Newburgh New York Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Injured workers and securing workers’ compensation benefits for pre-existing conditions

While some jobs are inherently more dangerous than others, every worker is at risk of suffering an injury while on the job. From a construction worker who falls from scaffolding and suffers a traumatic brain injury to an office worker who develops carpal tunnel syndrome from typing at a computer all day, every job has its own set of dangers and hazards.

Thankfully, employers in New York State are required to obtain workers’ compensation coverage. This means that, in the event a worker suffers a work-related injury, he or she can file a workers’ compensation claim to secure benefits to pay for medical bills, a portion of lost wages and disability. Unfortunately, injured workers who attempt to obtain workers’ comp benefits often experience their fair share of confusion, discouragement and frustration.

How global warming is hazardous to workers

For the last 134 years, scientists have tracked the earth's temperatures. Scientists first noted a significant warming trend in the earth's air temperatures during the 1980s. Since that time, recorded temperatures have continued to dramatically increase with the 10 warmest years on record being recorded since 2000, and 2015 registering as the hottest year on record.

This type of scientific data is impossible to refute and, with the earth's temperatures expected to continue to increase in the coming years; the health, safety and very lives of millions of U.S. workers will be in jeopardy. This theory is detailed in a recent report by the U.S. Global Change Research Program Climate and Health Assessment, which details specific information that is relevant workers who primarily work outside as well as those “who may be exposed to other extreme weather environments."

Construction workers: beware of 'the fatal four'

Working in the construction industry requires people to take on considerable physical challenges on a daily basis. Further, they must be mentally prepared and equipped to handle the responsibilities of acting safely and within established regulations. Unfortunately, even the most physically and mentally fit workers can fall victim to a serious construction accident.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, in 2014, more than 20 percent of occupational deaths involved a construction worker. In this post we will look at the top four types of accidents that result in construction worker death, or what are referred to as "the fatal four."

Cath labs, radiation and health worker safety

Some modern medical treatments are very aggressive and can involve powerful substances or forces. Thus, some unique safety concerns can come up for medical workers, as their work environment can involve things that many other work environments don't.

One such thing is radiation. One medical work environment where radiation can be a factor are cath labs. In these labs, various radiation-related heart treatments are performed.

Employers must take steps to address the needs of an aging workforce

According to the Population Reference Bureau, there are more than 65 million baby boomers, the last of which will turn age 67 in the year 2031. As a generation, the baby boomers are known for many things including the rise of suburban flight and a consumerist culture and the promotion of women's and civil rights. In the coming years, experts are predicting that boomers will also become known as the generation that remained in the workforce the longest.

Longer life expectancies, stagnant wages and insufficient retirement funding are all expected to contribute to a large percentage of baby boomers working well into their golden years. In fact, experts predict that by the year 2020, 25 percent of the U.S. workforce will be age 65 or older. To prevent a spike in workplace injuries and workers' compensation claims, employers would be wise to take steps to address the unique and changing needs of the aging U.S. workforce.

OSHA takes steps to further protect workers from silica exposure

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, much like asbestos, crystalline silica is a natural material that's "found abundantly in the earth's crust." Also like asbestos, when breathed in, silica dust can become imbedded in lung tissue which can result in the development of many health problems including lung cancer, silicosis and kidney disease.

Recognizing the serious health risks that silica posed to workers in many industries, OSHA first established silica exposure limits in the 1970s. OSHA's rule required that construction employers reduce exposure to silica material to “250 micograms per per cubic meter” during an eight-hour working day while liming exposure rates in other industries to 100 micrograms per working shift. In the decades since, millions of workers have been exposed to levels at or exceeding these limits and many paid the ultimate price.

How sleep affects workers' productivity and safety

While everyone needs to sleep, many people underestimate just how much sleep they need. At some point or another, most people have likely experienced problems sleeping or life events, like the birth of a child, that cause prolonged sleep disruptions. However, while scientific evidence proves otherwise, not getting sufficient amounts of sleep is widely regarded as being no big deal.

Individuals who don't obtain sufficient amounts of sleep are less able to communicate effectively and are more likely to become distracted. Additionally, sleep deprivation has been linked to a decrease in overall performance and an increase in errors in both judgment and production-oriented tasks. From a productivity standpoint, it's clear that employers should be more concerned about whether or not their employees are sleeping well enough and for long enough at night.

Tragic boat accident in New York results in at least 1 fatality

Jobs in the transportation industry come with some risk of accident and injury. Despite the best efforts of employees and employers, these accidents can still happen and sadly, they have the potential to be catastrophic.

One devastating reminder of this occurred recently in New York when a tugboat crashed into a barge on the Hudson River. Authorities are still investigation the horrific accident, but what is known is that one of the crew members on the tugboat was killed and two are still missing. In the aftermath of accidents like this one, finding out what happened can be crucial for victims and their families. 

Every worker is at risk of suffering a brain injury

While often invisible to those on the outside, traumatic brain injuries are among the most devastating and debilitating of all injuries. From a concussion suffered after a slip-and-fall accident to a severe brain injury suffered in a car accident, individuals of all ages and socioeconomic levels are at risk of suffering a TBI.

Workplace accidents are among the most common causes of brain injuries and can impact everyone from an office worker who trips and falls down a flight of stairs to a construction worker who is struck in the head by falling debris at a work site. The truth is that while workers who are employed in industries like construction, transportation and agriculture are especially at risk of suffering a TBI; all workers must be aware of the specific and potentially hazardous conditions that exist within their own work environments.

Safety tips to prevent forklift accidents

While readily used to move and lift heavy objects and loads in warehouses and at loading docks across the country, the utility of forklifts is undeniable. Forklifts also, however, pose numerous and very real safety dangers to those workers who both operate and work in close vicinity to these types of construction vehicles.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, annually across the U.S., an average of 34,900 people are injured and 85 killed in accidents involving forklifts. The vast majority of forklift accidents are preventable. For example, in 42 percent of fatal forklift accidents, a vehicle's operator was crushed after a forklift tipped over. To prevent this and other types of forklift accidents, workers who operate these vehicles are advised to keep the following safety tips in mind.

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