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OSHA urges rest, shade and water in summer heat campaign

Published on Jun 29, 2016 at 5:39 pm in Workers Compensation.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has launched a safety campaign to remind employers in Maryland and around the country about the dangers of working outdoors during the summer months. Heat issues were responsible for the deaths of 18 workers in 2014 according to OSHA data, and more than 2,600 others suffered a heat-related illness of some kind. The federal workplace safety agency is urging employers to pay particular attention to their training and orientation programs, as many of its heat-related investigations involve workers with just a few days of on-the-job experience.

Water, rest and shade is the driving message of the OSHA campaign, which is being supported by a social media push and a redesigned webpage. Training materials include a video and illustrations of the signs and symptoms of heat stroke and heat exhaustion. Employers can also download a heat safety smartphone app.

OSHA regulations regarding recordable injuries

Published on Mar 3, 2016 at 5:25 pm in Workers Compensation.

Employers in Maryland face potentially severe penalties if they run afoul of workplace safety regulations, and checking records for accuracy is often among the first steps taken by OSHA inspectors. Employers hoping to avoid fines or other sanctions must keep track of workplace injuries and illnesses if they are considered recordable under OSHA regulations, but employers are sometimes unclear about the line of demarcation.

Sometimes, OSHA guidelines make it very clear that a workplace injury or illness is recordable. Employers must keep records when workers are killed, forced to take time off work or injured badly enough to be reassigned. Injuries must also be recorded when workers lose consciousness for any period of time or require medical treatment beyond what would be considered first aid. Employers must also keep records when a physician or other medical professional diagnoses a serious injury or condition even if none of these conditions apply.

Court: Temporary Total Disability Payments Must Stop When Worker Achieves Maximum Medical Improvement

Published on Dec 6, 2013 at 3:14 pm in Workers Compensation.

Maximum medical improvement is an important concept in workers’ compensation cases. Maximum medical improvement (MMI) occurs when an injured employee has reached the maximum benefit that can be obtained from medical care. At that point, a doctor can evaluate any lingering impairment to determine the extent of the permanent injury to the employee’s body.

An injured worker’s recent attempt to change longstanding workers’ compensation laws to allow her to continue to receive temporary total disability benefits after achieving MMI has been rejected by Maryland’s Court of Special Appeals.

Doctor’s Testimony Ruled Not Scientifically Valid in Workers’ Compensation Lawsuit Involving Mold

Published on Nov 3, 2012 at 1:07 pm in Workers Compensation.

One of the scourges of the modern-day world is mold and the impact of exposure upon our health. In a recent court case, Maryland’s Court of Special Appeals decided that a doctor’s opinion that exposure to mold led to a raft of problems for workers in a water-damaged building was not scientifically valid under the standard presently used in the Maryland court system.

The lawsuit stemmed from complaints by several employees of the Baltimore Washington Conference of the United Methodist Church (BWCUMC) of an odor emanating from the walls. A maintenance crew investigated and discovered mold. As a result, several workers filed claims against BWCUMC and its insurer, Montgomery Mutual Insurance Company with the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission. The workers said they suffered from “sick building syndrome” as a result of the exposure. While some of the workers’ claims were disallowed, several were awarded partial compensation.

Washington Redskins Loses to Former Football Players in Workers’ Compensation Decisions

Published on Sep 18, 2011 at 6:39 pm in Workers Compensation.

Pro footballers and workers’ compensation claims were on the mind of the Court of Appeals in August. The state’s top court released two decisions, two days apart, favoring claims made by two former Washington Redskins players.

In Pro-Football, Inc., t/a the Washington Redskins, et al. v. Thomas J. Tupa, Jr., the state’s top court ruled that former Washington Redskins punter Tom Tupa can collect workers’ compensation benefits in Maryland for a back injury that occurred at FedEx Field during warm-ups before a pre-season game in August 2005.

There were two questions before the court: (1) whether the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission should have exercised jurisdiction over the claim when the employment agreement contained a clause providing, among other things, that claims for workers’ compensation benefits should be governed by Virginia law and that the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission should have exclusive jurisdiction to resolve such claims and (2) whether injuries occurring while playing and practicing professional football are “accidental injuries” and, as a result, compensable under the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Act.

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