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Asheville Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Can my employer fire me for filing a workers' comp claim?

If you get injured at work, you hope to get workers' compensation benefits. You may expect a few obstacles and complications when you file your claim, but sometimes the consequences are even worse. Your employer may terminate your job, cut your hours or punish you in some other way after you file a workers' compensation claim.

It is against the law for an employer to fire an employee for pursuing compensation for a workplace injury. Here are some important facts to know if you believe your employer wrongfully terminated you.

Employer negligence blamed for falls in the workplace

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration exists to ensure that workplaces around the nation follow proper procedure to ensure the safety of employees. Though most employers in North Carolina and elsewhere do whatever is necessary to keep workers safe and healthy, a troubling statistic has emerged that calls that idea into question. The Bureau of Labor found that the number of workers who suffer a fatal fall while at work is growing. Experts say that employer negligence may be the root cause.

There are multiple safety standards set by OSHA that aim to reduce and eliminate the number of falls at workplaces. However, the report from the Bureau of Labor found that in 2017, 887 workers died after experiencing a fall. The percentage of workplace fatalities due to falls was 17%, but when looking at just the construction industry, that same percentage balloons to nearly 40%. Researchers say that the rise of the construction post-recession may account for the increase, since it means that less-experienced workers may be joining the growing industry.

Plant fined by OSHA after employee sustains workplace injury

Employees have a reasonable expectation of being safe while at work. They trust that their employers have taken necessary precautions to provide a safe work environment and have given them proper training to safely execute their job functions. Unfortunately, this doesn't always occur, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration may have to step in to ensure that companies are complying with safety standards. This is what happened after one North Carolina-based manufacturing plant employee suffered a workplace injury.

Last fall, an employee working with a broaching machine lost a fingertip, prompting an investigation by OSHA. The representatives discovered several safety violations at the plant and issued nearly 30 fines that totaled in excess of $200,000. The company has requested a meeting with OSHA, which is one of the options available to them in such matters.

OSHA fines company for employees injured in accident on the job

When workers in North Carolina are injured while on the job, it can have far-reaching consequences. Their health and well-being can be affected, not to mention that of their families. If the employee is unfortunate enough to have to miss work after an accident on the job, he or she may worry about the effect on his or her income. Two employees from out of state may be facing just that dilemma after an explosion at their workplace last year left them with injuries, as their company contests the findings of government officials.

The natural gas explosion happened just before noon on a Wednesday late last year. Workers were injured by an explosion from compressed gas that leaked from a garbage truck they were attempting to service. Nearby residents said the explosion was strong enough that they could feel their house shake. One employee had to be airlifted to a hospital for burn treatment while the other employee was treated on the scene of the explosion for injuries to his hand.

Get the right therapies for your brain injury: It matters

After a traumatic brain injury, there are several methods you might use to get yourself back on your feet. There are medications. There is physical and occupation therapy.

Overall, though, the way you recover is highly reliant on the injury itself. If you have a mild injury, you'll recover faster and with fewer difficulties than someone with an acute brain injury.

OSHA fines company regarding toxic exposure

Companies in North Carolina have an obligation to keep their employees safe and healthy to the best of their abilities. That is why the Occupational Safety and Health Administration exists – to ensure that businesses are following outlined protocols that will minimize risk to workers. However, OSHA officials claim that one company in another state failed to do just that by subjecting employees to toxic exposure.

The company in question is a manufacturer of aluminum castings. OSHA has been investigating it since getting a medical referral in the fall of 2018. Apparently, three employees have been diagnosed with occupational hypersensitivity pneumonitis. Simply put, OSHA believes these workers have suffered significant lung damage from inhaling metalworking fluids.

OSHA investigating amusement park worker's workplace injury

North Carolina families visit theme and amusement parks generally to have an escape and enjoy themselves. They often don't consider how much work goes into running a park and ensuring guests' happiness and safety. They may be even less likely to realize how dangerous certain jobs relating to amusement parks can sometimes be. A recent accident at the popular Carowinds theme park reminds park patrons that the possibility of a workplace injury is a very real risk for amusement park workers.

The incident occurred on a recent morning when a worker was inspecting a ride known as Windseeker, a 301-foot tall swing ride. At the time of the accident, the worker was about 200 feet above the ground. Authorities have not said exactly what caused the injury to the worker's extremity, but they say that the man was lowered safely to the ground without falling. Emergency responders arrived soon afterward and he was taken to a local hospital.

OSHA fines company in 2 deaths after scaffolding fall

The construction is dangerous. Many companies in North Carolina and around the nation take all of the necessary precautions to ensure the safety of workers. However, accidents still happen and sometimes they can be attributed to the negligence of an employer. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration claims that this is the case in the deaths of two workers after a scaffolding fall.

The incident happened last year when two workers were pouring concrete during the construction of a new hotel. The scaffolding they were using collapsed and the men fell around 80 feet, dying instantly. Another worker held on and only suffered minor injuries.

Paper plant accused of being negligent employer by OSHA

Employees should feel safe while at work. Those who perform industrial work in North Carolina often do so in dangerous circumstances, simply because of their work conditions. However, a negligent employer can unnecessarily increase that risk. This is what authorities are saying after the recent inspection of an out-of-state paper plant revealed several safety hazards.

The company in question has received a citation from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The paper products manufacturer is accused of failing to address multiple workplace safety hazards. Officials say that these dangers could injure employees in multiple ways. The company has accumulated over $300,000 in penalties. One of those penalties is the maximum amount the law will allow.

Workplace violence; the elephant in the (break) room

Employees worry about it, companies struggle to prevent it, yet it still occurs with alarming frequency. In the halls of elementary schools and college lecture auditoriums, in crowded malls and movie theaters, post offices and fast food joints — no space is immune from the threat of workplace violence.

The federal Department of Labor reported that in a single year, there were 375 fatal shootings of American workers on the job. While 33 percent of those who died were killed by robbers, a shocking 13 percent died in a hail of bullets fired by their own co-workers.

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