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Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

Occupational Hearing Loss

Most workplace dangers are obvious. One that is not quit as apparent is damaging noise levels. “Some of the most prevalent workplace hazards aren’t seen–they’re heard.” (EHSToday.com)

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the most commonly reported workplace-related injury is hearing loss. 22 million Americans are being exposed to harmful noise levels at their place of work per The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). (CDC.gov)

What are the causes of occupational hearing loss (OHL)?

  • Loud noise – “The NIOSH Recommended Exposure Limit for occupational noise exposure is 85 decibels….Exposures at or above this level are considered hazardous.” (CDC.gov) A good way to know that you may in danger of OHL is if someone has to raise his/her voice to talk with you from an arm’s length.
  • Ototoxic Chemicals – “Ototoxic chemicals can cause OHL, make the ear more susceptible to the damaging effects of hazardous noise, or both. For example, a person taking certain ototoxic pharmaceuticals may lose hearing, become more susceptible to noise, or both.” (CDC.gov)

Top 10 jobs that can cause hearing loss:

  1. Textile machine setters, operators, and tenders

> Average decibel level: 89.9 dBA (0.1% lower than the OSHA limit)

Employees bleach, dye, cut, knit, or wind textiles, using loud equipment.

  1. Ushers, lobby attendants, and ticket takers

> Average decibel level: 90.0 dBA (right at the OSHA limit)

Employees work in movie theaters, concert and performing art venues, and spectator sporting events, all of which can be very loud.

  1. Control and valve installers and repairers

> Average decibel level: 90.3 dBA (0.3% higher than the OSHA limit)

Employees work with “mechanical regulating and controlling devices, such as hydraulic doors, electric meters, gas regulators, thermostats, safety and flow valves, and other mechanical governors. Hydraulic systems can often produce loud noises, from the mechanisms themselves and from doors loudly slamming shut.”

  1. Miscellaneous agricultural workers

> Average decibel level: 90.9 dBA (1.0% higher than the OSHA limit)

Employees (including equipment operators, crop, nursery and greenhouse laborers, animal workers) use noisy equipment like tractors, combines, chainsaws, and grain dryers

  1. Forming machine setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic

> Average decibel level: 91.0 dBA (1.1% higher than the OSHA limit)

Employees work with machines that extrude, draw, forge, and roll metals and plastics, and are often employed in large industrial settings, like iron and steel mills, machine shops, and motor vehicle part manufacturing plants. These places often have loud machinery running.

  1. Tailors, dressmakers, and sewers

> Average decibel level: 91.1 dBA (1.2% higher than the OSHA limit)

Employees make, alter, and repair garments. Large industrial sewing machines produce noise around 90 dBA.

  1. Butchers and other meat, poultry, and fish processing workers

> Average decibel level: 91.1 dBA (1.2% higher than the OSHA limit)

Employees work with noisy machinery and equipment all day.

  1. Woodworking machine setters, operators, and tenders

> Average decibel level: 92.5 dBA (2.8% higher than the OSHA limit)

Employees use saws, drill presses, lathes, shapers, routers, sanders, planers, and wood nailing machines (which can all be very loud) to cut, shape, and craft wood.

  1. Farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers

> Average decibel level: 92.5 dBA (2.8% higher than the OSHA limit)

Employees often use equipment that is very loud such as lawnmowers, tractors, and chainsaws.

  1. Emergency medical technicians and paramedics

> Average decibel level: 98.4 dBA (9.3% higher than the OSHA limit)

Employees are within earshot of sirens, horns, diesel motors, radios, shouting, power tools, and alarms on a regular basis.

“No job faces more consistently noisy working conditions than emergency medical technicians and paramedics. These workers are first responders to medical emergencies, and they perform medical care and transport patients to medical facilities.”

(MSN.com)

Preventing OHL:

  • Avoid loud environments as much as possible.
  • Wear industrial earplugs, earmuffs, or noise-cancelling headphones/earplugs. Make sure to choose equipment that doesn’t go too far down into the ear canal, as this can cause damage to hearing as well.
  • Quit smoking. Smoking can damage cells throughout your entire body, including your ear canal.
  • Have your hearing checked on a regular basis.
  • “Reduce or stop exposure to chemicals that may damage your hearing: wear gloves, long sleeves and eye protection; wear a respirator or other protective equipment, as appropriate; read and follow all chemical safety instructions.” (CDC.gov)
  • Download the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Sound Level Meter App . “This is a tool available to the public to download on mobile iOS devices that measures sound levels in the workplace and provides noise exposure parameters to help reduce occupational noise-induced hearing loss.” (CDC.gov)

THE LAW OFFICES OF DAVID L. HOOD – REPRESENTING INJURED WORKERS IN SOUTH CAROLINA

The Law Offices of David L. Hood have been fighting for the rights of injured workers in North Myrtle Beach, Myrtle Beach, Murrells Inlet, Georgetown, Charleston and all across South Carolina for over 25 years. We have a dedicated team that will strive to take care of your claim professionally and treat you with respect. Over the years we’ve represented hundreds of injured workers and their families, working hard to get them the medical treatment and compensation they deserve.

To learn more about what we can do for you, contact our offices to set up a free initial consultation. If you choose to work with us, we will handle your case on a contingent fee basis, which means you pay nothing unless we make a recovery for you. To get in touch with us, you can call our offices at (843) 491-6025 or email us here.

Other online resources used in writing this article:

https://www.ehstoday.com/ppe/hearing-protection/media-gallery/21917796/preventing-hearing-loss-noise-infographics-photo-gallery/slideshow?slide=1

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Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

Fatal Accident – South Carolina Man Trapped in Machine at Work

Early Sunday, a man died after being trapped in a machine at work. An investigation is underway.

54-year-old Anthony Dean Lemmons worked at Innovative Fibers, a manufacturing business, in Spartanburg, SC. Officials said he died about an hour after becoming trapped in a machine. “First responders from the facility and local emergency personnel were immediately notified and were on the scene,” the company said. “Production at the plant was stopped and is scheduled to resume at a later date.” (TheState.com)

Innovative Fibers is helping S.C. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in the investigation.

Are you concerned about health and safety on your job?

“Federal law entitles you to a safe workplace. Your employer must keep your workplace free of known health and safety hazards. You have the right to speak up about hazards without fear of retaliation. You also have the right to:

  • Receive workplace safety and health training in a language you understand
  • Work on machines that are safe
  • Receive required safety equipment, such as gloves or a harness and lifeline for falls
  • Be protected from toxic chemicals
  • Request an OSHA inspection, and speak to the inspector
  • Report an injury or illness, and get copies of your medical records
  • Review records of work-related injuries and illnesses
  • See results of tests taken to find workplace hazards” (OSHA.gov)

This link can be used for information on how to contact OSHA, for any workplace issues related to businesses in South Carolina.

THE LAW OFFICES OF DAVID L. HOOD – REPRESENTING INJURED WORKERS IN SOUTH CAROLINA

The Law Offices of David L. Hood have been fighting for the rights of injured workers in North Myrtle Beach, Myrtle Beach, Murrells Inlet, Georgetown, Charleston and all across South Carolina for over 25 years. We have a dedicated team that will strive to take care of your claim professionally and treat you with respect. Over the years we’ve represented hundreds of injured workers and their families, working hard to get them the medical treatment and compensation they deserve.

To learn more about what we can do for you, contact our offices to set up a free initial consultation. If you choose to work with us, we will handle your case on a contingent fee basis, which means you pay nothing unless we make a recovery for you. To get in touch with us, you can call our offices at (843) 491-6025 or email us here.

For answers to some frequently asked questions on Workers’ Compensation cases, here are links to a couple of videos:

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Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

Rising Injury Rates at Automated Amazon Warehouses

These days, a lot of us are staying away from shopping malls and department stores as much as possible to try to stay well. COVID-19 has caused Americans to do more online shopping than ever before. As of June 2020, Statista ranks Amazon the top U.S. company ranked by retail e-commerce sales, with sales estimated to reach to 269.41 billion U.S. dollars for the full year 2020.

Robots play a big part in Amazon’s success. In December of 2019, Amazon had “more than 200,000 mobile robots working inside its warehouse network…. This robot army has helped the company fulfill its ever-increasing promises of speedy deliveries to Amazon Prime customers.” (Vox.com)

When Amazon started using robots in 2014, the company claimed the automation would help reduce injuries to workers. Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting has obtained Amazon records that show the exact opposite. Amazon warehouses that use robots “actually have higher injury rates than warehouses without automation.” (TheVerge.com)

These “robots are apparently so efficient that quotas have increased substantially, requiring workers to do repetitive motions over long shift that can eventually lead to injuries.” For example, “workers at robotic fulfillment centers were expected to pick up and scan roughly 400 items an hour, compared with the standard rate of 100 items per hour at other facilities.” (CNBC.com) In other words, humans can’t keep up with the robots without hurting themselves.

Amazon internal reports show that between 2016 and 2019, in Amazon fulfillment centers that ship small and medium-sized items, the rate of serious injuries was 50% higher at the warehouses with robots, compared to those without. (RevealNews.org)

Despite measures recommended by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), “such as an extra rest break or rotating workers to other jobs during the day,” Amazon has not widely implemented the measures. Therefore, injury rates have continued to rise.

One of many problems keeping injuries at a high rate is low safety staffing at robotic warehouses, especially during peak seasons. In November of 2019, a spokesperson told Will Evans, author of How Amazon Hid Its Safety Crisis, RevealNews.org, “We ensure we have adequate leadership and safety staff on hand during these peak times.” Yet an August 2019 report showed robotic warehouse safety staff as “critically low”, and in October 2019 another report again warned of staffing problems at robotic warehouses.

Having access to Amazon’s internal records, Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting has created a chart “to show injury rates across more than 150 Amazon fulfillment centers from 2016 through 2019.” To see the number of injuries at an Amazon warehouse near you, go to RevealNews.org.

Workplace injuries for Amazon fulfillment centers here in South Carolina (data is excluded if there were less than 200.000 hours worked during a given year):

(per 100 workers)
North Charleston, SC (CHS1)(2016) 3.2(2017) —(2018) —(2019) —
Spartanburg, SC (GSP1)(2016) 2.6(2017) 3.7(2018) 5.3(2019) 7.0
West Columbia, SC (CAE1)(2016) 4.8(2017) 4.1(2018) 3.1(2019) 6.0
West Columbia, SC (CAE3)(2016) —(2017) 6.7(2018) 4.0(2019) 8.2

THE LAW OFFICES OF DAVID L. HOOD – REPRESENTING INJURED WORKERS IN SOUTH CAROLINA

The Law Offices of David L. Hood and co-counsel have been fighting for the rights of injured workers in Charleston, N. Charleston, Mt. Pleasant, Georgetown, Murrells Inlet, Myrtle Beach, North Myrtle Beach, Columbia, Greenville, Hilton Head, Rock Hill and all across South Carolina for over 25 years. We have a dedicated team that will strive to take care of your claim professionally and treat you with respect. Over the years we and our co-counsel have represented hundreds of injured workers and their families, working hard to get them the medical treatment and compensation they deserve.

To learn more about what we can do for you, contact our offices to set up a free initial consultation. If you choose to work with us, we will handle your case on a contingent fee basis, which means you pay nothing unless we make a recovery for you. To get in touch with us, you can call our offices at (843) 491-6025 or email us here.

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Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

Healthcare Workers Killed by COVID – Families Fight for Workers’ Comp Benefits

As the death toll due to COVID-19 climbs, families of some deceased frontline workers are finding out that the workers’ compensation system is stacked against them.

“The COVID-19 pandemic presents a unique circumstance where the many jobs that are not typically considered hazardous have suddenly become very dangerous for workers. Workers deemed essential …are at a high risk of exposure to the virus while at work. But the more hazardous working conditions do not guarantee that a COVID-19 infection would be covered under workers’ compensation in most states.” (NCSL.org)

Families are fighting for benefits because of the death of their loved ones (doctors, nurses, physician assistants, ambulance drivers, hospital housekeepers, and maintenance workers, to name a few), and facing “denials or long-shot odds of getting benefits paid. In some cases, those benefits amount to an ambulance bill. In others, they would provide lifetime salary replacement for a spouse.”(Inquirer.com)

These frontline workers are risking their lives everyday helping others. In at least 16 states to date, measures have been passed to make it easier for frontline “workers infected with the coronavirus to qualify for benefits for lost wages, hospital bills or death. Similar bills are pending in other states.” (KHN.org)

Many of these bills state that the burden of proof will be on the employer, (not the employee, which is the status quo). In other words, instead of the employee (or the employee’s family) having to prove he/she contracted the virus on the job, the employer would be forced to prove the employee did not catch the virus at work.

“KHN [Kaiser Health News] and The Guardian U.S. have identified more than 700 [health care workers] who have died and has told the story of 139 of them. For these workers’ families, the stakes of the pending laws are enormous.”

One of these stories remembered 22-year-old John Paul Granger (AKA JP), one of South Carolina’s youngest COVID victims. He was an EMT in Greenville.

Granger died on May 26 after a month in the hospital. Patrick Hahne, friend of Granger’s and former EMT driver “said he and JP “frequently expressed how inadequate the PPE and precautions” were. Initially, he added, the only protection they typically had when transporting patients to dialysis clinics, for example, was surgical masks. Hahne said they started wearing N95 masks a few days before JP fell ill.”(KHN.org)

Actions taken in South Carolina:

To date, no legislation has been passed to help the families of deceased frontline South Carolinians that have succumbed to COVID-19 get the workers’ compensation benefits they deserve.

For now, S.C. Code § 42-11-10 states: “Testing and treatment of an employee exposed to a contagious disease is a question of law that requires a fact-specific legal analysis and ultimately can only be decided by a Commissioner at a Hearing. Nothing prevents an employee from filing a workers’ compensation claim if they believe they contracted a disease that is work-related. If the claim is denied by the employer, the employee has the right to request a hearing before a Commissioner. At the hearing, the Commissioner will hear the facts presented and render a decision after applying the facts of the case to the law.” (Fox28media.com)

THE LAW OFFICES OF DAVID L. HOOD – REPRESENTING INJURED WORKERS IN SOUTH CAROLINA

The Law Offices of David L. Hood and co-counsel have been fighting for the rights of injured workers in Charleston, N. Charleston, Mt. Pleasant, Georgetown, Murrells Inlet, Myrtle Beach, North Myrtle Beach, Columbia, Greenville, Hilton Head, Rock Hill and all across South Carolina for over 25 years. We have a dedicated team that will strive to take care of your claim professionally and treat you with respect. Over the years we and our co-counsel have represented hundreds of injured workers and their families, working hard to get them the medical treatment and compensation they deserve.

To learn more about what we can do for you, contact our offices to set up a free initial consultation. If you choose to work with us, we will handle your case on a contingent fee basis, which means you pay nothing unless we make a recovery for you. To get in touch with us, you can call our offices at (843) 491-6025 or email us here.

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Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

Frontline Workers’ Lives Endangered by COVID-19

We’re going into month four now in the COVID-19 pandemic, with more Americans testing positive and more deaths every day. COVID-19 is a highly contagious coronavirus with common symptoms of fever, body aches, dry cough, fatigue, chills, headache, sore throat, loss of appetite, and loss of smell. In some people, it can cause more serious symptoms, like high fever, and shortness of breath (often indicating pneumonia). (Health.Harvard.edu)

As of today, the United States has had over 1.41 million confirmed cases, and over 83,000 deaths related to COVID-19. Here in South Carolina, there have been over 7,900 confirmed cases, and over 355 related deaths.

We all want to protect ourselves and our families the best we can, and try to stay safe from this virus; however, healthcare workers are right in the midst of it all, and are risking their own lives caring for the sick. Frontline workers can only be as safe as the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), and protocol they are provided with.

Many nurses, doctors and EMT’s are being put in harm’s way and in many instances are being “forced to make terrifying compromises.” (TheDailyBeast.com) Because hospitals are overwhelmed, some workers lack proper PPE. Any shortage of PPE is a “clear and present danger”, the American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN) says. (NPR.org)

Then there are some frontline workers who “suffer from underlying health conditions that make them vulnerable to the highly infectious virus.” (KHN.org)

Either of these issues can cause workers coming into contact with COVID-19 patients to contract the virus and become very sick; some do not survive.

To date, very-limited information is available about how many frontline healthcare personnel (HCP) have been infected or have died from contracting COVID-19. “In some states, medical staff account for as many as 20% of known coronavirus cases. But no national database exists to track their deaths.” (TheGuardian.com) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported 27 deaths among health workers as of April 14th, with 9,200 health workers reporting a positive test for the coronavirus. “The CDC researchers acknowledge the figures are almost certainly a substantial undercount because most of the people tested in the overall set (84%) didn’t say whether they’re a health care worker or not.”

55% of the 9,200 frontline workers who reported contracting COVID-19 think they were exposed at work.

In South Carolina, it was reported on April 15th that 118 Prisma Health (a hospital system in the Midlands and Upstate that employs 30,000 people) employees had tested positive for COVID-19. A spokesperson for Prisma Health said 54% of those were work-related cases. (Greenvilleonline.com)

In an April 1st letter to Governor Henry McMaster, the President of the South Carolina Nurses Association (which represents more than 44,000 registered nurses in South Carolina) expressed concerns that SC nurses had been reporting extremely challenging working conditions such as “inappropriate PPE, reuse of PPE, inadequate staffing, and rapidly changing protocols.” Also, some nurses had complained that they were unable to be tested for COVID-19. She asked the governor to see to it that nurses be provided with proper PPE, adequate staffing, and testing, so they could be sure they were not exposing others (patients and/or their families) to the virus. “If we do not protect our workforce, who will?” (IslandPacket.com)

The South Carolina Workers’ Compensation law as it is now, does not address pandemic exposure to first responders. S.C. Code § 42-11-10(B) states as follows: “No disease shall be deemed an occupational disease… when it is a contagious disease resulting from exposure to fellow employees from a hazard to which the workman would have been equally exposed outside his employment, {or} is one of the ordinary diseases of life to which the general public is equally exposed, unless such disease follows as a complication a natural incident of an occupational disease or unless there is continuous exposure peculiar to the occupation itself which makes such disease a hazard inherent in such occupation.”

Help may be on the way. Representative Russell Fry is pushing for legislation to make workers compensation available to coronavirus frontline workers who contract the virus. Rep. Fry says the law as it is now would require a worker to prove that he/she contracted COVID-19 at work, which would be tough to do. “If they are to get coronavirus, it is likely because they were on the front lines doing their job. Other states are doing this through executive order or through administrative actions, and we’re hoping to do the same in South Carolina,” said Rep. Fry. (WBTW.com)

For now, S.C. Code § 42-11-10 states: “Testing and treatment of an employee exposed to a contagious disease is a question of law that requires a fact-specific legal analysis and ultimately can only be decided by a Commissioner at a Hearing. Nothing prevents an employee from filing a workers’ compensation claim if they believe they contracted a disease that is work-related. If the claim is denied by the employer, the employee has the right to request a hearing before a Commissioner. At the hearing, the Commissioner will hear the facts presented and render a decision after applying the facts of the case to the law.” (Fox28media.com)

THE LAW OFFICES OF DAVID L. HOOD – REPRESENTING INJURED WORKERS IN SOUTH CAROLINA

The Law Offices of David L. Hood and co-counsel have been fighting for the rights of injured workers in Charleston, N. Charleston, Mt. Pleasant, Georgetown, Murrells Inlet, Myrtle Beach, North Myrtle Beach, Columbia, Greenville, Hilton Head, Rock Hill and all across South Carolina for over 25 years. We have a dedicated team that will strive to take care of your claim professionally and treat you with respect. Over the years we and our co-counsel have represented hundreds of injured workers and their families, working hard to get them the medical treatment and compensation they deserve.

To learn more about what we can do for you, contact our offices to set up a free initial consultation. If you choose to work with us, we will handle your case on a contingent fee basis, which means you pay nothing unless we make a recovery for you. To get in touch with us, you can call our offices at (843) 491-6025 or email us here.

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Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

Deadliest American Jobs for Baby Boomers

Americans are living significantly longer than ever before. Baby Boomers (those age 55 and older) are more likely to be employed now, for many reasons.

In the 25-year period of 1992 and 2017, the number of older Americans in the work-force more than doubled to 35 million. This increase is due to a rising population of older Americans, and “to a higher labor-force participation rate for that age group.” (EHSDailyAdvisor.com) Also, many older Americans have little to no retirement savings, and therefore continue to work to live. The ones who do have savings “work longer because the defined-contribution plans that now predominate reward delayed retirement in ways that most traditional pensions do not.” (LATimes.com)

During that 25-year period, there was an increase of 56% in fatal work injuries incurred by Baby Boomers, versus a decrease of 17% among workers overall. Per the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) program, “Older worker fatalities reached an all-time high in 2017,” at 1,930.(BLS.com)

Here are the ten occupations that are most dangerous for Baby Boomers, with the highest number of fatalities for that age group, for the years 2003 to 2017:

  1. (tied) Carpenters

Job duties:  “Construct, erect, install, or repair structures and fixtures made of wood.”

Number of fatal injuries: 328

  1. (tied) Taxi drivers and chauffeurs

Job duties:  “Drive automobiles, vans, or limousines to transport passengers.”

Number of fatal injuries: 328

  1. Hand laborers and freight, stock, and material movers

Job duties:  “Manually move freight, stock, or other materials or perform other general labor.”

Number of fatal injuries:  350

  1. Light truck or delivery services drivers

Job duties:  “Drive a truck or van primarily to deliver or pick up merchandise or to deliver packages.”

Number of fatal injuries:  384

  1. Commercial pilots

Job duties:  “Fly and navigate planes and aircrafts that require a Commercial Pilot certificate.”

Number of fatal injuries:  424

  1. Landscaping and groundskeeping workers

Job duties:  “Landscape or maintain grounds of property using hand or power tools or equipment.”

Number of fatal injuries:  428

  1. Construction Laborers

Job duties:  “May operate different tools and prepare construction sites, such as by digging trenches or cleaning up debris.”

Number of fatal injuries:  606

  1. First-line supervisors of retail sales workers

Job duties:  “Directly supervise and coordinate activities of retail sales workers in an establishment or department.”

Number of fatal injuries:  616

  1. First-line supervisors of construction trades and extraction workers

Job duties:  “Directly supervise and coordinate activities of construction or extraction workers.”

Number of fatal injuries:  631

  1. Agricultural managers (farmers)

Job duties:  ”Plan, direct, or coordinate the management or operation of farms and other agricultural establishments.”

Number of fatal injuries:  3,217

  1. Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers

Job duties:  “Drive a tractor-trailer combination or a truck and may need to unload the truck.”

Number of fatal injuries:  3,772

The Law Offices of David L. Hood – Representing Injured Workers in South Carolina

The Law Offices of David L. Hood have been fighting for the rights of injured workers in Charleston, N. Charleston, Mt. Pleasant, Georgetown, Murrells Inlet, Myrtle Beach, North Myrtle Beach, Columbia, Greenville, Hilton Head, Rock Hill and all across South Carolina for over 25 years. We have a dedicated team that will strive to take care of your claim professionally and treat you with respect. Over the years we’ve represented hundreds of injured workers and their families, working hard to get them the medical treatment and compensation they deserve.

To learn more about what we can do for you, contact our offices to set up a free initial consultation. If you choose to work with us, we will handle your case on a contingent fee basis, which means you pay nothing unless we make a recovery for you. To get in touch with us, you can call our offices at (843) 491-6025 or email us here.

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Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

The 10 Most Dangerous Jobs in America

How risky is your occupation? We all have complaints about our job on occasion; but some may have more reason to be concerned than most.

In 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 5,250 work-related fatalities, a 2% increase from 2017. “While no job is completely free of risk, most jobs are relatively safe. Yet there are quite a few professions that are far more dangerous, and where the risk of dying is more than 10 times higher compared to the average American occupation.” (USAToday.com)

Following are the 2018 ten “most dangerous jobs in America, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ latest annual report of fatal occupational injuries.” (MoneyTalksNews.com)

10. First-line supervisors of landscaping, lawn service, and groundskeeping workers

Fatality rate: 20.2 per 100,000 workers

Most common cause of fatality: Falls, slips, trips (often work from elevated positions)

9.   First-line supervisors of construction trades and extraction workers

Fatality rate: 21 per 100,000 workers

Most common cause of fatality: Transportation accidents (i.e. motor vehicle accidents)

8.   Structural iron and steel workers

Fatality rate: 23.6 per 100,000 workers

Most common cause of fatality:  Falls, slips, trips

7.   Farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers

Fatality rate: 24.7 per 100,000 workers

Most common cause of fatality: Transportation incidents

6.   Driver/sales workers and truck drivers

Fatality rate: 26 per 100,000 workers

Most common cause of fatality: Transportation incidents (often spend hours on the road hauling cargo)

5.   Refuse and recyclable material collectors

Fatality rate: 44.3 per 100,000 workers

Most common cause of fatality: Transportation incidents

4.   Roofers

Fatality rate: 51.5 per 100,000 workers

Most common cause of fatality: Falls, slips, trips

3.   Aircraft pilots and flight engineers

Fatality rate: 58.9 per 100,000 workers

Most common cause of fatality: Transportation incidents

2.   Fishers and related fishing workers

Fatality rate: 77.4 per 100,000 workers

Most common cause of fatality: Transportation incidents

 1.   Logging workers

Fatality rate: 97.6 per 100,000 workers

Most common cause of fatality: Contact with objects and equipment

Even with the dangers these workers face every day, most of the jobs on this list only have a median annual wage of $41,000 or less. “The danger these jobs pose, coupled with the low pay, have made many of these occupations some of the least desirable professions in the country.”

The Law Offices of David L. Hood – Representing Injured Workers in South Carolina

The Law Offices of David L. Hood have been fighting for the rights of injured workers in Charleston, N. Charleston, Mt. Pleasant, Georgetown, Murrells Inlet, Myrtle Beach, North Myrtle Beach, Columbia, Greenville, Hilton Head, Rock Hill and all across South Carolina for over 25 years. We have a dedicated team that will strive to take care of your claim professionally and treat you with respect. Over the years we, along with co-counsel have represented hundreds of injured workers and their families, working hard to get them the medical treatment and compensation they deserve.

To learn more about what we can do for you, contact our offices to set up a free initial consultation. If you choose to work with us, we will handle your case on a contingent fee basis, which means you pay nothing unless we make a recovery for you. To get in touch with us, you can call our offices at (843) 491-6025 or email us here.

Other online resources used for this article:

BusinessInsider.com

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Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

10 Jobs That Increase Your Risk of Cancer

It’s graduation season. You’ve graduated, so what’s next?

When deciding what career to undertake, you first need to know that some jobs can be hazardous to your health.

For many jobs, like coal mining or firefighting, the risks are obvious. For others, although they may seem safe, they can expose you to hazardous materials. Making sure you know the risks in advance, and taking preventative measures when working in one of these careers can make the difference between life and death.

Here are the 10 most common careers that can be associated with a high risk of cancer:

  1. Pilots: Pilots can be exposed to high levels of UV radiation, according to JAMA Dermatology, which can increase the risk of melanoma (skin cancer). “Sitting in the cockpit of a plane in flight can expose the skin to the same amount of UVA radiation as using a tanning bed for 20 minutes, that study found.”(BusinessInsider.com)
  2. Lifeguards: Likewise, lifeguards can suffer skin damage from the sun. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends limiting sun exposure during the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun’s UV rays are strongest, and liberally applying sunscreen with at least SPF 15. It’s difficult to limit sun exposure when your job forces you to do otherwise.
  3. Desk Jobs: 86% of Americans sit at a desk most of the day. “A 2009 study found that people who had increased sitting times had higher rates of cancer and overall mortality, even when they got some daily exercise.” The American Cancer Society says there is “a link between long periods of inactivity and cancer.”
  4. Nail-Salon Workers: The strong fumes in nail salons are chemicals like benzene, formaldehyde, and toluene. Benzene is used as a starting material to make other chemicals. According to studies by the American Cancer Society, benzene is known to cause cancer, usually leukemia or other cancers of the blood cells. (AmericanCancerSociety.com) Formaldehyde has also been proven to cause cancer. The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) suggests that nail salons have adequate ventilation, and that nail-salon employees wear protection, including long-sleeved shirts, masks and gloves to protect from exposure to harmful chemicals they work with.
  5. Farmers and Others in Agricultural Jobs: Farmers and their families are exposed to pesticides that can cause cancer. A 2011 study found that prostate cancer was more prevalent in farmers than in non-farmers, and that “those exposed to pesticides were 20% more likely to report having prostate cancer.” A 2013 study also found a link between aggressive prostate cancer and common insecticides.
  6. Firefighters: Not only are firefighters in danger while putting out a fire, but the smoke they inhale can cause lingering issues, including an increased risk of cancer. There are toxic substances and carcinogens in the smoke; thus the reason firefighters wear safety gear, and have to go through a decontamination process after leaving a work site.
  7. Painters: You can probably guess that painters work around some of the same chemicals as nail-salon employees. Therefore, they are also exposed to fumes that can cause cancer. Arsenic is also found in some paints, and has been proven to cause cancer as well. It’s important for painters to wear a protective mask, and other gear to try to keep from breathing in these dangerous fumes.
  8. Rubber Manufacturers: Due to the chemicals used to make rubber, employees in the rubber industry have a higher risk for bladder cancer, lung cancer, and leukemia than the general population, per the Occupational and Environmental Medicine journal.
  9. Construction Workers: Construction workers can be exposed to asbestos, which “was once used in construction material including pipe insulation, floor tiles, and roofing shingles. Sometimes years after the fact, this exposure can cause lung cancer, mesothelioma, and gastrointestinal cancer.
  10. Morticians and Undertakers: Preservatives, most notably formaldehyde, that are used to embalm are carcinogens. OSHA requires morticians and undertakers to monitor exposure to formaldehyde.

The Law Offices of David L. Hood – Representing Injured Workers in South Carolina

The Law Offices of David L. Hood have been fighting for the rights of injured workers in North Myrtle Beach, Myrtle Beach, Murrells Inlet, Georgetown, Charleston and all across South Carolina for over 25 years. We have a dedicated team that will strive to take care of your claim professionally and treat you with respect. Over the years we’ve represented hundreds of injured workers and their families, working hard to get them the medical treatment and compensation they deserve.

To learn more about what we can do for you, contact our offices to set up a free initial consultation. If you choose to work with us, we will handle your case on a contingent fee basis, which means you pay nothing unless we make a recovery for you. To get in touch with us, you can call our offices at (843) 491-6025 or email us here.

Other online resources used for this article:

https://www.lmtonline.com/technology/businessinsider/article/10-jobs-that-are-linked-to-a-higher-risk-of-cancer-14273160.php#photo-15642403 (picture)

Categories
Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

Ways to Get a Good Night’s Sleep and Prevent Work Accidents

There are many occupational hazards that employees are exposed to daily. Surprisingly, one that is often overlooked is not a chemical or a machine – it’s sleep deprivation. Per the National Sleep Foundation, sleep deprivation “increases the likelihood of a workplace accident by 70%. The effects of fatigue have often been compared to the effects of alcohol, resulting in impaired judgment and poor performance.”(AmericanSafetyCouncil.com)

About one-third of adults are not getting enough sleep. This can keep us from meeting work productivity goals, and even worse, can cause safety risks:

  • Impaired Motor Skills
  • Risk-Taking and Poor Decision-Making
  • Poor Memory and Information Processing
  • Falling Asleep on the Job
  • Inability to Deal with Stress

Over the long-term, sleep-deprivation can also cause health problems, like obesity, worsening of disorders (like diabetes, and epilepsy), heart disease, digestion issues, depression, cancer, reproductive problems, dementia and sleep disorders.

OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) emphasizes the importance of employers and co-workers monitoring health and safety in the workplace. This should include knowing the signs of sleep deprivation. Being tired is not synonymous with being sleep-deprived. A tired worker might yawn, but signs of sleep deprivation are different. Take notice of these symptoms:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Complaints of head and body pain
  • Weariness
  • Giddiness
  • Sluggishness
  • Paranoia
  • Mood swings
  • Emotional outbursts
  • Forgetfulness
  • Loss of balance or hand-eye coordination

For safety reasons, if you or another worker is showing these symptoms, the employer needs to be notified immediately.

Many people don’t realize that adults need between 7 and 10 hours of sleep per night, “but the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention says that a third of Americans sleep fewer than seven hours a night.”(CNN.com)

Here are some tips to help you get the sleep you need:

Develop a bedtime routine. Do something to help you relax before bedtime, like reading a book, or listening to soothing music.

Try to have a regular sleep schedule, going to bed at the same time every night, and getting up at the same time every morning. This will help keep your biological clock in check.

Keep your bedroom cool. We sleep better in cool temperatures.

Exercise at the same time every day, but not within 3 hours of bedtime.

Avoid eating large meals, or drinking caffeine close to bedtime.

Drinking alcohol before bed may seem like it would help you sleep better. However, it actually reduces the quality of your rest, constantly pulling you out of the deeper stages of sleep.

Do not watch TV or use electronic devices within two hours of bedtime. The National Sleep Foundation says “blue light affects the release of melatonin, the sleep hormone, more than any other wavelength of light.” This causes you to take longer to fall asleep, and keeps you from having the proper amount of REM sleep (dream state).

If you are tossing and turning, and can’t fall asleep after 15 minutes, get out of bed, keep the lights down low, and do something simple that won’t take much brain-power, like folding clothes.

If you snore, it’s possible that you have sleep apnea, which means you’re not getting the sound sleep you need. Sleep apnea causes you to wake up over and over, whether you realize it or not. If you think you may have sleep apnea, contact your doctor for a sleep study.

Don’t hit that snooze button! Your body will drop back into REM sleep, and will not have time to reach the end of that cycle, causing you to wake up groggy, and stay that way longer.

If you had trouble sleeping during the night, don’t take a long nap during the day to catch up. If you nap, don’t sleep long enough to enter a deep sleep cycle. This will mess up your body clock even more.

The Law Offices of David L. Hood – Representing Injured Workers in South Carolina

The Law Offices of David L. Hood have been fighting for the rights of injured workers in North Myrtle Beach, Myrtle Beach, Murrells Inlet, Georgetown, Charleston and all across South Carolina for over 25 years. We have a dedicated team that will strive to take care of your claim professionally and treat you with respect. Over the years we’ve represented hundreds of injured workers and their families, working hard to get them the medical treatment and compensation they deserve.

To learn more about what we can do for you, contact our offices to set up a free initial consultation. If you choose to work with us, we will handle your case on a contingent fee basis, which means you pay nothing unless we make a recovery for you. To get in touch with us, you can call our offices at (843) 491-6025 or email us here.

Other online references used for this article:

https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/good-nights-sleep#good

https://www.sleepfoundation.org/excessive-sleepiness/safety/relationship-between-sleep-and-industrial-accidents

https://www.cdc.gov/workplacehealthpromotion/initiatives/resource-center/pdf/WHRC-Brief-Sleep-508.pdf

Categories
Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

Firefighters Denied Workers’ Compensation Claims for Work-Related Cancer

74-year-old Steve Dillman, who spent 38 years as a firefighter, was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2008. Doctors told him it was caused by smoking. Dillman says, “I thought it had to be job-related, because I’ve never smoked a day in my life. I don’t chew. I don’t drink excessively … and that’s the three main criteria.”(NPR)

Dillman remembered one warehouse fire his fire station responded to. He and the other firefighters noticed after putting the fire out that their skin had peeled (like sunburn) in any place they had sweated – under their arms, around their groins. They later learned that the warehouse had been “filled with boxes treated with a flame-retardant chemical that sent toxic gases in the air – including formaldehyde, a known carcinogen.”

16 years later, Dillman was diagnosed with prostate cancer, and then seven years later, throat cancer.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) published a report in 2013 saying that firefighters are at higher risk for cancer than the general population. They have a 9% higher risk for a cancer diagnosis, and a 14% higher risk of dying from cancer. (First Responder Center for Excellence) The report found that firefighters are more likely to be exposed to cancer-causing contaminants, like asbestos in old buildings, and diesel exhaust from fire trucks.

Studies show that firefighters have an increased risk for the following types of cancers:

  • Bladder
  • Brain
  • Gastrointestinal
  • Leukemia
  • Lung
  • Kidney
  • Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
  • Melanoma
  • Myeloma
  • Prostate
  • Testicular
  • Urinary

“The correlation between firefighters’ on-the-job exposure to carcinogens and their subsequent illnesses is concerning enough to policy makers that a growing number of states have passed laws – 42 states and Washington, DC – designed to help firefighters who develop cancer, according to the non-profit Firefighter Cancer Support Network.”

These laws presume that a firefighter diagnosed with cancer while working, or within a certain amount of time after retirement became ill because of their job. These “presumptive laws” make it easier for firefighters to get workers’ compensation, disability benefits or death benefits for their families.

Unfortunately, it seems that these laws are not being adhered to. Firefighters are still being denied workers’ compensation after a cancer diagnosis.

Presumptive laws differ from state to state. Some only cover certain kinds of cancers. Some limit how long after retirement a cancer diagnosis is covered. Jeffery Burgess, an environmental health researcher says, “…cancer can develop anywhere from less than five years to over 30 years” after exposure. Some states only provide coverage up to five years, and one state only covers cancer for up to three months after retirement.

Some states want information on the specific fire that caused the cancer. Firefighters don’t usually keep records of this.

Dillman says firefighters need to focus on preventing exposure, by wearing protective masks (which was not standard practice when he was fighting fires), and practicing other preventative cancer measures.

At this time, South Carolina has not passed presumptive laws for firefighters diagnosed with cancer. The South Carolina Firefighter Support Network is pushing for legislation to be passed so that firefighters who are diagnosed can be compensated. A bill is currently in the house judiciary committee. (WBTW.com)

The Law Offices of David L. Hood – Representing Injured Workers in South Carolina

The Law Offices of David L. Hood have been fighting for the rights of injured workers in North Myrtle Beach, Myrtle Beach, Murrells Inlet, Georgetown, Charleston and all across South Carolina for over 25 years. We have a dedicated team that will strive to take care of your claim professionally and treat you with respect. Over the years we’ve represented hundreds of injured workers and their families, working hard to get them the medical treatment and compensation they deserve.

To learn more about what we can do for you, contact our offices to set up a free initial consultation. If you choose to work with us, we will handle your case on a contingent fee basis, which means you pay nothing unless we make a recovery for you. To get in touch with us, you can call our offices at (843) 491-6025 or email us here.