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Economic Layoff of the Injured Worker

Oil and gas companies last Friday began halting exploratory drilling in the deepwater of the U.S. Gulf of Mexico. The companies are following a federal government order mandating a six-month exploratory drilling ban. Job layoffs may be inevitable. Louisiana officials estimate the administration’s suspension order for the 33 rigs will cause the loss of 3,000 to 6,000 Louisiana jobs in the next two to three weeks and as many as 20,000 if the moratorium persists. Injured workers who are covered by a job injury compensation scheme and who have returned to work with restrictions prior to being laid off, should know that they may be able to have their wage loss indemnity benefits reinstated because the resulting job loss is of no fault of their own. These compensation schemes include: Louisiana Workers Compensation Act, LA-R.S. 23:1021 et seq Where an injured worker establishes a work-related injury and the inability to earn 90 percent of his average weekly pre-injury wage when his current position was temporarily eliminated due to the company lay-offs and the employer fails to successfully establish that a suitable job was available for him in their respective communities or in showing that a job had been offered to him that he was capable of performing, the injured workers indemnity benefits must be reinstated. Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act, 33 U.S.C.A. §§ 901 et seq (“LHWCA”). If an alternative position within an injured employees work restrictions becomes unavailable with the employer of injury due to an economic layoff, […]

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West Jefferson Medical Center Is Setting Up First Aid Tent on Grand Isle for Injured Oil Spill Cleanup Workers

West Jefferson Medical Center (WJMC) has set up a first aid tent in Grand Isle. Oil spill workers suffering from medical conditions relating to the cleanup effort can use the tent if they can find it. BP, WJMC and Jefferson Parish have not posted the location of the tent other than to state that it is located at the Jefferson Parish Emergency Management compound on Grand Isle. You can use your cell phone to call “911” or may want to try to look for the tent at the Tarpon Rodeo Pavilion, 4500 Highway 1, Grand Isle, La 70358. Officials said the tent will be open seven days a week from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. It will be staffed by two EMS professionals, a doctor and a nurse practitioner. WJMC is also providing ambulance service to the area.

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OSHA Warns of Cleanup Health Risks- Writes Letter To BP

OSHA AREAS OF CONCERN: Workers without required training. BP failing to provide sufficient or timely date on injuries and illness, chemical sampling, monitoring data and training materials. Concerns that BP’s manager of workplace safety “does not appear to operate with the full support of the company, nor does he seem to have the authority necessary for the job which he has been tasked.” “We strongly suggest that BP place someone in this position who has the authority and the ability to make changes expediently in order to address the safety and health of cleanup workers.” BP’s failure to address heat stroke concerns. “There continue to be multiple heat-related incidents each day, some of which have been serious.” Additional Resources: BP ‘systemic failure’ endangers Gulf cleanup workers (McClatchy News)

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Hospitalized Fisherman Injured While Performing BP Cleanup Work Files Temporary Restraining Order Against BP

A hospitalized fisherman injured while performing BP cleanup work filed a temporary restraining order against BP. The restraining order requests that BP refrain from “altering, testing or destroying clothing or any other evidence or potential evidence” when workers become ill. The restraining order also requests that BP stop using dispersants like Corexit without providing “appropriate personal protective equipment” to workers. The Material Safety Data Sheet for Corexit states that people should “avoid breathing in vapor” from Corexit, and that masks should be work when Corexit is present in certain concentrations in the air. BP has not supplied workers with masks when they work near the oil and dispersants. Additional Resources: Fisherman files restraining order against BP

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