While many workers' compensation claims are uncomplicated, some employers challenge the findings of the workers' compensation commissioner to award benefits to an employee. One such case was challenged in the Iowa District Court for Polk County, and when the commissioner's findings were affirmed, the employer filed an appeal. The case involved a 38-year-old man who was employed as a truck driver in 2004.
Following the death of a worker who was using a paint stripper before recoating a bathtub, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued a warning. This is to remind employers and workers nationwide, including in Iowa, of the dangers posed by chemicals. This worker died from toxic exposure to methylene chloride. The agency urged companies to explore safer, non-toxic alternatives when stripping paint.
Iowa workers who have suffered on-the-job injuries are entitled to recovery of medical expenses and a portion of average weekly wages. Similarly, the surviving families of workers who were killed in workplace accidents may pursue death benefits. To obtain financial assistance, benefits claims must be filed with the workers' compensation insurance program for the state.
Iowa workers may recall news of a massive coal ash spill in another state during 2009 and 2010 that took six years and $1.2 billion to clean up. Many workers have developed medical problems that may have been caused by an apparent lack of protection against toxic exposure. Former workers said that the hazards were hardly ever mentioned, and when supervisors were questioned, one allegedly said that it was so safe that even eating two pounds of ash a day would cause no harm.
Falls rank among the most frequently cited causes of deaths on the job. This is despite the fact that any fall can be prevented with the use of properly functioning fall protection. Workplace injuries will not be prevented by issuing a worker with a fall harness that does not include a lanyard to secure him or her. Moreover, employers in Iowa and other states must ensure employees are trained in the proper use of fall protection equipment.