Omaha Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Workplace accidents: Beware of grain handling hazards

The grain handling industry provides a necessary source of income to many residents in Omaha and other areas in Nebraska. These workers are grateful to have a job that is secure and pays fairly well, but it is critical to understand the hazards associated with this wide-spread industry.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), grain handling is a high-risk occupation with many workplace accident hazards. The following section highlights several of the workplace accident and illness risks inherent to the industry.

  • Those who suffer engulfment in bins by fast-flowing grain can die from suffocation.
  • The combustible nature of grain dust often leads to dangerous explosions or fires, which can kill or seriously injure workers.
  • Many grain workers experience entanglement and amputation injuries from handling and using machinery.
  • Illness or death may occur from exposure to hazardous atmospheres caused by grain spoilage, mold or industry-related chemicals.
  • Falling from heights is also a great risk in the grain handling industry and could result in severe bone breaks, brain injury or even death.

Besides wage replacement, what does workers' compensation cover?

Workers' compensation is one of the greatest programs mandated by the U.S. government. Without such a program, it is safe to say that injured employees in Omaha and elsewhere would be lost and their families would likely suffer great hardships. Most workers know that the program replaces a portion of the injured worker's wages while he or she recovers, but additional types of compensation are also readily available.

This blog post will discuss just a few of the other benefits injured workers may access following a job-related injury. Learning about these benefits helps to prepare you should a work accident occur. It is also important to discuss your case with a workers' compensation attorney to ensure that you acquire all of the benefits you deserve.

Biological hazards associated with the meatpacking industry

The meatpacking industry in Omaha provides residents with gainful employment, enabling them to take care of their families. Without this industry, the entire state of Nebraska would likely suffer from higher rates of unemployment. Unfortunately, the industry is rife with hazards that could result in significant workplace injuries.

If you work in such an environment, you likely already know the physical hazards. Examples include heavy lifting, equipment injuries, falling objects (carcasses) and constantly slick flooring. However, you may not know that the industry is also full of biological hazards as well.

Unloading trailers at construction sites pose many safety risks

Among the many hazards that construction workers in Nebraska face are those associated with the unloading of trailers. There are endless numbers of deliveries to construction sites throughout every shift, each posing unique hazards. No load comes without risks, and employers owe it to their workers to plan appropriately for every shipment that arrives.

Various building materials, equipment, tools and other products come to job sites on trailers. Proper planning and preparation for the unloading of each trailer can save time and money spent on injured workers.

Electricity can be an invisible killer of first responders

There is an endless list of life-threatening occupational risks with which public safety workers like firefighters and police officers must deal every day. If you are a first responder, you will need a comprehensive knowledge of potential dangers because the split-second decisions you have to make might put you in harm's way. While protecting the safety of the general public in Nebraska, you might risk your own life if you take no precautions.

Some call electricity the invisible killer of first responders because they often encounter incidents that involve vehicles or other objects that made contact with fallen overhead power cables. Although there might be no visible sparking to indicate charged power lines, they can transfer lethal electrical charges into the ground or other objects. Electricity can electrocute or disable anyone who approaches the downed wire.

Reported facts in recent Omaha crash that injured road worker

Road workers put their lives and physical well-being at risk every time they report for duty. Fortunately, the majority of these workers go home every evening with only fatigue to complain about. However, there are occasions when the worst happens, and road workers suffer severe injuries or even death.

One Omaha road worker is now facing critical injuries after an accident near 120th and Blondo Streets. Below are the facts of this tragic workplace accident according to the Omaha World-Herald.

  • The 24-year-old male worker was filling in potholes when the accident occurred
  • A motorist crashed into one of the work vehicles used by the road crew
  • This collision caused the work vehicle to surge forward into the working area
  • The work vehicle then struck two workers, resulting in injuries
  • One of these workers suffered a relatively minor leg injury
  • A third worker operating a skid loader complained of possible back injuries
  • These two workers did not require hospitalization
  • The 24-year-old suffered a critical injury when he fell and hit his head on a skid loader bucket
  • He is receiving treatment at Creighton University Medical Center-Bergan Mercy
  • The motorist that caused the accident was not injured

Know the electrical hazards at your worksite to improve safety

Of all the construction accidents that Omaha workers experience, those involving electricity are often the most surprising. This is because construction workers remain on the lookout for more typical hazards such as falling or being struck by an object. As such, electrical accident risks go overlooked in many cases.

If you work in the Nebraska construction industry, gaining even a basic understanding of electrical hazards might just save your life. Below you will find a brief outline of common construction accidents involving electricity.

Fires and explosions in industrial settings

Our law firm has helped many workers in the Omaha meatpacking industry pursue and acquire compensation for their suffering. However, employment in any kind of plant or factory can lead to industrial workers' accidents. Explosions and fires are two types of accidents that could result in death or devastating injuries for employees.

Why do industrial workers' accidents occur in the era of increased employee safety awareness? The answer is multifold, but we want to help you understand some of the reasons these fires and explosions occur so that you can avoid injury in an industrial setting.

  • Combustible dust fires: Some forms of seemingly ordinary dust can be quite flammable, especially if not properly stored and disposed of. Further, many of these fires result in a secondary explosion when the initial flames ignite a cloud of dust.
  • Flammable materials and substances: Industrial job sites contain so many flammable substances that it is impossible to list them all. Examples include gases, solvents and vapors or fumes.
  • Electrical hazards: Electricity is critical to industrial work settings. It powers machines and equipment that employees use every day. Poor equipment maintenance or defects in wiring can cause a smoldering fire that will eventually become an inferno, putting workers at risk of great harm.

Workers' compensation and vocational rehabilitation benefits

Workplace accidents and injuries can take you away from your job for days, weeks, months or even years, depending upon their severity. In many cases, an injured worker may qualify for workers' compensation disability benefits. However, the most common goal shared by injured workers involves returning to the workforce in some capacity.

In Nebraska and other states, it is possible for severely injured employees to contribute to the workforce even in the face of catastrophic injuries. Vocational rehabilitation services are among the many benefits that come with workers' compensation. When work injuries result in permanent physical limitations, victims may be eligible for vocational rehabilitation services under the state's workers' compensation law. Some of these services may include the following.

  • Assistance searching for jobs
  • Coverage for the costs of retraining, education and tuition
  • Testing and analysis of your transferable skills
  • Ergonomics assessments
  • On-the-job training
  • Help to improve your job interview skills
  • Wage assessment evaluations
  • Assistance with medical case management

Are you one of the superheroes who save lives in Nebraska?

If you are a paramedic in Nebraska, many people might see you as a superhero who save lives every day. However, few know what it requires to be a real-life superhero who goes to work each day and faces a variety of safety hazards. Along with the satisfaction of saving lives, you deal with the stress of having to make critical life-or-death decisions in split seconds with only limited information.

Never knowing what the next call will present only adds to the stress of your job, and the best you can do is to learn about the safety risks you will face and mitigate them as best you can. Will your next call be an indoor or outdoor emergency, and will you have to deal with hazardous chemicals, bodily fluids and blood, or psychological stresses?