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Pennsylvania Workers Injured in Industrial Accidents
Industrial workers are exposed to various workplace hazards due to the nature of their job, including the work they do with heavy machinery, chemicals, and extreme temperatures. Those who work in factories, warehouses, refineries, petrochemical plants, and other industrial environments may, therefore, suffer more serious injuries than workers in other industries.
The knowledgeable workers’ compensation lawyers at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. understand the inherent dangers of industrial work, and what it takes to file a successful claim. We have been representing the rights of injured industrial workers and their families for over 40 years.
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Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. Represent Workers Injured in Industrial Accidents
Common Types of Industrial Accidents
Industrial workers may suffer many different workplace injuries of varying severity, from bruising to amputations and even death. The following are some common types of industrial accidents that lead to workers’ compensation claims:
Coal mining accidents – Pennsylvania remains a major source of coal. Although the coal mining industry has improved in terms of safety, there are still many risks involved. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that workers in the coal mining industry are more likely to be killed, more likely to suffer a non-fatal injury or illness, and more likely to suffer a severe injury than workers in private industry as a whole.
Construction accidents – Construction sites are the cause of approximately 150,000 injuries each year, according to the BLS. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports that there are four leading causes of construction worker deaths, also called the “fatal four”: falls, struck by object, electrocution, and caught in/between objects.
Explosions – Refinery explosions may occur due to an employer’s failure to perform maintenance and repair on equipment, to follow applicable regulations and standards, to properly train employees, or to implement adequate safety systems and procedures. Explosions are often deadly and cause widespread damage and destruction.
Heavy machinery – Industrial workers frequently work with heavy machinery, which can cause catastrophic injuries. Lack of training and failure to follow proper lockout/tagout procedures can also contribute to workplace accidents. Common injuries from accidents involving heavy machinery include crushed or lost limbs, broken bones, and spinal injuries.
Overexertion – Industrial workers are at high risk of overexertion due to their exposure to extreme temperatures and long work hours. Employees should be encouraged to take adequate breaks and drink plenty of water to avoid musculoskeletal injuries, heat exhaustion, and other illnesses linked to overexertion.
Toxic chemical exposure – Toxic chemicals and other substances, such as asbestos, are often present in industrial work environments. Employers are required to comply with OSHA regulations to reduce employee exposure and inform employees of the identities of hazardous chemicals present in the workplace, as well as how to safely handle them. When they do not, employees may develop fatal illnesses such as mesothelioma and other forms of cancer.
Most Pennsylvania employees are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits if they sustain a workplace injury or illness. The workers’ compensation system is no-fault; therefore, employees are entitled to compensation regardless of who was at fault for the on-the-job accident. In exchange for such compensation, employees may not file personal injury claims against their employers.
However, sometimes a third-party is responsible for an employee’s injuries. In those instances, the employee may be able to file a third-party personal injury claim. Third parties may include general contractors, property owners, suppliers, equipment manufacturers, and others. For the claim to be successful, the employee must be able to show that the defendant had a duty towards the plaintiff, failed in that duty, and that negligence was the direct cause of the plaintiff’s injuries.
Whereas workers’ compensation benefits are limited to medical expenses, wage loss compensation, vocational rehabilitation, specific loss, and death benefits, a third-party claim may also provide compensation for non-economic damages such as pain and suffering. A qualified workers’ compensation attorney can help you determine the right steps to take, so you can recover appropriate compensation for your work-related injury or illness.