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Columbus Injured Worker Legal Blog

Understanding the real scope of a trench collapse

People sometimes do not take trench collapse issues as seriously as they should, often because the issue doesn't seem quite as dangerous as it really is. Common misconceptions are that the trench seems stable enough, that the workers could get out if they noticed an issue and that other workers who are watching nearby would be able to rescue anyone who got buried if a collapse did happen.

All of these beliefs are wrong. No one should ever assume that a trench, even a small one, is stable. They need to use caution and safety equipment to ensure that it is, and no one should ever work in the trench if the conditions are questionable.

Creating a culture of safety on construction sites

Construction companies know that employees face certain risks on job sites. This type of work is complex and physically demanding, and there are often many people doing many different tasks all at the same time. It can be risky to work in this type of job, and the possibility of injury is high. Safety should be a main priority on every type of jobsite. 

One way that Ohio employers can reduce the chance of accidents is to create a culture of safety with every team on every type of site. In addition to the regulations and standards put in place by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, there are additional steps that can improve safety and increase awareness on jobsites. It is the responsibility of each Ohio site manager and employer to provide employees the opportunity to work in an environment that is as safe as reasonably possible.

How dangerous is wood dust?

Workers who are exposed to wood dust would be wise to wear dust masks at all times. When cutting studs for wall framing, for instance, each cut may not feel like it's that harmful. Over time, though, the air near the saw becomes filled with wood dust that workers will inhale with every breath.

This is even more problematic in enclosed spaces. For example, cabinet markers may work in a woodshop, not the open-air venue of a construction site. This means that the dust can saturate that air and have nowhere to go, making it easier to breathe dust even when doing smaller jobs.

Safety violations that could be placing you at risk at work

At work, you are thinking about what you need to do, the tasks you must complete and the decisions you need to make. Depending on the nature of your job, you may not be thinking about all the ways you could possibly suffer an injury. No matter what you do, there are certain safety standards Ohio employers have to meet. Failure to keep employees as safe as reasonably possible could result in unnecessary accidents and injuries.

You have the right to a reasonable expectation of safety in your workplace. There are certain standards in place by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration designed to lower the chance of unnecessary incidents. Precaution and vigilance are two of the simplest ways to avoid accidents that could leave you and others with painful and debilitating injuries.

Despite fluctuations, on-the-job fatalities remain consistent

There are fluctuations in any statistics that you collect, whether you're looking at three years of data or 100 years. You can still see the big picture, though, which helps to determine if the statistics are trending in a positive or negative direction -- or if they're remaining neutral. With workplace fatalities, the truth is that they're staying fairly consistent, at least when looking at overall fatalities.

Keep in mind that this does not consider the number of workers in Ohio, so it's not a fatality rate, but just the raw data. In some cases, rates offer a better perspective on the true trend. If there was a surge in employment and workplace deaths stayed exactly the same, for instance, that would actually be a lower rate and indicate that the workplace was safer, even with the same amount of lives lost.

Which Ohio employers have workers' compensation coverage?

Workers often don't envision getting hurt on the job. Some professions are more dangerous than others, though. Many employees don't realize that state law mandates that employers carry workers' compensation coverage that they can use to pay for their medical bills and cover lost wages if they get hurt on the job. Most every employer in Ohio is required to purchase such insurance coverage.

Ohio law requires all employers with at least one employee on staff to carry workers' compensation insurance. There are some exceptions to this rule, though. Any company that employs domestic workers, including landscapers, babysitters or housekeepers who make under $160 per quarter is exempt from this rule.

An employer's responsibility regarding safety in the workplace

Are you as safe as you can reasonably expect to be in your Ohio workplace? Is your employer responsible for your safety when you are on the job? While your employer cannot control everything that happens, he or she is largely responsible for developing and maintaining a culture of safety where you work. This is important for your physical well-being, and it can greatly reduce the chance of an accident.

Workplace safety does not have to be a complex issue. With a few simple steps, it is possible to make any type of work environment safer. Every safety protocol and procedure can reduce the chance you will suffer unnecessary injuries or become ill as a result of environmental hazards. Not only should employers prioritize safety for the well-being of employees, but they should do so because it will reduce costs for them as well.

Non-impact injuries are still serious on the job

When you talk about workplace injuries, people often focus on impact-based injuries. They talk about falling from a ladder, for instance, or being struck by an object dropped from above. Road workers talk about being struck by passing cars or hit with heavy machinery.

These are all serious situations and very real dangers, but it's important not to forget that non-impact injuries can also be incredibly serious. They often happen because of bodily reactions and overexertion. For instance, these injuries can happen when someone is:

  • Throwing
  • Carrying
  • Holding
  • Turning
  • Pushing
  • Lifting

What can employers do to improve safety at work?

When an Ohio employee goes to work, he or she has the right to a reasonable expectation of safety in the workplace. It is the responsibility of each employer to provide tools and training to keep people safe, and it is also crucial to develop a culture of safety. Your boss should be working diligently to make sure you have everything you need to do your job well and without an increased risk of injury.

There are specific things employers can do that will develop a culture of safety, improve standards and reduce workplace accidents. However, accidents can still happen in even the safest of workplaces. In addition to your right to a safe place to work, you also have the right to seek workers' compensation benefits in the event of an on-the-job injury or sickness that develops because of your job.

How risky is it to work in the health care industry?

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows that health care workers are at the greatest risk for on-the-job injuries. This statistic stands in stark contrast to a long-held belief that construction workers were most vulnerable to workplace injuries. The reality is that those who work in hospitals and nursing homes have a higher injury rate than construction, logging or manufacturing workers.

Nursing home workers have the highest rate of injury. Those employed in the hospital, construction, logging and manufacturing sectors have the next highest injury rates.

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

89 East Nationwide Boulevard
Suite 300
Columbus, OH 43215

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