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In The News: PA Workers Comp Update 6/20/17

 HOW LONG CAN I GET WORKERS’ COMPENSATION BENEFITS IN PA.? 

AN UPDATE

WORKERS’ COMPENSATION: PENNSYLVANIA SUPREME COURT ISSUES LANDMARK DECISION IN            PROTZ V. WCAB (DERRY AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT)

On June 20, 2017, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court declared that Section 306(a.2) of the Pa. Workers’ Compensation Act (the Act) was unconstitutional. Previously, since passage of revisions to the Act in 1996, an employer could have an injured worker evaluated by an independent medical examiner to determine his or her percentage of impairment directly resulting from a work injury. This was known as an Impairment Rating Evaluation (IRE). The injured worker must have received 104 weeks of total disability benefits prior to the IRE being requested. Once requested and scheduled, the IRE medical examiner was asked to utilize the American Medical Association (AMA) Guidelines for Impairment 4th Edition. If the IRE rating was equal to or greater than 50 percent, then an injured worker was presumed to be totally disabled. An injured worker was considered partially disabled if he or she had a total impairment rating of less-than 50 percent and the injured worker’s benefits were resultantly limited to the statutory 500-week partial disability time period. The AMA guidelines almost always found an injured worker less-than 50 percent disabled.

Injury: 5 Ways to Prevent Neck Injuries While on the Job

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In our previous post, we discussed methods of preventing back injuries while on the job. This week, we’ll give you some tips on preventing another common work place injury: neck pain.
 
1. Properly adjust your work station.
Long days spent working from a desk can put a lot of strain on the neck. To avoid neck issues, computer monitors should be kept at eye level. Also, when sitting, you should not be using your neck and shoulder muscles. Instead, these muscles need to be in a neutral, restful position. Your desk chair should provide proper back support, your elbows should be kept at a 90 degree angle, and your thighs should run parallel to the floor. Also, avoid holding the phone between your neck and shoulders. If you spend a lot of your day talking on the phone, it is preferable that you use a headset.
 
2. Utilizing proper lifting technique.
Lifting heavy objects is a major part of many labor jobs and neglecting to use proper lifting techniques can do serious damage to your neck. When moving and/or lifting a heavy object, be sure to stand close to it, bend at the knees and hips and keep the object close to your body. Try not to twist or move sideways.
 
3. Stretch
To prevent neck injuries, you need to avoid staying in one position for long periods of time. Be sure to take the time to stretch. Here is a great video with some useful neck stretching techniques.
 
4. Wear Safety Equipment
Hard hats not only prevent head injuries like concussions, but also have a built-in suspension system that absorbs shock and can prevent neck injuries from trips, slips and falling debris. Be sure to check with your supervisor to make sure you are wearing all of your necessary safety equipment.
 
5. Be Mindful of Your Sleeping Posture
It may not be as obvious as the others, but poor sleeping posture can put serious strain on your neck. To prevent sleeping-related neck pain (which can lead to even worse injuries while on the job), use a pillow that keeps the neck straight, avoid sleeping on your stomach, and don’t sleep with your neck twisted.
 
By following these 5 steps, you can easily and effectively prevent work-related neck injuries. However, if a work-related neck injury has barred you from working and your Pennsylvania workers’ compensation claim has been denied, you should seek professional legal assistance as soon as possible. Do not miss out on the medical benefits you may be entitled to.
 
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