Some workers in Pennsylvania need to do at least part of their jobs in confined spaces. These include agriculture workers, miners, construction workers, electrical workers and many others. It’s important work that needs to be done. But an accident puts them at risk for suffering a serious workplace illness or injury.
What confined spaces do workers have to do their jobs in?
A confined space is any area that is constrained or that has a limited entry or exit. Examples include crawl spaces, mine shafts, trenches, tanks, silos, storage bins, vaults and water supply towers. These spaces were generally not built for humans to spend any amount of time in. But workers may still need to access them from time to time.
There are many safety hazards in confined spaces. The space may be poorly constructed and at risk of collapse. There may be poisonous substances that have built up over time. The work itself may be fairly dangerous. And working in a confined space makes it much harder to get out if something goes wrong.
What types of work injuries can happen in confined spaces?
Each year, workers are injured or lose their lives in confined space accidents. They may be exposed to poor air quality or have an inadequate oxygen supply. They may also be exposed to toxic gases that have built up in small and poorly ventilated spaces. Workers can also be exposed to radiation or extreme temperatures.
Other dangers that can be found in confined spaces include explosive or flammable substances, or electrical hazards. Some workers have to their jobs in spaces that have structural or construction issues. The dangers include drowning in water tanks, suffocating in grain silos, injuries from being in a trench collapse, burns or respiratory problems.
Employers are responsible for establishing procedures and protocols to help keep workers safe when they are in confined spaces. These may include the use of specific safety equipment and regular check-ins on employees who are working on their own.
What should I do if I’ve been injured after working in a confined space?
If you are injured in a confined space accident while working, you have the right to file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. It’s important to notify your employer as soon as possible that you suffered an injury or illness. Your employer is then responsible for reporting your injury to the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation.
Then contact an experienced Pennsylvania workers’ compensation attorney. Technically, you don’t need a lawyer to file a claim for benefits. But the reality is that the claims process can be very complicated. Having a lawyer to fight for your rights can help you ensure that you get the benefits you deserve.
O’Malley & Langan Law Offices has been helping injured workers throughout Pennsylvania for decades. We know the workers’ compensation laws and what it takes to file a successful claim for benefits. Contact us to schedule a free case evaluation. We have offices in Scranton, Pittston and Towanda.