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Council Bluffs Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Traffic hazards on the job

People employed in a number of industries may face risks related to traffic collisions on a daily basis. For those who drive a taxi, semi truck or delivery truck, traffic hazards are encountered frequently. However, people who are employed in other industries face threats on the road as well. In this post, we will look into some of the traffic hazards that workers face.

Those whose job duties involve driving may become involved in a crash because of another driver’s negligence, whether they drive while intoxicated or display some other example of recklessness on the road. Weather can be very dangerous, especially when summer temperatures reach extremes or the winter brings ice and snow. Traffic congestion and drivers speeding in order to get to work on time or return home can also pose a threat and some workers may struggle with operating a vehicle they do not have much experience in.

A noisy workplace may be the cause of your hearing problems

Some of us at the Law Offices of Gallner & Pattermann, P.C., are old enough to have noticed diminished hearing, and the younger ones on our team know that their time is coming. While it is natural for hearing to lose its sharpness as we age – can you still hear the mosquito ringtones that teenagers can detect on their smartphones? – we also understand that some kinds of hearing loss are not natural or normal. In fact, noise pollution in the workplace can be the source of many Iowa residents’ hearing loss.

There are many jobs that are associated with noise and hearing loss, as the American Speech-Language Hearing Association explains. You might have your hearing damaged by repetitive, extremely loud explosive or mechanical noises that are common in construction, factories, mining or military work. Constant noise on a moderate to high level might also cause hearing loss, such as the sounds you might be subjected to while working among large groups of screaming, shouting children or in places where music is always blaring, such as bars, restaurants and live concert venues.

Keeping Construction Sites Safer

Approximately one-third of construction site injuries are caused by falls from elevated platforms. These injuries create long periods where workers are unable to work. Our law firm recently published a SlideShare outlining steps that can make construction sites safer.

An accidental needle stick can endanger your health

Working in healthcare has numerous risks that you are most likely aware of. You can strain your back lifting patients. You might be subjected to the bullying atmosphere that’s so common in the nursing field. As our team at the Law Offices of Gallner & Pattermann, P.C., understands, you and other Iowa healthcare employees can also face grave consequences if you accidentally stick yourself with a needle that was used on a patient.

As Web MD explains, getting stuck with a used needle can expose you to numerous viruses or bacterial illnesses. These include HIV, hepatitis, syphilis, shingles and other diseases. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that about 385,000 workers in the U.S. healthcare system are accidentally stuck each year. Your chances of getting sick after a needle stick are relatively small. Even so, about one out of 300 healthcare workers are infected with HIV during accidental needle sticks.

What is sick building syndrome?

If you work in a sick building in Iowa, you may easily develop health problems. A previous blog discussed the factors that make a building sick. This week's blog discusses the symptoms of sick building syndrome and what you can do to prevent it.

If you have sick building syndrome, you might experience a wide variety of symptoms. According to Healthline, you may feel nauseated, dizzy or fatigued. Sometimes your nose might run or feel like it is burning. Additionally, your chest may feel tight or you might have a rash on your skin that itches. Sometimes you may think you are coming down with a cold. If your symptoms usually get better after you leave work, however, it is likely you may have sick building syndrome.

Do you work in a sick building?

If you feel sick every time you go to work in Iowa, it may not be because you hate your job. If your symptoms include coughing, sneezing, watering eyes and/or achy muscles, the Environmental Protection Agency says that you may work in a sick building

Yes, buildings themselves can become sick because of one or more of the following:

  • Poor ventilation
  • Biological contamination
  • Indoor chemical contamination
  • Outdoor chemical contamination

The challenges faced by people with an “invisible” illness

Your workers’ compensation case may be a simple one if you slip and fall at work or are injured by faulty machinery and break your wrist or suffer a concussion. Physical injuries that can be seen or confirmed by bloodwork or an x-ray are usually easy to prove. However, as we at the Law Offices of Gallner & Pattermann, P.C., are aware, a workers’ compensation claim involving an invisible illness can be much more difficult for Iowa residents.

What is an invisible illness? According to Everyday Health, this is a condition that is not easily seen or detected. Fibromyalgia, post-traumatic stress disorder, lupus, Lyme disease, depression and long-term head injury symptoms all fall under the category of invisible illnesses. As you are aware, some of these conditions can be work-related, especially PTSD, depression and other psychological effects of a toxic workplace environment or traumatic work-related experience.

Ergonomic issues: Here's what you should know about symptoms

Ergonomic injuries are those that occur because of ergonomic risk factors such as the exposure to vibration or heat and cold. Sitting in sustained or awkward positions, contact pressure and forceful exertion also pose a threat to workers.

Those who suffer from ergonomic injuries need to make changes to recover. Like other kinds of injuries, recovery is based on making changes, like getting better, ergonomic equipment for the office, and receiving medical care. Like lacerations, broken bones and other serious injuries, ergonomic injuries should be covered under your workers' compensation policy.

Getting help after a workers' compensation denial

You do not need to be employed in the construction or transportation industry in Iowa to be at risk of becoming injured in a workplace accident or of developing an illness due to some environmental factor where you work. People in all types of industries and across all functions in a company can find themselves in these types of situations. When this happens, it is important for you to know that you will be properly supported. Receiving workers' compensation benefits is one of the ways that you may be so supported.

Unfortunately, just because you file a claim for workers' compensation benefits does not mean that you will get them. There may be many reasons that a claim is denied or that the offer made does not seem appropriate for the situation. When this happens, the Iowa Division of Workers' Compensation indicates that there is a path for addressing these disputes and concerns.

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.

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