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October 2014 Archives

Options for North Carolina workers with herniated cervical discs

A herniated cervical disc occurs when there is a crack in the disc that pads the vertebrae of the spine. Vertebrae provide a protective shield for the delicate spinal cord, keeping it safe from damage. The nerves of the spinal cord travel throughout the rest of the body to facilitate the neural impulses that allow the brain to control the body. Any pressure or damage to these nerves may lead to pain and tingling sensations.

Uncooperative employers in workers' compensation cases

An injury on the job can be frustrating for a worker in North Carolina, and it may become even more frustrating if an employer seems intent on being uncooperative in the case. An employee's concerns may arise even before there is an actual injury to report, especially if there is an awareness that an employer lacks appropriate workers' compensation or alternative self-insurance. In such cases, the issue should be brought to the attention of the North Carolina Industrial Commission through the filing of applicable forms. The commission may also provide information about employer carriers through a search system.

Ergonomic processes can protect NC workers from MSDs

North Carolina workers in certain industries may be alarmed to learn that they may have a high risk of developing musculoskeletal disorders, which accounted for a solid third of all work-related injuries in 2011, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Because the known risk factors for these types of injuries are common workplace duties in many occupations, employees who work in a variety of occupations and industries are at risk. Heavy lifting, awkward work positions and repetitive tasks, among other activities, increase workers' risk for musculoskeletal injuries. According to data from the BLS, the industries in which MSDs are most prevalent include retail, health care, transportation and warehousing, and construction.

How common are workplace accidents?

Every year, millions of workers are hurt and injured in accidents on job sites and workplaces in North Carolina and around the country. Workplace deaths and injuries have declined 65 percent and 67 percent respectively since the 1970s, but continued outreach and education around workplace safety can drive on the job accident rates down even further.

Workplace injury victims still have legal options

In North Carolina, sustaining an injury in a workplace accident doesn't necessarily spell the end of your career. State law facilitates multiple benefits specifically for injured employees, including payment for various related expenses, such as job retraining, wage losses, family-provided care, transportation to medical facilities and others. The complete list of potential benefits is extensive, but the claims process is anything but straightforward, and making minor filing mistakes might limit your eligibility for benefits. It is our job to help you get through the technicalities so that you can obtain the benefits you legally deserve.

Back injuries and North Carolina workers' compensation claims

North Carolina workers and employers alike have good cause to assess personal and workplace habits as they relate to the risk of strain in the lower back. For workers, a pulled muscle or damage to tendons and ligaments is extremely painful, and it places them at increased risk of future back injury. For North Carolina employers, the financial cost is steep, with lower-back injuries representing more sick days than the cold. In fact, workers' compensation reportedly pays out an estimated $11 billion annually for lower-back issues. Study results reported by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health can provide focus on ways to reduce the risk.

What is the process for reporting a work accident?

Under the North Carolina Workers' Compensation Act, all employers with at least three employees are required to have workers' compensation coverage or be approved for self-insurance so that employees receive workers' compensation benefits in the event of a work accident that causes injury. There are five steps that workers should follow to report their injuries properly and start claims for workers' compensation.

What types of injuries does workers' compensation cover?

North Carolina workers' compensation law provides benefits for employees who suffer work-related injuries. Business owners are required to carry workers' compensation insurance unless they are exempted from that responsibility by statute. Filing a claim for workers' compensation benefits is not the same as filing a lawsuit. It is a request for insurance benefits.

Spike in track worker deaths prompts new safety recommendations

In a trend that a National Transportation Safety Board spokesperson called "disturbing," the number of fatalities among workers completing projects on railway tracks has increased over the past few years. According to reports, 15 workers, including one in North Carolina, were killed in 2013. This figure is up from eight in 2012 and five in 2011.