Omaha Workers' Compensation Law Blog

What kind of protective gear do meatpacking workers need?

As you know, the meatpacking industry is responsible for taking care of countless families in Omaha. The work is difficult and often dangerous, but the income it provides attracts many employees.

Nebraska residents are proud of the state's reputation for providing the nation with premium meat products. However, most of these residents would love to see a reduction in the industry's volume of industrial workers' accidents. Having access to (and using) personal protective equipment is one way to accomplish this lofty goal.

Omaha construction workers may suffer vibration injuries

Using power tools at work can be a fun experience or so say some workers in the Omaha construction industry. For many, using these tools offers a break from the more mundane or routine tasks associated with building and repairing structures. However, the use of tools that vibrate can and does lead to significant injuries.

Unlike abrupt construction accidents that result in immediate injury, damage caused by vibration builds over time. Under these circumstances, workers are unaware of the problem until they have suffered severe or permanent damage. Hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS) may cause or contribute to carpal tunnel syndrome affecting a victim's ability to work. In more serious cases, whole-body vibration can result in back injuries as well as long-term medical conditions.

Workplace injuries: Good lifting techniques protect your back

Most people in the Omaha workforce must lift and move heavy objects either frequently or occasionally. Even office workers must lift heavy items from time to time. Workers in other industries like construction and warehousing must lift large and heavy items frequently. Many workplace injuries in Nebraska occur because employees do not know how to lift these objects properly.

Responsible employers provide their staff with regular safety training to help them learn proper lifting techniques. This helps to cut down on worker absences as well as workplace injuries. To help refresh your memory, review the proper lifting strategy outlined below.

Are you exposed to amputation injury risks?

If you work in a garage workshop, welding shop, metal fabrication plant, or any other industrial workplace in Nebraska, your on-the-job safety will largely depend on your employer's compliance with regulated safety standards. Dangers include a variety of moving machine parts, all of which require adequate safeguarding to prevent accidental contact. Violations of safety regulations can cause catastrophic injuries from amputations to death.

You might be aware that many business owners focus on profits instead of employee safety. You can insist on a safe work environment; however, to do that, you must be familiar with the safety standards mandated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Minor work injury? You should still file an injury report

We will begin this blog post with a hypothetical scenario. You are working hard at your job when you trip over a piece of debris or equipment. You fall and hit your head on the hard floor. Other than feeling a little lightheaded for a moment, you appear to be just fine. Should you go on about your work or stop for a moment to file an injury report?

Most dedicated workers in the Omaha region would simply shake off their initial symptoms -- as minor as they are -- and carry on with their tasks. Although this is an understandable response when you feel okay after an accident, it is vital to go ahead and file an injury or incident report.

Nebraska grain elevator accident leaves 1 worker dead

Employment in the grain industry comes with its share of unique risks. As you may imagine, handling and storing grain to help feed an entire nation is typically a very large operation requiring many workers and precise attention to safety. When a workplace accident in this industry occurs, the outcome rarely favors the victim.

A recent grain industry accident that occurred in Fremont, Nebraska, is one example of how dangerous this type of work can be. According to a news report, a 32-year-old worker lost his life after apparently falling into a massive grain storage container.

The many hazards associated with Nebraska's agriculture industry

The state of Nebraska is famous for its contributions to the American meat production industry. However, the state also contributes significantly to the national agriculture industry as well. Farming on a very large scale is not exactly a popular occupation, but it still attracts many workers looking for steady income. Unfortunately, the large-scale farming industry has many health hazards.

Those who work in the farming industry face dangerous conditions every day. Some of these workplace accident hazards are well-known. For example, accidents involving farming equipment are common and often result in severe injuries. However, farmworkers face serious health risks as well. Examples include:

  • Sun exposure. Agricultural workers spend many hours exposed to the harmful rays of the sun, which can lead to skin cancer.
  • Chemical exposure. Frequent use of and contact with pesticides and other chemicals can lead to serious illness or death.
  • Toxic dust exposure. Contact with different types of dust frequently causes respiratory conditions, many of them disabling to workers.
  • Noise exposure. Farm equipment is quite loud. Without proper ear protection, exposure to loud noises could lead to loss of hearing.
  • Heat exposure. Farm work is hot work, particularly during the summer months. Workers exposed to too much heat may suffer conditions like heat stress or heat exhaustion.

Workers' compensation for the survivors of fallen firefighters

To most of us who reside in Nebraska, firefighters are heroic figures worthy of our admiration. They place themselves in harm's way every time they respond to a fire without much thought about their safety.

When firefighters die in the line of duty or because of an occupational illness, their families may not be able to continue with their previous way of life. This, added to the mental and emotional suffering survivors experience, results in hardships that most people never have to endure.

Nebraska meatpackers may have to face even more accident risks

Industrial workers' accidents plague many Nebraska employees, but the meat-packing industry is particularly dangerous. Some of the injuries that affect the industry include serious cuts, amputations, back strain, repetitive movement injury and many others. The current government now wants to approve speedier production lines while reducing the industry's oversight.

A recent study by Human Rights Watch shows how these proposed changes would affect industrial workers' accidents in the meatpacking industry. Some highlights from the report as published in a news article include the following.

  • Accelerating meatpacking production lines may place the lives of workers at risk
  • Most of the meatpacking workers interviewed for the report say that they fear an increase in production line speeds
  • The report points out that these workers already suffer an alarmingly high rate of injury
  • Interviewed workers say that they already experience a lot of pressure to increase production without government approval
  • If the government continues to reduce oversight of these industries, it could lead to an increase in severe industrial workers' accidents

Years of experience will not keep you safe in a factory

Regardless of whether you work in a facility that manufactures farm equipment, ammunition, sports equipment, or food and beverages, you will face hazards that could cause life-changing injuries. Although each plant poses unique risks, the manufacturing, fabrication and assembly industries have inherent dangers with which you will have to deal. While the Occupational Safety and Health Administration prescribes specific regulations for some of the hazards, the agency's general standards govern the others.

Regardless of how many years you have worked without suffering injuries, you will face significant risks during each shift you work. For that reason, it is essential to know your rights in the event of an injury. Any of the following hazards could cause injuries that might result in temporary disabilities, and it would be sensible to understand how to obtain workers' compensation benefits.