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Newburgh New York Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Construction accidents: Worker dies when knocked off forklift

Forklifts can cause severe or fatal injuries if not used with the necessary care. Construction accidents involving lift trucks are frequent, and one such an incident claimed the life of a New York worker on a recent Tuesday. According to the Department of Buildings, several open investigations are pending for safety violations on this construction site.

Reportedly, the accident occurred at approximately 11 a.m. Authorities say two workers were using a forklift to move bundles of windows. A 34-year-old worker was standing on top of the fork of the lift truck that was being operated by a co-worker. Apparently, the driver put the forklift in reverse to back up, and the man standing on the fork failed to notice a beam that was part of a low ceiling.

Beryllium exposure enforcement might prevent workplace illness

The International Agency for Research on Cancer has declared beryllium as a carcinogen that can cause lung cancer. This is a severe occupational hazard, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced the development of standards to protect workers from contracting this workplace illness. Although March 12, 2018, was the set enforcement date, it was postponed to May 11 to give stakeholders in New York and other states the opportunity to study their obligations and to ensure consistency in OSHA inspections.

The enforcement will involve reduced permissible 8-hour and 15-minute exposure limits for workers in the shipyard and construction industries. Beryllium exposure in construction occurs among welders, roofers, metal recyclers, metal fabricators and abrasive blasters. Airborne beryllium can be inhaled, and victims may develop chronic beryllium disease, which is a lung condition. However, exposure to beryllium solutions, fumes, dust or mist can also be absorbed through workers' skins, and it could cause cancer.

Workplace accidents: Window frame pins construction worker

Constructions sites in New York and elsewhere will always pose multiple safety hazards. Workplace accidents in this industry often occur when heavy objects strike workers. While this is a known hazard, employers may fail to provide adequate safety training to teach employees how to avoid such injuries.

A construction site in a neighboring state was issued a stop-work order after a 45-year-old worker was severely injured shortly after 7:30 a.m. on a recent Monday. Paramedics and firefighters responded to a scene at a building that is being renovated. Reportedly, the worker was pinned by a window frame that fell on him.

Practices to prevent serious injuries in hospital construction

The ever-growing population and the fact that many people live longer creates a need for more and improved facilities to provide health care services in New York and elsewhere. Because many projects involve construction on existing facilities, extra precautions must be taken to prevent serious injuries to patients, medical staff and construction workers. Careful planning is essential when expansions or renovations must take place where patients cannot be vacated.

The first step is proper planning and anticipating every possible scenario before ground is even broken. While it is essential to ensure that every worker is equipped with the necessary personal protective equipment, adequate training is also vital. Working under circumstances where everybody is expected to tread softly is far removed from the more familiar construction sites, and briefing construction workers about how to consider the safety of the patients will be necessary.

Injured workers: EMS industry has high rate of workplace injuries

According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, emergency medical workers lose three times more work days than other employees in the general workforce. After a four-year study, NIOSH revealed that over 22,000 injured workers in this industry receive emergency room treatment each year nationwide, including in New York. The data also showed that those who are most often injured are full-time EMS workers whose experience does not exceed 10 years.

Furthermore, most injuries occur during 911 responses and are often suffered during transport and patient care. Repetitive body motions, awkward postures and excessive physical effort cause musculoskeletal injuries, with necks and backs mostly affected. Other causes for injuries include harmful substance exposure, slips, trips and falls, auto accidents and assaults.

Fatal construction accidents: New York City vs. New York State

Authorities want New York State to adopt a similar level of workplace safety standards as that of New York City. A recent study indicates that fatalities in construction accidents in the city numbered only 21 in 2016 -- four less than in the previous year. In contrast, the number of construction worker deaths that occurred in the remainder of the state in 2016 was 71, which is 16 more than in 2015, and the highest in 14 years.

Reportedly, the fatality rate in the state ranks New York among the top 10 states in which the most construction workers lost their lives in on-the-job accidents. Some believe this follows the increase in building activities and the decrease in the number of Occupational Safety and Health compliance inspectors. During this time, the efforts of the New York City Council in collaboration with the Department of Buildings and the office of the Manhattan District Attorney have brought about significant improvements in the safety culture of construction in New York City.

Workplace accident at recycling plant kills 26-year-old father

A tragic incident in another state underscores the potential dangers posed for workers in recycling plants in New York and elsewhere. A workplace accident resulted in the death of a 26-year-old father of a toddler in January. It's under investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The office of the county sheriff also launched a separate inquiry.

It appears that nobody witnessed the incident that caused this young man's death. When his co-workers reported that he was missing, it was determined that he had fallen into a machine that shreds tires. It is believed that he got caught and pulled into the shredder. However, these are simply assumptions at this stage, and investigators delve into the details and also assess the level of safety compliance practiced at this plant.

Workplace accident claims life of New York elevator technician

Construction company owners and contractors are expected to protect their employees from harm. They must provide construction sites that are free of known hazards, and provide the necessary personal protective equipment for each worker according to the jobs with which they are tasked. The New York City Department of Buildings has ordered an investigation into a recent fatal workplace accident at a Flatiron construction site.

According to an incident report by emergency workers who responded to the call, a 33-year-old elevator technician who was part of a construction crew fell nine floors to his death. They say the man fell down an elevator shaft on a recent Tuesday shortly before 9 a.m. DOB inspectors will investigate the circumstances that led to the tragedy.

Important guidelines involving workers' compensation

Safety authorities say most workplace accidents are avoidable if prescribed safety regulations are followed. However, on-the-job injuries continue to happen, and employees are sometimes blamed for causing the accidents in which they were injured. Fortunately, the New York workers' compensation program is a no-fault system, which provides benefits regardless of who was at fault.

In exchange for this assurance, injured workers are expected to refrain from filing lawsuits against their employers. As with all legal matters, exceptions exist. Workers who can prove that intentional malice or gross negligence by their employers led to the incidents that caused their injuries might have grounds to file personal injury lawsuits in a civil court. Similarly, employers who believe that an employee was injured off-duty or that his or her willful misconduct caused the injuries may reject the benefits claim.

4 primary hazards that cause workplace illness and injury

Employees in New York may face a variety of dangerous situations every day. Safety authorities expect employers to protect workers against workplace illness or injury. However, regardless of the industry in which a person is employed, he or she may be exposed to any of the four common types of occupational hazards.

Chemical hazards are typically posed by flammable, toxic or carcinogenic products that can damage organs and tissues. Biological hazards include parasites and microorganisms that can cause allergies and infections. Both these hazards can affect workers through skin contact, open wounds, inhalation and consumption. Employers must protect workers by providing the necessary personal protective equipment such as gloves and other protective clothing, safety glasses and respirators.

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