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Workers' Compensation Archives

Computer problems slow down workers' comp claims

An update to a government computer system in Pennsylvania has brought the workers' compensation system to a stop. The new system was supposed to improve and overhaul the process for filing workers' compensation claims, but the new system seems to be having the opposite effect. Problems range from the inability to upload claims to paperwork for the court simply disappearing. As a result of these issues, injured workers are unable to get hearings, and there is an enormous backlog of cases.

Workers in D.C., Pennsylvania seek money after 9/11

Some emergency workers in Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C., are pursuing legal claims and health benefits similar to those that their New York counterparts received after the Sept. 11 attacks, federal officials say. Federal reports listed at least 91 people who claimed they were injured on the job at the two other crash sites affected 12 years ago. Of those, 66 people in the nation's capital and 25 in Pennsylvania are seeking their portion of a multibillion-dollar fund. Those numbers are tiny when compared with more than 24,000 emergency workers, construction workers and others who sought remuneration after they became sick after 9/11.

Coal miners' widows finally receive benefits

Pennsylvania residents may be interested in a ruling that occurred in a Richmond, Virginia court, in which changes in health care reform will allow widows of coal miners to receive benefits. Originally, widows were unable to receive benefits unless they were able to certify that their husbands' deaths were caused by pneumoconiosis, or black lung disease. In 2010, their status changed because the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act brought back a 1978 ruling that stated that dependents of the deceased could collect benefits if the miner was eligible when he died, regardless of his cause of death.

Pennsylvania: No Vested Rights in Pay Increase For Workers

Pennsylvanian workers' compensation judges, considered management-level government employees, have recently gone to court regarding raises that were given to them and then later rescinded by the government. A three percent raise was instituted in March of 2008 and then recalled in Dec. of 2008 due to difficulties with the state budget. The judges argued that rescinding these raises was tantamount to the government taking private property for government use.

On-the-job safety needs national improvement

Pennsylvania residents know that May Day and, by association, the entire month, is connected with the rights of workers around the globe. Employees in Bangladesh, for example, seek justice after 400 individuals died when a building collapsed. Other workers look for benefits, increased money or better conditions at their jobs during the month.

Disney contractor fined $60,000 after worker hurt

Employers from Pennsylvania to California are considering the implications after a contractor for Disney was fined almost $61,000 by Cal/OSHA on April 19 after they violated a number of safety rules. A 37-year-old contractor sustained broken bones in Nov. 2012 while working on the Space Mountain attraction when the ropes that secured him broke. In this case, the employer has 14 days to request another hearing regarding the workplace injury.

Most Pennsylvania employers see worker's comp rates fall

Pennsylvania has just reduced the rate that employers are required to pay for worker's compensation. The rate decreased by 4.01 percent, effective beginning April 1. It is good news for employers in the state. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Insurance, employers will save an estimated $110 million in annual premium costs. For employers here in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, as well as elsewhere in the state, actual savings will depend on several factors, including payroll, workplace injury claims experience as well as the category of risk for that employer. Moreover, because rates do depend on such factors, not all employers will see a decrease. This is the second general rate cut in a row for state employers. One factor that helped to lower premiums was the creation of 10,000 state-certified workplace safety committees across the state, according to the State Labor & Industry Secretary. 

Employer faces charges over disputed Social Security funds

The 53-year-old owner of a business headquartered in Pennsylvania faces allegations of failing to provide worker's compensation insurance for employees after a 57-year-old employee had a finger cut off on the job. When he tried to have worker's compensation pay for his medical expenses, he discovered that the company no longer had coverage. Although the owner admits that he should not have dropped the insurance, he blames a sluggish economy for a need to cut costs. He also says that the employee who blames him for the mistake is disgruntled.

Fatal workplace injuries reported at Pennsylvania coal company

CONSOL is a mining company based in Pennsylvania considered by many to be among the safest coal-mine operators in the country. Despite a better track record than most, however, CONSOL had three workers fatally injured on the job over a period of four months with two of those deaths occurring in a one-week period.The last workplace accident of the three happened recently at the Loveridge mine located in West Virginia. Despite the ongoing investigation, the company has already attempted to place fault on the miner in its employ. Mine safety officials reported only that the miner was struck in the head while he was re-railing a loaded supply car with a slate bar, which is a long-handled tool similar to a pry bar. The investigation is considering whether the pry bar was in fact being used to re-rail a supply car.

Some injuries that keep workers down are emotional

It has almost been two months since the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary shook the world. While hearts everywhere were broken by the deaths of the 20 children and six adults, those who were not directly connected to the victims can't know the pain that family and friends are going through.

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