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Bettendorf Workers' Compensation Blog

Despite technological advances, food processing remains hazardous

Despite new regulations by federal and state safety authorities, along with technological advances, thousands of food manufacturing employees suffer on-the-job injuries every year. An unacceptable number of victims do not survive.

If you are an employee in a food processing plant in the Bettendorf, Iowa area, you likely face many hazards during every shift you work. Although the Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires your employer to protect you and your co-workers from recognized hazards, it might be smart to take note of potential risks and take your own precautions.

A fall harness might save you -- suspension trauma might kill you

If you are a construction worker in Iowa, you will likely know that you should never work at an elevated level without a fall protection harness. However, have you received training in the proper use of such a harness? Do you know that, even if it arrests your fall, your life may still be at risk? Suspension trauma could cause your death if you hang in the harness for too long.

The purpose of a fall harness and its lanyards is to prevent you from striking the ground or another surface at a lower level. Once it has succeeded in that role, the harness can become a life-threatening hazard.

Which occupational illnesses are threatening your health?

There could be various risks and safety hazards threatening your well-being in your Iowa workplace, and you may not even be aware of them. You may work in a place that does not involve physical labor or strenuous activity, but your safety could still be at stake. There are various environmental factors that could lead to the development of certain illnesses and medical conditions.

Occupational illnesses can develop when workers face exposure to certain things, such as dangerous chemicals, mold or even loud noises. If you became sick because of your work, you have the right to seek benefits through a workers' compensation claim. You may be able to claim financial support for your medical bills, lost wages and other financial losses.

Safety is in short supply on many construction sites

If you are a construction worker in Iowa, you will likely put your life on the line every time you have a task that involves working at an elevated level. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, three of the top 10 safety violations every year involve working at heights. The agency says ladders, scaffolds and the lack of fall protection feature in a significant number of construction workers' benefits claims for workers' compensation.

You might not realize that, although it is dangerous to work at the height of 30 feet, the same risks exist for anyone working at heights of six or 10 feet. In fact, OSHA says more fatal falls happen from lower elevations. This might be because those at 30 feet and higher recognize the danger and take precautions while workers at lower elevations think they are safe and take no precautions.

What do I do if my workers' comp claim is denied?

A workplace injury changes the course of your life. One minute, you are earning the money you need to support your family, and the next, you are in the emergency room wondering if you will even be able to return to your job in the same capacity.

Fortunately, Iowa's workers' compensation system provides support for injured workers. The higher the risk of your job, the more you may depend on the benefits offered, including lost wages and coverage of medical bills related to your accident. However, if you learn that the insurance company has denied your claim for benefits under workers' compensation, you may wonder where to turn.

You can take charge of your own safety in the workplace

Safety authorities in Iowa, like the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, expect your employer to protect your health and safety in your Iowa workplace. However, it might be a good idea to take some precautions yourself, instead of relying on your boss, who might focus more on profits than employee safety. You can be a victim of an occupational injury or illness regardless of the industry in which you work.

If you should slip or trip and fall and strike your head against a hard object, you could suffer traumatic brain injuries whether you are on a construction site or in an office. The same applies to strains and sprains from lifting heavy objects in any workplace.

Are you exposed to ergonomic workplace hazards?

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration creates regulations to govern the provision of safe work environments in Iowa and other states. Although it prescribes safety regulations that are specific to some industries, it also keeps a lookout for the safety of those in other industries, and expect employers to take the necessary steps and precautions to protect the health and safety of all employees.

Repetitive strain and musculoskeletal injuries are prevalent in many industries, and OSHA recommends ergonomic assessments to identify hazards that might cause these injuries. Modifications to workstations can help to eliminate ergonomic hazards and to avoid lost workdays and high medical costs for employees.

Do you understand your rights to workers' compensation benefits?

The purpose of workers' compensation benefits is the support and care of individuals who suffered injuries in work-related accidents. You may know that you have a rightful claim to this financial support after suffering an injury in a workplace accident, but it is beneficial to understand this process and what to expect when filing a claim.

Most employers are required to carry this type of insurance. This offers employers a certain amount of protection because by seeking these specific benefits, an employee relinquishes his or her right to sue. An Iowa employee has security knowing that support is available in the event of a workplace accident.

How much can you rely on workers' compensation benefits?

Construction workers in Iowa face multiple safety hazards every day. You might have witnessed co-workers suffering serious or even fatal injuries. Some of them may be unable to return to work for extended periods -- if at all. You might find comfort in knowing that the Iowa workers' compensation system will have your back if you should suffer severe injuries.

But, how reliable is the system? The workers' compensation program entitles you to benefits that will help you take care of your financial obligations while you are incapacitated. The most basic benefits will cover your medical expenses and lost income.

What do you need to get back to work after a workplace accident?

When Iowa workers experience injuries in the workplace, they may experience both financial losses and physical setbacks. If you are currently unable to work, your goal is likely to get better and get back to work as soon as possible. Fortunately, there are tools available to you through workers' compensation insurance that can help you accomplish this goal.

Workers' compensation exists for the purpose of supporting workers who suffer injuries in the workplace or while carrying out their job-related duties. These benefits include recovery of a portion of lost wages, recovery of medical bills, as well as benefits that can help you get back to work.

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