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.

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.

Grill Safety: Avoiding Burns at your Cookout 

In the summer, one of my personal favorite pastimes is to grill out with friends. Doing so is a great way to get out, enjoy the weather, entertain friends, and cook some pretty delicious food while you’re at it. It seems like every Saturday, the smell of charcoal seeps into my mind and it’s time to invite friends over once more to make the most of the weekend. I’m sure you like do the same. But, the most important thing to remember about these Saturday escapades, is to engage in grill safety. That’s right, sun burns aren’t the only type of burn that becomes more likely during the warmer months. So, we’re providing you with a list of Do’s and Don’ts for your grill safety needs. That way, you can enjoy your Saturday, and avoid ending up at the doctors office with a nasty burn…

Grill Safety: Avoiding Burns at your Cookout

Do:

It’s important that, before you begin grilling, you clean your grill up a bit! Use that metal brush to scrub up those grates a bit, and wipe out the bottom. One of the main causes for a grill fire is old grease that ignites when you light up the grill. So, giving it a quick clean is highly advisable.

Keep your grill at a safe distance from your house! Ten feet at least is you safest bet. Watch for low branches, railings, piles of leaves, and your house. You want your grill to be in open air, as well as far away from the kids. Do your best to create a safe zone that the kids stay away from. Whether you mark that off, or just grill in a designated area— make it clear that flammables, kids, and drunk adults stay far away from theft grill.

Lastly, use long-handled tools for grilling! Look for tools that allow you a safe distance from the grill itself. Dripping grease can cause quite a flame. Not to mention, there might be an occasion where you open the grill and see flames. Being able to stand a bit further back, and also man the grill with a long set of tongs can be the difference between a nasty burn, or not.

Don’t:

The most important piece of grill safety you should mind is this: do not leave the propane valve open when you’re not cooking; doing so can lead to some pretty serious consequences. Especially if you open that lid with a flame in hand to start it up. The air around that grill is likely filling with flammable gas. And depending on how much open air is around the grill, a more closed off area can face some pretty serious consequences.

Which leads us to our next point, don’t grill in an enclosed space. Heat, smoke, gas, and particles from the grill can get trapped and cause a fire, or damage to whatever structure is close by.

Grill safety can be quite easy to follow as long as you know what you’re dealing with. Make smart choices! Make everyone aware of the hot grill, and set up a designated space that’s a no-go for all but the grill master. Being sure to do so, will keep everyone happy and safe for those upcoming burgers and dogs.

Drowning at the Pool: Is the Lifeguard Liable? 

Gearing up for the summer, for many, means grabbing your sunscreen, bathing suit, the kids, and heading to your local pool. It’s a summer pastime that many of us can reminisce about. Spending time at the pool during the summer has many fond memories for us. However, it can also be the sight of one very serious summer accident. Witnessing, being a victim of, or being present during a drowning is extremely traumatic and it might lead you to wonder who is liable. There was a lifeguard present, and plenty of bystanders. So, in the event of a drowning— what role do all of these people play?

Drowning at the Pool: Is the Lifeguard Liable for Injury or Death?

Lifeguard receive plenty of training on instances such as these. From lifeguarding classes, to CPR training, and beyond. Your local lifeguard should have the preparations in place for the chance of a drowning. But, when it comes down to it, how liable are they for the death or serious injury of someone who has drowned?

Setting the standard

Ultimately, being a lifeguard on duty means that you are responsible for the well-being of everyone in the pool. It’s important to understand that anyone can drown at any time. There are rules in place to keep this from happening regularly. Rules such as the no-diving rule, no running, and the likes. But, the fact is, it does happen, and as a lifeguard— there is a legal standard in place for doing everything you can to rescue the drowning victim. You have been specifically trained to handle this scenario, and failing to do that can lead to legal consequences.

A legal duty

There are ‘Good Samaritan’ laws in place for most scenarios such as this. For example, say you were witness to an accident and attempted to help the victim. But, they received some sort of resulting injury— Good Samaritan laws can act as protection from any legal implication. However, as a lifeguard, your job is quite literally to guard the lives and well-being of the people in your pool. Therefore, these laws do not apply to you.

Ultimately, as a lifeguard, your duty and legal obligation was to protect the people in your pool

If you, as the lifeguard, either 1) did not provide aid, or 3) provided negligent aid that led to further injury— you are likely at risk of legal action. No one wants to consider the possibility of such a horrible accident. But, understanding what role you should be playing in such a scenario will help you be prepared for all aspects of such an incident. Being a lifeguard is a tough job sometimes, and other times it’s pretty great. Ultimately, as long as you perform your job in the proper manner— you’ll be as good as gold.

Defamation of Character as Personal Injury: Proving that Slander is Harmful 

Personal injury has a great range when it comes to what qualifies. Personal injury can be anything from falling on a dangerous playground, falling on a wet floor, and even defamation of character. Yep, you heard that right. Personal injury isn’t always a physical injury; rather, it’s an injury of any kind to character or the physical body. So, if you’re dealing with a scenario where what’s being said about you is false, and also causing harm— you might be eligible for a defamation of character lawsuit. But what does this type of lawsuit cover? And how do I prove that the statements made are causing harm?

Defamation of Character as Personal Injury: Proving that Slander is Harmful

How does defamation work?

Essentially, for a statement(s) to be defamation, it must be 1) false, and 2) resulting in harm of some kind. Typically, the type of ‘harm’ associated with slander, is that of harm to the reputation. But, how do you put a number on what your reputation is worth? And what ‘damages’ need to be recovered?

An example

Consider if a celebrity, say a powerful and affluent male celebrity, is facing an accusation of rape. The presumed victim(s) give a detailed account, goes to the media, and in turn, the celebrity loses every single contract he has— along with a pending TV series. However, two months later— we find out that the ‘victim’ has given a false account of what happened. The actor is no longer in trouble with the law. However, that bit of false information will likely have a long-lasting, and damaging, effect on his career. He’s losing roles, endorsements, a fanbase, and a lot of money. In this case, a defamation suit can arise.

On what grounds?

There are a few different consequences that you can use to prove your suit. For one, you can claim financial consequences. Take that scenario from above; the actor was and is losing business opportunities. Therefore, they can seek repayment for lost wages. You can also seek repayment for your expenses due to hiring a lawyer, and ‘repairing reputation’. Other than claiming financial problems, you can also claim mental damages. Anything from developing anxiety, depression, insomnia, or the like.

Ultimately, you have to be able to prove that you suffered in some form or fashion. But, that’s where a good attorney comes in. So, if you think you have a strong case for this type of lawsuit— reach out for help today! No one should have to suffer at the hands of false information.