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Category Archives: Workplace Injuries

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.

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 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.

Wilmington Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Represent Those Injured in Dangerous, Confined Work Spaces or Conditions.

What Are the Dangers of Working in Confined Spaces?

Each day, there are millions of workers across the U.S. who are placing themselves at risk. Whether a job requires heavy lifting or working with machinery, every job has its dangers that could cause a worker to suffer an injury and take time off from work. Some jobs, however, come with more risks than others.

One job that presents more than the normal share of job-related risks is one that requires a person to work in a confined space. Working in a confined space means having limited ability to move, which suggests that if danger is present, a worker might only have a paucity of a chance to escape unscathed.

Fortunately for workers who routinely enter confined spaces to perform much-need tasks, there are regulations and protocols that could significantly reduce the chances of suffering an injury.

A confined space is more than just a small area. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), a confined space is large enough for a worker to perform specific job tasks and has limited room for a worker to enter and exit. OSHA explains that a confined space is not necessarily designed to accommodate people or allow them to occupy it on a continual basis.

OSHA oversees the safety of American workers. This includes mandating regulations for workers in confined spaces. OSHA insists that employers must maintain visual or verbal communication with their employers at regular intervals while in a confined space.

Furthermore, OSHA mandates that a permit be required for any worker who works in a confined space that presents a specific danger. This includes spaces containing hazardous materials, a hazardous atmosphere, walls converging inward, floors that taper in size, live wires, heat stress, and unguarded machinery.

Safety protocols save lives. Workers in confined spaces must have specific training to complete a task, and that includes safety and emergency procedures. A qualified supervisor should be present at all times and perform a safety inspection before any employee enters the confined space. Inspections should include a test of the air quality, infrastructure, work and safety equipment, and escape route.

A plan should be in place and learned in case of an emergency. All necessary and up-to-date safety equipment should be supplied, including protective gear, equipment to detect toxins and flammable gasses, fire extinguishers, and oxygen masks. Lastly, there should be constant communication between a supervisor and worker.

What Occupations and Confined Spaces Present the Greatest Risks?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that over a nine-year period, the occupations that saw the most deaths in confined spaces were construction laborers, agricultural workers, first-line supervisors in construction trades, plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters. In addition, BLS reports that the causes of these deaths include falling from a higher to lower level, inhalation of a dangerous substance, a collapse of an enclosed space, engulfment of collapsing materials, a fire or explosion, and operating machinery.

The confined spaces that these workers were in included:

  • Septic tanks.
  • Silos.
  • Oil tanks.
  • Ditches.
  • Trenches.
  • Excavations.
  • Underground mines.
  • Caves.
  • Tunnels.
  • Crawl spaces.
  • Manholes.
  • Sewers.
  • Wells.
  • Storm drains.

What Does Workers’ Compensation Provide?

If you are injured in a confined space while performing work duties, you are likely eligible for Workers’ Compensation benefits.

Workers’ Compensation provides benefits that cover medical expenses, including doctor visits, tests, surgery, rehabilitative services, and prescriptions. Lost wages are covered but at a percentage of a worker’s salary. This includes injuries resulting in permanent disability. Death benefits may also be provided.

Wilmington Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Represent Those Injured in Dangerous, Confined Work Spaces or Conditions

If you have been injured due to hazardous work conditions, such as working in a confined space, you may need a lawyer if there is a problem with your claim. One of our experienced Wilmington Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow will protect your rights. Call us at 302-427-9500 or contact us online for 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.

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

What is the ‘Going and Coming Rule’ for Workers’ Compensation?

Workers’ Compensation is designed to protect workers against the costs of suffering debilitating injuries while doing their jobs. If a worker is injured, obtains medical care, and misses a significant amount of work, Workers’ Compensation pays the bills.

In exchange for accepting Workers’ Compensation benefits, a worker cannot sue the employer for damages arising from the injury. The issue of just when a worker is eligible for Workers’ Compensation protection matters greatly. The going and coming rule at least partly addresses that issue.

Explaining the Going and Coming Rule

Although workers must go to and from the workplace, the going and coming rule exempts that activity from Workers’ Compensation. There are too many ways in which a worker might become injured while journeying from home to work and back again.

A car accident could hospitalize the worker. A slip and fall on an icy or wet sidewalk could cause a worker to suffer an injury. Countless potential perils could strike, but they are not the fault the employer.

Delaware’s Workers’ Compensation law exempts travel to and from the workplace from qualifying for coverage. That partly is due to workers commonly making one or more stops while going to or coming from work. It largely is due to auto insurance and premises liability protecting workers while they are driving and making stops.

A worker might drop off kids at school while on the way to work or stop at stores, gas stations, and other places on the way home. Those are personal errands and not work requirements, so the coming and going rule addresses that by denying Workers’ Compensation coverage while traveling to or from work.

Many Exceptions to the Rule

The going and coming rule is not absolute. Many exceptions would extend Workers’ Compensation protection to workers who are injured while operating their own vehicles. Those exceptions include:

  • Commercial travel
  • Driving a company vehicle
  • Running a special errand for work
  • Traveling as a major part of job duties
  • Traveling between job sites

When an employee is issued a company vehicle for regular use, any injuries suffered while driving could qualify for Workers’ Compensation. A company vehicle usually requires the driver to use it in a specific work-related manner and not for personal errands or pleasure trips.

Any injuries suffered while driving from one work site to another also count as a work-related injury, since that travel is a necessary part of your job and occurs while you are on the clock rather than commuting to and from work.

Some jobs require regular travel. A salesperson traveling from one location to one or more other locations is just one example. Regular travel while on the job is necessary to complete the assigned workload, so injuries suffered while traveling would be covered.

If you are at work and are tasked with a special assignment that requires you to drive somewhere, any injuries that you might suffer would be subject to Workers’ Compensation.

The errand could be as simple as picking up some lunch that your boss ordered. Or it might be to a local office supply store to get some paper for the printer. No matter the mission, Workers’ Compensation would apply.

Anyone engaged in commercial travel in a personal or company vehicle also would be subject to Workers’ Compensation coverage.

Premises Liability Might Negate Going and Coming Rule

If you drive to work, you may have a designated parking area or a specific parking spot that you must use at your place of employment. Once you arrive at the parking location, you are doing part of your regular work routine.

If another vehicle runs into you and causes an injury before you are able to enter the building, that could be a Workers’ Compensation claim. So could a slip-and-fall or another injury accident that occurs while you are in the designated work parking area.

The full liability might not be with your employer and Workers’ Compensation by extension. A privately owned parking lot or municipal parking ramp could be liable for your injuries and other damages, but depending on the circumstances, your employer also might be accountable, especially if your employer assigned the parking location for you to use. An employer-designated parking area would be part of your regular pre-work routine and a necessary part of doing your job.

What to Do if You Are Injured During Work Travel?

If you are traveling as part of your work assignment, you should be eligible for Workers’ Compensation coverage, even if you are not the one doing the driving.

Any injuries that you suffer while traveling for work should be treated right away by a doctor. You can use your own doctor or see a company doctor and still qualify for Workers’ Compensation benefits.

You need to notify your immediate supervisor or another employer representative regarding the injury. You also would have to describe the circumstances that caused the injury. Witnesses, video evidence, or other supporting proof of the accident could help to streamline the claims process.

Your medical costs should be covered by your employer via Workers’ Compensation. If you miss more than three days of work, you should be eligible for lost wages coverage. That would be equal to about two-thirds of your average hourly wage or weekly salary amount.

How to Appeal a Workers’ Compensation Claim Denial?

If your Workers’ Compensation claim is denied, you need to request an internal review by your employer. If that does not correct the situation, then you can file an appeal to the Delaware Office of Workers’ Compensation.

The state will conduct a review of the events leading up to the injury accident and render a decision. Their decision either will uphold the denial of your claim or overturn the denial so that you are covered.

If your claim remains denied, you could file a lawsuit seeking damages from your employer and other liable parties. An experienced Wilmington Workers’ Compensation attorney could help you to present the strongest possible case.

Wilmington Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Help to Uphold Workers’ Rights

If you are injured while traveling for work, the experienced Wilmington Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow can help you to fight a denial of a valid Workers’ Compensation claim. You can call 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.

Wilmington Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Fight on Behalf of Injured Workers.

What Types of Burn Injuries Can Occur on Construction Sites?

According to the American Burn Association, approximately 486,000 burn injuries requiring medical care occur every year in the United States. Many of these injuries happen at work. Construction workers have a considerable risk of being burned because of the machinery they utilize and the hazardous materials they encounter on the job.

Here are the most common types of burns that happen in the construction industry.

Electrical Burns

Construction workers risk contact with electricity from a wide range of sources, including electrical devices, lightning, currents on the jobsite, and power lines. The severity, treatment, and prognosis for electrical burns vary based on the voltage involved. More severe electrical burns can damage the blood vessels, nerves, muscles, and organs beneath the skin.

When contact with electricity occurs on the construction site, bystanders should turn off the electrical source if possible. Next, begin CPR if the person does not have a pulse or is not breathing. However, never touch someone if they are still in contact with the current. Call 911 immediately for serious emergencies.

Thermal Burns

Thermal burns are among the most common burn injuries that occur in the United States, accounting for 450,000 of medical clinic and hospital visits every year. They are caused by exposure to excessive heat, including contact with steam, flames, and hot liquids. Most thermal burns are relatively minor and require pain management and wound care at outpatient centers or hospitals. Only a small percentage of these injuries are treated in specialized burn centers.

When a thermal burn happens, the first priority is to control and stop the burning process. Personal protective equipment (PPE) and fire detection and action plans are ways to prevent thermal burns on construction sites.

Chemical Burns

Construction workers who work with corrosive or causing materials on the jobsite risk serious chemical burns. Exposure to industrial cleaners and manufacturing and laboratory chemicals, in particular, can cause these types of workplace injuries. These substances literally eat away at the skin and damage the tissue underneath.

Hazard communication training to educate and alert workers to the risks of certain materials is essential. Every workplace should have protocols in place to safely store, transport, and use these chemicals to protect workers from painful and debilitating chemical burns.

Construction workers who suffer serious burns on the job may be entitled to Workers’ Compensation or have cause to bring a personal injury claim against a negligent third party. After seeking the proper medical care for your injuries, contact a lawyer for guidance.

Wilmington Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Fight on Behalf of Injured Workers

If you have been injured on the job and need help with your claim, speak with one of our experienced Wilmington Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow. Call us today at 302-427-9500 or contact us online to learn more and to schedule a free consultation. We have offices 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 Represent Radiologists Suffering from Workplace Injuries.

What Workplace Injuries Are Common Among Radiologists?

Radiologists are healthcare professionals that perform a range of medical imaging tests, including Computed Tomography (CT) Scans, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), Positron-Emission Tomography (PET), X-Rays and ultrasounds. In recent decades, radiologists have shifted from using conventional radiological film to a picture archiving and communication (PAC) system. While this system provides a range of benefits to patients and radiologists, including more efficient scheduling and workflow, less space needed for storing the data, and a greater ease of standardization of structured reporting, studies indicate that the transition to a computer-based workforce has also caused radiologists to suffer a range of physical consequences associated with sitting at a computer for extended periods of time. If you are a radiologist, and you suffered a workplace injury, contact an experienced Workers’ Compensation lawyer as soon as possible.

What Are the Most Common Injuries That Affect Radiologists?

According to a survey by the American College of Radiology (ACR), close to one-third of radiologists in the United States report that they suffer from lower back pain, and other musculoskeletal injuries associated with the shift to the PACS system. Spending prolonged periods of time sitting at a desk, the use of non ergonomic chairs and a failure to take regular breaks can cause lower back pain, neck pain and repetitive stress injuries. According to researchers, in addition to having fewer face-to-face interactions with patients, the current system of sitting in front of a computer for hours at a time can cause musculoskeletal injuries like “computer back” and “mouse shoulder.”

Approximately 500 practice leaders were contacted by the ACR’s Human Resources Commission. This represented roughly one-third of all practicing radiologists in the United States. They were asked to complete a survey that addressed workplace injuries, and musculoskeletal injuries were a common complaint. In fact, 32 percent of practice leaders reported that radiologists experienced back pain, 25 percent reported neck pain, and 16 percent experienced repetitive stress injuries. Some of the contributing factors included poor job satisfaction and negative workplace environments. Unfortunately, in radiology and most other fields, decreased job satisfaction can also lead to burnout.

According to the study, one of the main factors that contributed to the incidence of low back pain, neck pain and repetitive stress injuries is time sitting in awkward positions on non-ergonomic chairs. By raising awareness of this problem, and implementing changes in radiology, like providing ergonomically designed seating, this can help prevent musculoskeletal injuries and improve overall job satisfaction.

What Should Employers Do to Improve the Work Environment for Radiologists?

Years of research suggests that ergonomic seating and the use of adjustable tools and equipment can help prevent workplace injuries among radiologists, as well as other healthcare providers. In addition to providing these options, it is imperative that employers oversee and manage the process of incorporating them into the workflow. For example, by rotating sonographers through portable service, it allows them to take a break from rushing from one room to another. While this may seem like a minor change, proactive steps like this can significantly reduce the risk of injuries.

Employers should also take steps to protect radiologists and other employees from exposure to infections. Providing the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE), including surgical masks, gloves and isolation gowns is imperative to preventing the spread of infections. It is also highly recommended that hospital employers take steps to ensure that all surfaces are thoroughly disinfected and that the air quality is monitored on a regular basis to prevent the spread of airborne infections.

What Steps Can Radiologists Take to Prevent Workplace Injuries?

While system-side changes can take time to implement, there are steps that radiologists can take to help reduce the risk of a musculoskeletal injury or other workplace injuries, including the following:

  • Do a series of stretches before conducting a scan, as well as throughout the day. Several short stretches are more beneficial and have a great impact than one long stretch.
  • Incorporate quick exercises while sitting at your desk, or during your lunch hour. Increase the intensity of these quick workouts by incorporating resistance bands or stress balls.
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator whenever possible.
  • Take regular breaks and incorporate a set of lunges before returning to work.
  • Park in a spot that is farther away from the building so that you have a reason to walk.

What Other Health Hazards Are Radiologists Exposed to in the Workplace?

In addition to the physical injuries that are common among radiologists, they are also exposed to a range of infectious diseases. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), examples of illnesses that radiologists are exposed to in the workplace include influenza, COVID-19, tuberculosis, and HIV. Depending on the type and severity of the infection, radiologists who have been exposed to an infectious disease can suffer very serious health complications that may cause him or her to miss a significant amount of work. Infections are transmitted in the following ways:

  • Direct transmission: This occurs when an infection is spread by direct contact from one person to another. Skin-to-skin contact is the most common type of direct transmission.
  • Indirect transmission via fluids: This occurs when an infection is spread by bodily fluids like urine.
  • Indirect transmission via vectors: This type of transmission occurs when an infection is spread by an insect bite, including mosquitoes, fleas and ticks.
  • Indirect transmission via vehicles: Infections can also be spread by an object that is carrying an infection. Examples include food, water, blood, and fomites, which are inanimate objects like bedding handkerchiefs and surgical scalpels.
  • Indirect transmission by airborne media: This occurs when infectious agents are suspended in the air. Common examples include dust and droplets that contain spores or infectious microorganisms.
  • Indirect transmission by droplets: This occurs when there is a transmission of an infection via fluid from the eyes, nose or mouth. Sneezing, coughing and tearing are examples of droplet transmission.

Wilmington Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Represent Radiologists Suffering from Workplace Injuries

If you work as a radiologist, and you are suffering from a work-related injury or illness, contact one of our skilled Wilmington Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow. We will continue to fight for you until you are completely satisfied. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 302-427-9500 or contact us online. With offices located in Bear, Wilmington, Milford, and Lewes, Delaware, we serve clients throughout the state.

Wilmington Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Fight for the Rights of Injured Workers.

On-the-Job Knee Injuries

Work-related knee injuries are extremely common. In fact, they are second only to back injuries when it comes to workplace accidents that result in days lost from work. The knee joint plays a critical function in the human body: without it, you cannot stand, sit, walk, run, or lay down without distress. It is also the largest joint in the body and must bear most of the body’s weight. The knee joint contains several bones and muscles held together by ligaments and tendons and cushioned with cartilage and fluid filled sacs called bursae. On-the-job knee injuries can leave workers with serious chronic pain and other long-term medical issues.

What are Some Common Workplace Knee Injuries and Their Causes?

Work-related knee injuries can happen for many reasons but workers whose jobs require them to stand, kneel regularly, or carry heavy weight loads are at greater risk for developing knee injuries because of overuse or repetitive stress. Slip and fall accidents are another source of many workplace knee injuries. Occupations such as auto mechanics, restaurant workers, nurses, cleaners, carpenters, and construction workers have higher rates of knee injuries.

The most common types of workplace knee injuries include

  • Fractures: knee fractures typically happen as the result of slip and falls and are very serious sometimes requiring surgery. To allow the bone to heal the knee must be immobilized.
  • Meniscus tears: the meniscus cartilage acts as a shock absorber for the bones of the knee. The meniscus can tear as the result of twisting or pivoting motions, and it can also wear out over time and then tear.
  • Ligament tears: the knee joint is held in place by ligaments, and they can tear when the knee is overextended or forced beyond their capacity. The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is commonly injured as are the posterior, medial, and lateral ligaments.
  • Dislocations: the knee bones can be dislocated or moved out of place by a fall or collision such as a motor vehicle accident, or any large impact to the knee joint
  • Tendonitis: repetitive motion can cause the tendons of the knee to become inflamed causing pain and limited motion
  • Bursitis: the bursae are the sacs of fluid that cushion the movement of the ligaments and tendons over the knee joint. When they become inflamed it can be painful and limit the knee’s motion.
  • Sprains and strains: overuse and overexertion or working in awkward positions can cause sprains and strains of the knee joint

How are Knee Injuries Treated?

While some minor knee injuries can be treated by resting the joint to allow it to recover, other injuries are accompanied by more serious symptoms such as significant swelling, pain, or bruising. If you are unable to bend or put weight on your knee after a work accident, you should seek medical attention immediately. Your doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory medication, steroid injections, or muscle relaxers. A brace can help stabilize the joint and crutches may be used to help avoid putting weight onto the knee joint.

For some knee injuries, physical therapy may be prescribed to help strengthen the muscles of the joint and increase range of motion.

When non-invasive treatments are unsuccessful, surgery may be needed to treat your knee injury. Surgery can be used to explore the joint and identify what is causing the problem, or to fix the injury. The knee may require a total replacement in cases of serious injuries in older workers.

Are Knee Injuries Covered by Workers’ Compensation Benefits?

Delaware Workers’ Compensation is a no-fault system of insurance designed to help workers who are injured on the job or who develop an illness related to their occupation. Even if you are partially responsible for the accident that caused your injuries you are eligible for Workers’ Compensation benefits. In return you may not sue your employer for damages related to your work accident.

Knee injuries are covered by Workers’ Compensation, and you may receive some or all of the following benefits for your work-related knee injury:

  • Medical benefits: including doctor visits, surgeries, hospital stays, prescription medication, and physical therapy
  • Wage loss benefits: these benefits help cover wages lost during time away from work as you recover from your injury. This is usually two-thirds of the amount of your earnings.
  • Temporary and/or permanent disability benefits: these payments are made if your knee injury leaves you unable to continue working

What If My Claim for My Knee Injury is Denied?

Diagnosis of an injury is important when filing a claim for Workers’ Compensation benefits. The initial diagnosis determines what treatment you receive afterward. Your employer’s insurer must approve treatment and be willing to pay for it. In the case of a knee injury, often the insurance will acknowledge it as a sprain or strain even when testing can confirm a more specific diagnosis. This makes it possible for them to refuse paying for any expensive treatments you may eventually need like surgery. An experienced Workers’ Compensation attorney will be familiar with this kind of tactic and know how to handle a knee injury claim that is being denied because it has been wrongly classified as a sprain or strain. A good attorney familiar with the Workers’ Compensation system will also know the maximum allowable benefits for your case and can check that your wage loss benefits have been correctly calculated. If you have questions or concerns about your work injury claim or your claim has been denied, consider consulting with a Workers’ Compensation lawyer. Consultations for Workers’ Compensation cases are most often free of charge so you have nothing to lose by meeting with a lawyer who can inform you of your rights to benefits.

Wilmington Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Fight for the Rights of Injured Workers

Workers’ Compensation is complex and can be tough to navigate on your own. If you have suffered a knee injury on the job, talk to the experienced Wilmington Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow. We provide personalized representation to every client and will fight to make sure you receive all the benefits you are eligible for. Call us at 302-427-9500 or contact us online to schedule a consultation. With offices in all three counties in Delaware, we serve clients throughout the state.

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