Improper wage payments can affect workers’ compensation benefits, P.1

Workplace accidents can happen in any industry, though certainly some industries are more known than others when it comes to the safety risks workers face. Fatal accidents, of course, are much more common in industries involving heavy equipment, such as the construction industry.

According to the Tennessee Occupational Safety and Health Administration (TOSHA), a total of 22 Tennessee workers were fatally injured on the job between January and August, putting the state on track to experience a 36 percent increase in fatal workplace accidents compared to 2014. Ten of these workplace fatalities occurred in July. Interestingly, most of these fatalities occurred in the manufacturing and construction industries. 

Most fatal workplace accidents are preventable. According to TOSHA, over half of such accidents involve being struck by an object or falling from some height.  TOSHA advises employers to do their part to prevent such accidents by reviewing injury and illness prevention programs, as well as health and workplace safety procedures, to ensure that employees are aware of the policies and procedures and properly trained to avoid safety risks. Training, it is advised, should especially focus on vulnerable workers, such as temporary workers and those who don’t speak English as their first language.

When an employer fails to prevent an accident in the workplace, of course, an injured worker is entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits. For workers who suffer temporary disability as a result of an accident, they are entitled to a temporary disability wage which is typically two-thirds of the injured worker’s average weekly waged earned in the 52 weeks preceding the injury. For injured workers who have not been receiving the wages to which they are entitled, this can be an important issue in seeking workers’ compensation.

We’ll say more about this in our next post.

Sources:

chattanoogan.com, “Tennessee Seeing Spike in Workplace Fatalities,” Aug. 23, 2016.

Department of Labor & Workforce Development, “A Beginner's Guide to TN Workers' Compensation,” Accessed Nov. 7, 2016. 

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