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Philadelphia Worker's Compensation Law Blog

More than Ebola: Nurses face daily dangers at work

The news that two nurses caught Ebola after caring for a man who later died of the infection at a Texas hospital has alarmed nurses and health care officials nationwide. Investigators are looking into how the women contracted the infection, saying that a breach of protocol is to blame. Nurses spoke out about a lack of training and confusion in the isolation ward where the women worked on the man.

In response, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new rules for workers who come into contact with Ebola patients, including requirements to wear double sets of gloves, hoods with full face shields and special masks.

House Bill 1846 on Physician Dispensing Passes the House

On Monday, October 20, 2014 House Bill 1846 was signed and sent on it's way to Governor Corbett for his signature. HB 1846 is described as an "Act amending the act of June 2, 1915 (P.L.736, No.338), known as the Workers' Compensation Act, further providing for schedule of compensation and for use of savings." You can read the final version of HB 1846 here.

UPS driver who found murder scene is eligible for workers’ comp

A UPS driver came upon the worst when he stopped for a delivery on his usual route. Inside the home, he found a 65-year-old woman lying on the floor with a fatal gunshot wound to her face. He cried and threw up while waiting for emergency responders to arrive. A month later, the driver filed for workers’ compensation for post-traumatic stress disorder.

The workers’ compensation commission in Virginia, where the case occurred, ruled that the murder scene was so shocking and unexpected that the man was eligible for benefits for PTSD. UPS appealed – arguing that the driver had only seen the body briefly and that it was not the kind of sudden shock or fright that would qualify a worker for benefits based on psychological injuries. 

Kansas Supreme Court rules that FedEx misclassified drivers

Another appellate court has ruled that FedEx misclassified hundreds of delivery drivers as independent contractors. The ruling, issued this month, the Kansas Supreme Court, is the second major decision to come down against FedEx in recent months.

Last month, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that 2,300 drivers in California and 363 in Oregon are employees rather than independent contractors. The delivery giant has faced multiple class actions throughout the U.S. as current and former drivers challenge the company’s classification as independent contractors.

Job safety for older workers

As an older worker, you may be less likely to be injured in a job-related accident. Often, age comes with experience, focus and attention to detail. At 63, you may be a more precise worker than you were at 23.

However, you may face other risks, studies show. When accidents do happen, older workers are more likely to be severely injured and to require more time off work to recover. Further, chronic and repetitive injuries may be more likely to occur as bodies age.

Martin Law's Matt Wilson Talks Certification on 'CBS 3'

On September 25, Matthew Wilson made an appearance on CBS 3's Talk Philly to talk with Pat Ciarrocchi about the importance of certification when it comes to choosing an attorney for your workers' compensation case. 

Appellate Court: No worker’s comp coverage for Ayurvedic medicine

Many people who suffer severe injuries find that traditional medical treatments such as medication, injections, surgery and physical therapy do not always go far enough.

To supplement these treatments, they may turn to acupuncture, massage therapy, and other alternative methods of healing. People who use alternative methods often say they find relief – but when the injury is work-related, obtaining compensation for them can prove challenging.

In one recent Pennsylvania case, a nurse went to India for Ayurvedic treatments for work-related injuries she suffered to her shoulders, neck and upper left extremity. According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Ayurvedic medicine uses herbal compounds, special diets and other health care practices. It is one of the oldest medical systems in the world. It dates back more than 3,000 years and remains one of India’s traditional health care systems, but it is not widely studied in Western medicine. 

Construction workers and musculoskeletal injuries

One of the most common injuries to construction workers often has the quietest beginnings.  Musculoskeletal disorders are injuries to muscles, tendons, nerves, cartilage and spinal disks. These injuries can develop from single accidents such as falls, but they often develop over time.

Musculoskeletal disorders, or MSDs, make up 25 percent of construction worker injuries. It includes conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome, bursitis and tendinitis. Some construction workers are more likely to sustain these injuries than others.

Pennsylvania sanitation workers face risk from discarded needles

Throughout the U.S., millions of Americans use injectable needles to treat a wide range of chronic illnesses. The needle pricks that help keep these people alive and well could prove dangerous for sanitation workers who pick up and sort our garbage. When not properly disposed of, needles can stick these workers, creating a risk of HIV, hepatitis and other diseases and leading to months of testing and medical treatment.

The problem, according to an article in the Bucks County Courier Times, is that workers rarely know where the needle came from and why it was used. A site manager for the sanitation company Waste Management says a needle could have been used by a person who needs insulin for diabetes, or by someone with HIV - which could have far more serious consequences for workers.

Court: California FedEx drivers were misclassified as contractors

Worker misclassification is a major employment issue in the U.S. Workers who are classified as independent contractors are not eligible for workers’ compensation, health insurance and other benefits. It’s a cost savings for the business – and a detriment for the worker. That imbalance of benefits is one reason a recent appellate court ruling regarding FedEx’s classification of workers is significant.

FedEx is well known for classifying its delivery drivers as independent contractors rather than employees. According to an article in Courthouse News, 2,300 drivers in California and 363 in Oregon challenged that classification, claiming that that FedEx forced them to buy company-approved uniforms, equipment and even trucks as if they were independent contractors. At the same time, they claimed, FedEx controlled their appearance, including stipulating the socks they wore and that they be clean shaven.