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Criminal Activities Create Workplace Hazards for Some Workers

Published July 10, 2018 by The Law Offices of John Drew Warlick, P.A.

Law enforcement, emergency medical technicians, government employees and healthcare workers in North Carolina have a chance of encountering unpredictable and dangerous conditions while doing their jobs. Often associated with urban environments, homeless camps or methamphetamine labs produce problems like used needles, dumped hazardous chemicals or violent people protecting territory. The founder of an occupational safety company advises employers to identify potential risks to workers and train them how to protect their safety.

Workers who might encounter methamphetamine labs should receive instruction about the types of chemicals used in these operations and what they look like. Drug manufacturers might even set booby traps to protect locations, and workers need to be warned about the possibility of stumbling upon dangers like this while working in the field.

The buddy system represents an important safety strategy. A companion could reduce a worker’s vulnerability to attacks like a recent case when a homeless person confronted a department of transportation worker with a knife. Safety committees at workplaces should work to identify potential threats and develop procedures for maintaining safety. Written materials help benefit workers with information about when or if needles should be picked up or what to do if they find a dead body.

The law obliges employers to mitigate hazards to workers’ health and train employees how to stay safe. Workers’ compensation insurance is in place to provide benefits to people injured on the job. A person in this situation might encounter difficulty accessing benefits, especially if an employer does not want to acknowledge a workplace accident. Consulting an attorney might benefit a person hurt at work. An attorney may inform the person about insurance coverage and prepare claim paperwork. In some cases, an attorney might file a lawsuit to pressure an employer and insurer into recognizing a valid claim.

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