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Newburgh New York Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Carbon monoxide exposure can cause serious workplace illness

New York workers in industrial facilities typically have to face multiple safety hazards in the line of duty. Compliance with safety regulations is one way of preventing an on-the-job injury or a workplace illness. Employers are responsible for the health and safety of employees. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health recently reported that noncompliance with rules related to carbon monoxide exposure could lead to fatalities.

Authorities say gasoline-powered equipment and tools must never be operated indoors, not even in semi-enclosed spaces. Also, open windows and doors will not provide enough ventilation to prevent workers suffering carbon monoxide poisoning. When such equipment is operated outside, it is important to keep it away from air intakes by which CO can be carried into buildings.

Injured workers are entitled to workers' compensation benefits

A spokesperson for the Transport Workers Union reported some of the details of a recent New York accident that involved an MTA bus. These are the types of incidents that could not only cause serious harm to passengers and property, but they can also lead to critically injured workers. Fortunately, this incident that occurred in the early morning hours of a recent Tuesday involved no passengers.

Reportedly, an MTA bus driver with 12 years of experience was hospitalized in a critical condition. The incident apparently happened when the driver parked the bus in Queens because he needed a bathroom break. However, after exiting, he noticed the bus starting to roll backward toward the gates of a nearby cemetery. He could not stop the bus by reaching through the driver's window and ran around to try entering the cab through the passenger side door.

Construction zone worker succumbs to fatal work injury

New York workers who spend their days making the highways safer for road users put their lives on the line every day. Not only are they threatened by the equipment used in road construction but also by negligent drivers who fail to take due care when they travel through construction zones. On Aug. 23, a construction zone worker succumbed to a work injury that resulted from an accident on Aug. 14.

According to a report of the accident, the 55-year-old construction zone worker was part of a crew working on Route 12. She was tasked with directing traffic passing through the construction zone. While holding up a sign to stop or slow down northbound traffic, she was struck by a box truck.

Will stricter regulations prevent construction accidents?

Dozens of workers have died on construction sites in New York since the beginning of 2015. One of them was a 22-year-old worker who recently fell to his death down the shaft of an elevator in a condo tower under construction. Following the wave of construction accidents, some unions have managed to persuade the City Council to demand significantly more training hours for all construction workers.

Ten years ago, the mayor asked for a mandate that required 10 training hours for workers on projects that involved buildings of 10 stories of more. That was followed by the Buildings Department Commissioner requiring the presence of safety personnel on any project of four and more stories along with much steeper fines for violating contractors. Requiring 10 hours of training for all workers is also under consideration.

What to do when workplace accidents are caused by third parties

When workers are injured on the job, parties other than the employer or a co-worker are sometimes responsible for the accident. When this happens in New York, the injured workers may be entitled to pursue personal injury lawsuits apart from their workers' compensation benefits claims. This could allow victims of workplace accidents to recover more than just medical expenses and lost income.

An employee in a neighboring state recently filed a personal injury lawsuit against an independent contractor and two of his employees. He claims their negligence caused him to suffer multiple injuries. According to the complaint, the plaintiff was standing near a parking lot at his place of work when the contractor and his two employees caused a rubberized jet vac line that was tautly stretched to snap and strike his body and head.

Workplace accident kills window washer when fall protection fails

Window washers in New York put their lives on the line every day. The biggest hazard they face is indeed falling, and one would expect the employer of any window washer to be aware of the importance of, not only providing fall protection but ensuring that it is always in mint condition and replaced when it starts showing wear and tear. A fatal workplace accident that involves a malfunctioning fall harness should not happen.

Sadly, it did happen. On a recent Monday, shortly before 10:30 a.m., a 56-year-old window washer fell to his death. Reportedly, he was on a raised platform, busy cleaning the windows of the 12th story of a building in Midtown when his fall harness apparently malfunctioned. The interior courtyard landing on the building's 6th floor broke his fall, but could not save his life.

Lack of proper planning could cause fatal construction accidents

When construction projects in New York are in the planning stage, developers should assess potential hazards and address those in advance. This particularly applies when projects include demolition, or for redevelopment projects. Being prepared may prevent fatal construction accidents like the one that happened in Poughkeepsie on a recent Thursday.

Investigators of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration will be examining the circumstances of the tragedy to determine whether this death could have been prevented by following safety regulations. This project is the redevelopment of a lumber yard into a commercial complex that will also include some apartments. Reportedly, the incident happened soon after a massive load of soil was delivered to the site.

Electric shock will be covered by workers' compensation benefits

A power failure shortly before noon on a recent Wednesday occurred after residents of a New York town in Erie County heard a loud bang. They rushed outside to hear utility workers of National Grid screaming for someone to call 911 for help. It was then determined that one employee had suffered an electric shock. Such injuries likely lead to workers' compensation benefits claims.

According to a report by police, a lineman was working on the installation of a power pole when he suffered an electric shock. Paramedics transported him to a trauma center for treatment of his injuries. It is unknown what caused the worker to be shocked, and the company said a full investigation would be launched.

Safety training can prevent workplace accidents involving teens

This is the time of the year when many young workers enter the New York workforce -- as permanent employees in their first jobs, or teens taking on temp jobs for the summer. Every year there are reports of teen workers who die in tragic workplace accidents within days of starting employment. In most cases, these deaths result from a lack of safety training and/or inadequate supervision.

Employers don't always realize that the combination of youth, inexperience and a sense of invincibility makes teenage workers vulnerable. To prevent such tragedies, safety authorities say that teen workers must be fully briefed on their duties and the potential safety risks before they are allocated any tasks. Furthermore, even if they will only be there for the summer, full safety training must be provided.

Some workplace accidents cause irreversible harm to exposed eyes

A worker may say his injury happened in the blink of an eye. However, if properly fitted safety glasses protected those eyes, they could have blinked all day without being harmed. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says the eyes of approximately 2,000 workers are damaged in workplace accidents every day, adding up to over 700,000 per year. Many of those occur in New York.

The alarming fact is these type of eye injuries are so easy to prevent -- it takes only a pair of safety glasses. Unfortunately, many employers fail to enforce the use of them and allow employees to choose when to wear eye protection. However, even if workers are forced to wear safety glasses, the safety gear will not prevent eye injuries if they do not fit properly -- considering approximately 70 percent of reported eye injuries were caused by particles no bigger than a pin's head.

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