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Workplace safety

Workplace safety is largely governed by the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OSHA). Employers must take action or provide equipment to protect worker safety.

Thomas Joseph Schaffer | Sep 19, 2019

What to do when injured on the job.

Immediately report the injury. Employers will always fight a case that is not immediately reported. If not documented, it gives the company ammunition to allege that the accident did not occur on the date and time later claimed and that the injury actually occurred off the job. Some employers will fire employees for failure to timely report an injury. In addition, many many times employers will tell employees that if the accident isn't reported, then a claim cannot be pursued. This could not be further from the truth! Ohio law allows a claim to be filed within one year of the date of injury. Obviously, a reported accident is more likely to be covered than an unreported accident. However, many workers experience aches and pains throughout their shift that typically go away. There are occasions where that simple muscle strain thought to be nothing at the time could later be determined to be something much more serious, such as a herniated disc or a rotator cuff tear in the shoulder. This is why I advise people at my seminars "when it doubt, file a report." In addition, there are occasions that an injury doesn't happen with a specific event, rather gradually over the course of time. These "wear and tear" injuries are covered in Ohio and most other states. Some of the conditions that are wear and tear type claims are carpal tunnel syndrome, impingement syndrome of the shoulder, ulnar neuropathy and other hand, wrist and shoulder disorders. My best advice to workers that experience symptoms of hand, wrist, knee, ankle or shoulder pain to complete an incident report at that point in time where you start believing you will require medical attention. Again, not all injuries involve a specific on the job accident. In order to best protect yourself and your family, seek to complete the report as soon as possible after the pain starts. Obtain coworkers statements. Request anyone that was near you when the incident occurred to complete a statement confirming what they know and saw. Too many times, even after completing an incident report, the employer will somehow lose the report or fail to offer it to you or your attorney. Having a witness statement confirms your version of the events and another way to get your claim covered. Seek immediate medical attention. Seeking medical attention soon after the injury not only starts you on the road to recovery but also confirms that the incident occurred as you described, Make sure you are consistent in your description. Many employers will attempt to discredit injured workers where the description of accident on the injury report is inconsistent with how the injury was described to your physician. Most likely, you would have told the same story but medical providers are busy and may not fully listen to your story. Thus, it is very useful to require medical personnel to read back what they documented to ensure that it is accurate. This is another way to make sure your claim gets allowed! File a claim with the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation. In order to obtain benefits for your injury, a claim application must be filed. As noted above, the application must be filed within one year of the date of injury. Filing the application starts the process of obtaining a claim number and ultimately a determination as to whether your injury is valid. Seek legal advice. Most attorneys that represent injured workers provide free initial legal consultations. Seeking advice doesn't mean hiring an attorney. If you are unsure about what to do and want to know your legal rights in your claim, the best place to go is an attorney that specializes in this area of practice. You are under no obligation to sign with that attorney. Most lawyers will gladly answer your questions and concerns about your injury and what to expect. Many times, after listening to a potential client, I advise them that they do not need an attorney at the present time but of course leave the door open to return should they run into problems with their claim. My firm, Schaffer and Associates, collectively has over 50 years of experience representing those injured and disabled and will gladly discuss any questions, concerns or problems you may have with the pursuit of your claim!

Helena Kempner Kobrin | Aug 29, 2019

MAKING WORKPLACE POLICY FRESH, CLEAN, STANDARD

“The employee manual creates very clear-cut policy and stable data for staff. Individuals know the rules of the game because they are written. It makes it easier to correct people. Management can refer an erring or complaining employee to specified standards of conduct, promptly and fairly resolving confusions and misbehavior.” – BM Starting last century, we have developed and refined a “soup-to-nuts” employee handbook and package of basic hire-to-fire forms and policies. We have seen many instances where client implementation of these forms and policies has greatly improved the company’s legal protections in employment screening, hiring, training, terminations, and other related issues. Our 2019 model employment handbook and forms contain significant revisions to keep pace with new laws and recent case decisions, not the least of which are those inspired by the #metoo movement. Our model forms and policies include: • Employment application (including releases that acknowledge an employer’s use of pre-employment tests consistent with the Americans with Disabilities Act and California’s constitutional privacy protection); • Form job description (again, setting the foundation for pre-employment use of tests); • Pre-employment procedures policy (properly positioning the above tests as aimed at job-related qualities rather than physical or mental disabilities); • Employment agreement (including confidentiality/non-disclosure of company trade secrets and mandatory mediation and/or arbitration in the event of a dispute); • Alternative dispute resolution agreement (establishing private mediation and arbitration in lieu of court-filed complaints); • Meal and rest break acknowledgments (confirming employer provision of required breaks); • Paid sick leave policies (to comply with California’s recently enacted requirements); and • Termination policy, checklist and standard release (to be applied with troublesome employees for greater protection against later, frivolous suits). Our comprehensive model employee handbook includes: • Conditions of company employment • Discrimination and harassment, prevention and handling • Employee compensation • Employee benefits • Employee job performance; mutual termination rights • Employee privacy expectations, employer access to employee-maintained databases and social media guidelines • Unpaid time off • Job-related injury or illness • Workplace health and safety • Drug and alcohol policy; drug testing CONTACT US TO ORDER NOW To order or for more information, contact client services director Loretta Gardea at 626.583.6600 or email her at [email protected]

Helena Kempner Kobrin | Apr 11, 2019

WEATHERING THE STORM

Our 2019 revised materials are vital core information that ensure your business is operating off of current laws and regulations. Be sure you are covered. Order yours today. Our model forms and policies include: a) Employment applications (including releases that acknowledge an employer’s use of pre-employment tests, notwithstanding the Americans with Disabilities Act and California’s constitutional privacy protections); b) Form job description (again, setting the foundation for use of tests at the pre-employment stage); c) Pre-employment procedures policy (properly positioning the above tests as aimed at job-related qualities rather than physical or mental disabilities); d) Employment agreement (including confidentiality/non-disclosure of company trade secrets and mandatory mediation and/or arbitration in the event of a dispute); e) Paid sick leave policies (including the terms for California statewide and local law compliance); and f) Termination policy, checklist and standard release (to be applied with troublesome employees for greater protection against later, frivolous suits). Our comprehensive model employee handbook includes: a) Conditions of company employment b) Discrimination and harassment, prevention and handling c) Employee compensation d) Employee benefits e) Employee job performance; mutual termination rights f) Employee privacy expectations, employer access to employee maintained databases g) Unpaid time off h) Job-related injury or illness i) Workplace health and safety j) Drug and alcohol policy; drug testing CONTACT US TO ORDER NOW For more details and to order, contact client services director Loretta Gardea at 626.583.6600 or email her at [email protected]

Cynthia Shaiman Bamforth | Mar 13, 2017

Workplace Accidents No Joke

In an effort to deter workplace health and safety hazards, California's Division of Occupational Safety and Health requires employers with more than 10 employees to visibly post between February 1, 2017 through April 30, 2017 a summary of certain 2016 work-related injuries and illnesses (Cal/OSHA Form 300A). Even if the employer had no such recordable work-related injuries or illnesses in 2016, it must insert zeros in each of the total lines and post it regardless. All covered companies, including "establishments classified in agriculture, mining, construction, manufacturing, transportation, communication, electric, gas and sanitary services, or wholesale trade, and those establishments in the retail, service, finance, insurance and real estate industries" must also annually compile and maintain in its files more detailed information on such occupational injuries and illnesses on Cal/OSHA Form 300. Unless otherwise requested by Cal/OSHA, California establishments in low-hazard industries as classified under these Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) codes are exempt from these posting requirements. All California employers, whether exempt from the above notice requirements or not, shall immediately report "by telephone or telegraph" to the nearest Cal/OSHA district office any serious occupational injury, illness, or death no more than eight hours after the employer first becomes aware of the incident. More information on Cal/OSHA recordkeeping requirements is available at http://www.dir.ca.gov/dosh/etools/recordkeeping/index.html. For further information, please contact Tim Bowles, Cindy Bamforth or Helena Kobrin Cindy Bamforth March 10, 2017