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Columbus Injured Worker Legal Blog

House passes the Ohio Workers First Act

The Ohio House of Representatives recently approved House Bill 380, the Ohio Workers First Act. This act would prevent undocumented immigrants from filing workers' compensation claims. The Ohio Workers First Act is designed to discourage employers from hiring undocumented immigrants by allowing injured workers to sue their employer if they can prove that the employer knew of their undocumented status. With no groups testifying in support of the bill, it generally lacks backing from businesses, labor groups and other officials, however it was still passed by the Ohio House.

Proponents of the bill claim that under the current law, businesses may be incentivized to hire undocumented workers because if those workers become injured, they will be covered by state workers' compensation benefits. One state House representative states that by allowing undocumented workers to sue to company that hired them knowing they were undocumented, the bill dissuades employers from hiring low-wage, undocumented workers.

OSHA extends deadline for electronic recordkeeping submissions

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has extended the deadline for electronic submissions of injury and illness records in accordance with its electronic recordkeeping rule. Originally, the compliance date was set for December 1, 2017 but OSHA has granted employers a two-week extension. The information must now be submitted by December 15, 2017.

Under the new "Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses" rule, employers in most states with 250 or more employees are now required to submit an Injury Tracking Application (ITA) electronically. Employers with 20-249 employees in certain industries with high rates of workplace injury and illness (such as construction, manufacturing and health care) are also required to submit ITAs. These employers are already required to keep track of injury and illness information under OSHA regulations, however now they must submit their data through the ITA.

Common reasons for disability claim denials

When a medical impairment keeps you from working, there is a lot at stake. Not only does this threaten your ability to care for your family -- it can be a direct threat to your financial well-being long into the future. Individuals like you have the right to seek benefits through one of the disability programs offered by the Social Security Administration. 

The intent of both Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability insurance is to provide disabled individuals with financial support. If you are unable to work because of a physical injury, medical condition or diagnosed mental issue, you would have a rightful claim to disability benefits. However, it can be quite difficult to actually obtain this support. In fact, the majority of first-time claims come back denied.

Ohio BWC and fire marshal address firefighter cancer

The Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation (BWC) and the Ohio fire marshal recently announced that they will work together to address the high rate of cancer among firefighters. They plan to provide grants to fire departments throughout the state for protective equipment and to provide funding for training, exposure prevention and the improvement of emergency responses - the BWC is allocating $1 million and the fire marshal has provided a $500,000 fund to advance these goals.

According to a study by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), 68 percent of firefighters get cancer in their lifetimes. They are at least 14 percent more likely to develop cancer than the general public because firefighters are regularly exposed to occupational carcinogens. A Dispatch statewide survey of 1,300 firefighters revealed that one in six firefighters has been diagnosed with cancer during his or her career, most likely from toxic exposure.

What are the differences between the federal disability programs?

When an Ohio resident is unable to work due to a medical condition, he or she could have a rightful claim to benefits through one of the two federal disability programs. However, it can be complicated to fully understand eligibility requirements and how to actually get the benefits you need and deserve.

If you are unable to hold gainful employment, you could be eligible for either Social Security Disability Insurance benefits or Supplemental Security Income. If you believe that you may have a rightful claim to certain benefits, you may find it beneficial to seek a complete understanding of your legal options and your rights as a disabled individual.

Paying OSHA citations affects workers' compensation claims

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) may issue citations for violations of OSHA regulations in connection with workers' compensation accidents. Ohio employers should be aware that if they accept and pay these citations, it can lead to increased Workers' compensation payouts.

Accepting an OSHA citation can not only result in increased payouts - sometimes thousands of dollars not covered by Workers' compensation insurance - but also can lead to increased penalties for future repeat citations and increased bond premiums. Employers may also lose business opportunities and citations may be used against them in civil proceedings.

Man killed in Ohio industrial accident

When a person is injured on the job they can suffer serious consequences. Workplace accidents often involve potentially serious injuries that are sometimes fatal. A fatal accident recently occurred in Columbus that killed a forklift operator.

A warehouse worker was killed when his forklift overturned in Columbus. The man was killed when his forklift overturned and landed on him at the landing dock. The man was pronounced dead at the scene and was expected to be married this past weekend to his longtime girlfriend.

Unexplained falls may not be covered by workers' compensation

The Workers' Compensation system is predicated on the notion that employees, regardless of fault, should be compensated for injuries they sustain at work. However, the Ohio Second Appellate District Court recently stated that while this is generally the case, there is one exception to the rule -- unexplained falls.

In White v. Buehrer, an employee fell while walking through an examination room to deliver mail. Her workplace injuries included a broken right hip. In her claim for Workers' Compensation, the employee stated that she fell because the floor was "tacky," a statement that was refuted by one of her co-workers who testified that the floor was not hazardous in any way.

Hearing loss in the workplace and your right to compensation

Ohio workers know that when they suffer an injury in the workplace they have the right to seek compensation through their employer's workers' compensation insurance. However, this right also applies to those who suffer injuries and damage from their work over a long period of time. An example of this is work-related hearing loss.

If you experienced hearing loss, either partial or total, as the result of the conditions of your job, you would be eligible for certain types of financial benefits. You would be wise to take quick action to protect your interests, which may include submitting a claim for workers' compensation benefits. You do not have to endure hearing loss on your own.

Fatal accident at manufacturing plant leads to investigation

An employee of Autoneum, a manufacturing company that produces sound and heating systems for General Motors and Ford, was killed from what authorities now say was blunt-force trauma. The county coroner and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) are conducting ongoing investigations into the circumstances surrounding the employee's death.

This was not the company's first safety violation or death of a worker in the course of employment. Earlier this year, a worker at the company's Florida location fell 50 feet off a ladder to his death. Autoneum has also been cited for OSHA violations 33 times prior to this incident and has a record of workers having limbs amputated due to its machinery.

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Philip J. Fulton Law OfficeRepresenting Victims Of Workplace Injuries And Disability

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