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Explosion Accidents and an Aging Workforce

While overall rates of workplace injuries and deaths have decreased over the last five years (according to a story in the U.S. News & World Report), the number of workplace deaths for older workers has increased. This disturbing trend has a lot to do with the aging workforce in the industrial sector and the failures of many companies to address this issue and make the workplace safer for older workers.

Explosion accidents, in particular, can have devastating effects on elderly workers. The U.S. News & World report story highlights the fact that “older workers were involved in about 1 in 4 fatal workplace accidents related to fires and explosions from 2011 to 2015.” These elderly workers may be unable to quickly avoid and escape such violent accidents, and may not be healthy enough to withstand the force of the blast if they are caught in a tragic event like an explosion on the job.

In Texas, in particular, the fatality rate for older workers was 43 percent higher than the accident rate for all other workers examined in the study. Overall, the fatality rate for older workers registered at 6.1 deaths per 100,000 workers in the state. When faced with these numbers, it is reasonable to assume that factories, plants, and other hazardous workplaces across the state have failed to implement the proper safety protocols and training to prevent unnecessary deaths among their older workers.

The story also highlights an explosion accident at the Bryan Texas Utilities Power Plant that resulted in the death of a 60-year-old worker, Earle Robinson. The explosion occurred at the power plant (located about 100 miles north of Houston) and caused serious burns to the elderly worker, which later resulted in his tragic passing at a Houston area hospital. While there was no immediate word about whether the victim’s family considered hiring an explosion accident attorney in Houston to handle a civil claim, the National Center for Productive Aging and Work is spearheading initiatives to make the workplace safer for aging workers.

A part of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the NCPAW has partnered with industries, labor and trade associations, and other professional organizations to help push advancements in safety, health, and the overall well-being of America’s aging workforce. By emphasizing safety and awareness of the unique challenges that elderly workers face, they hope to make strong inroads with the most dangerous industries like oil and gas, manufacturing, drilling, and other professions that may expose their employees to serious accidents like workplace explosions.

While it may be too late for families like the Robinson family, we hope that these initiatives may make a difference for other families of older workers. As America’s workforce continues to grow older (especially in the industrial sectors), we need to make safety a major focus to prevent avoidable injuries and death. To learn more about this, we encourage you to read the full story on the U.S. News & World Report linked above and visit the website of the National Center for Productive Aging and Work to learn more about their latest initiatives.

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General Causes of Child Injuries

Children are physically and mentally limited. Partner this with the fact that they have the tendency to be curious and reckless, and you have the recipe for accidents and children injuries. As the adult, you should be the one who is putting the children away from harm’s way.

In fact, according to the website, families who have children who have been injured because of preventable accidents may have legal options, especially if another party, for example a babysitter, has been involved.

But how can a child be injured? Below are the general ways a child can sustain an injury.

Dangerous Materials

Children may be exposed to materials that may be harmful for them. This exposure can be the result of an adult’s failure to put harmful objects away from children or product makers who create dangerous products.

Parents should be particularly wary of choking hazards, such as small objects found inside and outside of the house. They should be responsible enough to put these things away from reach. Product makers should also be responsible, especially in the design of their products or the materials used in their products, such as plastic and lead.

Lack of Supervision

Since children tend to be curious, they may do reckless behaviors to satisfy their curiosity. It is even worse if you think about the fact that children often do not know the dangers around them, and even if they do, they may not have the power to defend or protect themselves.

Usually, a lack of supervision results into exposure to dangerous materials and other accidents that may have been prevented if the adult has been paying attention to the children.

Premises Liability

No matter how effortful an adult is in supervising the children and putting them away from harm’s reach, the children can still be injured if the place is inherently dangerous, like when a playground has been poorly maintained and has defective facilities, a swimming pool has no fences and water depth signs, or a house has an untrained dog on the loose.

In these cases, property owners may be held liable.

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Employees should be able to Receive Financial Benefit for Job-related Injuries

In 1908 the Workers’ Compensation Law was established to immediately address the financial burdens suffered by workers who sustained work-related injuries or who developed an illness due to exposure to hazardous substances during work.

Workers’ compensation took the form of an insurance program, providing sure and fast financial assistance that would cover an injured worker’s lost wages (due to missed work), cost of medical treatment, vocational rehabilitation and, in worst cases, death.

The insurance benefit is guaranteed to authentic applicants (fraudulent claims have been made in the past, with workers faking injuries), regardless of whose fault the accident was. This means that even if the accident were a result of the injured worker’s own act of negligence or carelessness, no amount, however minimal, may be deducted from the total amount of compensation that the injured worker is legally entitled to receive; however, if the injury was self-inflicted, was sustained because the worker was drunk, or was a result of actions in violation of OSHA law or company safety policy, then a worker’s application for a claim will be denied.

Workers’ compensation benefit does not depend on the employer’s or the company’s financial capability too; thus, even if the company were facing possible bankruptcy, the claimant is still assured of receiving the compensation that he/she has a right to. One important clause stipulated in this insurance program, however, is the mandatory relinquishment of the worker’s right from filing a suit against his/her employer for any further legal claims.

Before the Workers’ Compensation Insurance benefit was passed into law in 1908, injured workers, majority of whom worked in construction and industrial firms, had to sue their employers just to be compensated for the injury that they sustained. Workers often lost the cases, however, as employers usually argued that the worker, prior to applying for the job, and during his/her course of employment, was aware of the dangers associated with the work. Besides losing the cases, many workers were also never allowed to return to work due the damage that the court cases caused in the employee-employer relationship.

It is explained in the website of the law firm Scudder & Hedrick, PLLC, that “Worker’s compensation program is based on the belief that employees should be able to receive full medical treatment for their injuries. As a result, nearly all employers are required to carry worker’s compensation insurance, which is designed to protect employees from job-related illnesses and injuries so those employees can receive benefits and pay for their treatment in the event of an accident.”

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Possible Causes of Cerebral Palsy

As many as 28,000 babies are born with birth injuries every year, with about 9,000 deaths resulting from these injuries; these figures are based on statistical records from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. While many injuries are minor and, therefore, will not really affect many of these babies, there are also serious ones that will cause a change in the quality of lives of thousands of these children.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one severe type of birth injury is Cerebral Palsy (CP), a neurodevelopmental motor impairment that affects a child’s mental capabilities, speech, and posture and balance.

Cerebral Palsy is a chronic and incurable brain disorder which damages sensation, muscle control,muscle coordination, reflex, body movement, and various brain functions, such as speech, perception and cognition. This neurodevelopmental motor impairment can be due to the abnormal development of the brain or physical injuries to an infant’s brain; it may otherwise be congenital or inborn, occurring during pregnancy or during the birthing process, or, again, it may be acquired, occurring during the first years after birth.

Though 85% of all cerebral palsy cases are congenital in nature, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is not certain with regard to its exact cause; it does, however, identify some factors that can increase the chances of newborns developing this type of impairment:

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 85% of all cerebral palsy cases are congenital in nature, but while there is no certainty about its exact cause, there are certain factors which increase the chances of newborns developing this neurodevelopmental motor impairment. For congenital CP, these factors include:premature birth, low birth weight, birth complications, infections during pregnancy, birth complications, and health condition of the mother, such as Down’s syndrome, thyroid issues, syphilis, toxoplasmosis, cytomegalovirus, chickenpox (varicella), German measles (rubella), or illnesses which cause seizures.

While it can be a source of so much pain if you see that your child is affected with a birth injury that will no longer be healed, the pain will be much greater if you find out that the injury was actually sustained by your child because of a mistake committed by your doctor. Due to this, it would be in your best interest, for the sake of your child, to pursue birth injury claim which will help you pay for all the medical care and treatment required by your child.

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Sources of Long-Term or Permanent Disability Benefits

Workers’ Compensation, or Workers’ Comp, and Social Security Disability are the two largest programs in the U.S. which offer cash benefits to workers who sustain serious injuries or illnesses that render them disabled. Though both programs consider employment as the basic requirement for eligibility to make a claim, these still significantly differ with regard to details of eligibility. While the Workers’ Comp considers a person already qualified even on the very first day of his or her employment, Social Security Disability Insurance or SSDI requires a substantial work period and the payment of Social Security taxes which are automatically deducted from an employee’s monthly pay (this monthly tax, which is included in an employee’s paycheck, is called the Federal Insurance Contributions Act or FICA).

The type of injury or illness eligible for compensation, as well as the amount of benefits given by Workers’ Comp depends on the state. Though states may differ in some of the benefits awarded, these are sure to cover lost wages and cost of medical treatment, among others.

Workers’ Comp benefits are fast and sure financial benefits for workers who get injured on the job or who develop occupational illnesses due to exposure to hazardous substances. If an injury or an illness ends in disability, the amount of benefit will depend on the classification of the disability. Health providers classify disabilities under four types: Temporary total disability; Temporary partial disability; Permanent total disability; and, Permanent partial disability.

According to the law firm Scudder & Hedrick, PLLC, total permanent disability (TPD) benefits are available for workers whose injuries are so severe that they cannot continue to work in any occupation; partial permanent disability (PPD), on the other hand, are available for workers whose injuries are permanent, but who can continue to work.

Injured workers usually have 30 – 45 days (from the day the injury was sustained or the illness was discovered) to notify their employers about such injury or illness. Failure to notify one’s employer can mean loss of right to file a workers’ comp claim. Besides this, there is also a statute of limitations within which the injured worker will have to file his or her application for benefits. States have different guidelines with regard to statute of limitation, but for guaranteed safe filing, this should be done within one year from the date of the accident or discovery of the illness.

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