Angiuli & Gentile, LLP
We’ll Take It From Here. 347-201-4447

Staten Island Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Opioid use and workers' compensation

Both employers and employees in New York are beginning to see the effects of opioid use. Not only are these painkillers prescribed in many workers' compensation claims, but they also lead to decreased productivity, missed work and more work-related claims.

According to the Postal Record, many of the opioid prescriptions were given due to injuries that occurred in the workplace. As a result, pharmaceutical companies answered the call for these pain relievers by continually developing new drugs. This helped build the foundation for what people are now referring to as an epidemic. To help combat abuse, a new opioid policy was issued. Directed at new prescriptions only, injured workers are given only a 60-day supply of pain medication. In order to get more, a letter of medical necessity needs to be filled out by a physician after examining the patient.

How to prevent hand injuries

Injuries to the hand are some of the most common workers' compensation claims in New York. Although employers are required by law to protect their workers from potential dangers, there is still a lot that can go wrong. Being aware of what causes these injuries and taking the steps to prevent them is extremely important in all types of industries.

According to the National Safety Council, lacerations are the most common type of hand injury in the workplace. Other types are crush, puncture, avulsion and fracture. Malfunctioning equipment is the leading cause of these injuries. Although employers are responsible for providing a safe work environment, employees are just as responsible to use machinery correctly and report any potential hazards that could cause harm.

Mining and safety training in New York

The state of New York contains numerous mines, and their resources result in major contributions to the economy. Mining has always been known to be a dangerous occupation, and proper safety procedures and regulations need to be followed in order to minimize workers' compensation claims.

According to the Department of Environmental Conservation, there are working mines in every county in the state except for five of them. Value wise, the top mineral commodities that are produced include crushed stone, limestone, construction gravel and sand, salt and zinc. Other valuable reserves include wollastonite, garnet and talc. Products that are made up of these minerals include:

  • Blacktop and roadfill
  • Concrete
  • Sandpaper
  • Ceramics and glass
  • Wallboard
  • Brick 
  • Paint pigment
  • Industrial abrasives 

The risks associated with commercial baking

Bakers in New York are at increased risk of developing baker's asthma, which is a fairly common occupational respiratory disorder. In order to reduce workers' compensation claims, employers need to be aware of prevention strategies and employees should to know the symptoms involved so they can minimize the damage and get help right away.

The World Allergy Association states the workers who are at the highest risk of sensitization are bread formers, dough makers and bread bakers because they are in close contact with allergens when they sieve, weigh and mix ingredients. Common allergens in this occupation include wheat, barley, rye, cereal malt flours and buckwheat. Eggs, cacao, almonds, chocolate, hazelnuts and milk are also ingredients that are associated with sensitization. Common symptoms include:

  • Coughing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Wheezing
  • Nasal congestion 

Protection from scaffolding falls

There always seems to be construction going on in New York, and falls from scaffolding are common reasons for workers' compensation claims. Safety in regard to scaffolding and associated equipment must be a priority for employers and workers, and proper controls and procedures need to be in place.

Georgia Tech states that the number of people who are injured due to construction-related falls is more than 100,000 every year. Death from scaffolding accidents occurs in around 50 cases per year, and the causes include falls, collapses, falling debris, electrocution and improper planking. Falling from a height of 10 feet or more is especially hazardous, and OSHA has set out regulations in regard to these situations. Some of the safety requirements include:

  • Base and mud plates must be used for stabilization
  • Guard rails must be provided
  • There must be safe access provided for getting on and off
  • Materials and tools must be neatly organized
  • Scaffolds must not be overloaded
  • Scaffolding equipment must be level

Symptoms of workplace carbon monoxide poisoning

Carbon monoxide is a dangerous gas that can be determential to an individual's health, resulting in sickness or even death if too much CO is inhaled. New York employers are required to take steps to ensure that their workplace is protected against possible CO hazards. Many employees, however, may not be aware of how subtle carbon monoxide poisoning can be.

The Mayo Clinic lists some symptoms that a person may have breathed in carbon monoxide. Afflicted individuals may suffer from a weak or dizzy spell, a shortness of breath, a slight headache, blurry vision, or a state of confusion. More dangerously, a person may lose consciousness. And if workers happen to be sleeping or ineberiated, carbon monoxide can cause permanent brain damage as it seeps into the lungs, or even cause the person to die. 

Staying safe around chemicals

Certain occupations in New York involve working with and around chemicals, and mismanagement of them can lead to workers' compensation claims. There are a number of regulations that companies must follow in order to keep employees safe in the short and long term. 

One way in which the government assists in regulating chemicals and their use is the Toxic Substances Control Act. According to the CDC, this act was originally passed in 1976 and was amended in 2016. It authorizes the EPA to monitor and regulate substances that are dangerous and toxic to the health of workers. Some of the EPA's tasks are to evaluate current and new chemicals, assess their risk and make preparations to eliminate unnecessary risks.

Falling debris in the workplace

Falling debris is one of the reasons for workers' compensation claims in New York. The effects can range from minor bruising to even death, depending on the size and weight of the object. Debris can cause injuries to construction workers and also pedestrians in the vicinity of construction projects. 

According to the New York Post, pedestrian injuries have been increasing in the state. Falling glass, pieces of concrete, planks and flying plywood were all involved in pedestrian and vehicle incidences in the past years. Proper safety procedures at construction sites can greatly cut down on accidents that affect both pedestrians and workers. 

Detailing workers' compensation death benefits

When you have a loved one that is injured in a workplace accident in Staten Island, your immediate assumption is that workers' compensation benefits will cover his or her expenses. At the same time, you have likely also heard the such coverage is limited. Many of those that we here at Angiuli & Gentile, LLP have worked with in the past have shared the same assumption, only expecting workers' compensation to cover medical costs and lost wages. Yet what if your loved one is killed in his or her accident? Are you still entitled to some form of workers' compensation benefit? 

Workers' compensation will cover funeral expenses, yet if your loved one provided your primary financial support, then you are likely worried about how you will be able to make ends meet going forward. Not to worry; an additional form of workers' compensation may be available to you in the form of death benefits. The New York State Workers Compensation Board states that in the event of an on-the-job death, you may be entitled to a pension equal to following amounts of his or her average weekly salary: 

  • If the decedent was your spouse: 66.6 percent if you have no children, 36.6 percent of you do
  • If the decedent was your parent: 30 percent if your other parent is still alive, 66.6 percent if not (shared equally amongst you and your siblings)
  • If the decedent was your grandparent or sibling (with no surviving spouse or children): 25 percent
  • If you were a dependent parent to the decedent (and he or she had so spouse or children): 40 percent during the years of your dependency 
  • If the decedent had no direct dependents: $50,000 to his or her estate

Inclement weather and work accidents

On this blog, we have gone over many different issues related to workplace accidents, from construction falls to repetitive stress injuries. However, there are other factors that workers in diverse fields may want to take into consideration. With summer weather coming to an end, there are a number of weather-related hazards that workers may want to be mindful of. Our law firm knows how devastating workplace accidents are for people all across New York and the importance of prevention.

During winter months, a worker may become hurt after falling down due to ice. However, there are many other weather-related risks to watch out for. For example, someone working on a construction site may be electrocuted when it is raining or when equipment they are using comes into contact with a pool of water from recent rainfall. Other weather-related work hazards include suffering a heat stroke due to very high temperatures or becoming hurt due to poor visibility brought on by fog, among others.

Success Stories

  • A 43 year old ironworker who fell four stories and sustained injuries to his ankle while installing a staircase settled his claim for $1,500,000.00. The accident was due to the failure of the building owner and general contractor to provide a safe place to work.
  • A construction worker operating an asphalt roller settled his case for $525,000.00 when the edge of the roadway he was paving collapsed into a trench being dug by a subcontractor causing him to sustain injuries to his leg.
  • A 54 year old commuter settled his case against the NYCTA for $1,200,000.00. when he tripped and fell on a subway platform due to the pavement being in disrepair, causing him to fall forward and to strike his head on a train pulling into the station.
  • The estate of a 64 year old woman received a settlement of $425,000.00 after she was struck and killed by a speeding tractor trailer while crossing the street at the intersection of Richmond Terrace and Port Richmond Avenue.
  • A $1,200,000.00 settlement was reached on behalf of a 54 year old man from Staten Island, New York, who, while in the course of his employment as a bus driver, was rear-ended on the Garden State Parkway and caused to suffer injuries to his back and neck as well as a fractured rib and fractured pelvis.
  • A 47-year-old building superintendent who sustained injuries to his head and right side of his body due to a tripping hazard at his job site received a settlement of $300,000.00 from the electrical company performing work at the site.
  • A 43 year old construction worker was caused to sustain injuries to his back, shoulder and hand when the elevator he was riding malfunctioned and dropped 8 floors. He received $350,000.00 in the settlement of his claim against the building owner, maintenance company and elevator company.
  • The administrator of the estate of a 69 year old man who suffered stage four pressure sores while a patient at a Queens nursing home settled the case for $400,000.00 after the man died.
View More

You Can Trust Angiuli & Gentile to Make a Difference

Schedule Your Consultation

Email Us to Get the Answers You Need

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

Office Locations

Angiuli & Gentile, LLP
60 Bay Street, Penthouse Floor
Staten Island, NY 10301

Phone: 347-201-4447
Phone: 718-816-0005
Fax: 718-442-6408
Staten Island Law Office Map

Staten Island Office
1481 Hylan Boulevard
Staten Island, NY 10305

Phone: 347-201-4447
Phone: 718-816-0005
Staten Island Law Office Map