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Philadelphia Worker's Compensation Law Blog

Company: Fatal Pennsylvania oven explosion caused by human error

Human error was to blame for an explosion that killed one worker and seriously injured another in Pennsylvania this year, according to the results of a company investigation released earlier this month.

The accident happened when an industrial oven exploded one morning in January at the St. Marys, Pennsylvania, site of an international manufacturing company. A 52-year-old research director who was visiting from another site was killed. A 58-year-old production manager was seriously injured in the blast.

The Pennsylvania Turnpike has a message for drivers: slow down.

The Pennsylvania Turnpike is asking drivers to slow down and help keep workers safe. The message comes during National Work-Zone Awareness Week, when road safety officials nationwide raise attention for worker safety on the nation’s highways.

In Pennsylvania, worker safety is receiving increased attention as turnpike officials gear up for $1.3 billion worth of construction projects, including 62 road and bridge constructions. A significant construction season means more workers on the road – and the potential for more vehicle accidents and worker injuries.

Cell tower industry under scrutiny after worker accidents

The number of workers who climb cell phone towers in the U.S. is fairly small, with about 10,000 workers, yet it has been called the most dangerous job in the nation. After a spate of serious or fatal worker accidents starting in 2013, news organizations reported this week that the government is changing how it investigates accidents involving tower climbers.

An article written by the nonprofit journalism group ProPublica and published on found that there were 19 deaths to climbers due to falls or other accidents involving communications towers since January 2013. Others have been seriously injured, including a 24-year-old man who fell 50 feet from a cell site in Pennsylvania last year. His wife said he was in a coma for months.

Tips from the Turnpike Jam: What to Do if You're Injured in a Car Accident

Hundreds of motorists started out Valentine's Day 2014 in a real jam. They were stuck in massive traffic, the result of multiple vehicle wrecks during morning rush hour on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Reportedly caused by icy road conditions and sun glare, the jam tied up traffic from Bensalem to Willow Grove, Pa. Luckily there were no fatalities, but at least 30 people were injured and taken to area hospitals. With cars spun sideways and wedged under tractors, it would be seven long hours before the road was cleared for normal traffic.

In Potter County, two were killed in work accidents in three days

A north-central Pennsylvania county about 250 miles from Philadelphia had two fatal workplace accidents in three days.

First, a bulldozer accident killed a man who was working on a log road in the county. The 23-year-old was fatally injured when his bulldozer turned over on a small hillside. The accident was believed to have occurred early in the morning, though he was not discovered until that evening. He was deceased when time rescue workers arrived. Officials said the bulldozer dated to 1970 and, although it was well maintained, it lacked safety equipment that would be included on a newer model, such as a safety harness.

What is a Continuing Disability Review?

If you currently receive Social Security disability (SSD) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, you need to understand that there is no such thing as permanent disability guaranteeing future payment of benefits. The Social Security Administration (SSA) will periodically review your case to see if your disabling medical impairments ended or improved, and if you can return to work. This review process is called a Continuing Disability Review, or CDR.

Pennsylvania man injured by drum at pellet plant -- twice

A Pennsylvania man who suffered serious injuries in an October 2010 industrial workplace accident was apparently able to return to his job, only to be flown to a hospital recently after being involved in a second workplace accident. The man works for a company that turns sawdust into hardwood fuel pellets. His jobsite contains machinery with spinning parts that have injured him on two occasions.

The most recent accident, which occurred in mid-March 2014, happened when the man was removing ice from equipment. Ice had built up and was impeding the movement of a wheel inside of a piece of machinery shaped like a drum. While clearing out the ice, the man fell inside the drum. The wheel kept spinning, and the worker sustained severe cuts and contusions to his face and legs.

Daylight saving time is connected to a spike in workplace injuries

Is daylight saving time actually dangerous for workers? Clocks in Pennsylvania sprang forward an hour on March 9, giving residents one extra hour of daylight in the evenings. But the extra hour came at the expense of sleep for many. Americans sleep for an average of 40 fewer minutes on the Sunday before daylight saving time, leading to more tired workers in the days after the change.

The result: More Americans are injured at work on the Monday after daylight saving time begins. In one study, researchers examined 576,292 mining injures from 1983 until 2006. They found, that coal miners reported about 63 work related injuries on an average Monday. On the Monday after the switch to daylight saving time, workers reported 5.7 percent more injuries, or an additional 3.6 injuries. Other research has shown that being tired or fatigued can lead to mistakes at work. For industrial workers, miners and others who are exposed to hazards, errors can lead to serious injury or death.

Firefighters risk their lives when responding to emergencies

Firefighters in Pennsylvania face many risks while working. Firefighters have to work in very hazardous conditions that increase the chances of suffering a serious or fatal workplace injury. The dangers of being a firefighter are pretty well-known. That is why it may surprise many people to hear that traffic accidents are a serious safety hazards for firefighters. 

Smoke inhalation, burns and other physical injuries are common safety hazards for firefighters. However, a new report shows that firefighters also face risks for injury or death when responding to and returning from calls. The United States Fire Administration reported that roughly 25 percent of on-duty firefighter deaths happen when they are going to and returning from an emergency.