Newburgh New York Workers' Compensation Law Blog

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.

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.

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