Employers are required to provide a safe and healthy environment for their employees. The United States Department of Labor oversees occupational safety standards and, at the most basic level, requires that employers “provide a workplace free from serious recognized hazards and comply with standards, rules and regulations issued under the OSH Act.” This act provides the standard minimum requirements that an employer must take to provide the proper work environment within his or her company. Employees must be kept physically safe while at work no matter what the work entails. There has also been an increased push in recent years to improve employees’ health beyond the basics of safety standards.

To avoid industrial accidents, employers must consider themselves safety leaders within the office. Employers can face grave consequences for treating their employees as equipment instead of people.  Every safety hazard exposes real people to serious harm and thus safety standards must be taken seriously. Common workplace safety hazards can stem from inherently dangerous work, such as working at a height, working with chemicals, or working with heavy equipment, such as forklifts. But even office spaces and other seemingly tame workplaces can allow for unsafe situations. Poor housekeeping, such as clutter around a fire exit, can cause serious harm during an emergency. These situations allow for workplace accidents to become all too common and further emphasize the need for office safety to be taken seriously. Not only does the law require employers to provide the proper environment to keep employees safe, but, according to the personal injury lawyers of Mazin & Associates law firm, if the misconduct results in an employee’s death, then legal action can be taken against the party who was responsible for the incident. This is one of the serious consequences of not providing a safe environment for employees.

Employers should also consider the benefits of providing a healthy environment for employees. There are many actions that an employer can take beyond the basic safety requirements to help provide a better environment for employees to work in. Health education classes provided by the company can help to improve employee lifestyle. Another way to improve employee health is by providing access to fitness facilities, either locally or on-site. Additionally, employers should consider making healthy food options available to employees on-site. All of these actions can significantly improve worker health and well-being.

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There are many different causes of injuries in the workplace, most of which result not only to physical pain suffered by injured workers, but also to financial sufferings, especially if these injuries are serious as this would mean costly medical treatment, the need to purchase the needed medication, and days or weeks off from work, which means no salary to expect.

Providing employees a financial safety net (though lower in amount compared to their regular pay) until they are able to return to work and earn their keep is the Workers’ Compensation, a state-administered insurance program. This Workers’ Comp is designed to provide benefits to workers whose injury, disability or illness is work-related. Though cash benefits is only about two/thirds of an injured worker’s average wage, (injured workers) greatly rely on it so as not to totally suffer disabling financial conditions.

Workers’ Comp pays benefits regardless of whose fault the accident is. However, there are limits as to the types of injuries that may be paid. As a rule, benefits will never be paid to workers:

  • Whose injury were self-inflicted;
  • Who were intoxicated at the time of the injury; or
  • Whose injury was a result of actions in violation of a law or company policy on work safety.

Because Workers’ Comp is financed by employers, it serves as some sort of an exchange or deal wherein injured employees, by choosing to receive its offered benefits (which usually include cost of medical treatment, lost wages, disability, rehabilitation and death), automatically waive their right to sue their employer for additional compensation.

Before applying for Workers’ Comp benefits, however, there are three very important legal aspects about this insurance benefits that injured workers need to understand:

First is the fact that they have the right to claim it (which means they cannot sue their employer);

Second, they can waive their right to receive Workers’ Comp benefits for the right to sue their employer to seek higher compensation. This legal pursuit is legally permissible, especially if this benefits program: is not actually offered by the employer; there is clear proof that the accident was intended by the employer; or the injury was very serious or leads to death. By suing their employer, injured workers may be able to receive damages that will also cover pain and suffering, mental anguish, and punitive damages in addition to all those that Workers’ Comp would have provided; and,

Third, aside from the right to sue their employer, injured workers can also pursue legal action against third parties, such as suppliers or manufacturers of the defective products or toxic substances that they used at work, or any other outside contractor who may have caused the injury. While suing an outside contractor does not require waiving their right to Workers’ Comp, paying a portion of the Workers’ Comp insurance benefit already received may be necessary. The employer and insurance provider may otherwise be allowed to join injured workers’ side in the lawsuit in order for them to recover the value of the benefits that they already paid.

According to one Georgetown personal injury attorney, though hard and loyal workers have every right to expect their employer to support them if they get hurt on the job, many employers and insurance companies attempt to sidestep their workers’ compensation responsibilities by arguing that the employee’s injury or disability was not work-related – this is a move by many employers so as to avoid increasing their premiums (employees making claims too often or employees making expensive claims due to severe injuries would mean higher premiums for employers).

Applying for Workers’ Comp benefits can be a complex process; more so if an injured worker decides to sue his/her employer instead. After being seriously injured, however, the last thing a worker needs to worry about is wading through the bureaucratic red tape and/or the complexities surrounding Workers’ Compensation claim. To save himself/herself from all these trouble, having a legal representative (a Workers’ Comp claims lawyer) may just be a necessity.

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Swimming can be fun and enjoyable. Both kids and adults love taking a dip in a swimming pool that is nearest to them. But while swimming pools can be a source of enjoyment, they also pose a threat to the safety of individuals. Statistics reveal that fatal drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury-related death for children ages 1 to 14 years. It is the leading source of injuries in children 1 to 4 years old.
Aside from drowning, the website of Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. ® revealed that there are serious injuries associated with swimming pool incidents such as fractured bones and heads. Here are 4 of the most common causes of swimming pool accidents:

  • Absence of Proper Barriers
    Installing the proper barrier can lower the possibility of a child drowning by 83 percent compared to a non-isolated swimming pool. They are often overlooked but having proper barriers can offer protection from the dangers of water.
  • Lack of Close Supervision
    Public swimming pools are not legally bound to have a lifeguard on duty. Swimming pool owners should post a sign informing users that there is no lifeguard on duty. Not posting of such signs makes the pool owner liable for negligence.
  • Lack of Anti-Entrapment Devices
    Federal Law calls for the installation of anti-entrapment devices on all personal computer. Non-installation subjects the users to heavy criminal raps.
  • Uneven or Excessively Slippery Decks
    The surrounding areas of the swimming pool also pose some risks to the enjoyment of kids. As they are made of concrete, they can become slippery increasing the likelihood of a slip and fall.

Being safety conscious is a must when having fun in a swimming pool. Your enjoyment while swimming can be cut short as a result of injuries.

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