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Council Bluffs Workers' Compensation Law Blog

What are the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning?

Fuel is burned in nearly any situation in which we use fire or natural gas power, from running our vehicles to heating our homes and workplaces. When an area isn’t properly ventilated where fuel is burning, you and other Iowa residents may be in danger of carbon monoxide poisoning.

According to the Mayo Clinic, carbon monoxide poisoning occurs when a buildup of this odorless, colorless gas in the air accumulates in your body. This might happen if you are in a natural gas-heated confined space, such as a small office, and someone has blocked the ventilation system with storage boxes. Carbon monoxide can also build up in your car if you’re warming it up on a cold winter morning but you don’t realize the tailpipe is blocked by snow. The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include the following:

  • Dizziness or confusion
  • A dull headache
  • Weakness and shortness of breath
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Blurred vision
  • Loss of consciousness

Avoiding deer in the fall time

The sun is going down sooner, the weather is getting colder and soon we will be seeing the leaves change to signal that autumn is here. Even though studies show that summer is one of the most dangerous times of the year, fall has some exclusive hazards that were not as prevalent when it was warmer out. October will mark the beginning of deer mating season.

Unfortunately, Iowa's forests and heavily rural structure means that there will be a lot of deer endangering the road. Last year, State Farm found that Iowa residents have a 1 in 69 chance of hitting a deer, which are the fourth highest odds in the nation. Even when you have comprehensive coverage to help you recover, hitting a deer is still dangerous and inconvenient for your car and financial needs. It is important to keep the following tips in mind before you head out on the road.

Does hazing occur in the workplace?

When you run across hazing in the headlines, it usually involves incidents on college campuses. However, you and other Iowa residents may be interested to learn that hazing can also occur on the job, and it is more common than you might think. Workplace hazing can have devastating consequences for those who are targeted, including emotional and psychological trauma.

How does hazing happen at work? Rather than the intense physical abuse that fraternity members may inflict on new pledges, workplace hazing may be more subtle, explains LinkedIn. This doesn’t mean that corporate hazing isn’t dangerous or illegal. In fact, hazing often violates harassment and discrimination laws, and may cross the line and qualify as assault.

Workplace hazards posed to truck drivers

Truck driving may not seem like a hazardous industry, but it is actually one of the most dangerous workplaces for employees. Hazardous road conditions and crashes are not the only dangers that these workers face.

Truck drivers have a workplace fatality rate that is seven times higher than any other, and a non-fatal injury rate that is three times higher. With that in mind, these are some of the most common hazards that truck drivers face in the industry.

Firefighting wrestles with a PTSD problem

The plight of this country's war veterans struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is well-known. It is not as well known that many firefighters across the U.S. also struggle with PTSD due to trauma from their job.

Researchers estimate that 7 to 37 percent of firefighters have PTSD. According to a study by Florida State University, nearly half of all firefighters have had suicidal thoughts, and one in five has made plans to carry it out.

What is “take-home” toxic exposure?

When you go to work in Iowa, your workplace may expose you to toxic chemicals. If so, you face a high risk of taking these toxins home with you on your skin, hair, clothing and shoes. As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains, when these toxins invade your home and build up on your floors, furniture and in the air you and your family breathes, they can harm your family members, particularly your children.

The four most common types of toxins you can bring home with you from work are the following:

  1. Lead
  2. Pesticides
  3. Asbestos fibers
  4. Beryllium

What is carpal tunnel syndrome?

If your Iowa job requires you to perform repetitive actions with your hands and wrists, such as typing or wielding a hammer, you are at high risk for developing carpal tunnel syndrome. OrthoInfo.com explains that when your median nerve becomes compressed or squeezed on its way through your wrist’s carpal tunnel, the result can be pain, tingling and numbness in your hands and wrists.

Your carpal tunnel really is a tunnel, about one inch wide. Your carpal bones form its sides and bottom, and your transverse carpal ligament forms its roof. Considering the rigidity of both your bones and your ligament, your carpal tunnel has very little ability to stretch.

What construction workers need to know about scaffold safety

Iowa construction workers should know that they face a high risk of receiving a potentially catastrophic injury when working on or near scaffolding. As FindLaw points out, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration estimates that 65 percent of construction workers have jobs that require them to frequently work on scaffolds, lifts, hoists or tall ladders.

Constructor Magazine adds that per data from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics’ Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, 72 percent of worker scaffolding injuries are the result of one of the following:

  • The scaffold’s support or planking gives way
  • The worker slips and falls off the scaffold
  • An object falling from the scaffold strikes the worker
  • The worker has unsafe scaffold access

How might a noisy workplace affect you psychologically?

We have discussed the physical effects of workplace noise in previous posts on this blog. As you may expect, a loud environment can cause you to lose your hearing over time and have other detrimental effects, such as migraines and tinnitus. It is important to understand that Iowa workers might also be mentally affected by a noisy workplace.

The Houston Chronicle explains that extremely loud environments are not necessary to have a negative impact on people. Of course, industries that are known to be noisy, such as construction, metalwork and mining, can be stressful emotionally as well as physically. However, a job with constant low background noise or frequent bursts of sound can be just as damaging to your mental health.

Workers’ compensation and varying levels of disability

Suffering an injury on the job can impact your personal and professional life in just about every area. Depending on the nature of your particular injuries, you may even have to take significant amounts of time off work to recover, or may even suffer long-term disability.

Workers' compensation claims seek to help cover the costs of work-related injuries, but the process of filing a strong claim takes a great deal of time and energy. Many victims of workplace accidents assume that they can simply spend their time pursing the claim if they have to take time off work, anyway, but this is often much less successful than they hope. The process of recovery from an injury is often a full-time job in itself, leaving little or no time or energy for the victim to spend navigating a complex system with many opportunities for error.

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