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Newburgh New York Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Fatal accident occurred in uninspected chemical plant

When tragedy strikes, one of the first questions that people ask in its wake is “Why?” The urge to understand why something horrible has occurred is deeply human. Not only do we want to make sense of tragedy, we want to internalize information in ways that will allow us to prevent similar tragedies from occurring in the future. Unfortunately, it seems that when it comes to work safety, Americans are failing to internalize the lessons of tragedies that have occurred before.

Too often, the media reports that fatal accidents have occurred on worksites that have not been adequately inspected. Over the past several years alone, numerous explosions and other fatal incidents have occurred at uninspected plants. And yet, inspection rates are not increasing to a level that allows for the general prevention of similar fatal accidents.

Thinking about seasonal worker safety

‘Tis the season to hire holiday and winter-related seasonal workers. Across the nation, retailers, outdoor-based employers including ski slope operators and other seasonal businesses are hiring temporary and seasonal workers. Seasonal and temporary work can be enjoyable, rewarding and lucrative. However, it is vitally important that all employers of seasonal workers focus on safety as their new employees begin training and ultimately begin working.

We frequently write about the need for adequate and proper safety training for all workers. No matter what kind of job one is employed to do, the risk of workplace accidents is real. Thankfully, with proper safety training and other necessary safety precautions, the vast majority of preventable accidents can be avoided.

Dozens of construction workers hurt at Freedom Tower

New York City’s Freedom Tower, built on the site of the former World Trade Center, is now open. For many of us who remember the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, and survivors of that terrible day, the construction of this new skyscraper is a symbol of the United States enduring and thriving despite the threat of terrorism.

But another legacy of the Freedom Tower may be a series of dangerous construction accidents that cause serious injury to dozens of workers. The Daily News reports that there were 34 cases of serious worker injury during the years of construction on the World Trade Center site that were not reported to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Gun range workers risk toxic exposure

We frequently write about the dangers that workers in high-risk industries face every day on the job. It is important to discuss these dangers and ways to mitigate them. However, it is also important to discuss little-known dangers that workers may be facing on a regular basis even if they do not work in high-risk industries such as commercial trucking, construction and commercial fishing.

For example, it has recently become apparent that individuals who work at gun ranges face a toxic exposure risk simply by showing up to work. When gun ranges are not properly cleaned and maintained, they can place both workers and customers at risk of lead poisoning. As many workers may be unfamiliar with lead poisoning symptoms, it is possible to become poisoned and to remain unfamiliar with what is causing illness.

What does workers' compensation cover after a workplace accident?

If you suspect that an injury or illness is work-related, you should immediately alert your employer and consider filing a claim for workers' compensation benefits. It's an important piece of advice that many people here in New York have heard at some point in their life.

Some people have never questioned though why this is such a good piece of information. Fewer still have asked what benefits workers' compensation provides until they suffer a work-related accident that causes them to become temporarily or permanently disabled. That's why, in this week's blog post, we will try to answer a question that is probably on the minds of some of our readers right now:

UPDATE: Protecting medical workers during the Ebola scare

The word Ebola seems to be center-stage in a number of recent news reports. In fact, our previous post discussed worker-safety in the medical field in relation to the "Ebola scare." Since that post was published, the word scare turned into reality for two nurses who treated the first man diagnosed with the virus in the United States. 

It was no surprise that following the spread of the illness to the two nurses, the hospital has come under scrutiny for how the entire situation was handled. The hospital has been accused of failing to adequately train their employees and to put necessary precautions in place. On Monday, Oct. 20, a group of nurses from the hospital spoke out about the situation and showed their support for the hospital where they work. 

Protecting medical workers during the Ebola scare

Over the past several weeks, the media, public health officials and lawmakers have questioned whether or not the American public should be concerned about a widespread Ebola outbreak within the United States. The general consensus seems to be that Americans have little reason to fear such a turn of events. However, the diagnosis of a nurse in Spain recently marked the first case diagnosed outside of Africa. And the death of a patient treated inside the U.S. has many individuals understandably on edge.

Should an outbreak of any significant size occur, medical workers would be among those most directly affected by the virus. When patients are hospitalized for infectious conditions, hospitals must not only protect other patients from contracting the condition but they must also protect workers from contracting the condition as well. The Ebola scare highlights just how important it is to have infectious disease protocols in place before an outbreak occurs.

Post-injury, should you file a lawsuit or seek workers' comp?

If you have been injured while at work, you may be wondering what your legal options are. If your employer’s negligence contributed to your injury, you may be tempted to sue. However, you may be even more concerned about receiving your workers’ compensation benefits. The question of whether to file a lawsuit, pursue workers’ compensation benefits or both is a personal one. But thankfully, it is also a question that an experienced attorney can help you navigate.

In general, you may either collect workers’ compensation benefits or file a personal injury lawsuit. In most cases, you may not do both. The reason behind this divide is that the one of the primary purposes of workers’ compensation is to serve as a substitution for personal injury damages. However, every work-related injury case is different and on rare occasions, it may be possible to pursue both options.

Understanding the link between asbestos and mesothelioma

Before 1977, both private residences and public buildings were frequently constructed in ways that utilized asbestos among their building materials. Since that time, asbestos has generally been outlawed as both a building material and as a material used in the production of numerous consumer and industrial products. However, construction workers, demolition workers and a number of other workers still come in contact with this material for a variety of reasons.

When workers are exposed to job sites that may contain asbestos, employers are supposed to outfit them with proper safety gear. Failure to guard against toxic exposure to asbestos can lead to a number of disastrous consequences, including the development of mesothelioma.

Honoring National Farm Safety and Health Week

One doesn’t normally associate the workings of New York City with the farmers of America. One generally has to drive quite far from the city before even encountering a farm. However, the work that America’s farmers do substantially impact the ability of New Yorkers to live like they do. Nearly every mouthful of “real” food that New Yorkers consume contains at least one ingredient that was grown or otherwise cultivated on a farm of some sort. As a result, protecting the nation’s farmers from harm is very much in the interests of New Yorkers.

Unfortunately, the agricultural industry tends to be quite dangerous. Farming and otherwise processing agricultural products is dangerous work for even the most informed and well-trained workers. However, it is also particularly dangerous for the children, teens and migrant workers that comprise a surprising amount of the labor required to keep America’s farms and agricultural operations running.

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