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Columbus Workers' Compensation Law Blog

In summer, many workers are vulnerable to heat illness

Today is the first day of July. Though it is still early summer, many parts of the country have already experienced intense heat waves. Those places that have not yet felt the full blast of summer soon will.

People who spend most of their days indoors may not think about it, but the sun can make you sick. Many jobs, such as construction or agricultural work, require workers to spend their time outside. Without proper and reasonable precautions, like sufficient rest breaks and access to water, heat illnesses can occur.

Logging, fishing still the deadliest American industries

Every worker in the Ohio may potentially develop a workplace-related illness or injury, whether they work in an office, supermarket, factory or outdoors. But some jobs carry a much heavier risk than others. Office-related injuries like carpel tunnel syndrome, while painful and debilitating, are fairly minor when compared with fatal accidents.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the deadliest jobs in America in 2012 were logging and commercial fishing. The BLS reported that 62 loggers died on the job that year, a rate of 127.8 fatalities per 100,000 full-time workers. That same year, 32 fishers also died, giving fishing the second-worst rate of fatal accidents in the country.

Officials urge drivers to exercise caution in Ohio construction zones

Spring and summer are seasons of increased road construction in Ohio. In fact, the Ohio Department of Transportation has announced that a "record number of construction projects" are planned or underway throughout the state, and drivers are urged to exercise due caution in work zones.

Sadly, that warning comes after a fatal construction zone accident outside of Dayton. The crash involved a dump truck and a semi truck, and a 43-year-old construction worker lost his life.

Falling debris is unsafe, wear a helmet at construction sites

From heavy machinery to several tons of building materials in some cases, no one needs to remind a construction worker here in Ohio that they have a dangerous job. They know that the danger is all around them, putting them at risk of suffering an on-the-job injury at any moment. They also know that the injury could be so devastating that it could force them out of work for a few months or for good.

It's because of this constant threat of danger that we have state and federal laws in place that require construction workers to wear protective equipment while on the job. As our more frequent readers know from previous posts, wearing protective equipment can sometimes mean the difference between suffering no injury or just a minor one, and suffering a far worse fate. This is most apparent with head injuries.

Do employers have to accommodate an employee with a disability?

Suffering an on the job injury can be incredibly problematic in some instances because the injury may be so great that a person becomes disabled as a result. And as if going through the process of applying for benefits wasn't enough of a challenge for an injured worker, it's possible that a worker may also need to request an accommodation from their employer as well.

But do employers here in Ohio have to make accommodations for employees with disabilities? The answer is yes but not because of state law. The statutory requirement to provide reasonable accommodations to a person with disabilities is actually a federal law included in the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. But what rights do employees have under this law, you might ask? Let's take a look.

Don't let your employer fool you, you have rights to compensation

If you're like a lot of our more frequent readers and have been injured while on the job, then chances are you were also filled with a sense of fear when it happened. Not only were you probably afraid of how you'd be able to pay your medical expenses and other bills if you had to leave work to recover, you might have also been concerned that you might lose your job as well.

For some people, this fear stems from conversations they've had with their employers about reporting workplace injuries. Despite our state's laws, there are still some employers here in Ohio that take advantage of their employees and try to convince them that it's wrong or even illegal to report a work-related injury. We'd like to point out once again to our readers though that you do have rights to compensation.

What are some examples of permanent total disability?

If you're like a lot of our regular readers, then you probably have a lot of questions about the workers' compensation system and your right to benefits after suffering a work-related injury. But just like our other readers, you might not know how to classify your condition.

Are you temporarily disabled or permanently disabled? Does your disability require you to change occupations or are you left unable to work altogether? If these are the questions you need answers to then keep reading because today we're going to address permanent total disability.

The importance of filing a claim when you realize you're injured

A lot of people, after suffering a work-related injury or realizing that they have an occupational disease, will immediately file a claim for workers' compensation benefits. For a lot of these people, there is no fear of losing their job or facing retaliation from their employer because they know that this isn't allowed by Ohio law.

But there are some in our state who may not know this, which is why some people hold off on filing claims for compensation. But even though there is no harm in being caution about the integrity of your employment, there is harm in waiting too long to file a workers' compensation claim.

Bumble Bee Foods LLC, 2 others held liable for worker's death

On October 11, 2012, the eyes of our entire nation were focused on the state of California where a catastrophic industrial accident claimed the life of a 62-year-old worker at a Bumble Bee Foods LLC plant in Santa Fe Springs. For those of our Ohio readers who may not remember, the man died after becoming trapped in an oven used to sanitize cans of tuna.

The case garnered national attention because it highlighted the crucial need for safety training in the manufacturing industry not just in California but across the United States. This tragedy may have even forced companies and workers here in Ohio to reconsider safety policies within their own workplace and make the necessary changes to avoid a catastrophe like this from happening here in our state.

How long do I have to file for an occupational disease?

Revised Code § 4123.85 prescribes the limitations and notice requirements governing occupational disease claims. In all cases of occupational disease, or death resulting from occupational disease, claims for compensation or benefits shall be forever barred unless, within two years after the disability due to the disease began, or within such longer period as does not exceed six months after diagnosis of the occupational disease by a licensed physician or within two years after death occurs.