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Workers’ Compensation – Benefits Injured Workers are Legally Entitled to Receive

All types of working environments present risks of accident-causing injuries to employees; however, risks of accidents, which can cause severe injuries or even death, is always so much higher in construction sites than in any other workplace in the US.

Hazardous substances, sharp and metallic heavy tools, heavy duty vehicles and machineries, great heights, hazards from ladders and scaffolds, electrical wirings and excavations and trenches – these are just some of the causes of dangers construction workers are exposed to everyday. Due to all these, plus the carelessness of some workers or employers and their failure to strictly comply with job safety laws, accidents, which could otherwise have been prevented, often occur. Examples of these “preventable” accidents include:

  • Workers falling from roofs, ladders or scaffolds (this is actually the most common form of accident in construction sites)
  • A worker getting electrocuted due to power lines, construction equipment and construction vehicles that are not insulated
  • Collapsing trenches burying or caving-in on workers
  • A worker getting caught and crushed in-between objects, getting hit by a construction vehicle that is changing directions or backing up, or getting hit by falling tools or cement-filled buckets.

In 1971, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration or OSHA was founded as an offshoot of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (also called OSH Act) of 1970. OSHA’s major task, since its foundation, has been to strictly implement OSH Act’s directives, which is for employers to provide all their workers or employees a safe and healthy working environment.

According to the US Department of Labor, for the past 40 years, OSHA, state authorities, safety and health professionals and advocates, and employers, have caused an impact where workplace safety is the issue. Since 1970, from 38 fatal accidents a day, deaths are down to 12 per day (based on 2013 records), while injuries and illnesses have been reduced from 10 per 100 workers to only 3.

For all the good results brought about by the strict implementation of workplace safety laws there are people whose efforts should be appreciated; however, it should escape the attention of authorities and employers that accidents still take place and a number of workers still get injured or die as a result.

Workplace injuries make victims unable to work, resulting in lost income and costly medical treatment that can very well put workers and their families in precarious financial situations.

Injured workers, the firm continues, can apply for the benefits (that they are legally entitled to receive) from their own state’s Workers’ Compensation department. While these will cover cost of medical treatment and a part of their monthly income, among others, (a very important financial assistance to injured workers, indeed), it cannot be denied that getting one’s application approved can be very challenging. Many insurers and employers unfortunately seek to prevent injured workers from receiving the benefits they are legally entitled to. One major reason, of course, is because insurers intend to rake in profits, not make huge payments.