Teens injured in Fast Food Restaurants

As we head into the dog-days of summer in Georgia, many of our young people are forfeiting the pool for long days at work, attempting to save money before starting back to school. And with the uptick in seasonal employment, we see a rise in injuries, especially among teens. Teens injured in fast-food restaurants is a big cause of concern for both businesses and families. Burns from hot grease, falls on slippery floors, sprains, strains and contusions are all common injuries for restaurant workers. Teens working in restaurants have six times greater risk of sustaining a work-related burn injury than teens working in any other industry, a National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) study reported. Seasonal workers are typically at increased risk of injury for several reasons, including inexperience and lack of on-the-job training. Add a teenager to that statistic and you have even greater risk of on-the-job injury. In two years of research, NIOSH reported 48,500 trips to the emergency room for teen working in fast food restaurants. Hot grease in fry cookers are a big source of burn injuries in restaurants. A few simple processes can help reduce risk of burn injuries, including provisions of safety handles on scrapers, gloves, and allowing grease to cool before cleaning. Cashiers are often susceptible to falls as they tend to turn between counter and cash register, frequently with greasy floors beneath their feet. Non-slip floor mats and appropriate shoes are must-haves for fast-food workers on the front lines. More than half of all fall injuries are due to wet or greasy floors. We all want our young people to...

Preventing Lifeguard Injuries

It’s that time of the year when pools are opening and teens are out looking for work: many as lifeguards. We hear a lot about water safety this time of year. But who is looking out for the young people who risk their lives- often with little-to-no experience?  Preventing lifeguard injuries is imperative for the health of the pool community as well as the worker.  Aquatic facilities, neighborhood pool managers, pool management companies, and parents, need to be aware of the inherent risks that come with the job of lifeguarding. We’ve heard numerous stories of lifeguard injuries incurred while making saves and engaging in general duty. There are inherent risks associated with working in or near water: from slips and falls to drowning. Taking preventative measures can reduce the likelihood of injuries and help the guards do their job to keep others safe. OSHA’s Center for Young Worker Safety and Health cites an incident in a training manual in which a 17-year old lifeguard at a neighborhood pool was rushed to the hospital with heat stroke after sitting in a lifeguard stand for the required 2-hours in 95-degree heat with the pool filled to capacity. A second lifeguard had called in sick, leaving no room for breaks for the single guard. This common scenario is a disaster waiting to happen. If your teen is about to take on summer work as a lifeguard, ask the management company about their training practices and safety mechanisms. Periodic breaks, hydration, shade and comfortable seating should be mandatories. Additionally, pool managers should take the following preventative measures: Check to ensure non-slip surfaces are...

Police Officers and Firefighters Denied Benefits

Atlanta police and firefighters appear to have been kept in-the-dark on disability payments that may have been owed to them, according to WSB-TV. The retired and disabled men and women claim they’re owed more than $30,000, according to the news station. Some of the police officers and firefighters denied benefits say they had been misled about their eligibility for payments. Disability or Workers’ Compensation? The officers and firefighters reportedly say the insurance was part of a standard policy offered to city employees in the form of life insurance, but were eligible for payment if a disability forced them to leave the force early. Only one person out of many retired officers and firefighters interviewed had been made aware of the policy. In one case, a firefighter was told he was not eligible for the disability policy because he was on workers’ compensation. This is a good example of why it is important for injured workers, including our police and firefighters, to get third-party assistance and advice to ensure they are getting the benefits they need and deserve. Insurance companies—even those representing city workers—do not have the workers’ best interest at heart. The issue of whether a worker is eligible for both disability and workers’ compensation is not black and white. An attorney can look at the case and help devise the best solution for the injured person. We find it regrettable that our hard-working Georgia police officers and firefighters are not treated with the utmost respect, especially when injured on-the-job. The Ramos Law Firm has been advocating for injured workers for a decade. We practice 100% Georgia workers’ compensation...

Risks of Being Injured on a Summer Job

The month of May is here. For many, it’s one of the busiest months of the year, especially for families. High School and college graduations, proms, summer vacation planning and summer job-hunting may keep families and teens in constant motion. And while our young people are looking for seasonal work, it is important for parents and teens to take time to be educated to reduce risks of being injured on a summer job. Most of our teens will seek work in low-wage jobs in retail, hospitality and food service: industries that are notorious for high-turnover and low-levels of training. Youth may also look for higher-paying jobs with higher risk of injury- in areas such as construction. Young people are particularly vulnerable to injury on the job for several reasons. Key factors may include immaturity, lack-of training and experience, enthusiasm to take on unfamiliar tasks, and lack of direct supervision on-the-job. It is vital for teens with their parents to check the safety record of their potential employer. Parents are advised to coach their teens to speak up if they are uncomfortable in any work setting. Teens also need to be educated on their rights in the workplace- including what they are and are not allowed to do under the protection of child labor laws. This public document issued by the Department of Health and Human Services is a good guide for teens going into the workplace. Reports say a U.S. teen worker is injured on the job every 9 minutes, and workers under age 25 are twice as likely to end up in the emergency room as workers aged 25...

Pain and Suffering Compensable in Workers’ Comp?

Getting injured on the job has long-term ramifications for many workers. In addition to loss of income, workers feel entitled to compensation for “pain and suffering” to make up for the emotional and physical toll and injury can take on them. So- is pain and suffering compensable in workers’ comp?  The truth is, the Georgia Workers’ Compensation law does not provide a remedy for the traditional notions of “pain and suffering” or “matters of equity”.  The workers’ compensation case cannot be brought before a jury of peers to determine lost opportunity costs (such as plans to go school or potential raises) or “inconvenience.” In a workers’ comp court hearing, an administrative law judge (or ALJ) listens to the evidence tendered by all parties.  The injured worker may testify as to the level of pain he or she is experiencing and how it has affected his or her life.  However, this testimony does not directly translate to compensation. After the testimonial and documentary evidence is tendered, the ALJ is then tasked with the duty of determining if the injury or accident is covered under the Georgia Workers’ Compensation Act wherein medical treatment and income benefits would be provided to the injured worker.  Additionally, the ALJ has the power to determine if the extent of the injury qualifies for a permanent impairment “rating”.  This rating must be determined in conjunction with the medical opinions relating to the injured workers’ limited range of motion and functionality.  It is crucial that your evidence is well thought out to maximize your chances of securing the best financial and physical recovery possible.  The Ramos Law Firm...