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April 2013 Archives

Fall in well leads to injury

Residents of Pennsylvania may be interested to know that emergency fire and paramedic crews rescued a man from a well at a construction site in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, on April 12, 2013. The incident occurred when a 19-year-old construction worker slipped and fell while working in the well about 30 feet below ground level. The worker was at the 30-foot level of a 70-foot deep well at the time of the injury. The well opening was approximately 4 feet wide. The slip and fall led to a workplace injury preventing the construction worker from exiting the well under his own power. Two paramedics went down the well to treat the man for back injuries. Other first responders rigged a tripod and winch apparatus to serve as a crane over the well. The worker was then placed in a basket and winched to the surface with the tripod crane. 

Pennsylvania workers' compensation insurance rates reduced

Early in April 2013, the Pennsylvania Insurance Department announced a reduction in the workers' compensation rate of 4.01 percent. The commissioner of the Pennsylvania Insurance Department stated that the department is very pleased with the rate reduction. This most recent rate reduction is the second one in a row.Although this reduced rate of workers' compensation could save Pennsylvania employers a cumulative premium amount of up to $110 million, some employers will not be affected by the decrease. Employers who are unsure of whether they qualify for the reduction should verify their eligibility with their insurance agent before the renewal date of their contracts. The rate reduction is based on several factors, including risk classification, claims history and payroll.

Some workers risk higher chance of on-the-job injury

Regular or permanent workers are less likely to suffer injury than temporary or migrant employees in the same industry. The director for the University of Pennsylvania's Transnational Law Center reported that these employees come to the company at a serious disadvantage, which means they run a higher risk of sustaining a workplace injury. They might hesitate to report accidents or poor conditions and may not want to file worker's compensation claims. In one case that gained national attention, a temporary worker was nearly torn in two at a carpet factory in 2010. He had no safety gear, the machine's safety features were not engaged, and he had not been warned to the dangers of the equipment. In another case, two teens who were employed by a grain silo died at work. Although businesses receive citations for non-compliance with safety regulations, the incidents continue.

Comcast opposes benefits of Pennsylvania bill

The Philadelphia City Council recently passed a bill that would mandate employers in the city to offer paid sick days to employees although it would exempt small businesses with fewer than six employees. However, the mayor refused to sign similar legislation in 2011, and many think his views haven't changed. In the unlikely event that the bill does pass, the city would become the fifth largest city in the nation to approve such a law. The major cable company Comcast, which has more than 6,000 employees, is fighting passage of the bill although it offers employees paid sick days. The media giant is a major political force in the city, and it received a 95-percent tax break for building the 58-story Comcast Center. Local political experts wonder about its motives. The bill could also negatively impact worker's compensation and other benefits.