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Newburgh New York Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Work injury: Prevention in office environments better than cure

Many New York residents spend most of their hours every day working in offices without realizing that safety hazards are not only present in workplaces such as construction sites. There could be numerous safety hazards in office environments, any one of which can cause a serious work injury. Developing safety protocols for the office may be a smart move -- from establishing emergency exit procedures to making sure any spills at the water station are cleaned before someone suffers a slip and fall accident.

The most appropriate step to address potential hazards might be to consider what could go wrong. Companies should design a plan for action in the event of a natural disaster such as a flood, tornado or earthquake. However, the hazards that seem insignificant are more prevalent and must receive adequate attention. Check fire alarms, carbon monoxide detectors and smoke detectors frequently and ensure even those employees in offices furthest from the alarm can hear it. Check all electric cords for fraying and make sure they do not cross walkways or passages where it can cause trip hazards.

Fatal work injury: OSHA cites trailer maker for teen's death

The worksites of industrial companies in New York and elsewhere typically pose a variety of safety hazards that employers must address. The results of an investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration into a fatal work injury that occurred at a metal fabrication plant last July underscores the importance of compliance with federal safety regulations. The tragedy involved the death of a 17-year-old who had just started the job when he lost his life.

The site of the workplace accident was a trailer maker in another state. Investigators reported that the young worker was underneath the loading table of a laser-cutter system. The machine was active during the time when the man cleared metal scrap away from below the table, and it unexpectedly lowered the table onto him. The table trapped him, and this ultimately caused his death.

Construction accidents: Worker dies in fall down elevator shaft

The president of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York commented on the sadness of lives lost due to employers' disregard of safety regulations. This followed the death of an employee of a company cited for violations that led to construction accidents on previous occasions. This time, a 30-year-old man who died two days before Christmas.

According to a police report, the site of the accident was a 19-story complex of luxury apartments under construction. The man was apparently working on the third floor when he fell down the elevator shaft and landed in the basement. Paramedics rushed him to an area hospital, but he succumbed to fatal head injuries. He was declared dead upon arrival at the medical facility.

Workplace accidents: Laundry company cited again

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration works hard to protect workers from hazards nationwide, including in New York. The federal agency recently cited a laundry company in a neighboring state for the second time in two years for allowing work environments that are conducive to workplace accidents. OSHA issued several citations for safety violations -- some of which were repeat offenses.

Investigators found workers operating electrical equipment inappropriately without protection against excessive noise exposure. Broken equipment remained in use, and employees had to cross a busy street to push laundry carts from one building to another. Furthermore, fire extinguishers were blocked, and bathroom facilities were reportedly inadequate. There was also concern about the safety of workers after police reported gunshots were heard in the area.

Fatal workplace accident remains unexplained

Industrial accidents in New York and elsewhere claim many lives every year. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently completed an investigation into the June death of a worker in another state. The workplace accident claimed the life of a 51-year-old employee of a coatings company in the glazing industry. Although investigators identified several safety violations and cited the company, the cause of this man's death remains a mystery.

During the glazing process, a crane hooks products and moves them from one tank to the next on the iodizing line. Investigators say the worker became trapped between the hook of the crane and the load bars of one of the dip tanks. Reportedly, he died at the scene of the accident.

NYC Finds Operator at Fault for Deadly Crane Accident

An investigation by New York City’s Buildings Department concluded that a crane operator was at fault for a large crane that collapsed in lower Manhattan on a gusty morning in February of this year, killing one person and injuring three others. The city has suspended the operator’s license and have also moved to permanently revoke it, citing that the operator acted recklessly. This situation is a perfect illustration of why it is so important to seek legal guidance when workers are involved in workplace accidents either as injury victims or accidental contributors.

City officials stated that the operator did not properly secure the crane the night before. He then improperly lowered the boom, which caused it to become unstable. The city found no structural or mechanical issues or failures with the crane.  After this incident, the city implemented tougher rules for operating cranes in high winds.

Workplace accident involving exploding gas oven injures 5

Working around gas ovens can be life threatening. Gas explosions in industrial facilities in New York and other states have caused severe injuries to workers in the past. Although employers must ensure safe work environments in which they address all known hazards, industrial accidents continue to occur -- some with devastating consequences. A recent workplace accident at a manufacturing plant in a another state caused injuries to several employees.

In an incident report, the local fire chief said that the accident occurred at the premises of a manufacturer of exercising rowing machines on a recent Wednesday. He said a gas oven malfunctioned and caused an explosion. The report indicated that one worker suffered burns to his face, another one experienced respiratory problems, and three employees were hurt when they fell while evacuating the building.

Fatal work injury may lead to third-party lawsuit

Most workers in New York are covered by the state-regulated workers' compensation insurance system. Any victim of a work injury is entitled to pursue a claim for compensation, but what happens if an employee suffered an injury while he or she was not on site? If the injury occurred in the line of duty, it is compensable.

A Williamsburg man recently suffered fatal injuries while he was out delivering plumbing supplies to a construction site. A police report indicates that the incident occurred shortly after 11 a.m. on a recent Thursday at a construction site in Williamsburg. Reportedly, a 21-year-old man parked his car on the street near the building site. As he exited his vehicle, a passing tractor-trailer struck him, dragging him for a significant distance.

Construction accidents: I-beam kills crane operator, flagger

On the eve of Thanksgiving, two workers lost their lives in the latest incident in a series of fatal crane-related accidents in New York over recent years. One of the ways in which the city tries to prevent construction accidents is to prohibit the use of cranes when winds reach a certain strength; however, nobody seems to be sure whether the wind speed was just below or just over the limit on the fateful Tuesday. Until proved otherwise, authorities cite equipment failure as the cause of the fatalities.

Reportedly, a 47-year-old crane operator hoisted a 6,500-pound steel I-beam into place on a six-story building when the massive beam inexplicably detached and came crashing down. It fell onto the crane cab and a 43-year-old father of three who was the flagman. Both workers died on impact. The incident occurred shortly after midday, but it took rescue workers more than four hours to extricate the remains of the crane operator from the crushed cab.

OSHA investigates violence, injured workers at mental facilities

While construction sites and factories are known to be dangerous workplace facilities, those who work in mental institutions in New York and other states also face job hazards. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently launched investigations concerning the safety of workers at four such facilities in a neighboring state. The frequency of reports of injured workers likely led to this action.

This is not a new problem, and records indicate that OSHA reported that employees at mental health facilities face risks of violence by acute patients back in Oct. 2015. While caring for some patients, workers often suffer assaults that cause severe bodily injuries. After one such incident, OSHA criticized one of these four hospitals for its failure to use more staff when working with known violent patients. Incident reports include a nurse whose ear was almost torn off by a 22-year-old patient and another nurse who was attacked by a patient receiving drug addiction treatment.

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