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Workplace injury catagories that cost employers the most

Here in Louisiana, the Office of Workers' Compensation is the state agency that manages claims from workers who are injured or made ill while at their jobs. What is important to know is that the OWC does not actually pay out claims to injured workers. Rather, every Louisiana employer is required to either become self-insured or maintain workers' compensation insurance.

The general concept of the mandatory insurance requirement is to give employers an incentive to observe better worker safety practices and policies. Put simply, the employer's costs to obtain workers' compensation insurance generally increases as workplace accidents and illnesses increase.

Providing hope for Louisiana amputation victims

Many of us take for granted how often we use our appendages for even the most rudimentary of daily activities. Whether it's using our hands to shuttle groceries in and out of our refrigerators or using our toes to support us as we put our pants on in the morning. The loss of any appendage such as a finger, hand or foot can dramatically change the quality of our lives.

According to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, the loss of fingertips is the most common type of amputation. OSHA says that thousands of workers lose parts of their bodies each year as a result of amputations. Most workplace amputations occur when workers operate equipment that has no safeguards or is otherwise inadequately protected. Items such as meat slicers, band saws, brake presses and other equipment are particularly hazardous.

Lawsuits still pending in Geismar, Louisiana, plant explosion

Federal safety officials have finally reached a settlement with a petrochemical company responsible for a 2013 plant explosion. According to a spokesperson for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, a Tulsa, Oklahoma, company, Williams Olefins, has reached an agreement with OSHA regarding safety violations related to an explosion which killed two workers and injured over 100 more.

At issue between OSHA and the refinery, was a challenge over a series of six safety violations and their resultant fines. OSHA had filed the six violations against Williams Olefins for their part in the June 13, 2013, explosion at the company's plant in Geismar, Louisiana. Those violations also carried fines of $99,000, which the refinery later challenged all the way to OSHA's review commission which is based in Washington, D.C.

Can I still qualify for SSI after a traumatic brain injury?

Many of us think of injured war veterans or motorcycle accident survivors when we think of traumatic brain injuries. The fact is that traumatic brain injury can occur anytime that an external mechanical force causes some form of dysfunction of the brain. TBIs can occur when a car accident victim is rear-ended and his or her head smashes against the steering column. Or simply when someone is shaken violently by his or her shoulders, causing the brain to bruise from hitting the skull.

Unfortunately, for many victims suffering from TBI, they are left unable to work and support themselves financially. The symptoms of TBI range all the way from severe headaches to a state of profound confusion and even comas. For many TBI victims Social Security disability provides much-needed financial support.

You may have a valid Louisiana workers’ compensation claim

If you are an injured or sick Louisiana worker, you're probably wondering whether your injury or illness qualifies you to receive worker's compensation insurance payments. As a general rule, workers are unable to sue their employers directly for injuries or illnesses acquired at work. Instead, most workers will file their claims with the Office of Workers' Compensation Administration, which will then assess their cases and determine whether payments are warranted.

Once qualified by the OWCA, an injured or sick worker can receive payments that are meant to replace portions of their wages as well as cover the costs related to their medical expenses. Injured employees can sometimes also receive vocational rehabilitation benefits and in some cases, a deceased worker's family can receive death benefits.

Louisiana plans to crack down on holiday drunk driving accidents

We are now entering the time of year where many people will enjoy alcoholic beverages as part of their holiday celebrations. Officials with the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission have announced that law enforcement agencies throughout the state will be stepping up their efforts to keep drunk drivers off our roads.

The increased DUI patrols are currently slated to go into effect between Dec. 12 through Jan. 1. The state effort coincides with the national Drive Sober or Get Pulled over campaign that is aimed at reducing the amount of drunk driving related crashes through Christmas and New Year's Day.

State laws protect Louisiana pedestrians from vehicle accidents

Let's be honest. Many of us don't walk nearly as much as we probably should. Our society relies heavily on motor vehicles to get us to them from our destinations. However, the reality is that all of us become pedestrians at some point each day. We may be crossing the road during our lunch break or walking to the grocery store from the parking lot. At some point, we must rely on the attentiveness and skill of other motorists to avoid hitting us while on foot.

Many pedestrians would probably be surprised to know that Louisiana currently has a regulation on the books that is intended to precisely address situations in which drivers must exercise due care. According to RS 32:214, all drivers are required, as much is reasonably possible, to avoid colliding with pedestrians on any roadway. Drivers are also advised to use their horn when necessary and take care to look out for children, confused or incapacitated people while on highways.

Some interesting facts about fatal workplace accidents

None of us prepares to leave our homes each day thinking that we may never return at the end of our workday. The sad reality is that fatal workplace accidents occur across the country each year. Our state is blessed with many heavy industries associated with the Gulf of Mexico. Our offshore oil platforms and commercial fishing practically ensures that Louisiana residents will be some of those killed each year in work-related accidents.

The U. S. Department of Labor is tasked with keeping track of every American workplace death. The Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes those numbers each year. Although it may seem a grim tally, documenting the accidents helps provide safety officials with the information they need to increase workplace safety. The following are some of the more important finding of the 2013 numbers:

Louisiana police aggressively enforcing seat belt law

Thanksgiving has grown into at least a four-day weekend for many Louisianans as they take to the road to visit family and friends not just around the state. Unfortunately, with this increased traffic, we see an increase in accidents. Thanksgiving was one of the most dangerous holiday periods for Louisiana drivers last year, resulting in 689 injuries and five fatalities.

The Louisiana Highway Safety Commission hopes that its 11th participation in the nationwide "Click It or Ticket" campaign of information coupled with increased enforcement will encourage motorists to use their seat belts over the holiday weekend. All passengers in vehicles on Louisiana roads are required to use seat belts. Of course, special restraints like safety and booster seats are required by law for children. Police officers can stop a vehicle if they observe someone who is not properly restrained.

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