Archive for July, 2013

OSHA Slams Company for Violations that Resulted in the Death of a Contractor Worker

July 28th, 2013 at 12:36 pm

PamWitnessing the death of a coworker is something that most people would rather not experience. However, for at least three contract workers it is unfathomable what lasting mental scars remain. Back in January of this year a contract worker died from hydrogen sulfide asphyxiation. He and at least three other workers were cleaning a 6.5 foot by 78.5-foot tank. The man became trapped after the tank began to fill with a brown liquid and vapor according to a witness account. The other workers were able to escape. One worker broke his arm trying to pull the man to safety who was trapped only 14 feet from the doorway. OSHA found seven violations and slammed the company and subcontractors with fines in the amount of $33, 250.

The Forest product company has appealed and requested an informal hearing. A spokesperson for the company stated that the company takes safety seriously and that the company will comply with legal requirements. However, she would not comment on specific details pertaining to the case. She sent prayers and condolences to the family of the deceased contract worker.

Work related injuries of this nature occur far too often. It is the company’s responsibility to protect the health and wellbeing of its workers to avoid tragedies such as this. In addition, the man who broke his arm trying to save the man would be able to file for workers’ comp benefits. In addition, the other workers may be able to file also for post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) having witnessed the death of a co-worker.

It is a frequent practice for worker’s comp claims for PTSD insurance to be denied. That is why it is vital to contact an experienced attorney to fight to get you the compensation that you deserve.

Federal Judge Rules Unpaid Interns Have Workers’ Comp Rights

July 21st, 2013 at 12:35 pm

New York and Los Angeles may still be the major hubs for film production, but Chicago is becoming an ever-increasingly popular place for productions of any scale. In fact, 2010, according to the Chicago Tribune, was a record year for film and television in Illinois. “According to figures released by the Illinois Film Office,” reports the Tribune, “$161 million was spent in the state in 2010, thanks to big-budge movies such as the [then] forthcoming “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” and the Fox television police drama “The Chicago Code”.” The previous high was significantly lower than that, at $155 million in 2007, before the economic downturn. This is all great news for employers and employees in the Illinois film and television sector, of course, but with new employment comes regulation. And with a new ruling that just came down regarding temporary film and television employees and worker’s compensation in New York, Chicago industry executives have a bit more to think about.  Federal Judge Rules Unpaid Interns Have Worker’s Comp Rights IMAGE

From 2009 to 2010, two interns, Eric Glatt and Alexander Footman, worked on the film “Black Swan,” shooting in New York City, according to ABC News. “Neither Glatt, who said he worked in accounting, nor Footman, who said he was in the production office, received pay or college credit while working on the film in New York,” reports ABC. While the job was billed as an unpaid internship, Glatt and Footman sued the production in 2011.

In June 2013, a Federal Judge ruled that they were, in fact, employees, and thus should have the same worker’s compensation and labor rights as any other employee. The complaint said that “in misclassifying many of its workers as unpaid interns, Fox Searchlight has denied them the benefits that the law affords to employees, including unemployment and worker’s compensation insurance, sexual harassment and discrimination protections, and, most crucially, the right to earn a fair day’s wage for a fair day’s work.”

For employers in the Illinois film and television industry, this ruling can serve as a warning, but it could have judicial ramifications that outreach just the film industry. If you or someone you know has been denied worker’s compensation benefits on an unpaid internship, you may have a case. Contact a dedicated worker’s compensation lawyer today.

Image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Compensable connection between duties found by Illinois worker

July 12th, 2013 at 8:31 am

LucyIn a recent workers’ compensation case, a woman who worked as a registrar and front desk attendant at an outpatient clinic claimed that her job caused her bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome which forced her to have surgery. Her job includes duties such as answering phones, copying records, registering patients, billing, scheduling patients, filing and checking patients in and out. She claimed that 80 to 90 percent of her time was spent inputting information on a computer.

She was denied benefits, however, because the arbitrator said that her job duties were not continuous or repetitive, and, therefore, could not have been the cause of her ailment.

When the case was reviewed, however, the Commission found that she did, in fact, prove repetitive trauma to her hands which is compensable. In this claim, she only had to prove that her activities at work caused her condition, but were not necessarily the only or the main cause of the condition.

The claimant’s argument was backed up by credible records as well, and the doctor that treated her also stated that the job was somewhat related to the injury. After modifying work was recommended multiple times, there seemed to be no change and the Commissioner also argued that she did more with her hands at work than someone would in a normal day.

The claimant received medical expenses, permanent partial disability benefits and temporary total disability.

This case showed that in a claim of repetitive trauma, there are no requirements that the claimant has to have spent a certain amount of time on a task in order to make a repetitive trauma claim. The job also does not have to be the sole cause, only a cause.

If you have questions about repetitive injury claims or have been injured at work and would like to file a claim, contact an Illinois worker’s compensation attorney for help. Attorneys at the Law Office of Francis J Discipio in Cook County can help you with your claim today.

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