illnesses. In most states, a delivery driver will qualify for state Workers’ Compensation benefits only if they are classified as an employee of the company. If classified as an employee, they must be employed by the company at the time of injury, and the injury must have occurred while completing a job duty.

Are Independent Delivery Drivers Eligible for Workers’ Compensation?

With the increased need for delivery drivers nationwide, many companies are hiring delivery workers as independent contractors. These contractors work their own hours, wear their own clothes, and use their own delivery vehicles. Most states do not require employers to provide Workers’ Compensation benefits to independent contractors.

Many of these app-based food delivery services will carry some type of insurance for their contracted drivers. However, these policies usually are not comprehensive and will often be effective only after the driver’s auto insurance is used up. They are often limited in what they will cover, the amount they will cover, and the circumstances under which an accident would qualify for coverage. For example, an insurance policy might cover an accident that happens while the driver is on the way to deliver food, but not one that happens on the way back from the delivery. It is best for independent contractors who deliver food to understand their own automobile coverage and the insurance coverage that is offered by the food delivery company.

What are Common Food Delivery Injuries?

Food delivery can be a dangerous occupation. The amount of time spent in a car or other vehicle, along with the pressure to get the food to the customer quickly, can be inherently risky. Common accidents among delivery drivers include:

Slip and Falls: Going into and out of restaurants, customer homes, and businesses in all kinds of weather increases the risk of slip and fall accidents, especially when carrying heavy or bulky items. Driveways, sidewalks, and yards may also present slip and fall hazards.

Vehicle Accidents: No matter how careful a delivery driver is, the sheer amount of time they spend on the road puts them at risk for encountering negligent drivers. Car accidents, no matter how slight, can cause serious bodily injuries.

Assaults: Delivery workers can become the target of assaults, robberies, and car-jackings that can cause serious injuries.

Additionally, performing the same activities for many hours a day, such as loading and unloading, can lead to various soft-tissue injuries, including muscle and tendon strains.

What Should I Do if I am Injured While Delivering Food?

A delivery driver who is injured in any way should report the injury and seek medical treatment immediately. A delivery worker classified as an employee of a company must report the injury to get Workers’ Compensation benefits. An employee who is an independent contractor should contact the food delivery service to report the accident and follow the claim procedure.

Both food delivery employees and independent contractors should also contact a lawyer to understand what compensation they may be eligible to pursue for their financial losses. The lawyer will also review the employment contract for an independent contractor to discern what insurance coverage the delivery service may provide.

In some cases, a third party may be liable for negligence if a delivery worker is injured while on the job. Examples include a motorist who caused a car accident or a property owner responsible for a fall that resulted in injuries. This is why consulting a lawyer can be beneficial to all injured workers.

Delaware Work Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Help Injured Delivery Drivers Understand Their Entitled Benefits

Trying to receive compensation for a work injury can be complex. Legal requirements surrounding employment status and the type, nature, and location of the accident all play into whether an employee can receive compensation for work injuries and illnesses. A dedicated Delaware work accident lawyer at Rhoades & Morrow can help you uncover and maximize your entitled work injury benefits. Call us at 302-834-8484 or contact us online for a free consultation today. We have offices located in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware, and we serve clients throughout Middletown, Dover, Milford, Lewes, Rehoboth, Elsmere, and Seaford.


What Hazards do Outdoor Workers Encounter in the Summer?

Many people associate summer weather with outside recreation, but for outdoor workers, summer brings a variety of occupational hazards. The most common summer safety concerns for outdoor workers are heat stress, sun exposure, noise pollution, and biological hazards.

Employers have an obligation to provide a safe work environment for their outdoor workers, including training and education about the different types of workplace injuries and accidents, occupational illnesses, and the proper use of personal protective equipment.

Why is Heat Stress so Dangerous?

Heat stress and heat-related illnesses are major concerns for outdoor workers. Workers who are 65 years old and older may have heart disease or high blood pressure, are overweight, or take medications that may be affected by extreme heat.

Exposure to extreme heat can result in heat rashes, heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke, which can be fatal. To prevent heat-related illnesses, employers should provide cool, shaded areas for workers to take frequent breaks, and avoid scheduling strenuous work during the hottest hours of the day. Workers can also be rotated in shifts to do outdoor tasks.

What Are Common Heat-Related Injuries and Illnesses?

Outdoor workers may experience various types of injuries and illnesses. Some heat-related injuries and illnesses are more common. Workers should be aware of outdoor hazards so that they are prepared for summer work.

A common hazard in summer is heat rash. Heat rash is the irritation of the skin caused by excessive perspiration. It appears as a cluster of red pimples or small blisters usually in skin creases at the elbows, groin area, under the breasts, or on the neck and upper chest. Workers can use powder to keep the rash area dry and should not use ointments or creams to treat heat rash.

Heat cramps are also common. Heat cramps occur because excessive sweating in extreme heat can deplete the body’s salt and moisture levels. Workers may experience heat cramps as pain or spasms in the abdomen, arms, or legs. To combat heat cramps, avoid salt tablets and drink water. In addition, have a snack or sports drink to replace electrolytes every 15 to 20 minutes. Workers with heart problems, low sodium diets, or whose cramps do not subside within an hour, should seek immediate medical attention.

One serious danger is heat exhaustion. Heat exhaustion is a severe bodily response to the loss of water and salt that is caused by excessive sweating. Workers should be aware of certain symptoms:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Nausea
  • Irritability
  • Thirst
  • Heavy sweating
  • Decreased urine output
  • Elevated body temperature

Anyone suffering from heat exhaustion should be taken to an emergency room for treatment. While waiting for help to arrive, the worker should be moved to a cool area and given frequent sips of cool water and cold compresses to the head and neck area.

Heat stroke is the most serious form of heat stress and can cause permanent disability or even death if emergency treatment is not given. With heat stroke, the body temperature rises rapidly, and the sweating mechanism fails. The body is unable to cool down and regulate its temperature. It is important to be mindful of heat stroke symptoms:

  • Confusion
  • Slurred speech
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Seizures
  • Hot, dry skin
  • Profuse sweating
  • Very high body temperature

Emergency medical care must be called. Until help arrives, the worker should be moved to a cool area and treated with cold, wet cloths, or an ice bath, if possible.

When workers are outside all day, sun exposure can cause many issues. Sun exposure can have short and long-term consequences for outdoor workers. The ultraviolet rays of the sun can penetrate beyond the top layer of the skin and alter the structure of the skin’s cells.

Unprotected exposure to the sun’s rays can cause painful sunburn and skin cancer. The risk of sun exposure is high between 10 a.m. until four in the afternoon. Additionally, light-colored surfaces or water that is reflecting sunlight increases sunburn and exposure.

Even on cloudy days, outdoor workers should protect themselves from sun exposure by wearing light long-sleeve shirts made of tightly knit fabric, and wear sunscreen and wide brimmed hats. Workers suffering from sunburn can use topical creams to moisturize the area, cool the skin, and ease discomfort. Outdoor workers who develop any irregularly shaped moles or discolorations should see a dermatologist immediately.

What Other Dangers Can Outdoor Workers Face?

Noise pollution can result in occupational hearing loss, which is one of the most common work-related injuries in the United States. Almost all work-related hearing loss is permanent and can profoundly impact a person’s quality of life.

Many outdoor workers use power tools that expose them to hazardous noise levels. If it is difficult to speak with someone at arm’s length and you have to raise your voice, then your work environment is too loud. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has strict guidelines for workplace decibel levels. Employers should use the quietest equipment available and provide workers with hearing protection.

Workers can also experience biological hazards. Biological hazards for outdoor workers include venomous insects, poisonous plants, and vector borne diseases, which are contracted by insect bites.

Depending on the region of the country, outdoor workers may encounter venomous snakes, spiders, and insects. Also, poisonous plant oils can cause severe reactions to the skin. Clearing dangerous plants and brush can release toxins into the air.

Mosquitos and ticks can carry bacteria, parasites, and viruses. Diseases carried by mosquitoes include Zika virus, West Nile virus, dengue, and malaria. Tick borne diseases include Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, anaplasmosis, and babesiosis.

Outdoor workers are more at risk for insect bites in the summer months and should protect themselves by wearing light long-sleeve shirts, long pants, and socks that cover the ankles. Make sure to carry insect repellent. Work sites should have tall grass and brush cut back and all sources of standing water eliminated.

What do I do if I am Injured or Sickened at Work?

Outdoor workers have the right to a safe working environment during the hot summer months. There are many preventative measures that can be taken to protect outdoor workers from heat stress, sun exposure, noise pollution, and biological hazards. If you have suffered a work-related injury or illness, report it to your employer, and seek medical care immediately.

After you suffer an injury or illness, it is important to contact a lawyer who will help you with a Workers’ Compensation claim. A lawyer will guide you through the process and ensure you receive necessary compensation.

Delaware Work Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Advocate for Injured Outdoor Workers

If you have a work-related injury or illness, you may be eligible for compensation. Our dedicated Delaware work accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow can help you get the maximum benefits available to you so that you can recover. Call us at 302-427-9500 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware, we serve clients throughout Middletown, Dover, Milford, Hillsborough, Lewes, Rehoboth, Elsmere, and Seaford.

safety procedures

Electrical Safety Month

May is Electrical Safety Month, and everyone should be extra cautious when working with electricity. Electricity can cause serious accidents and different types of workplace injuries, so it is important to learn about electrical safety. Electrical workers and employees alike should advocate for safety during Electrical Safety Month and all year round.

Electrical Injury Statistics

In 2016 alone, there were 154 fatal accidents involving electricity on worksites. While this number may seem small compared to the population of the United States, no one should be killed by electricity on a worksite because it is often preventable.

Additionally, 53 percent of these accidents occurred in the construction industry. Proper safety procedures should be used to avoid these accidents in the future. There were also 1,540 non-fatal accidents where employees had to miss work to recover.

Basic Safety Procedures to Follow

If you or your employees work with electricity every day, you should:

  • Check the electrical cords of all tools before use.
  • Keep a safe distance from live power lines.
  • Never work in standing water.
  • Never repair electrical outlets or cables unless you are authorized to do so.
  • Turn off circuit breakers for any section of a facility you are working on.

You must train your employees to use all the tools that you have provided, and you should update this training every year. You should also give your employees a handbook that outlines the basic safety procedures that are used by your company.

How Can Electricity Harm You?

Electrocution or electrical accidents can occur when:

  • Electrical current makes direct contact with a worker.
  • The electrical current arcs from one location to another.
  • Electrical arcs can create energy that heats the area quickly.
  • Electrical sparks create a blinding flash.

As previously mentioned, you must keep a safe distance when working with electricity, and you should not bring conductors or conductive materials to the worksite. You do not want to accidentally ground the electricity yourself or with another object.

What Types of Injuries Can Occur During an Electrical Accident?

Workers can be injured by electrical currents at any time. These injuries occur when electricity is discharged:

  • Thermal burns: Burns that are caused by direct contact with an electrical current or spark.
  • Muscle contractions or spasms: This causes dangerous falling accidents.
  • Heart damage: Electrical currents can cause damage or stoppage.
  • Temporary or permanent blindness: This can result from the bright flash of a spark.
  • Collapsed lung: This can happen due to the immense pressure caused by a massive electrical discharge.

What Can Employers do to Prevent Electrical Injuries?

Employers should train their employees to use all equipment properly, and employees should be trained to use basic safety precautions around electricity. At the same time, employers should provide their workers with equipment that is made from non-conductive materials, like ladders. Additionally, ground fault circuit interrupters should be implemented on all worksites. Employers should call off all electrical work if it is wet, extremely hot, or bitterly cold.

Workers often assume they must complete all tasks no matter what because they have a job to do. Your employer, however, should not force you to work in unsafe conditions. Use your better judgement to avoid electrical accidents and protect your coworkers. If a worker does become injured, he or she may be able to file a Workers’ Compensation claim.

Wilmington Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Help Workers Injured in Electrical Accidents on Worksites

You should talk to one of our Wilmington Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow when you have been injured in an electrical accident at work. Call us at 302-427-9500 or contact us online for a free consultation. With offices in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware, we serve clients throughout Middletown, Dover, Milford, Hillsborough, Lewes, Rehoboth, Elsmere, and Seaford.

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