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Wauwatosa Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Land's End faces backlash over dangerous uniforms for Delta

Workplace rules can make life difficult for employees. Sometimes, something as simple as being asked to wear a uniform can lead to health risks. That's what Land's End has been sued for after Delta Air Lines employees claimed that their uniforms were causing health problems.

So far, there have been two separate class-action lawsuits filed in Madison over the uniforms, which the employees claim caused them to suffer from migraines, breathing trouble and skin rashes. The finishes that were used to make the uniforms stain- and wrinkle-resistant, they claim, were created with chemicals that were leading to health problems.

What causes contact dermatitis?

When you spend years of your life on the job, one thing you don't want to see happen is long-term exposure leading to illness. Unfortunately, there are many diseases and illnesses that do stem from exposure to irritants and carcinogens over the years.

There are many kinds of illnesses and injuries that might occur on the job, but the one that is the most overwhelming in terms of skin diseases is contact dermatitis. Allergic and irritant dermatitis, as it's also known, can make up to 15% to 20% of all of the occupational diseases that get reported annually. In fact, almost any job has the potential to exposure people to irritants that could cause this illness.

If you're hurt at work, take the right steps to get help

Injuries often happen in workplaces, leaving workers with injuries that they didn't expect and that impact their ability to do their jobs. From eye injuries to hearing loss, the injuries that workers suffer vary but can have a significant impact on their lives.

When you're hurt on the job, it's important that you take steps to file a claim. You can file a claim with your employer's workers' compensation insurer. Most employers are required to hold this insurance, so if your employer does not, this might be something to discuss with your attorney.

Common mistakes made by injured workers

On-the-job injuries happen in so many different ways that it would be impossible to name them all. Workers get hurt in car accidents, in falls from ladders, in falls on the stairs, when using heavy machinery, when using saws or other tools with sharp blades, when struggling to lift heavy loads and in a vast amount of other situations.

This means that an injury does not always look the same in every case. Each worker who gets hurt needs to know what steps to take and what mistakes to avoid. Here are a few of the most common mistakes to keep in mind:

  • Trying to walk it off. The first thing you want to do if you get hurt is to seek medical attention. Don't think you need to prove anything or be tough. Don't feel bad about asking for medical assistance when you're on the clock. Do not try to ignore the symptoms and hope they go away. Stop working and get the help you need.
  • Not telling their employer soon enough. You need to tell your employer or someone in a position of power at the company that you got injured. Do not put this off. It is best to do it immediately -- or as soon as you can, if you got rushed to the hospital. If you can't do it right away, it's best to try to tell them within 30 days.
  • Waiting for more than two years. The 30-day suggestion above is because you want to make sure your employer knows it happened on the job. If you wait too long, it opens the door for a lot of questions about where you got hurt. That said, you technically get two years to make your report. This starts after you get injured or after you get diagnosed with a work-related disease. Do not wait longer than this or you cannot collect benefits even if you had a right to them.
  • Forgetting the details. You probably want to write down as much about the accident as you can. The most important thing to note is the date it occurred. That plays into when your benefits begin. But you also want to note what happened, where you were, why you think it happened, who was with you, what time it was, what job you were doing and all other relevant details.

How can you protect your eyes on the job?

On the job, one of the best things you can do is to take steps to protect yourself against hazards. Whether it's dangerous debris that could hurt your eyes or chemicals that could be squirted at you, it's necessary to do all you can to prevent accidents and injuries.

Your employer knows about the personal protective equipment (PPE) that is necessary for your job and should provide it for you. Unfortunately, that is not the case for everyone, and many people do suffer from injuries as a result.

Be safe: Avoid mixing these common cleaning supplies together

Every workplace has some kind of chemical that employees will come into contact with. Whether it's window cleaner, an aerosol spray or an acid, the reality is that all of these chemicals have to be treated with caution.

While you may not think of your home cleaning supplies as being particularly dangerous, they can cause problems in some cases. For example, mixing bleach with ammonia creates a toxic gas. Someone who doesn't know better may mix them together to clean but later end up very ill from the fumes.

Modifying operations due to winter weather

Some of the responsibilities that employers (particularly those in industries whose work is performed outdoors) have towards keeping their employees protected from the cold have been detailed on this blog in the past. Yet many still come to us here at the Paul M. Erspamer Law Offices, S.C. questioning how far that responsibility goes. No employer should demand that their staffs face the cold winters Wauwatosa is known for without some degree of added caution; at the same time, you can also understand that companies cannot simply halt their work because of the cold.

Providing you and your coworkers with training on the hazards that winter weather poses and providing protective clothing, hot beverages, and heating areas are all measures that employers can implement that have been documented previously. Yet there may indeed be scenarios where cold weather forces employers to modify their operations.

What about your work-related depression?

If asked what conditions might qualify you to receive workers’ compensation benefits, like many in Wauwatosa, you would likely limit your answer to injuries resulting from a workplace accident. It may be for this very reason why you have not talked to your employer about the depression you are suffering from. It might seem odd to cite depression as the reason you need workers’ compensation benefits (as many may say that it is next to impossible to empirically prove that your job is the source of it). This prompts the question as to whether or not it is possible. 

Depression has been recognized as having an impact in the workplace (indeed, according to information shared by the professional safety publication EHS Today, depression effects a $51 billion cost on the American workplace every year). Yet that impact is often viewed from the perspective of you experiencing depression due to having suffered a work-related injury. What if depression is your work-related injury? 

After an eye injury on the job, get help fast

You were working in the office when you accidentally tripped over a coworker's messy workspace. When you fell, you hit your head on an extended cabinet, and it happened to scrape your eye.

When you stood back up, everyone seemed worried about your head, but it was when you realized that you couldn't see well that the reality of what had happened set in.

What is a Colles fracture?

Named for an anatomy professor in Ireland who wrote an important paper about it, a Colles fracture is a break of the distal radius. In other words, it is a fracture of one of the two bones in your forearm that occurs at the wrist. According to WebMD, nearly 10% of all fractures that occur in the United States involve the wrist, which means that Colles fractures are very common. A workplace accident in Wisconsin that involves a forceful impact to your wrist or a fall onto an outstretched hand may result in a Colles fracture. 

Some of the symptoms of a broken wrist are similar to those of a sprain, including bruising, pain, swelling and tenderness of the wrist. Your doctor may need to perform an X-ray to determine whether the wrist is fractured or sprained. Another symptom that indicates a possible fracture is deformity of the wrist, i.e., an abnormally bent or crooked appearance. However, this is not conclusive in itself. 

Contact Us Today For Your Free Consultation

We invite you to contact our office today by calling 414-727-7003 or by sending us an email to schedule a free initial consultation regarding your workers' compensation claim. We are located in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. Our office hours are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and evenings and weekends by appointment. If we take on your case, we only charge fees when we obtain compensation for you.

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Paul M. Erspamer Law Offices, S.C.

Paul M. Erspamer Law Offices, S.C.
8112 West Bluemound Road
Suite 108
Wauwatosa, WI 53213

Phone: 414-727-7003
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