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Staten Island Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Avoid the construction site Fatal Four

Multi-level construction sites with large equipment and hazardous materials are common in New York. At Angiuli & Gentile, LLP, our experienced team helps clients injured at the worksite with the workers’ compensation claims. 

Arbill reports that four types of accidents were responsible for more than half of all construction site deaths in 2015. Some measures can be taken to prevent these accidents and make the workplace safer.

  • More than 100,000 construction site injuries and deaths at were due to falls. Employers can reduce this number by including safety harnesses, lines and nets for workers who must be far above the ground. Guardrails and toe-boards around elevated platforms, runways and dangerous equipment can prevent you from getting too close to the edge when carrying out your duties.
  • Being struck by falling, swinging or rolling objects was the second leading cause of death on construction sites. Wearing a hard hat, safety glasses and other protective gear can prevent severe injury in many cases. Avoid areas where work is taking place above your head, or heavy loads are hoisted.
  • Electricity can cause catastrophic injuries. Take precautions by wearing the appropriate personal protective equipment to reduce the chance of electrocution. Safety classes conducted by employers can help provide you with the information needed to stay safer on the job.
  • Being crushed or squeezed between objects can occur when a person is pulled into or under a piece of equipment or as a result of falling materials. Shut down equipment before walking away or doing repairs and avoid the machinery’s crush points and pull-in areas to minimize risk.

Eye and face protection cited as top 2018 OSHA violation

Each year, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) releases the top 10 most cited violations. Violating these OSHA safety standards can put workers in dangerous or even deadly situations at work.

In 2018, eye and face protection violations joined the top ten list.

Are hospitals more dangerous for employees?

Healthcare workers do everything within their power to keep their patients healthy and safe, sometimes at their own expense. For this reason, hospitals are considered one of the most dangerous places to work.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, hospitals recorded workplace-related illnesses and injuries at almost twice the rate of private industry. In fact, in terms of lost-time cases, hospitals are more hazardous workplace environments than working in construction or manufacturing. Lost-time cases are typically the more severe injuries, as milder injuries tend to be ones where an employee can continue working on modified duty.

How prescription drug use affects workers' compensation

There is an increasing problem for workers and their employers in New York, and that is the use and abuse of prescription drugs. Their use has led not only to decreased productivity and missed days, but it has significantly increased the amount of workers' compensation claims.

According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, overuse of prescription drugs can result in a number of work-related problems. These include:

  • Fatigue on the job
  • Decreased concentration
  • Increase in accidents and injuries
  • Low productivity and efficiency
  • Poor decision making
  • Increase in fatal accidents
  • Difficulty with colleagues and management
  • Missed days 

Are you at risk for occupational hearing loss?

Employees in New York may be exposing themselves to conditions that will eventually result in permanent hearing loss, and they may not even know it. Occupational hearing loss is a common workers' compensation claim, and it is important workers know the risk factors so they can protect themselves from further injury.

According to the CDC, current research is being conducted to determine how different factors influence the susceptibility of hearing loss. This goes beyond well-known risk factors such as long-term exposure to loud noises or vibrations. Other factors may include:

  • Genetics
  • Gender
  • Ethnicity/race
  • Age
  • Certain health issues 

Facebook accused of not addressing mental trauma

Seeing something disturbing once in your life is inevitable, especially during a time when social media is so prevalent. It can also be tough to escape some unpleasant situations. Conflicts happen in our personal lives as well as at the workplace. Now, take a moment and imagine that dealing with disturbing content is your day job. What would you do?

What is the 2010 Construction Industry Fair Play Act?

When you get injured while at work, it is important for workers' compensation purposes that you are a qualifying employee of the company. In New York, the state has made it easier for contractors working on construction sites to be fully covered by the main employer's workers' compensation insurance through the 2010 Construction Industry Fair Play Act.

According to the Workers' Compensation Board, the Construction Industry Fair Play Act helps ensure that workers are properly classified as employees and not independent contractors. Since many construction contractors subcontract work, it leads to these subcontractors as being considered independent contractors and not employees. As independent contractors, they are not eligible for workers' compensation benefits.

Get back to work faster with rehabilitation benefits

If you have been unable to work due to a work-related injury in New York, and you want to get back to earning a decent income, there are programs available to help. Unfortunately, some injuries result in a permanent disability that prevents the employee from going back to the position he or she had before. One of the benefits workers' compensation insurance provides is rehabilitation, and this is available for eligible employees.

According to the Department of Labor, employees must meet certain requirements in order to qualify for rehabilitation programs. The requirements include:

  • The employee has a disability that prevents return to regular position
  • The employee is eligible to receive compensation for work-related injuries
  • There are rehabilitation services and programs in the area

Scaffolding collapse raises questions about construction safety

Concerns about construction safety have recently surfaced after a tragic accident near Orlando, Florida. Two construction workers were pouring concrete for a new hotel when part of their scaffold collapsed. The workers fell six floors and died on the scene. A third worker was able to grab onto a part of the scaffold and pull himself out of harm’s way.

Work-related mental health and helpful interventions

For many employees in New York, working can actually stimulate positive feelings and boost mental health. However, for others work can be the cause of a variety of mental health issues. Negative working conditions can lead to anxiety and depression, which can also increase the chances of physical injuries. To avoid workers' compensation claims due to mental health, employers should integrate interventions that promote, rather than ignore or belittle, mental health.

According to the World Health Organization, the workplace can be the source of a number of risk factors that can lead to decreased mental health. The risk factors may include:

  • Inadequate support for employees
  • Poor management and leadership
  • Unclear organization and communication
  • Insufficient policies regarding safety and health
  • Overwhelming workload or inflexible hours
  • Psychological harassment
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