Dangerous Work Environments in Philadelphia

Posted on Wednesday, October 9th, 2013 at 4:23 pm    

Over the last few centuries, Philadelphia has seen more than its share of dangerous work environments. From the Arsenal of the Union during the Civil War to becoming the Workshop of the World during the early part of the 20th Century, the clanking of steel and the rhythm of automation has been a part of Philadelphia for decades. These days, however, the noise has died down as manufacturing continues to recede. And even though workplace accidents and injuries have decreased in past years, the cost of Workers Compensation claims to Philadelphia continue to increase at an alarming rate.

New areas of risk

Surprisingly, the industry with the most work-related accidents and injury claims is health care. It seems ironic that the institutions that treat our accidents and injuries incur the highest percentage of work-related injuries in the country. With an industry average of 5.2 injuries per 100 workers, that includes 8.3 injuries between nursing and residential care facilities and 7.0 injuries per 100 in hospitals; health-care facilities have become a risky environment. Common injuries include back injuries, from lifting and assisting patients, to exposure to blood-born and air-born infectious disease. Slips, trips, and falls, as well as workplace violence are also common.

Other dangerous professions

Transportation and warehousing is another dangerous industry plagued by a high incidence of accidents and injuries. Also at 5.2 injuries per 100, it ranges from 2.0 per 100 for railroad workers to a high of 8.1 injuries for airline workers. After more than a century of operations, it is notable how low railroad injuries have plummeted while air travel has one of the highest injury rates.

Construction and manufacturing report 4.4 injuries per 100 workers. However, many accidents in this industry tend to be more serious. But even construction and manufacturing aren’t immune from repetitive motion injuries (RMI). From the factory floor to nailing endless shingles on a roof, RMI is becoming more common in the construction and manufacturing industry that continues to survive on maximizing output through assembly line procedures.

Trends that affect cost

Even though the incidence of accidents and injury are down, the City of Philadelphia is experiencing escalating costs of Workers Compensation Claims. The reason for this is the number of accidents and injuries that require longer-term physical therapy to treat.

Back injuries in the health care industry for example, can be a career ending or at least a career-changing event without proper therapy. Additionally, many physicians and therapists recognize that longer-term therapy reduces the incidence of re-injury. Philadelphia’s controller Alan Butkovitz, claims that many cases are extending to over a year beyond what was once the standard 3-month regimen for physical therapy.

Moving Forward

As of this writing, there were no available data on how much extended therapy has reduced the incidence of re-injury. One can only suppose that therapists and physicians are taking the possibility for re-injury into consideration when recommending longer therapy.

The City of Philadelphia is aware of the initial cost however, and there is bound to be a showdown in the future as the city weighs the cost vs. benefit of what many consider merely adequate therapy as opposed to shorter-term therapy. In the interim, if you feel your physical therapy compensation was cut off before you achieved adequate recovery, contact a workers compensation attorney in Philadelphia.

You have a right to receive the benefits of sufficient recovery from your on-the-job injury. Even though Philadelphia’s Controller talks about a 3-month standard therapy, it seems illogical that the patient-to-patient difference in injuries and therapy could be consistently held to any time standard.

Remember, it is dangerous out there in the workplace. And in the unfortunate circumstance something should happen, you don’t have to face it alone. Contact a Philadelphia workers’ compensation attorney from Zavodnick, Zavodnick & Lasky, LLC to learn more about the benefits that are available to you. Call (215) 875-7030 to speak with an attorney today.

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