April 2011 Archives

Massachusetts workers' compensation insurance rates stay the same for another year

The Boston Globe is reporting that Massachusetts employers workers' compensation insurance rates will remain unchanged through at least next year, saving big business money even as industry continues to complain about the cost of protecting workers..
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Our Massachusetts workers compensation attorneys want you to know that big business should not be arguing that protecting and caring for injured workers is adding to their bottom line. Many employers will vigorously fight a claim to keep those costs down, which is why getting an experienced workers' compensation attorney is crucial after a Boston work accident.

Insurers were seeking a 6.6 percent increase. Massachusetts big businesses are thrilled with the rate freeze which will save them roughly $65 million a year.

"Our goal at the Division of Insurance is to make sure that these rates are fair, they protect workers, and that they do not overly burden employers,'' Insurance Commissioner Joseph Murphy said in a statement. "This agreement does all of those things.''

We certainly agree that saving big business $65 million will not "overly burden" them. Last year, big businesses weren't "overly burdened" when rates were cut by 2.4 percent.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) 4,340 people were killed on-the-job in 2009. Approximately 3.6 per 100 workers have a reported serious workplace illness or injury. Workers' compensation insurance provides for these sick and injured workers.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 59 Massachusetts workers died due to on-the-job accidents in 2009. Of those, 20 were killed from traffic accidents, 12 died from coming into contact with a dropped object or being hit by equipment, 11 died due to a fall, 9 workers were killed by a violent act or assault while at work and 7 perished after an exposure to a harmful substance.

If you are considering filing a Workers' Compensation claim in Massachusetts, consult an experienced attorney who will fight for the benefits you deserve.

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Workers Memorial day event to honor Massachusetts workers killed in the workplace

Thursday, April 28th is Workers Memorial Day, a day established to recognize workers who were injured or who died on the job. Our Massachusetts workers' compensation lawyers understand the risks: every day an average of 1.2 workers died at their jobs each week in 2009.
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Employers have a responsibility to maintain a safe work environment and comply with certain federal regulations in order to keep employees out of danger and free from Massachusetts work illnesses and injuries suffered on the job.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that approximately 16 workers die each day from injuries sustained at work in the United States. Over 11,000 private-sector workers suffer a nonfatal work-related illness or injury each day, which causes more than half of them to either be transferred to another job, or requires them to be on restricted duty or a leave of absence from the job they currently hold. It is estimated that 200 of the 9,000 workers treated in emergency rooms each day are admitted because of a severe injury or illness suffered at work.

Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health reports that 62 people were killed on the job in 2009. Another estimated 520 Massachusetts employees died in 2009 from occupational disease. The construction industry remains at the top in lives lost on the job. Firefighters and fisherman also had a high number of deaths on the job in 2009. The leading causes of fatal injuries on the job are transportation-related, falls, commercial fishing, workplace violence, and incidents involving the employee being crushed by something at work.

Families who lost a loved one at work in 2010 are encouraged to attend the Workers Memorial Day event hosted by the Massachusetts AFL-CIO, Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health and the Greater Boston Labor Council. The event will be held at the State House Stairs on Beacon Street on Thursday, April 28th, 2011 from 12:15 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. A reading of lost workers' names will kick off the event followed by featured speakers which include safety experts, state officials and family members of those who lost their life on the job in 2010.

Remembering your loved one is an important step but more importantly so is having a voice. Loved ones need to speak up to legislators about state safety and health-related issues in legislation. For more information about workplace fatalities, go to to view the full report called 'Dying for Work in Massachusetts: The Loss of Life and Limb in Massachusetts'.

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Feds shed light on preventing rigging accidents in Massachusetts

Rigging dangers are every where at a shipyard. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) hopes their recently published document illustrates tips to preventing future rigging accidents.

Our Boston personal injury lawyers know that working in a shipyard is one of the most hazardous work environments. Ensuring a safe workplace should be the primary goal of your employer to prevent Massachusetts work injuries.
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Rigging in a shipyard uses ropes and cables to secure huge ship parts or sections to lifting equipment in order to move them. Needless to say if the rigging isn't done properly the load could come crashing down, killing someone instantly. A SHIPS (Safety and Health Injury Prevention Sheet) was created for rigging and designed to show the do's and don'ts of rigging in order to reduce the number of death and injuries suffered on the job.

The SHIPS document begins with the common causes of serious or fatal shipyard hazards. Fall hazards are caused by unsafe work surfaces, unprotected openings and improperly used ladders. Struck-by and crushing hazards are caused by many situations including: an unsafe rigged load, being in the wrong position when the load is being moved, defective equipment, improperly used tag lines and the load operator placing the load above workers. Electrical hazards exist when equipment and tools are not grounded properly, electric cables become worn or frayed, electrical tools are defective and the hoisting or hauling equipment comes in contact with live electric lines.

The SHIPS document presents illustrations of different scenarios on how injuries occur and how to prevent them. In each scenario a real case history is reviewed and then analysis and preventive measures are discussed. The pictures make it clear even to a layperson what was done incorrectly and how it can be prevented in the future. SHIPS training documents are made to be user and reader friendly and come with mini-posters for quick referencing.

"Far too many workers in shipyard employment have suffered severe injuries or have died from preventable hazards," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. "Employers who follow the guidance provided in this injury prevention sheet will create a safer, more healthful work environment for their workers."

OSHA Maritime Industry Web page offers links to Maritime information including: standards and guidelines, compliance information, advisory committee viewpoints, outreach training program and safety and health topics.

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Failure to inspect escalators causing a high risk of injury at Massachusetts shopping malls

We all ride on escalators occasionally, some of us even ride every day, but does the thought ever cross your mind how safe you are while riding on them? A recent tragedy reported by the Boston Globe reminds us of the high risk of an escalator accident in Massachusetts, especially when we have small children riding with us.

Escalators are common in malls, train and subway stations, professional sport venues, and airports. The recent fatal accident at Auburn Mall involved a 4-year-old boy who fell off the moving escalator after he had grabbed the moving railing with two hands. The young boy sustained a severe head injury when he fell from the second floor onto a store display case. He died later at the hospital.
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State records have shown that officials in charge of inspecting escalators in Massachusetts shopping malls over the last three years are failing to do their job, the Globe reported. Inspection reports found that only 44 out of 188 escalators at major shopping malls throughout the state were inspected properly from 2008 to 2010. Escalators are to be inspected annually but many were missed at least once, and some missed two consecutive years during the three year period. The inspections that were completed often found that escalators need repaired for numerous problems -- 22 of them were shut down because they were deemed unsafe.

There were 12 new inspectors hired in 2010 but even with the addition, state officials claim they don't have enough manpower to keep up with the 900 escalators and 34,000 elevators that need inspected annually in Massachusetts. In order to avoid backlog, the 51 inspectors would need to conduct 700 inspections a year. The state has an obligation to make safety a top priority because losing lives as a result of failing to get the job done is unacceptable.

The following are safety tips for using an elevator offered by Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority:

-Hang on to small children when riding on the escalator.

-Always use an elevator for strollers, wheelchairs, pushchairs or buggies whenever possible.

-Step on and off the escalator carefully.

-Stand to the right side of the escalator and hold on to the top part of the handrail. Never grab on to the moving part.

-Make sure your shoelaces are tied and not dragging. Never stand at the edge of the stair.

-Stand facing forward at all times.

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Springtime in Boston can lead to increased number of cycling accidents

Our Boston personal injury lawyers warn you to watch for bicyclist as the weather warms up. Cycling is a wonderful activity for the whole family, but stay alert to prevent a Massachusetts bicycle accident.

According to Mass.gov children ages 5-18 make up more than 50 percent of all non-fatal bicycle injuries in Massachusetts.
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Every year nearly 5,600 children go to the hospital or are hospitalized for injuries sustained while bicycle riding. Boys 10-14 receive the most non-fatal bike riding injuries and they are 3 times more likely to get hurt riding a bike than girls.

The most frequent cause of death sustained while riding a bicycle is a head injury. Falling off a bike without a helmet can easily cause a traumatic brain injury or a skull fracture. Head injuries can be reduced up to 85 percent by wearing an approved bicycle helmet. In a recent Safekids study, 52 percent of kids ages 5 to 14 were observed not wearing a helmet. Almost half the kids wearing helmets had them on incorrectly.

Massachusetts requires an approved properly fitting helmet be worn by riders under age 17.

In 2009, nationally 630 bicyclists lost their lives in traffic-related crashes, another 51,000 were injured, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Nearly 70 percent of the accidents happened in urban areas and most were non-intersection related. Almost 3 out of 4 fatal accidents happen during the day and the average age of those killed was 41. Males account for most of the fatalities and injuries from cycling. Alcohol was a factor in 40 percent of cyclist's deaths, either by the rider or the driver.
Children under age 16 made up 13 percent of all cyclists killed and accounted for 20 percent of those injured.

Massachusetts had 6 bicycle fatalities in 2009.

Kids can be safer by following these bike riding tips:

-Wear a helmet and be visible to motorists.

-Check your equipment before heading out, especially your brakes.

-Ride with the flow of traffic, never against it.

-Obey traffic laws.

-Yield to traffic.

-Signal your turns, be predictable.

-Be alert, take out the ear buds.

-Always look before making a turn.

-Watch out for parked cars opening their doors.

Continue reading "Springtime in Boston can lead to increased number of cycling accidents " »

Spring a dangerous time for pedestrian accidents in Boston

Earlier this month CBS 3 reported on the death of a pedestrian who did not use the crosswalk while crossing the street.

Our Boston personal injury lawyers know that as the weather improves so does the risk for a Boston pedestrian accident.
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A young woman was killed after being hit by a van on State Street. The accident occurred just before the Boston Road and Berkshire Avenue split around 8:30 pm on a Friday night.

It appeared that the woman was not in the crosswalk. The police reported that road and weather conditions were poor at the time of the crash. It was raining and the roads were slippery when the accident occurred.

The van that hit the woman stopped after the collision and police indicated that alcohol did not contribute to the crash.

The victim did not have ID on her when she was hit.

This tragedy illustrates an important safety tip: pedestrians should always use crosswalks. They are designed to alert drivers to look for pedestrians. Crossing in the middle of the block is dangerous because the driver is not expecting to see a pedestrian. If a crosswalk is not available, never cross at a bend or a hill in the road. You must always be able to see approaching traffic. Always look left, right, and left again before crossing and move quickly but don't run across the street.

Here are more tips to be a safer pedestrian:

-Sidewalks are designed for pedestrians, use them. The curb is actually a small safety barrier between you and vehicles.

-If sidewalks aren't available walk facing traffic on the left side of the street. Facing traffic gives you more time to react.

-Wear retro-reflective materials, which can be seen up to 500 feet at night. The color white can be seen up to 180 feet and dark clothing can only be seen from about 80 feet away. Carry flashlights or reflectors when walking at night.

-Pay attention and don't wear ear buds or headphones. Be aware of your surroundings.

-Walk defensively because drivers don't always pay attention. Make eye contact with drivers; don't ever assume they see you. Though pedestrians usually have the right-of-way, better to be safe than injured and right.

-Refrain from crossing the street intoxicated. Poor judgment, reflexes and balance can lead to a pedestrian accident.

-If you are heading out for an early morning jog or walk, bring ID with you in case you are involved in a serious accident.

Continue reading "Spring a dangerous time for pedestrian accidents in Boston " »

Local Roofing and Construction Companies Face New Directive to Help Reduce Boston Work Accidents

"Fatalities from falls are the number one cause of death in construction," said Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) Assistant Secretary Dr. David Michaels. "These deaths are preventable, and we must prevent them."

Ironically, the National Roofing Contractor Association challenged OSHA'S directive on the use of fall protection in residential construction. The December 2010 directive withdrew a previous one allowing residential construction employers to ignore some of the fall protection requirements, according to a United States Department of Labor press release. The challenger was rejected by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.
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Our Boston workers compensation lawyers would like to stress the safety concerns on our construction sites in the area. It is important for employers to abide by and enforce all safety precautions provided by OSHA as they are mandated to help keep our workers safe and help prevent fall accidents.

"Fall protection saves lives," said Michaels. "There are effective means available to protect residential construction workers from falls. We applaud the court's decision upholding this updated, commonsense directive."

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 800 lives were lost as a result from workplace falls in 2008. Falls from roofing accidents were down 26 percent and falls from ladders decreased by 14 percent. The Bureau estimates that residential roofing falls count for approximately 40 worker deaths a year. In attempt to further protect our workers, roofing and construction companies are now required to comply with new directives by June 16.

With the new directive, companies must abide by the following to help keep their employees safe and help them avoid the potentially fatal fall accidents:

-Employees working 6-feet or above, must use guardrails, personal fall arrest systems or safety nets.

-Employers may use other fall protection measures, such as the use of warning lines and safety monitoring systems for performance of roofing work on low-sloped roofs.

-If an employer can prove that the use of conventional fall protection methods increase the probability of a fall, then a written, site-specific fall protection plan must be presented documenting detailed reasons why the system would be more dangerous.

Continue reading " Local Roofing and Construction Companies Face New Directive to Help Reduce Boston Work Accidents " »

Yale Student Dies in Massachusetts School Accident

Yale students who are enrolled in the machine shop courses at the University are required to complete a safety course beforehand to ensure student safety on the large, and dangerous, equipment. One of the tips offered to the student in this course is to always tie back long hair while using the heavy machinery. A Yale University student, who had completed this safety course, was killed after she was pulled into a piece of machine shop equipment by her long hair, that was not in fact pulled back, according to Boston.com.

Our Massachusetts personal injury lawyers understand that we expect our children to be safe at school, especially under the supervision of school faculty. They're expected to be protected in the classroom, on field trips, during sporting events and and during all school-related activities. Student may not always be relied on and may need supervision, even after safety training courses are completed.
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Since the incident, all monitors and shop supervisors will now be required to take a safety course by the end of next week. Through this course they will in informed about and trained on how to properly respond to emergency situations. They will also be learning how to properly prevent someone from working on machinery if deemed impaired of unfit.

Just because a student may not have followed safety protocol, does not alleviate the school of responsibility. Why was the student allowed to operate the machine in violation of the rules? Were the proper safe guards in place? Was the machine antiquated, poorly maintained or otherwise dangerous? These are just a few of the questions that should be asked by an experienced personal injury or wrongful death lawyer in Massachusetts.

"This two-hour course will include a discussion of the implementation and enforcement of safety rules for shops and is intended for all shops where a Yale student would be likely to work or have any interaction," Stephanie Perry, business manager at Yale's environmental health and safety office, wrote in the e-mail.

The United States Department of Labor's Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) will be looking further into the incident.

We want to remind all students and parents that is it the responsibility of the school, the school district and the school faculty to provide a safe learning environment for everyone on the campus and while engaged in any off-campus school related activities such as school field-trips or sporting events.

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National Safe Digging Month Raises Awareness about Dangers in Massachusetts and Elsewhere

As spring is upon us, many construction projects have begun and are in full swing. In light of the season, April has been marked as National Safe Digging Month, an event coordinated by the Common Ground Alliance.

The month-long event was created to raise awareness and increase the emphasis on safe digging across the nation. Diggers, for both construction and residential purposes, are urged to call 811 before digging into the ground to check for possible gas or electrical lines. By making this one simple call to locate potential dangers under the ground, work accidents in Massachusetts and elsewhere in the United States can be prevented.
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Our Boston workers compensation attorneys urge you to join the awareness efforts. Calling 811 before you dig will not only help you to prevent potential injury, but it can also help you to prevent property damage and inconvenient power outages.

So how does 811 work? All you have to do it dial 8-1-1 a few days before you've planned to start digging. Once you've informed the operator about where you'll be digging and what type of work you'll be doing, they'll send a locator out to the site to mark the approximate location of pipes, cables and underground wires so you'll know what's below and will be able to dig safely.

The United States Department of Transportation claims these accidents are 100 percent preventable with the proper use of this service. They remind everyone, contractors, neighbors, landscapers -- EVERYONE -- to take the initiative to plan your dig with mapping provided by 811.

The "811 Before You Dig" program offers you these campaign tools to help you spread the word about National Safe Digging Month. Many of these campaign materials can be customized with your own business logo.

For even more detailed information or a complete list of the Massachusetts digging laws visit the Dig Safe System, Inc. website.

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OSHA Warns Salon Workers and Customers about Dangerous Levels of Formaldehyde

A hazard alert has been issued by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration to alert those who work in hair salons. The warning informs these employees about potential formaldehyde exposure from working with various hair smoothing and straightening products, according to the United States Department of Labor.

The Occupational Safety and Hazard Administration (OHSA) released a report after receiving complaints and concerns and conducting and investigation regarding Brazilian Blowout and other hair smoothing products.
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Boston workers' compensation lawyers would like to urge those working in local salons to practice caution when using these products as formaldehyde, a colorless, strong-smelling gas, can be a serious health hazard when exposed to workers and customers.

Tests conducted by the safety administration concluded that some salon air revealed high levels of the chemical in these work areas, higher than OSHA's legal limit for salons. Products that were labeled as formaldehyde-free even exceeded the legal limit. Importers and distributors of the products have already been issued violations from California's Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The violations were for listing products as "formaldehyde-free" when in fact they contained formaldehyde. They failed to list the dangerous ingredient both on the company's product labels and on the material safety data sheets.

"Workers have the right to know the risks associated with the chemicals with which they work, and how to protect themselves," said federal OSHA Assistant Secretary Dr. David Michaels. "Employers need to know these risks in order to ensure the safety and health of their employees."

Formaldehyde can cause irritation to the human body by causing allergic reactions of the skin, eyes and lungs and has even been linked to nose and lung cancers.

The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 requires that employers take responsibility in providing safe and healthful workplaces for all employees. OSHA's role in the process is to ensure these safe work conditions for all salon workers and owners by continuing to set and enforce these standards. OSHA also provides training, education and assistance.

If formaldehyde is used in salon, owners must follow these strict requirements in OSHA's Formaldehyde standard (29 CFR 1910.1048) to ensure the safety of workers and customers:

-Properly train employees prior to use. Provide them with respirators and train them to use them properly. Employees must meet all requirements in OSHA's Respiratory protection standard.

-Require that workers use lower heat setting on blow-dryers and other heat related hair styling equipment.

-Clearly post signs throughout your salon where formaldehyde may be above OSHA's limit and instruct workers about the potential dangers of such areas. Only allow authorized personnel in these areas, keep customers and untrained individuals away.

-Make sure your salon has an effective air ventilation system in the areas where these products are mixes. This ventilation system will help keep the levels of formaldehyde below the OHSA limit.

-Inform workers about the health hazards of formaldehyde exposure. Instruct them on how to use the product safely, what protective equipment to use and wear while handling the product and how to clean up thoroughly after use.

OSHA provides workers and employers with a Formaldehyde Fact Sheet for a complete description of how to use the chemical and avoid causing potential safety hazards.

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Employers Urged to Use new OSHA Document, Describing Methods to Prevent Workplace Falls in Boston and Elsewhere

Mainly aimed at new construction, a document issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) aims to help employers prevent fall-related injuries and deaths on residential construction sites, according to a United States Department of Labor press release.

The precautionary document compliments the Compliance Guidance for Residential Construction directive from December 2010 by providing employers with methods they can use to help them comply with these new safety standard requirements.
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Fatalities from falls are the number one cause of workplace deaths in construction, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The Administrations provides these safety measures as a way to effectively prevent these work related fatalities in Massachusetts and elsewhere in the United States.

Our Boston workers' compensation lawyers urge employers to read and follow this Fall Protection in Residential Construction document as it is intended to assist employers to comply with OSHA's safety measures. As the spring season is upon us, the number of construction projects across the city will increase.

While the new directive is aimed primarily at those working on new construction, all construction workers are encouraged to become familiar with the safety procedures. The document illustrates various safety methods that employers can use during different stages of their construction plan. The methods used to prevent fall-related injuries and deaths include guardrails, ladders, anchors for personal fall arrest systems and fall restraints, safety net systems and scaffolds.

Prior to the new directive, the previous standard allowed certain employers to use alternative methods of fall protection. With the issuance of the new directive in December 2010, all residential construction employers were now instructed to now comply with 29 Code of Federal Regulations 1926.501(b) (13). If residential builders conclude that traditional fall protection is not feasible within certain residential environments and is not the most effective strategy in providing safe environments to workers, than this code will also allow them to use alternative means of protection after providing a detailed document to OSHA explaining why the new methods may be ineffective on their site. OSHA has provided training and compliance assistance for employers. The agency also offers a webinar for those interested in learning more about the compliance.

The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 was set to ensure that employers understand that they are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role in this process is to assure these conditions for America's workers by setting and enforcing these safety standards, education workers and employers and providing proper training and assistance.

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Feds enforce safety rules in effort to prevent Busing Accidents in Massachusetts

A recent sweep of surprise inspections handed out citations to nearly 200 bus drivers and removed close to 300 passenger carrier buses from roadways across the nation. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) joined forces with state and local law enforcement partners to conduct nearly 3,000 of these surprise inspections.

As we recently discussed on our Boston Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, officials are doing everything they can to increase road safety for these buses, passengers and all motorists on our roadways.
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Boston personal injury lawyers understand that these passenger carrier buses hold the lives of many passengers during travel on our roadways. Passengers rely on these busing companies to provide safe vehicles and responsible drivers to help get them to their destination safely. These companies should be held to the highest of standards to ensure they execute their job as safely as possible.

"Working side-by-side with our state and local law enforcement partners, we can ensure that every passenger bus company and driver operates as safely as possible," said FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro. "These strike force activities are one of the many effective tools we use year-round to raise the safety bar for commercial buses and drivers on our nation's roadways."

Another attempt at passenger safety, known as the Motorcoach Safety Action Plan, proposed new regulations that will require all buses to come equipped with seat belts and electronic on-board recorders instead of the easily falsified paper records. These records keep tabs on driver hours and help to determine how best to strengthen driver heath requirements and enforcement programs, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

"Safety is our number one priority," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "We will continue to use every resource at our disposal to shut down unsafe passenger bus companies that place motorists at risk and remove drivers from our roads who put passengers in harm's way."

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Japanese Nuclear Disaster Highlights Risks of Radiation in Massachusetts workplace

Residents experience low levels of radiation on a daily basis. The levels of radiation released through the Fukushima Daiichi power plant, recently threatening the coasts of the U.S. in trace amounts, do not present a threat. We're not completely in the clear however, small traces of acid rain are expected in the Boston area.

You are more likely to be exposed to excessive levels of radiation inBoston work accidents-- particularly those residents who work in the medical or energy fields.
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Boston workers' compensation attorneys understand that aside from the everyday exposure to residual radiation in the atmosphere and to medical applications, detrimental radiation exposure causes potential danger in local plants and nearby homes. We note the recent report from the watchdog group, Union of Concerned Scientists that listed 14 plants that had near misses last year.

Plants from outside of our state can also pose threats to our residents. Boston state health officials announced that the Japanese power plant explosion has caused a stream of radioactive rain on the Bay State. No need to be alarmed, the levels were declared too low to pose a threat to residents, according to the Boston Herald.

It is to be noted that the half-life of these radioactive materials is approximately 8 days. The matter is expected to dissolve and become virtually undetectable. Officials are continuously testing the state's water supply as a safety precaution.

"The drinking water supply in Massachusetts is unaffected by this short-term, slight elevation in radiation," said Public Health Commissioner John Auerbach. "However, we will carefully monitor the drinking water as we exercise an abundance of caution."

Not all radiation or chemical exposure is life threatening. Everyday, acceptable amounts of exposure can result from medical procedures such as CT scans and x-rays. It is the massive amount of exposure, as the Japanese plant workers are being exposed to or the Danvers Explosion of 2006, that poses life-threatening consequences. While these explosions are unpredictable and sometimes unavoidable, OSHA has established rules and regulations in attempt to avoid any similar disaster from occurring in Massachusetts.

Here are some tips to help you through a nuclear power plant emergency should you every run into one:

-Stay inside your home until instructed otherwise.

-Don't return home if you happen to be out during the incident. Wait until authorities have cleared the area.

-Listen for information from the power company and officials to stay informed. Ignorance can be a harmful burden in this scenario.

-Be sure to bring pets and livestock indoors.

-Do not use your phone.

-If you think you have been contaminated, take a thorough shower, put infected clothes in a plastic bag and seal it.

-Be sure to seek medical assistance if you experience any unusual symptoms that could possibly be related to radiation or chemical exposure.

The best way to limit radiation exposure is to stay informed, shield yourself from the radiation by staying indoors and be patient.

It is the responsibility of employers to provide a safe workplace for factory workers that may come in contact with these dangerous materials. It is also their responsibility to provide any necessary compensation should accident occur.

Continue reading "Japanese Nuclear Disaster Highlights Risks of Radiation in Massachusetts workplace " »

Officials Cite Massachusetts companies for work-safety violations

A.C. Castle Construction Co. Inc. of Danvers and C.I.L. Inc have been cited for various violations of workplace safety by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The United States Department of Labor reports the companies exposed employees to fall and electrocution hazards, as well as higher-than-average injury and illness rates. OHSA's Site-Specific Targeting Program directs inspections to workplaces with higher-than-average injury and illness rates and found these companies to be high-risk zones for a work accident in Boston and nearby areas.

Our Boston personal injury lawyers would like to stress the importance of a safe working environment. Ever since the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are help responsible for providing safe workplaces for all their employees. While these conditions are required by law, proper compensation and care is not always provided by the employer. That is why you're encouraged to consult an experienced attorney to help ensure your rights are protected in the event of a workplace injury.
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A serious workplace violation occurs when there is substantial probability that serious physical harm or death could result from a hazard. Both of the Massachusetts companies were cited for unsafe work conditions, OSHA handed out fines totaling nearly $100,000.

The A.C. Castle Construction Co. Inc. of Danvers just received 21 repeat and serious violations of workplace safety standards, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. The roofing contractor also is reported to have failed to provide safe work conditions for their on-site employees, allegedly exposing employees to fall and electrocution hazards at a residential work site. Employees were observed working without fall protection on the building's roof and on a ladder jack scaffold, exposing them to falls of nearly 19 feet, according to a recent OSHA press release. The company was also cited for additional fall hazards for employees using or working on damaged, misused, unsecured or inadequate ladders.

The company plant of C.I.L. Inc. was also cited and fined by OSHA for repeat and serous violations. C.I.L. Inc. provides metal finishing, anodizing and hard coat services. The company was cited for the use of unapproved electrical equipment in an area where flammable paints and solvents are mixed, excess air pressure for a cleaning hose, unlabeled electric circuits and inadequate ventilation in an area where flammable materials are stored, according to the Department of Labor.

"These citations address basic construction safety hazards that should not have existed in the first place. They should be of vital concern to all employers whose workers labor at heights and near power lines," said Jeffrey A. Erskine, OSHA's area director for Essex and Middlesex counties. "Employers should take the time to perform a spring tuneup, including reviewing their safety programs, equipment, employee training and applicable OSHA regulations to ensure that their workers are effectively protected against falls and other hazards."

Both employers can contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission within 15 business days from the receipt of their citations.

Continue reading "Officials Cite Massachusetts companies for work-safety violations " »

Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire Hits Centennial Mark, Boston Work Safety Impacted by Historic Tragedy

The Triangle Factory fire -- that happened 100 years ago March 25 -- was remembered late last month at Boston College. The event took place at BC's Robsham Theater Arts Center in the Bonn Studio. The factory fire remained the worst industrial fire in New York City for 90 years, according to Boston College.

Our Boston workers' compensation attorneys would also like to honor the 146 workers killed in this fire -- which is commonly seen as the beginning of workplace safety efforts in the United States. This tragedy was an eye-opening experience that exposed the public to the dangerous conditions in these high-rise factories.
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Triangle Waist Company was, at the time, one of the largest blouse makers in New York City. The company specialized in making a very popular women's blouse, the shirtwaist. IN part through the exploitation of workers, Blanck and Harris became very wealthy, according to historical references.

After the devastating factory fire, the Triangle Factory tragedy suffered decades of repercussions. The incident was one of the first to shape safety and labor laws, first in New York and then nationwide. It also played a key role in organizing garment workers in the labor movement.

This year also marked the 100th anniversary of Massachusetts workers' compensation law as we've previous discussed on our Boston Personal Injury Blog.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is also celebrating a birthday this year. The administration celebrated 40 years of providing safety regulations for workers. It is reported that in 1970, approximately 14,000 workers died on the job, but after the establishment of OSHA, those numbers fell to approximately 4,340 work place fatalities in 2009.

Continue reading "Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire Hits Centennial Mark, Boston Work Safety Impacted by Historic Tragedy " »