Fight to Extend Statute of Limitations for Workers Compensation
Bill might be difficult to pass because laws haven't changed for 20 years
A police officer who tried to revive a dying baby by sucking blood and mucus from her airways more than 20 years ago contracted hepatitis C from the infant. Unfortunately by the time he made that connection, the statute of limitations to apply for workersí compensation had expired.
The officer now waits for a liver transplant as a mountain of medical bills continues to put a financial strain on him and his family.
Fortunately for the police officer, some local politicos are filing some bills that would extend the statute of limitations to for public safety employees to file workers compensation claims and to provide $250,000 to help the police office cover his medical expenses.
Back then in 1988, there were no required safety kits for emergency responders. Several years later the officer was diagnosed with hepatitis C. Although he filed for workers comp he was denied by the Virginia Court of Appeals. His insurance will cover the transplant but not the drugs required after the surgery.
Some politicos believe that public servants should be protected at all costs or else they wonít serve or wonít save lives.
House Bill 2252 would change the statue of limitations for workers' compensation law. Currently, the limit is either two years after the diagnosis of certain diseases is communicated to the employee or five years from the date of the last exposure to the disease, whichever comes first.
A change to the bill will help other emergency workers who put themselves in harm's way.
The bill might be difficult to get passed because the laws havenít changed for 20 years and insurance providers seem to charge more for less. The case has received much publicity. Stay tuned as we will report the ruling when it becomes public.
Meanwhile the police officer is unable to work and is hoping for a potential liver donor sooner vs. later. The demand is great for liver transplants and then donors must be a match. Many obstacles lie ahead.
Bad Weather and Employee Safety
Winter hazards like snow, ice, and freezing rain can make day-to-day duties even more dangerous for workers. Severe weather can turn streets into skating rinks and falls on slippery surfaces are not uncommon.
Employer should educate employees how to compensate for bad weather and employees should never be rushed as well as taking extra precautionary measures. Visibility may not be as effective in rain, fog, or early darkness, and equipment that doesn't present any problems when the weather is dry can be treacherous when the rains come or temperatures drop below freezing.
Employers should take the following precautions:
Keep walkways clear from ice and snow and provide entry mats to avoid indoor slips.
Review bad-weather procedures with employees and discuss specific job hazards.
Prepare a roadside emergency kit for company vehicles that includes items such as water, food, flares, a blanket, window scraper, and tire chains (when required).
Have our Attorneys Calculate Your Estimated Compensation Rate
Airport Security Uniforms Itch
Pity the poor transportation security worker who has an ongoing itch. According to workers who have gone to the doctor, the itching problem is caused by formaldehyde used in the uniformsí manufacturing process. Formaldehyde is also used by clothing makers to prevent mildew and keep fabric stain-and-wrinkle free.
Workers have noticed that the new blue uniforms imported from Mexico donít cause rashes but uniforms from Honduras do.
It doesnít seem to matter what airport, itís a rash of equal opportunity itching. Some workers are affected and some not.
The American Federation of Government Employees said some managers have refused to process workers' compensation claims. Employees who are allergic to the chemical have a right to file a workers' compensation claim.
The union is demanding that the Transportation Security Administration tell the clothing contractor to recall and replace the uniforms, which are still under warranty. The union is asking that workers be allowed to wear their old, white uniforms.
Workers Exposed to Atomic Wastes Receive $4.5 Billion
The U.S. Department of Labor paid out over $4.5 billion to slightly over 48,000 people in compensation and medical benefits to employees who got sick from radiation or chemical exposure while making atomic weapons.
The payments were made through the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act. The program began in 2001 and covers current or former workers who have been diagnosed with cancers, beryllium disease, or silicosis and whose illness was caused by exposure to radiation, beryllium, or silica while working directly for the U.S. Department of Energy, its contractors or subcontractors, designated atomic weapons employers, or beryllium vendors.