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Newburgh New York Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Injured workers: Violence prevalent against New York nurses

The Violence Against Nurses Law became effective in Jan. 2010 when the New York Senate passed the legislation. A perpetrator who assaults a nurse could face felony charges for which the punishment upon conviction could be up to seven years behind bars. Sadly, such attacks remain prevalent, and concerned authorities say injured workers in hospitals should stop seeing it as part of the job.

As recently as March, a nurse in an emergency room in a Staten Island hospital was punched by a patient before he proceeded to use a plastic wire to choke her. Another patient whose blood pressure was being checked punched a nurse in 2016, and in 2015, a man allegedly choked a nurse who was treating him. Furthermore, the New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) says many assaults go unreported, as nurses are under the misconception that being spit on, punched and choked are par for the course.

Study shows performance incentives cause workplace accidents

It may come as no surprise to those in the New York workforce that many companies nationwide prioritize profits over worker safety. The combined research of two leading universities concludes that more workplace accidents occur at high-performing companies. The study used data provided by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration along with the financial information of businesses.

Those that show the highest injury rate are the companies whose financial performance meets or beats the expectations of financial analysts. It was found that these are companies at which management is incentivized to decrease production costs to bring about increased production output. It is easy to see how this form of motivation could jeopardize the safety of workers.

For cell tower workers, work injury is par for the course

A former cell tower worker asked people in New York and other states to think of the men and women who see to it that they have constant cell phone contact with whomever they want, whenever they want. Their occupation has been dubbed the most dangerous job in the country -- one in which every worker could potentially suffer a work injury that could be fatal. The 55-year-old is the author of a book describing the life-threatening conditions to which approximately 15,000 workers are exposed as they work on maintaining 215,000 cell phone towers at heights of up to 2,000 feet every day.

He says these workers have to deal with gale-force winds, rain, snow and subzero temperatures while putting their lives on the line. He gives graphic descriptions of a co-worker's decapitation by a cable and says others have died after falling off towers and from baskets that were attached to cranes. Some lost their lives after being struck by falling debris, being electrocuted or struck by lightning.

Construction accidents: New York tragedy claims worker's life

No foul play is suspected regarding a fatality at a New York building site on a recent Thursday. As with all deaths caused by construction accidents, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration will be investigating this one to determine the employer's compliance with federal safety regulations. Law enforcement stated that drugs and alcohol seemed not to have played a role in this tragedy.

According to an incident report, a bulldozer struck a 44-year-old worker at approximately 1 p.m. while she was leveling a field at a construction site in Red Hook. Reportedly, the accident occurred when a 45-year-old operator failed to notice the woman at ground level when he moved the bulldozer. He apparently promptly called emergency services after the incident, but the worker's life could not be saved.

New York construction worker succumbs to serious injuries

The New York City Buildings Commissioner said a complete investigation would follow a construction accident that recently occurred in the city. He commented on the chances that contractors take without considering the potential consequences. Too many construction workers suffer fatal or serious injuries that result from noncompliance with safety regulations.

Reportedly, this incident happened at approximately 11 a.m. on a recent Wednesday morning at a Midtown construction site. Following the workplace accident, city officials issued a stop work order. According to police, a 59-year-old worker tried to move a heavy steel deck on the second story of a building under construction when he fell to the ground.

OSHA fines company $1.5 million after fatal workplace accident

Trench collapses have claimed too many lives of workers nationwide, including in New York. For that reason, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration prescribes strict safety regulations that, if complied with, can prevent collapses that can cause traumatic injuries or death. The safety agency recently reported its findings after investigating a fatal workplace accident when a trench collapsed in a neighboring state.

OSHA investigators determined that the company had workers who were providing drain services at a job site last October. Two employees were working inside a trench when the giving away of a water main flooded the unprotected trench. Both workers died in this incident. OSHA has proposed fines totaling $1.5 million.

Fall from second floor causes serious injuries

Safety regulators such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration work to prevent fatalities, injuries and illnesses in workplaces in New York and elsewhere in the country. However, noncompliance with regulations continues to jeopardize those undertakings -- leading to serious injuries and deaths. OSHA says the annual fatality rate nationwide exceeds 4,500 workers in different industries, and falls form a significant percentage of those numbers.

OSHA will investigate a recent construction accident to determine whether safety violations might have led to the serious injuries a worker suffered. According to a report by Ramapo police, the incident took place at a construction site on a recent Friday. They said an employee who was unloading building materials using a mechanized forklift fell from the machine. Reportedly, he fell from the second story of the building under construction.

New York building site reports multiple construction accidents

A building site on Seventh Avenue in the New York borough of Manhattan seems to be littered with serious injury hazards for all the employees on the site. A worker's injury on a recent Thursday morning once again underscores the risks that have resulted in many construction accidents at this worksite. Reportedly, this employee was working on the ground floor of a hotel development when he tripped and fell while attempting to dodge a crane. He is lucky that his injuries were not considered serious.

Incidents on this construction site have involved more than the workers there. Last May, traffic delays occurred when a crane cable was dangling in the street. On the same day, a harnessed battery plummeted into the street. In June, a falling object reportedly damaged the windshield of a car that was waiting at an intersection.

What happens if workplace accidents are caused by third parties?

New York employees are no doubt aware of the insurance coverage their employers must carry to provide financial relief for those who suffer injuries in on-the-job accidents. However, what happens when workplace accidents result from the negligence of third parties? If this happens to you, you will likely not be allowed to sue your employer -- except if the company was grossly negligent -- but it will not affect your right to workers' compensation benefits. Nevertheless, if a party that is not associated with your employer is responsible for the injury, there may be grounds for a third-party personal injury claim.

You can pursue a separate civil lawsuit for personal injury at the same time as a filing a benefits claim with the workers' compensation insurance program. A civil lawsuit may provide additional compensation that is not typically covered by insurance, such as pain and suffering and loss of consortium. Any workers' comp benefits you receive will have to be repaid from a monetary award if your civil suit is successful. This is a complicated field of law, and the help of a knowledgeable attorney may ease the process.

Injured workers: New York's most hazardous winter jobs

When severe winter weather strikes in New York, employees in some outdoor jobs are exposed to serious workplace hazards. Reports of injured workers typically involve slip-and-fall accidents, dehydration and hypothermia. Technicians who work on power lines and meter readers are some of the most at-risk employees. Although power companies do major construction and maintenance during the months of spring or fall, emergencies in winter must be addressed. Despite the protective gear the linemen wear, they risk their lives when they are overwhelmed by the cold and lose focus on the dangers of electricity.

Another group of workers who risk their lives in harsh wind and brutal cold is airport ramp agents. They have to cope with snow and ice while they lift heavy bags, de-ice planes and deal with dangerous, slippery ramps. The danger is even more severe when blizzards and whiteouts occur. The listed physical demands of this occupation include climbing stairs, stooping, standing, reaching, pushing and lifting heavy objects. When done in extreme weather conditions, these actions can be very hazardous.

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