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Kansas City Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Women face more risks to health and safety when working on farms

The majority of literature and outreach programs to protect agricultural workers is geared toward men. However, it is estimated that approximately 31 percent of agricultural workers are women. Due to Missouri's heavy farming industry, residents may benefit from learning more about protecting the health and safety of these workers, especially female employees.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has extensive listings of the factors that can pose harm to the well-being of farm workers. Among these are the exposure to pesticides, potential chronic and acute lung infections, pregnancy-related risks, injuries posed by livestock, and the accumulated effects of repetitive motions. Along with the hazards posed by these working conditions, the often-isolated locations of these farms may make access to health care more difficult.

Construction worker killed; 1 injured when struck by truck

Those who work in the construction field are prepared for many hazards they may encounter on a job site. Unfortunately, not every possible danger can be foreseen in time to prevent a serious injury. Any Missouri construction worker who has suffered an injury through no fault of his or her own may have sought assistance from the state's workers' compensation program.

Recently, a tragic accident took the life of one construction worker and sent a second to a local hospital for treatment of his injuries. According to the preliminary investigation, members of a road crew were engaged in conducting an inspection of a bridge that spans an interstate. Without warning, a pickup truck that was towing a trailer slammed into some of the crew members. One worker was killed on the scene. A fellow worker was transported to the nearest medical center by emergency responders.

Company with 2 trench collapse deaths in 6 months still operating

Excavation work of any kind is a dangerous undertaking, especially when hazardous conditions exist. For this reason, OSHA mandates that workers are protected by proper support structures and safety equipment in case of a deadly trench collapse. If a Missouri employee suffers a serious injury due to an employer's negligence, he or she may have a case for filing a workers' compensation claim.

Recently, one company has come under scrutiny after having lost two employees in the span of six months who died under similar circumstances. The first death occurred in May of 2017, when a 60-year-old worker was apparently helping to direct his employer in using a clam-shell bucket attached to a truck-mounted crane. The workers were engaged in digging a cesspool for a property owner. At some point during the excavation, the ground under the worker opened up and the man was pulled down several feet under the debris. Another worker was able to avoid a similar death by grabbing the bucket and rising to safety.

Man dies after tragic work accident involving a forklift

Longevity at a company does not always mean that an employee is not vulnerable to suffering an injury. Sadly, even the most experienced worker can become a victim of a serious work accident. When Missouri residents suffer an injury -- or die -- as a result of a serious work-related accident, then they or their surviving family (in the event of a fatal accident) may be entitled to receive benefits from the workers' compensation program.

Recently, emergency responders were called to a warehouse when a report was called in concerning an injured man. Crews arrived to discover that the 43-year-old man had suffered a critical head injury while operating a forklift. Co-workers stated that the man, who had been employed with the company for approximately 20 years, was moving a pallet jack of items. For reasons that are still unclear, the man extended his head from the cab of the forklift, possibly in an effort to obtain a clearer view of the path ahead of him.

Some fear DOE regulation change could lessen workplace safety

The Department of Energy has moved to reclassify several nuclear facilities as being low-level operations that purportedly do not pose a hazard to the general public. It is also seeking to restrict members of a federal oversight board from questioning staff at certain facilities without prior consent of DOE officials. It proposes limiting the board's access to sensitive documentation while seeking to incorporate more legal protections. There are serious concerns that such changes could negatively impact workplace safety at nuclear facilities across the country, including the Callaway Nuclear Generating Station in Portland, Missouri.

The safety of nuclear materials have long been questioned. One way that the Department of Energy sought to placate those who questioned whether the well-being of workers was being prioritized was to work with a review board that oversees the operations of facilities that utilized nuclear materials. The proposed changes could now hamper this federal review board in ensuring the safety of employees who work with these materials. 

2 Men killed in scaffolding fall at construction site

Construction work is a rewarding, albeit, dangerous occupation. When the project involves considerable height, the use of support structures can lead to the risk of a scaffolding fall. Even though Missouri workers employed in this field take all safety precautions, there remains a possibility of suffering a serious -- or even fatal -- event.

Recently, there were reports of a fatal accident that occurred at a construction site of a 16-story motel. According to officials, workers were located above the sixth floor of the structure while pouring concrete. For reasons that are yet unclear, the scaffolding the men were on collapsed. Two of the workers, a 34-year-old and a 46-year-old, fell to the ground and died from their injuries.

Owner of slaughterhouse fined over workplace safety violations

This country is described as the land of opportunity for immigrants searching for a better way of life. In the majority of cases, families have worked to make those dreams a reality and have improved the economy of many Missouri cities and towns where they settled. Unfortunately, there have been accounts of employers ignoring workplace safety regulations in order to cut operating costs -- which endangers the lives of those whom they employ.

Recently, a state branch of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration conducted an inspection of a slaughterhouse shortly after federal immigration agencies conducted a raid of the same business. After thoroughly reviewing the plant, inspectors discovered approximately 27 violations related to worker safety -- 23 of which are serious. The business was assessed fines in excess of $41,000 for violating federal safety standards.

Some first responders struggling to fight cancer and get benefits

Those who provide emergency services to their communities make many sacrifices. Unfortunately, fire fighters may be sacrificing their health when they contract a cancer that may be directly related to their work. Missouri employees may be in for a challenging fight when they become ill and struggle to make ends meet.

Fire fighters with a life-threatening illness in one particular state often struggle to get the workers' compensation benefits to which they are entitled. Several years ago, this state approved a bill that was intended to make it easier for fire fighters to qualify for workers' comp benefits if they were diagnosed with cancer. Research has shown a link between fire fighting and an increased risk of developing the deadly disease. However, that law has not fulfilled the purpose for which it was intended.

Woman suffers amputation traumatic injury in industrial accident

Working in a factory can be a rewarding, albeit, dangerous occupation. The manufacturing of equipment often requires heavy machinery that demands close attention to detail as well as safeguards in order to prevent the risk of workers suffering serious injuries in an industrial accident. Unfortunately, even the most diligent Missouri employee can become a victim of a traumatic incident.

Recently, emergency crews were summoned to a manufacturing plant in response to a call involving a worker suffering a severe arm injury. Crews arrived to discover that a woman's forearm had been caught in machinery. She suffered an amputation of her lower arm and was receiving emergency aid from co-workers. In an attempt to stop the heavy bleeding, employees applied both pressure and bandaging until rescue personnel arrived on scene.

Battle looming over proposed rule concerning OSHA reporting

There are rules in place regarding how employers are required to file paperwork concerning workplace accidents. A few years ago, under the last administration, a new rule was instituted that revised how much information employers were required to report to OSHA concerning injuries on-the-job. Currently, anytime a Missouri resident is injured or suffers an illness related to his or her employment, the details surrounding the incident must be reported if the company employs more than 250 workers. 

Now, another proposal would roll back some of those requirements in the interest of preserving both worker and employer privacy. Under the current regulations, an employer is required to supply detailed information regarding how an accident occurred and injuries suffered. Those who worked on establishing this rule claim that it is needed in order to provide workers with more protections in the workplace. One spokesperson stated that identifying personal information can be redacted before these reports are available for publication.

Kelly Law Office, P.C. • 134 N. Water St. • Liberty, MO 64068
Map and Directions • Phone: 816-760-2174 • Fax: 816-760-2001

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