Customer Inquiry

Confined Work Spaces: Defining and Outlining Them

Staying safe when operating in confined work spaces can be difficult. Being that these spaces create a whole new set of hazards, they require a few different guidelines and protocol. For this reason specifically, OSHA felt it necessary to develop specific safety regulations for this setting alone. Through this rule, OSHA defines ‘confined spaces’ and by doing so, they can outline the responsibilities, and employer duties for this specific type of at-risk worker.

Confined Work Spaces: Defining and Outlining them

A confined work space, as now defined, is an area that presents special dangers to the workers in some way. These dangers can include things such as, poor ventilation, and areas that provide insufficient oxygen, or dangerous level of gases. Furthermore, if these areas present a danger of illness, injury, or entrapment, the worker must have a special permit to work within that space. Ultimately, to operate under these conditions, an employee must meet certain guidelines. Therefore, the employer must do the same.

Employer Responsibilities

Under this new rule, employers have a few steps to take before allowing a worker to operate:

Training the workers. By this rule, employers must make sure their workers receive the right training first. In this training, workers should learn what to do in the event of injury. Also, they will learn how to work safely, and protect themselves and fellow workers. In the event that something goes wrong, they should have an escape plan.

Plan how to rescue injured workers. Since most of these confined spaces will not have more than one exit, an escape plan is necessary. In fact, employers should have a plan of rescue before workers go in these areas. This plan should include a way to retrieve workers quickly and safely.

Working safely

Many types of workers operate in these areas everyday. For this reason, it is best to be proactive and use caution. By following closely what OSHA set out, there is a better chance of avoiding trouble. Resulting injuries, when they occur, have severe side effects. Those effects, can impact your quality of life. Therefore, when these types of injuries occur, it’s important that you speak to someone. You might not want to hire a lawyer, but there might arise a time when that’s your only option.

Seeking Second Opinion in Worker’s Injury: Am I Allowed?

If you have been hurt on the job, and the doctor says you could potentially face life-long impairment, you might hope to seek a second opinion. After all, you only get one body and one chance at life. So, why not make sure it’s in the best condition possible? However, the difficult bit about seeking a second opinion in a worker’s injury, is that worker’s comp claims and processes are quite strict in what they cover, and who you see…

Seeking Second Opinion in Worker’s Injury: Am I Allowed?

With normal cases of sickness or injury, you are able to visit your personal doctor. After receiving their diagnoses, you have the option to seek out a second opinion if you wish, especially if the first doctor is suggesting something major. However, when it comes to a worker’s injury, getting that second opinion can be difficult due to the worker’s comp process.

May I seek out a new perspective?

While there are plenty of reasons you may want a second opinion in your worker’s comp case, the question is can you get one? For the most part, you may be able to request another doctor in order to get another opinion. However, while you may request a second opinion from the worker’s comp insurance, there is no guarantee they will approve it. In addition, it will most likely still be within the same network of your employer’s choosing. Therefore, the doctor will likely garner the same opinion. In short, a second opinion may be available, and you can request it but there is no guarantee.

Why seeking a second opinion might be the way to go

In most cases, employers will require that you see a doctor of their choosing. Since they are covering the medical bill through worker’s comp, they hold the right to choose your doctor. However, this means that you will be using a doctor you are unfamiliar with. This can be counterproductive for a number of reasons… For one, you may not feel fully comfortable divulging all information. Therefore, your treatment options and their perception might be different than what you need. For example, you may hesitate to fully describe the events of your accident or the pain you are in. Furthermore, you may feel you cannot fully trust his method of treatment. In some cases, you may feel the doctor is bias since your employer is the one who employed him.

If you choose to seek out a second opinion…

You will likely have to do so on your own, and out of your own pocket, if you wish to see the doctor of your choosing. But, it might be worth doing so for your own safety and healing process. The treatment plan your personal doctor can be supplemental to the worker’s comp assistance, or you can choose to take that route entirely. Ultimately, your healing process is up to you. However, if you choose to see your own doctor, the costs might be a bit higher for you… However, an attorney can typically request a hearing to order that second opinion. Ultimately, the hope of any worker’s comp claim is to reduce disability as much as possible.

Backing Semi-Truck’s Safely: Tips for Successful Driving

When driving a semi-truck, one of the most difficult things to do is be specially aware. Furthermore, backing semi-truck’s safely can be a pretty big task; much bigger than on a passenger vehicle. You have a big box blocking your vision, a lot less room for movement, and in turn, a simple task becomes much more difficult. In fact, backing up in a semi-truck remains a leading cause in trucking accidents. But for the most part, these accidents are nearly always avoidable by taking the right steps when reversing. So, we’ve put together a few backing up tips to help you reverse successfully, and safely.

Backing Semi-Truck’s Safely: Tips for Successful Driving

Avoid Blind Side Backing 

One of the biggest mistakes a trucker can make in backing up semi-truck’s safely, is to try blind side back. In short, blind side backing refers to backing to the right side of the truck. Since drivers have significantly less vision on the right side, it can be dangerous to back that way. In those cases when you have no other option, it’s best to get out of your truck and check with your own eyes. By seeing for yourself, you have a better understanding of the space you’re working with. In addition, you can spot any potential vehicles or obstructions that can result in accident.

Avoid Using A Spotter 

During these times when you are struggling to back up, a lot of people may offer to help. But for the most part, you probably should avoid using an outsider’s help in this case. While they have good intentions, they may not be capable of helping. If your spotter is not a truck driver themselves, they will not be able to judge the way in which your truck will fit into the intended spot. So, unless you have a fellow truck driver with you, it’s best not to trust anyone’s judgement on where you’re at. If you need assistance in finding the right space, we suggest getting out and checking your space on your own.

When driving a large vehicle, you have to trust your own judgement. While someone can be a good passenger vehicle driver, they do not understand what it takes to drive a semi-truck unless you’ve been there yourself. So, trust your own judgement, spot for yourself, and make sure you’re comfortable before backing up.

Job Security & Worker’s Comp: What Protections Do I Have?

One of the most important things when securing employment, is job security. We want to work somewhere where we’re valued, where we feel safe, and where we know that we can provide for our family. Because all of these things are important to us, it can be extremely difficult when you find yourself hurt on the job, or needing to take some time to help your family. Workplace injuries, and extended leave, can be frightening for a number of reasons; from the injury itself, to getting compensated, and making sure that you are not wrongfully terminated. However, in most cases, there are certain protections in place for when you face a medical leave…

Job Security and Worker’s Comp: What Protections Do I Have?

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

One way you may have some protection is through the Family and Medical Leave Act. Due to this federal law, you can have up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year. This leave is for either you to take care of your own health issues, or someone in your family. While FMLA is unpaid, you can still receive disability benefits through worker’s compensation. In fact, many employer’s want you to take the FMLA leave while suffering from an on-the-job-injury. Furthermore, while using this leave an employer cannot legally fire you. So this form of leave offers a viable form of job protection when you need time away.

The catch…

Not all companies are subject to FMLA. In the case that they are, there are still some guidelines to it. First of all, you will need to have a year of employment with that company under your belt. Furthermore, you must also have 1,250 hours of work from the proceeding year with that company to qualify for these benefits.

Checking With Your Job

If you suffer from a work injury that requires time off, it’s important that you file a claim immediately. By filing a claim, you ensure your protection and compensation if your employer tries to get out of paying for your injury. Ultimately, the time off you’ll need is of upmost concern. So, when trying to decide how to go about getting the extra time you need, consider the FMLA and see if you’re eligible for it. With this act, you may be able to get the time off for recovery while also maintaining your job security.

Spinal Cord Injuries: Which Type Are You Suffering From?

If you are currently dealing with a form of spinal cord injuries, you know that they can be quite painful. Maybe you haven’t made it to the doctor yet. Whether you don’t have insurance, or you feel you can treat this injury on your own— the pain can be extremely difficult to bear. We highly advise that you see a doctor, especially if this injury occurred in the workplace. However, if you’re trying to diagnose the injury first, it’s important to understand that there are different types of these injuries. Types of spinal cord injuries can vary depending on what area of the spine becomes damaged.

Depending on which segment, you may experience different symptoms. In general, most of these injuries can split into two categories. First of which is incomplete spinal cord injuries. With these types of injuries, the cord severs only partly. However, in the case of complete spinal cord injuries, the cord becomes fully severed.

Spinal Cord Injuries: Which Part of Your Spine is Suffering?

Upper Vertebrae

Cervical spinal injuries. These exist in the upper part of the body. In general, this segment of the spinal cord make up seven vertebrae: C1-C7. Being that they make up the portion of the neck and work closely with the brain, these injuries can be the most serious. For the most part, any injury within this area can result in limited or absence of feeling from the shoulders on down the body.

Thoracic. Working the way down the spine, the thoracic region consists of the upper to middle part of the back. In this area, 12 vertebrae make up the region, numbered T1-T12.  Throughout T1 and T5, the nerves and muscles help regulate breathing. While the lower T6-T12 help control posture and coughing.spinal cord injuries

Lower Vertebrae

Lumbar spinal injuries. Within the lumbar section, you can find the largest vertebrae in your body. This is due to the fact that this portion supports the most weight. For this reason, injuries to this area normally cause a loss of function in the hips and legs. However, the upper parts of the body usually still maintain their normal use.

Sacral. This part of the spine exists at the very bottom and just above the tailbone. These vertebrae, numbered S1-S4, fuse five bones to make up its triangular shape. For the most part, injuries in this area only occurs during a serious fall. While these injuries may not leave you unable to walk, it can affect the nerves that control pelvic organs.

Diagnosing the right spinal cord injury is extremely important

Your spinal cord is pretty much your lifeline. It holds you up, transports information, supports your brain, and has much to do with nerve function. So, if you face an injury in this region— it’s important to have it treated properly. A spinal cord injury doesn’t have to hinder your function indefinitely, but it does have the potential. So speak with a doctor, come up with a plan of action, and follow it closely. We wish you luck in the journey to recovery, and offer our services if you might need them.