Newburgh New York Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Staying safe in the workplace

June is National Safety Month; 30 days in which we should all make an extra effort to reduce the causes of injuries and fatalities in the workplace. The National Safety Council and organizations across New York are trying to raise awareness of safety as well as we drive, and as we go about our business in our communities and homes.

The Safety Council asks everyone to take a pledge to be safe at work. With workplace fatalities on the rise for the first time in six years, the NSC asks employees and employers to take the pledge to reduce on-the-job injuries.

Know Your Workplace Safety Rights

The U.S. Constitution and its Bill of Rights are revered as powerful, articulate descriptions of the rights we all possess. The United States Department of Labor wants you to know that your rights don't stop at freedom of speech or freedom of the press, however.

You have rights in the workplace, too. The Labor Department says in clear terms that you have the right, under federal law, to a safe workplace. "Your employer must provide a workplace free of known health and safety hazards," the department says.

Promoting workplace safety

It is understandable and proper that Newburgh employers take steps to make workplaces safer. There is no doubt that when employers make employee safety a priority and follow up with things such as training, proper equipment and well-maintained facilities, many workplace injuries can be prevented.

A recent article on workplace safety and workers' compensation says that an insurance company study reveals the most common on-the-job injuries and gives employers advice on how to prevent them.

Trying to Help Can Hurt

Their job is to help those struggling with illness or injury, but they are often confronted with work-related health issues of their own, a new study says. They are home health care and hospice aides, and according to a new study, employers are having trouble finding and keeping the aides, in part because of workplace injuries.

Approximately a quarter of the workers recently surveyed said they are likely to leave their jobs in the coming year. Thirteen percent of them said that they had sustained an injury while working during the past 12 months.

Injury report spurs lawmakers to urge improved safety measures

For workers on the floor of the processing plants, there is no high pay or cushy benefits in the meat and poultry industry. What there is instead is a rate of injury and illness that continues to plague workers.

A recent report shows that the rates remain stubbornly higher than the injury and illness rates for the average worker in U.S. manufacturing. The Government Accountability Office report also notes that in the decade that ended in 2013, 154 meat and poultry workers died on the job.

New York workers' compensation deadlines

It might seem unfair or unreasonable, but the reality is that as soon as you are injured in the workplace, the clock starts ticking. Injured workers have deadlines to meet, even if they cannot work.

The deadlines are imposed by the New York State Workers' Compensation Board. In order to qualify for workers' comp benefits, you have to meet the deadlines. Of course, the first order of business when you sustain a workplace injury is to get needed medical treatment.

A look at the numbers

Now that winter has finally faded away, the sounds of spring and summer can be heard. Birds chirping, children playing outdoors and of course, the noise of road construction crews.

With road construction season comes dangers to the workers toiling to upgrade roads, streets and highways in and around Newburgh.

Nudging toward safety

It is the prevailing belief at the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration that workplace safety is an employer's responsibility. OSHA also believes that when a workplace has a high injury rate, it is "a sign of poor management."

In order to "nudge" employers toward creating safer working environments, OSHA today issued a rule that modernizes the collection of data about workplace injuries and illnesses.

Another Common Construction Hazard

Many of our regular readers will recall a recent blog post in this space on the "fatal four" types of construction accidents. There is another type of construction site mishap that is also far too common: trench collapses.

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration recently cited a construction company for a willful safety violation after a worksite accident in which a trench collapsed about a 90-minute drive north of Newburgh.

Occupational hearing loss, common and preventable

Anyone who has ever attempted to carry on a conversation at a crowded and noisy restaurant can likely recall feeling frustrated when trying to hear and understand what was being said. Now imagine that you experience this same degree of difficulty and frustration when trying to hear your spouse while sitting at your own kitchen table.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 13 percent of U.S. workers have suffered occupational-related hearing loss. Among the workers identified as suffering "moderate or worse hearing loss" are those who work in construction, manufacturing and mining. For these men and women, the negative effects of hearing loss are readily apparent and can have far-reaching implications in both their personal and professional lives.

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