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Injured U.S Civilian Contractors in War Zones Struggle to Receive Benefits Under Outdated Defense Base Act

In his books “Disposable Army: Civilian Contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan,” and “Blood Money: Wasted Billions, Lost Lives and Corporate Greed in Iraq”, Christian Miller investigates the medical services available to injured civilian employees operating oversees. The United States government has increasingly relied on private contractor services in Afghanistan and Iraq. Civilians risk injury and death in war zones to perform support services such as laundry, mail delivery, translation, and transportation of goods. Particularly in times of economic trouble, thousands of ordinary citizens are drawn to war zone contractor work because of the opportunity to make a higher salary while supporting their country. Approximately 1,700 contracted civilians have been killed in Afghanistan and Iraq while another 31,000 have been injured. Insurance guidelines for private contractors operating in war zones are outlined in Congress’s Defense Base Act. The DBA requires every private contractor operating for the U.S government to purchase a specialized type of workers’ compensation insurance for all employees. Premiums for this specialized insurance When enacted in 1940, the DBA was not intended to cover the types of war zone injuries private contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan now face. The typical slip and fall injuries experienced by private contractors of the 1940’s have been replaced by injuries such as posttraumatic stress disorder, amputation, and death. Because the contractor buys the policy and taxpayers pay for the total price of the contract which reflects the insurance policy, taxpayers share the burden of the outdated DBA. If a contractor is injured in […]

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Gulf of Mexico Commercial Fishing Deaths 2000–2009

J Lincoln, PhD, D Lucas, MS, Alaska Pacific Regional Office, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health report in a July 16, 2010 report that: Commercial fishing is one of the most dangerous occupations in the United States; Of the 504 U.S. commercial fishing deaths, the majority occurred after a vessel disaster (261 deaths, 52%) or a fall overboard (155 deaths, 31%). By region, 133 (26%) deaths occurred off the coast of Alaska, 124 (25%) in the Northeast, 116 (23%) in the Gulf of Mexico, 83 (16%) off the West Coast, and 41 (8%) in the Mid- and South Atlantic. The fisheries with the highest number of fatalities were Gulf of Mexico shrimp (55), Atlantic scallop (44), and Alaskan salmon (39) For questions about a Gulf of Mexico Commercial Fishing Death claim, contact Louisiana Jones Act Lawyer. Source: CDC’s Commercial Fishing Deaths — United States, 2000–2009

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Health Concerns Mount As Oil Clean Up Continues

As some 34,000 workers labor to contain the oozing oil surging in to the Gulf of Mexico, concerns over the potential health effects of the BP oil spill have mounted. In a U.S Institute of Medicine panel led last week by Linda McCauley, dean of Emory University’s School of Nursing, McCauley expressed concern for the health of the clean-up workers and called for increased transparency from BP regarding safety precautions. In the months following the April 20th spill, efforts to coordinate resources and organize health monitoring have been slow and reminiscent of post 9/11 efforts to access and monitor the health of emergency responders. ” Large gaps in the data” are making it difficult for scientists and health professionals to gather conclusive information on the health of spill workers. Many Institute of Medicine panel members shared McCauley’s concerns and called for the U.S government to fund a long-term effort to routinely monitor and track levels of toxin exposure amongst clean up and maintain coherent data. While much is unknown about the long-term health effects of such a massive oil spill, the National Institute of Health has pledged $10 million towards the study of the public health impact of the spill. Gulf residents and cleanup workers have already experienced acute exposure symptoms including headache, nausea, throat irritation, eye pain, cough, and dizziness. Over 450 oil exposure complaints have been reported to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, the majority concerning fume inhalation by cleanup workers. Although spill workers are most […]

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Avondale Shipyard May Shut Down; Laid Off Injured Workers Should First Seek Reinstatement of Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Payments

Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana said yesterday that Northrop has advised the State of Louisiana that Avondale Shipyard near New Orleans may shut down due to lack or orders beyond 2012. This move would put about 5,000 employees out of work. Shipfitters and other Avondale employees who have been injured on the job and who have returned to work with restrictions and then are laid off for economic reasons may have their wage loss indemnity benefits reinstated because the resulting job loss is of no fault of their own. Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act, 33 U.S.C.A. §§ 901 et seq (“LHWCA”) provides that if an alternative position within an injured employees work restrictions becomes unavailable with the employer of injury due to an economic layoff, full indemnity payments must be reinstated until such time as suitable alternative employment can be established by the employer. Additional Resources: Gov. Jindal: We Will Do Everything to Save Avondale Shipyard

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