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New Campaign by OSHA Promotes Fall Prevention

The United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration are responsible for regulating workplace conditions and protecting workers’ rights. Construction injuries are a special concern of OSHA, as construction is widely considered one of the most dangerous professions in the nation. In 2010, OSHA cited 774 fatalities in construction, over a third of which were caused by falls. The administration has created a Fall Prevention Campaign in order to answer this unfortunate statistic.

The Fall Prevention Campaign strives to educate construction workers on how to save lives through improved safety practices, in three basic steps. These points focus on planning ahead, providing correct equipment, and training workers to effectively use the safety equipment.

  1. Planning ahead – Have the details of a project hammered out before beginning. For example, know what needs to be done and how, as well as what safety gear the job requires
  2. Providing correct equipment – Make sure all the right tools are available for workers, including protective gear
  3. Training workers – Employers are responsible for teaching their employees how and when to correctly use the provided equipment in order to avoid accidents

The campaign resources include a website, training tools to help employers, worksite posters, and wallet-sized cards for workers to carry. Most of these are also available in Spanish.

What are the Types of Workers’ Compensation Benefits in Iowa?

When a worker is injured or dies in the workplace in the commission of his or her job, the employer must provide workers’ compensation benefits either through a private insurer or as a self-insurer. There are many benefits mandated by law in Iowa, the applicability of which will depend on the circumstances of the injury or death. These benefits include:

Medical – medical care and transportation that may reasonably be required to treat an injury; also includes a provision for lost wages when an employee is required to go on leave for medical treatment

Disability – this includes Temporary Total Disability (TTD), Temporary Partial Disability (TPD), Healing Period (HP), Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) and Permanent Total Disability (PTD). In general, the weekly compensation for an injured employee cannot exceed 80% of a worker’s spendable earnings (weekly pay net of payroll taxes). The maximum weekly benefit for PPD is $1,378, while the maximum benefit for TTD, HP, PTD and death is $1,498 (effective until June 30, 2013). For TPD, the computation is based on the difference between the weekly earnings at the time of the injury and the subsequent lower paying job. TPD benefit amount is 66 2/3% of that difference.
In Iowa, if a second injury to the eye, hand, arm, foot or leg is sustained after a worker qualifies for PPD benefits for injury to a similar body part, that worker will be entitled to benefits under the Second Injury Fund.

Vocational Rehabilitation – when a worker becomes disabled, he or she may be eligible for participation in training to prepare for, qualify for, and maintain employment provided by the Iowa Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services, and will be paid $100 a week for up to 13 weeks while rehabilitation is ongoing. This may be extended a further 13 weeks upon approval by the workers’ compensation commissioner.

Death – Benefits are paid to the surviving spouse for life or until remarriage if there are no dependent children, whereupon a two-year lump sum settlement is given. In the absence of a spouse, dependent children get the benefits until they reach the age of 18 or 25, depending on the degree of actual dependence. Burial expenses are also included.
If you believe that you have not received the workers’ compensation benefits that you deserve, contact a lawyer in Iowa who has extensive experience in dealing with workers’ compensation cases. They will know precisely how to get the maximum benefits that should accrue to you.

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