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Potential Wisconsin law could decrease waste work accident risk

Worker safety is often an important considering in Wisconsin, and across the nation at large. Unfortunately, however, work accidents that lead to serious injuries and even fatalities happen all-too-often to hard-working Americans. Those who do suffer a work accident while performing their normal duties at work are not without rights, however. Workers' compensation benefits often provide a safety net for workers who are injured on the job. Further, surviving relatives of those who are killed may qualify to file for survivor's death benefits.

Recently, the Wisconsin legislature took steps to help increase workplace safety for our state's waste workers. The legislature passed Senate Bill 145 with overwhelming support from both the Senate and Assembly. Now, it will just need the governor's signature in order to go from a possibility to actual law. The National Solid Wastes Management Association (NSWMA) has shown a tremendous amount of enthusiasm for the bill.

The bill, known as 'Slow Down to Get Around,' doubles the financial penalties for those who engage in moving traffic violations in an effort to pass sanitation vehicles. Part of the inspiration for this legislation was a sanitation worker who tragically lost a leg when a car pinned him to a garbage truck. The worker had been in the process of emptying a trash receptacle at the time.

Hopefully, this bill meant to increase worker safety in Wisconsin and lower the risk of a work accident for waste workers will pass. Those who have already been injured, however, may have found themselves suffering financially. If so, it may be possible to file for workers' compensation benefits in order to help with medical expenses and lost income while an injured worker is unable to return to their normal duties.

Source:, "Wisconsin Legislature Passes Waste Worker Safety Bill," Allan Gerlat, May 8, 2013

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