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Wauwatosa Workers' Compensation Law Blog

What your employer must do after a workplace injury

When you go to work, you expect that your workplace is safe. Your employer is supposed to make sure that you won't end up injured as a result of recognizable hazards, and everyone on the job should receive the training necessary to avoid serious accidents.

Despite that, people get hurt on the job all the time. When that happens, employers have steps they must take to stay in compliance with labor laws. Here is what you should know about what your employer needs to do after you're hurt on the job.

Does workers' comp cover retraining?

If your workplace injuries prevent you from returning to your position, you may qualify for vocational rehabilitation services provided through Wisconsin’s workers' compensation program. According to the Dept. of Workforce Development, services can include retraining or help to find a suitable replacement job if you meet eligibility requirements and are not already receiving such services under another agreement.

You must first submit documentation of any work restrictions you have to the company where you worked at the time of the accident. This initial step gives the employer the opportunity to determine whether there is work you can do and offer you “suitable” employment. Along with being able to accommodate your physical restrictions, suitable work is a position in which you can earn at least 90 percent of the salary you were receiving when hurt.

Software may help contractor reduce accidents

It is no surprise to anyone in Wisconsin that many people are injured or even killed while performing their jobs on construction sites. Even with strong laws in place that provide direction on proper safety procedures and required personnel education and management, accidents on construction job sites continue to happen. Some people might even believe it is just something to be accepted as part of the construction industry. Others, however, may have a different view.

One general contractor based in Boston, Massachusetts appears to be in the latter category. In an effort to reduce jobsite accidents, the company is investing in the development of algorithmic-based software. As reported by Technology Review, the software might be able to take in data from multiple sources and one of those sources could be photographic images in real time. The software would scan the images and be able to detect safety violations or risks and create some sort of alert so action might be taken if need be.

Important details about OSHA's Focus Four

When it comes to staying safe while on the job, Wisconsin residents should be able to trust that their employers have established proper policies and procedures designed to keep everyone safe while performing their work. Part of helping make this happen and come to live is training not just supervisors and managers but all staff members.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has developed a wide array of materials to be used in this type of training. Some materials focus on what OSHA calls the Focus Four. These are the four most commonly seen factors in accidents in the construction industry in particular but they may also be factors in accidents in other industries as well. The Focus Four includes electrocutions, being caught in an object or between objects, being struck by an object and falls.

Detailing whistleblower protections

It may be easy for workers in Wauwatosa to give their employers the benefit of the doubt when it comes to a company's commitment to employee safety (after all, everyone wants to believe that their employers put their well-being above all else). Yet another motivating factor as to why so many seemingly let their employers off the hook for safety violations may exist: fear. Many may fear that should word get out that they turned their companies in to corporate regulatory agencies, they will be retaliated against. Fortunately, the law does not allow for that. 

Per the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, federal laws exist prohibiting employers from retaliating against employees who file whistleblower claims. Links to the various statutes that provide whistleblower protection across different industries can be found on OSHA's website. Listed alongside them are the timely filing limit requirements for each law (most range between 30-180 days). It should be noted that the timely filing period begins on the date the retaliatory action occurred, not the date the employer was first reported. Thus, a company cannot simply wait until a timely filing period has passed from the date of an incident (or a reporting date) to retaliate against whomever reported it. 

Common mistakes made by injured workers in Wisconsin

You may not have planned to get hurt at work, but it still happened. In the wake of a work accident that results in an injury, you need to act in a thoughtful manner. Failing to follow the proper steps could end up causing issues for you at a later date.

Thankfully, with the right support and little education, you can most likely navigate the complicated worker's compernsation process successfully. Take a few moments to educate yourself about the mistakes others commonly make to avoid making them yourself. Proactive actions could help protect your rights as a worker in Wisconsin.

The most common workplace injuries

A large number of Wisconsin employees wake up every morning without a worry in the world about workplace safety. After all, not all industries present a plethora of risks. Although the majority of U.S. workplace injuries happen in fields such as construction and manufacturing, accidents can occur anywhere. The following reviews some facts about the safety of America's jobs, as well as a current outlook on workplace safety.

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration shares the grave statistic that workplace fatalities claimed 5,190 lives in 2016. Out of the 4,693 deaths that occurred in the private industry, over 21 percent took place in construction. The most common culprit? OSHA points toward falls as the leading cause of accidents in this field, followed by accidents involving heavy objects. Electrocutions also played a role in this high number. OSHA notes that the most frequently cited standards included ladders and construction, fall protection and electrical and wiring methods. OSHA claims to have been the driving force behind safer working environments in recent decades. 

The nation's most dangerous industries

Most Wisconsin employees go through daily work shifts without a thought given to workplace injuries. Others do not have this luxury, with certain risks being an inherent part of the job. Although most companies enforce specific safety precautions, countless incidents occur each year. Out of the plethora of mishaps that occur in the workplace, which industries have the highest number of workplace accidents?

Surprisingly enough, not all dangerous jobs deal with heavy equipment or weather extremes. Wisc News shares that, of the 4,836 workplace deaths that occurred in the U.S. in 2015, a large majority involved transportation jobs. Slips, trips and falls followed closely behind, with 800 fatal work injuries taking place that year. Many employees may wonder, what specific jobs saw such accidents? According to Wisc, taxi drivers and chauffeurs saw the most fatal incidents in 2015. Other types of work with a significant number of fatal injuries included ground maintenance, electrical power-line installation and agricultural work.  

Understanding Wisconsin lost wages claims

At the Paul M. Erspamer Law Offices, SC, in Wisconsin, we understand the financial difficulties you face when you get hurt on the job and cannot go back to work until you heal. We also know that even though one of the purposes of Wisconsin’s no-fault workers’ compensation system is to provide you with compensation for your lost wages while you are off work, insurance companies do not always pay you what and when they should.

As explained by the State of Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, the first type of lost wages claim you file generally is for temporary total disability. You receive this type of compensation while you are off work receiving treatment, but before your doctor determines whether or not you have a permanent disability. TTD benefits pay you two-thirds of your average weekly wage, up to a maximum of $994 worth of benefits per week. These benefits last until your condition stabilizes and you are not likely to get any better with further treatment.

Workers' compensation, explained

Most Wisconsin employees are familiar with safety rules in their place of work. While the chances of experiencing an accident on the job can depend on the industry itself, there are many gray areas that can make the process that follows challenging. Because such accidents can occur when one least expects them, it is important to remain aware of not only workplace rules, but state laws surrounding workers' compensation.

The State of Wisconsin's Department of Workforce Development provides an accessible outline of the state's workers' compensation laws. The Department first notes that, with the exception of farmers, all employees working under an employer with three or more workers receive protection under the Worker's Compensation Act. This law applies to both public and private employers, employees who are family members, part-time workers and minors. In the case of an accident, the Department adds that medical attention is always first priority. Following treatment, it is vital that employees also notify their employer of the incident. Depending on the situation, there may be many other steps involved in a worker's compensation claim, which are listed under this outline. 

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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