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Baltimore Workers Compensation Law Blog

New OSHA rules require report of each work-related hospitalization

Currently, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration requires that companies with more than 10 employees report work-related injuries only if an accident results in the hospitalization of three or more workers. Current regulations also require that fatal work-related accidents be reported to OSHA within eight hours. Staring Jan. 1, OSHA's requirements for reporting injuries will change.

The rule changes are aimed at protecting employees from injury by addressing dangerous work conditions more quickly. After the New Year, non-exempt employers in Maryland and throughout the country will be required to report every work-related injury that requires an employee to be hospitalized. Additionally, every instance of amputation or eye loss resulting from a work-related accident must be reported.

Companies face consequences in industrial workers' accidents

Maryland industrial workers are often working in close proximity to large pieces of equipment that sometimes lead to serious injuries or even death. Many companies will do what they can to safeguard the lives -- and sometimes the limbs -- of their employees by implementing safety procedures, providing the proper equipment and conducting safety training. However, when a company does not take the time to provide employees with the proper safety equipment and training, the potential for industrial workers' accidents rises dramatically.

For instance, back on March 10, a 39-year-old man was working at a facility that sorts and shreds scrap metal. As he worked near a conveyor belt, something went wrong and his arm became trapped in it. He died from numerous internal and external injuries as a result.

Is anyone in Maryland not covered by workers' compensation?

Many Maryland employees are eligible to receive workers' compensation benefits. However, there are circumstances where an individual may not be eligible for such benefits. Since many people in Maryland work for the federal government, it should be noted that a federal employee who is injured on-the-job is covered under the federal workers' compensation program.

For those not employed by the federal government, every state, including Maryland, has its own workers' compensation insurance program. Benefits can be received regardless of whether the injury was the fault of the employee or the employer -- except under certain conditions. If it is determined that an employee was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, that an injury was self-inflicted or that the employee was in violation of company policy or the law at the time he or she suffered the injury, benefits may be denied. Of course, only injuries that occurred while on the job are covered.

Work zone accident claims life of highway worker from Denton

Despite signage telling motorists to be alert and slow down, each year more than 700 people die in work zone accidents nationwide. In Maryland, seven highway workers have lost their lives over the course of the last 20 months.

The latest of those tragedies happened recently in St. Michaels. A 40-year-old worker from Denton was directing traffic around a work zone when he was hit by a vehicle driven by an 84-year-old man. The worker was flown to a hospital in Baltimore, where sadly the man died. Police indicated that members of the man's family were notified.

Vocational rehab in Maryland: What you should know

Serious work injuries alter people's lives, and workers and their families often have to adjust in ways they never expected. Workers' compensation is available to provide benefits during this difficult time, whether your injury is temporary or permanent.

If the injury prevents you from returning to your previous position, then you might consider vocational rehabilitation. Let's go over some vocational rehab services and requirements under Maryland law.

Trench collapse injuries 2 workers in Montgomery County

A harrowing trench collapse in Montgomery County has left two workers injured. The men were part of a crew working at a residence in Potomac. They were down in the trench and working on the home's foundation when the ground beneath them collapsed. One man was reportedly buried in wet mud up to his waist, and the other man was buried up to his shoulders.

Being buried up to the chest places immense pressure on the body. Bones and internal organs can be injured in such an accident. In this case, after another worker in the crew sought help, emergency responders arrived on the scene and were able to begin removing the heavy mud from around the workers. Rescue teams also pumped air into the trench and talked to the injured men while the operation was underway.

Benefits and requirements under Maryland workers' compensation

Under the Maryland Workers' Compensation Act, employees who have suffered work-related injuries or illnesses are entitled to the following benefits:

  • Prompt coverage of medical expenses, including hospital care, nursing care, medication, crutches, wheelchairs, and prosthetic appliances
  • Reimbursement for lost wages, including wages the worker might have earned if not for having to travel to and from a doctor's office or a workers' compensation hearing
  • Vocational rehabilitation in the event that the injury or illness prevents the worker from doing the job he or she did before
  • Disability benefits, the amount and duration of which depend on the degree and duration of the disability

Second accident in 3 months at former Sparrows Point steel mill

In May, at a former steel mill at Sparrows Point in Baltimore County, a building collapse injured nine workers who were removing asbestos from the site. At the time of the accident, the workers were reportedly 40 feet in the air, and an investigation by the Maryland Occupational Safety and Health Administration is still underway.

Now OSHA has started a second investigation at the site, this time after a piece of steel hit and seriously injured a worker. A helicopter was called to the scene to transport the man to a shock treatment center. There has been no public update of his medical condition since a July 21 report. The man was not employed by the same demolition company that employed the nine workers injured in May.

Maryland Lawmakers Consider Expanding Workers' Comp Claims

Maryland State House-thumb-250x190-64354.jpgBills that would make it easier for the members of several public service occupations to qualify for workers' compensation are making the rounds in Annapolis. Paid emergency medical service providers and Allegany County correctional officers and state correctional officers would receive a presumption that certain cancers, lung or heart disease or hypertension from which they suffer stemmed from their jobs. And, Maryland state correctional officers would receive a presumption of compensability that heart disease or hypertension that is more severe than the individual's prior condition and that results in partial or total disability or death is compensable under worker's comp.

Firefighter Can Recover Workers' Comp Benefits for Injuries Stemming from Travel from Work-Related Activity to Work Site

Firefigher in fiery doorway-thumb-250x378-80227.jpgIt's a fact of modern life that people are always "coming and going." "Going and coming" is a concept in workers' compensation that means that workers cannot recover for the injuries they suffer when they are on the way to work or on their way home. The rule is based on the idea that compensation in such situations is not warranted because getting to work is the employee's responsibility and does not involve advancing the employer's interests.

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