Temporary workers face higher risk of on-the-job injury

Sep 10 2014

One of the fastest-growing employment opportunities in the U.S. come from temporary job placement agencies. According to the Labor Department, there are 2.7 million temp workers in the U.S., the most in the nation’s history. Since the official end of the Great Recession, one-fifth of all new job growth has comprised of temp work, many of which are blue-collar jobs in factories and warehouses. At any given factory, about 5 percent of the workforce is temporary workers. This can lead to a variety of job issues, not the least of which is the risk for injury. According to ProPublica research,…

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Report: construction companies dodging workers’ comp payments

Sep 10 2014

It is perhaps ironic that the federal government enabled construction companies to dodge federal regulations as the firms hauled in federal contracts paid for by U.S. taxpayers. According to an investigative report by McClatchy newspapers, the 2009 stimulus that pumped hundreds of billions of dollars into a faltering U.S. economy also poured contracts and checks into the hands of construction companies that illegally misclassified workers as independent contractors. The widespread misclassification enabled companies to dodge payments on things such as mandated workers’ compensation insurance, unemployment insurance, and the employer’s share of Social Security and Medicare taxes. The result for workers…

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Which Denver workers are most at risk of asbestos exposure?

Sep 03 2014

There are a number of jobs in the Denver area in which risks are a part of the occupation. The men and women who work on high-rise construction, for instance, understand the risks before they begin working. They know that their health and even their lives can depend on being careful and precise when they assemble skyscrapers. While those kinds of construction jobs have obvious risks, other construction workers face dangers as well. For instance, those workers involved in demolition projects can be exposed to asbestos used to build structures or used in insulation and other materials. That exposure can…

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Most dangerous job in Colorado?

Aug 28 2014

If someone asked you to name the most dangerous jobs in Colorado, you might well think of construction, police work and firefighting. However, some of the toughest jobs in the state can be found about an hour’s drive south of Denver in Colorado Springs. That’s where the Spring Creek Youth Center is located. Despite its benign-sounding name, the 80-bed facility is home to youths ages 10 to 20 who are serving time for crimes committed, or are in custody waiting for criminal charges to be resolved. Unfortunately, some of those housed at the state facility assault staffers, hitting and biting…

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Denver-area construction worker injured by hit-and-run driver

Aug 20 2014

There’s no doubt that the soundtrack to Denver summers includes melodies hammered out by road construction crews as they pave, tear up, expand and lay down our ever-growing web of highways. Summertime construction slows commutes and frustrates drivers, making work zones dangerous places for the men and women laboring there. One worker in an Aurora construction zone was recently struck by a female hit-and-run driver.  “She hit the gas again and she hit me at the knees for the second time and I landed on the hood,” the construction worker said. The incident left her with serious injuries to her…

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Treasury Secretary proposes SSDI funding fix

Jul 31 2014

As Colorado voters know, the mid-term election is fast approaching. In the days leading to November, we can expect the intensity of debates over a wide variety of issues to heat up and the volume and frequency of TV ads to increase. One of the issues that might move into the hot lights by election day is the question of how the nation will solve a budget shortfall due to hit Social Security Disability in 2016. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew recently offered a possible solution to the problem when he said Congress should “reallocate” payroll tax revenues to the SSDI…

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Study: injured workers who fear for jobs slower to return to work

Jul 25 2014

A number of things race through a person’s mind after they suffer a workplace injury. They wonder how serious the injury is, how long they might miss work and whether they will qualify for medical and financial assistance available from Colorado workers’ compensation insurance. According to a recent report, injured workers often worry about being fired after their injury. The study was recently conducted by the Workers Compensation Research Institute.   What the study found was that workers who were worried that they would be fired as a result of their injuries returned to their jobs later than others. On…

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OSHA forced to focus on work accident inquiries, not prevention

Jul 17 2014

When someone is injured on the job, in many cases people will look for a person to blame. Perhaps it was the injured person who caused the workplace accident, or maybe it was the employer at fault or maybe it was a safety regulation failure. Of course it’s important to understand why accidents happen and to know if we can improve the workplace in order to prevent future injuries. But as far as Colorado workers’ compensation benefits are concerned, it doesn’t matter who is at fault for the injury. If it happened at work, the employee should be covered by…

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Employers evading obligations in work accidents large and small

Jul 10 2014

As many of our Denver readers know, just seven miles northeast of the city sits an oil refinery. Some of our older readers might recall the Commerce City oil refinery blast of 1978 that killed several workers and left others with serious injuries. Four years ago, a similarly deadly explosion rocked an oil refinery in a town more than a thousand miles further from us: Anacortes, Washington. Seven people died in that horrific workplace accident. A recent National Public Radio report questions “whether anyone will be held accountable for the human cost” of the Tesoro gasoline made there. Unfortunately, there…

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SSDI: it’s not quick or easy, but can be crucial

Jul 03 2014

The head of a nonprofit human services organization recently penned an article on what to do after a serious injury or illness prevents a person from working. For many people in that situation, there are not only the serious medical issues to deal with, but also the questions of how to pay everyday bills that keep a roof over their head and food on their table. For needed financial assistance, many turn to the federal government’s most useful program for workers who have a disability. However, as the writer of the article notes, “unfortunately, there’s nothing quick and easy about…

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