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Council Bluffs Workers' Compensation Law Blog

What is arsenic poisoning?

You usually do not expect to encounter arsenic while performing your job in Iowa. Sometimes, though, you may be exposed to this toxin at work. It is important to recognize the signs of arsenic poisoning so you can seek treatment.

According to Healthline, you may be exposed to arsenic during your job if you work near landfills or at an industrial plant or a mine. Sometimes you might also encounter this toxin if you work with tobacco products or wood products that have been treated with arsenic. This exposure might result in arsenic poisoning if you inhaled large amounts of this substance.

Can workers’ compensation cover me away from work?

If you get injured while at work doing your normal duties, you can rest assured that workers’ compensation should take care of your medical expenses and lost wages resulting from taking time off to recover. What if you are hurt off the clock or away from your workplace while performing a work-related task? Can workers’ compensation still help? Understandably, you and other Iowa residents will be interested in learning how this works.

According to FindLaw, numerous off-the-clock and offsite situations can be eligible for workers’ compensation. The qualifying factor is whether you were engaged in a work-related task, even after hours. For example, you might get workers’ compensation if your boss requests you stop by the office supply store on your way in to work and you get in a car accident, or if you trip and twist your ankle while meeting for lunch with a potential client. On the other hand, an injury you sustain driving home from work or during your regular lunch break would not qualify for workers’ compensation.

Bullying in the nursing industry is common

In previous posts, we explained the harmful physiological effects that can result from work-related anxiety and stress. Bullying is a major contributor to workplace emotional injuries. At the Law Offices of Gallner & Pattermann, P.C., we understand the disastrous long-term effects of bullying behavior among employees in Iowa, especially for those in the nursing profession.

The nursing industry is rife with a bullying hierarchy, explains the Journal of Emergency Medical Services. In numerous surveys, people in the healthcare field say how being the victims of co-worker bullying or witnessing these behaviors have affected their job performance and even impacted the health and well-being of their patients. The sad truth, which you may already suspect, is that workplace bullying occurs in the healthcare industry more than other industries across the country.

Are firefighters vulnerable to toxic exposure?

Firefighters risk their lives to protect others from structural fires and wildfires. As you might expect, they can be killed fighting fires if they inhale smoke, are burned or are crushed by objects. However, you and other Iowa residents may not anticipate the long-term risks that these courageous men and women also face from exposure to toxins – not just smoke – that are released by fires.

According to Wildfire Today, recent studies have shown that firefighters have a 22 to 24 percent higher risk of dying from lung cancer, cardiovascular disease or ischemic heart disease after only 10 years serving on a project fire crew. After 15 to 20 years on the crew, their mortality risks from those diseases significantly increase. You may know that smoke contains numerous toxins from chemicals and airborne particles that firefighters can breathe in. Some of the most deadly include carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, crystalline silica, benzine and particulate matter. The health-compromising symptoms and diseases caused by these smoke-borne toxins can include the following:

  • Dizziness, confusion or loss of consciousness
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Loss of mental acuity
  • Irritation of the eyes, skin and upper respiratory tract
  • Lung disease
  • Cancer

Types of workers' compensation benefits: What will you receive?

Imagine you've been working the same construction job for the last 10 years, earning an excellent income for you and your family. Then, last Friday, right before 5 o'clock happy hour, you fell off a ladder and broke your leg. The doctor says you need surgery and you won't be back to work for at least two months while your bones heal.

Now what? How are you going to provide an income for your family? Will you lose your job? What can you expect for the future?

Iowa workers’ compensation 101

At the Law Offices of Gallner & Pattermann, P.C., in Iowa, we know that workers’ compensation can be a very mysterious and complicated thing for many workers. We therefore thought it a good idea to review the basics of Iowa’s workers’ comp system so that our blog readers such as you will have a better understanding of this program that is there to provide you the benefits you need and deserve when you suffer an on-the-job injury or illness.

As the Iowa Division of Workers’ Compensation explains, workers’ comp is a set of laws and regulations that describes what type of benefits you can receive and the circumstances under which you can receive them. You can receive benefits for the following types of things:

  • Work-related injuries and/or accidents
  • Work-related impairment of your health other than that brought about by your natural aging process
  • Work-related diseases and health conditions
  • Work-related hearing loss
  • Work-related exacerbation of a preexisting injury or disease

Preventing Falls In the Construction Industry

Did you know that falls are the No. 1 cause of fatal accidents in the construction industry? Our firm recently published a SlideShare report that sheds light on some startling statistics and provides insights on how to reduce serious and fatal accidents on construction sites. Plus, learn about an upcoming national campaign aimed at preventing falls in the construction industry.

Prioritizing mental health in the workplace

Most Iowans are familiar with the weightless feeling of clocking out of work for the day. Even if the day's shift was a stressful one, most employees find relief in the fact that they can leave the work at the door. Depending on the industry, some work situations prove more stressful than others, and can even have lasting repercussions. If an employee finds that a period of anxiety, depression or any other mental health issue has lasted long enough, seeking a solution with the help of a professional may be a wise choice. 

It is the norm for many Americans to grow up in households that place immense importance in hard work. An article in Forbes understands this sentiment, but points out that employers push mental health to the back-burner all too often. According to one study, nearly half of millennials identify themselves as "work martyrs." Vacation days are often frowned upon in the workplace, and as a result, fewer employees take time off to themselves.

What are the signs of workplace emotional abuse?

As an Iowa worker, you know that your workplace is not idyllic. Not everyone gets along at all times. Sadly, you are lucky if you do not have to deal with at least one “bad apple” on a daily basis. But at what point do heedless, uncaring, demeaning words and/or actions on the part of one employee toward another rise to the level of emotional abuse?

Per Cleverism.com, a site dealing with employment issues, defining emotional abuse can be difficult because it means different things to different people. However, it generally is characterized by one or all of the following:

  • It is deliberate: The abuser chooses the words and actions by which (s)he victimizes you.
  • It often is part of a power play: The abuser usually is your supervisor, boss or someone else higher on the corporate ladder than you.
  • It happens regularly: The abuser persists in victimizing you, often escalating his or her aggression with each occurrence.
  • It almost always involves non-physical behaviors: The abuser prefers insults, threats, etc. rather than conducting open warfare against you that employees in addition to you surely would object to, or maybe even curtail.

PTSD can be disabling

Those who are injured in a workplace accident can suffer from physical injuries that change the rest of their lives. The traumatic nature of many worksite disasters has the potential to result in psychological injuries, as well. Iowa residents who are involved in serious accidents may find themselves dealing with the emotional repercussions long after their physical wounds have healed.

Catastrophic accidents often result in post-traumatic stress disorder – a psychological condition that can affect nearly every aspect of a sufferer’s life and become emotionally as well as physically disabling. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, the symptoms of PTSD may include frequent nightmares, panic attacks and difficulty coping with the pressures of work or school. Those suffering from PTSD may experience episodes of intense fear when faced with triggering situations that remind them of the incident, and they can later develop feelings of guilt about surviving the accident if others died.

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