Recently in Work Accident Category

December 9, 2013

Workplace Injury Trends Reveal Longer Recovery Times

personal injury lawyers in Massachusetts note there were fewer serious workplace injuries in 2012 as compared with 2011. This seems like great news, as this means that there were less people who got badly hurt on the job and who had to cope with the costs and pain of receiving treatment and struggling to recover. However, the workplace injury stats for 2012 also indicate that workers on average were staying out of work longer because of injuries last year. not-so-healthy-1412909-m.jpg

The data, therefore, indicates that while there have been fewer reported serious workplace injuries overall in the last year, the ones that did happen were worse than in the year prior.

Continue reading "Workplace Injury Trends Reveal Longer Recovery Times" »

October 8, 2011

Malfunctioning Equipment Spooks Horses and Injures Visitors in New England Hayride Accident

A recent hayride at Applecrest Farm in Hampton Falls, N.H., left a 51-year-old woman injured after she jumped in front of a carriage that was being towed by a runaway horse, according to Seacoast Online. The woman was taken to the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston and was listed in critical condition. She and her husband own the horses that are used for the hayrides at the farm.
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Attractions have an obligation to the public to provide safe entertainment and safe equipment. With the fall season kicking off, many residents and visitors will be participating in hayrides, haunted houses and other seasonal events. Attraction owners and operators are urged to keep safety as a top priority to prevent injury in Massachusetts. Remember to clear fire exits, remove hazards that could lead to injury and to always have a safe backup plan.

Our Boston personal injury attorneys understand that hayrides are a popular attraction during this time of year. Unfortunately, without the proper safety precautions, these relaxing rides can turn into a nightmare. According to officers, two carriages were heading in opposite directions when a part of one of the carriages malfunctioned, startling both horses. The operator of the runaway carriage was unable to regain control of the horse.

Witnesses report that the horses got spooked when an axle on the wheel came off just about one minute into the ride, and chaos ensued. The runaway horse and carriage were heading directly at the other carriage, which then frightened a third horse. Luckily, none of the carriages tipped over, but the driver of one of the carriages was launched from the buggy and dragged underneath.

The horse finally stopped when the carriage got caught between a rock and a tree. The driver was taken to Exeter Hospital.

Riders of the stopped carriage rushed to help the other set of runaway horses. This is when the 51-year-old woman was trampled on by a runaway horse and then by the carriage. Luckily, no passengers fell off that carriage. The woman doesn't blame the horses for the accident, instead citing the farm-owners' faulty wagon.

Lt. Gary Wood from the State Police Department reported that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Rockingham County attorney's office are investigating the accident. OHSHA has been called in to investigate because the accident happened at a business.

This is similar to a recent accident that happened at an air show in Reno, Nev. Visitors showed up to enjoy a spectacular event, but when a P-51 "Galloping Ghost" Mustang apparently malfunctioned, it took a nosedive into the box seats of the VIP section. This is yet another example of faulty equipment causing visitor injury.

Companies have a responsibility to keep all visitors and employees safe by following a prescribed set of federal guidelines.

Continue reading "Malfunctioning Equipment Spooks Horses and Injures Visitors in New England Hayride Accident" »

June 21, 2011

Raising Awareness of Fall Accidents in Boston and Elsewhere

The National Safety Council uses the entire month of June to focus on a number of preventable injuries. This week, the Council focuses on slips, trips and falls.

Fall accidents in Massachusetts are one of the leading causes of these unintentional injuries. These accidents accounted for nearly 9 million visits to emergency rooms nationwide. Adults 55 and older are most likely to become a victim of one of these falls, while residents 65 and older are four times more likely to die from of a fall than people in any other age group.
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Our Boston personal injury attorneys understand the severe consequences of these fall accidents at home or elsewhere. For this reason, safety precautions should be taken to avoid these incidents. Falls can result in serious injuries that can hinder an adult's ability to lead an active and independent lifestyle. Property owners and businesses are required, by law, to make sure that their grounds are safe for everyone. Failure to eliminate potential hazards can result in legal repercussions.

In 2000 alone, falls for older adults cost the U.S. health care system more than $19 billion, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As the population continues to age, both the number of serious falls and the costs of treatment for these fall injuries will more than likely increase. These direct costs are what insurance companies and patients dish out for treating injuries caused by falls. The costs often include nursing home care, hospital fees, rehabilitation, the use of medical equipment, community-based services, changes made to the home, prescription drugs and insurance processing. Of the more than $19 billion, nearly $2 million went toward fatal falls, while $19 billion went to nonfatal falls. Fall-related injuries are one of the most expensive treated injuries among community-dwelling older adults.

In 2001, more than 18,000 adults died of injuries from unintentional falls.

About 30 percent of people who fall end up suffering from lacerations, hip fractures or head traumas. Falls are the number one cause of traumatic brain injury. In 2000 alone, traumatic brain injury accounted for nearly 50 percent of all fatal falls among older adults.

How to help prevent falls:

-Make sure to exercise regularly. Be sure that when you exercise, you're focusing on increasing balance and leg strength.

-Have your eyes checked at least once a year. Make sure that your prescription is up to date.

-Ask your doctor or pharmacist about your medications. Does taking any of them together produce dizziness of drowsiness?

-Make your house a little bit safer by increasing the lighting, adding railings or grab bars and reducing tripping hazards.

Continue reading "Raising Awareness of Fall Accidents in Boston and Elsewhere " »

May 11, 2011

OSHA Looks to Cool Down Work Injuries in Boston and Elsewhere with New Regulations Regarding Heat Outdoor Workers

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupation Safety and Health Administration will be conducting a national outreach initiative in an attempt to help to educate workers and employers about the hazards of outdoor work. Proper precautionary steps need to be taken by those working outdoors in an effort to reduce the risks of heat-related illnesses and other work injuries in Boston and elsewhere.
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"If you're working outdoors, you're at risk for heat-related illnesses that can cause serious medical problems and even death," said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. "But heat illness can be prevented. This Labor Department campaign will reach across the country with a very simple message - water, rest and shade."

Our Boston workers' compensation lawyers understand that working conditions can vary tremendously for outdoor workers. It is recommended that such workers educate themselves about proper measures to protect their health in all working conditions, especially during the hotter months.

Thousands of workers experience heat illness each year. The illnesses often manifest as heat exhaustion. If you suffer from heat exhaustion on the job and do not address it quickly, you greatly increase your risks for experiencing a heat stroke. This is a serious problem as heat strokes killed more than 30 workers last year.

"As we move into the summer months, it is very important for workers and employers to take the steps necessary to stay safe in extreme heat," said OSHA Assistant Secretary Dr. David Michaels. "Drinking water often, taking breaks and limiting time in the heat are simple, effective ways to prevent heat illness."

Heat dangers strongly affect those who work as landscapers, construction workers, road repairmen, outdoor airport luggage workers, agriculture workers and even car salesmen.

OSHA developed various heat illness educational materials in both English and Spanish. They've also created a version of it as a curriculum to be used for workplace training. Additionally, they offer a new heat illness Web page that provides information and resources on heat illness. This information includes ways to help prevent it and what to do in the event of extensive heat exposure.

OSHA is currently partnered with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to help to efficiently provide weather service alerts that incorporate worker safety precautions when heat alerts are issued across the country. More information regarding heat illnesses and worker safety can be found on the NOAA Heat Watch Web page.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention would like to remind workers that heat stroke is the most serious heat-related disorder. It affects outdoor workers and those who work in extremely hot areas. It happens when the body becomes unable to control its temperature. Body temperature will rise rapidly, the sweating mechanism will fail and the body is unable to cool down. At times, during heat stroke, the body temperature can rise to more than 105 degrees Fahrenheit in a 10 to 15 minute period. Illness from this type of heat can cause death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not given.

Continue reading "OSHA Looks to Cool Down Work Injuries in Boston and Elsewhere with New Regulations Regarding Heat Outdoor Workers" »

May 9, 2011

OSHA Holds Forum to Discuss Combustible Dust and Ways to Prevent Work Injury in Boston and Elsewhere

Roughly 150 workers have been killed, and nearly 1,000 injured, in combustible dust explosions since 1980, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). In attempt to better understand combustible dust explosions and to find ways to prevent such incidents OSHA invited outside experts to participate in a Combustible Dust Expert Forum later this month. OSHA is looking to gather experts' views and perspectives on possible regulatory options for addressing the safety issues of combustible dust hazards.

The Combustible Dust Expert Forum will include discussions targeting regulatory options that can help to minimize the costs to small- and medium-sized businesses of reducing or preventing combustible dust hazards. Representatives from various industries, academia, research groups, insurance-underwriter organizations, labor, and government will comprise expert representation at the Forum.
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Our Boston workers' compensation attorneys understand the importance of identifying the cause of these problems in effort to determine safe solutions to help protect workers. All safety measures should be taken by employers and employees to help keep the workplace safe for all.

The National Emphasis Program in 2007 was one of OSHA's earlier efforts to address various combustible dust hazards. They conducted various targeted inspections that took a look at various workplaces that created or handled combustible dust. Results from these inspections illustrated that facilities had an alarmingly high number of general duty clause violations. These findings indicated a strong need for to create a combustible dust standard. This resulted in the publication of an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in 2009. With even more efforts, OSHA conducted six stakeholders meetings and a Web chat to discuss combustible dust in attempt to expand the opportunity for public and stakeholder participation.

Combustible materials, and sometimes even materials that are normally considered noncombustible, can burn rapidly when they're in a finely divided form. If these types of dusts are suspended in air in the right concentration, the result can be an explosion. The force from these explosions can lead to worker deaths, injuries, and even the destruction of entire buildings.

Combustible dusts can include:

-Various fine particles.

-Chips.

-Fibers.

-Chunks or flakes that can potentially cause implosion of fire when suspended in air.

These various forms of combustible dusts can be made of metal, plastic, wood, sugar, flour, coal, rubber or paper. OSHA's Safety and Health Topics page on combustible dust offers more details information about this dangerous hazard.

The Combustible Dust Expert Forum will be May 13, 2010 at the Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. at 9 p.m.

Continue reading "OSHA Holds Forum to Discuss Combustible Dust and Ways to Prevent Work Injury in Boston and Elsewhere" »

May 7, 2011

OSHA Creates New Rule to Help Protect Shipyard Work Injuries in Boston and Elsewhere

A new and updated rule, created to protect the safety and health of shipyard workers, has recently been put into effect by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The rule has recently been published in the Federal Register and takes the place of an existing rule. It is now more compatible with the recent advances in shipyard industry practices and technology. It provides new protections from hazards that previously the rule did not address. It now includes details pertaining to the control of hazardous energy. The new rule is expected to prevent nearly 400 serious work inures in Boston and elsewhere in the United States.

"This final rule is the result of collaboration between OSHA and the maritime industry," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Dr. David Michaels. "Shipyard work is dangerous, and we believe we have crafted a rule that protects workers while balancing employer concerns regarding implementation."
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Our Boston personal workers' compensation attorneys know the dangers inherent in working in shipyards. It is the responsibility of the employer to make sure that working conditions meet all safety requirements and regulations in effort to help keep all employees safe on the job.

The final rule will address fourteen workplace safety and health categories. This will update and clarify provisions in current shipyard employment standards that had virtually gone untouched or changed since 1972, when OSHA adopted the initial rule. The new rules include the creating and enforce minimum lighting on certain work sites, assisting employees at the end of their work shifts and at the end of job tasks when working alone. The rule will also add new uniform criteria to be sure that shipyards have an adequate number of properly trained first-aid providers.

OSHA will also be adding new provisions to help control hazardous energy and to increase vehicle safety. Before the establishment of this final rule, the maritime industry had no specific standards that addressed the control of hazardous energy.

According to data from the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics' Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, transportation accidents make up nearly 20 percent of all shipyard deaths. The new rule's provisions aim to significantly reduce these incidents as they will now require everyone use of seat belts while operating a motor vehicle in a shipyard.

A full copy of OSHA's new rule can be found on their web page designated to the updates. Employees and employers are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the new regulations and abide by them on shipyards.

Continue reading "OSHA Creates New Rule to Help Protect Shipyard Work Injuries in Boston and Elsewhere" »

May 4, 2011

Residents Encouraged to Participate in Picture It! Contest to Help Raise Awareness and Decrease Risks of Work Accidents in Boston and Elsewhere

A photography contest, conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), urges residents to capture a creative snapshot of workplace safety and health, according to a U.S. Department of Labor press release. The contest, titled "Picture It!", aims to strike up awareness of the importance of a safe working environment to help prevent a work accident in Boston and elsewhere in the United States.
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Our Boston workers' compensation lawyers would like too remind employees, and employers, that a safe working environment should be kept and maintained at all times. It is the responsibility of the employer to ensure that employees are safe and protected from danger and injury while on the job. Our lawyers continue to work tirelessly to recognize and fight for the rights of employees who may have been injured on the job.

OSHA is currently celebrating its 40th anniversary, which they will continue to celebrate throughout the entire year. Picture It! is kicking off the celebration and is open to those 18 and older. The contest will be accepting submissions through August 12.

Residents are encouraged to invite their friends and family to participate in the fun and creative event. You can download the contest flyer from the OSHA website to help share the details.

Photographers are asked to share their visions of workplace safety and health, and they may do so in any way they choose. Photos must be taken in the United States. Prizes will be awarded to the first, second and third place winners. Photographers are asked to use their artistic skills to successfully portray occupational safety and health in such a way that would help to raise interest in the general public.

Submissions will be judged by accomplished photography professionals. They will be judged on the quality of the photograph, their compatibility with OSHA publications, clarity of the conveyed message, creativity and originality. Photos must include workers, employers or workplace imagery.

Photographs submitted by the judged winners and finalists will be posted on the OSHA photo contest web site. First-place will receive a framed letter of congratulations from Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. The three winning photos will be displayed in OSHA's national office in Washington. The organization hopes that the participation and display of these winning photos will serve as a daily reminder for leading policymakers and prominent professionals of the purpose and drive behind OSHA's mission.

OSHA contractors and special government employees are encouraged to participate as well. On-site consultation employees and federal OSHA, "state plan" state OSHA employees are not eligible. They will be asked to participate in a separate and internal contest that will be running during the same time as the public contest.

A complete list of contest rules and regulations and instructions on how to submit your photo can be found on OSHA's website.

Continue reading "Residents Encouraged to Participate in Picture It! Contest to Help Raise Awareness and Decrease Risks of Work Accidents in Boston and Elsewhere" »

April 17, 2011

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" »

April 13, 2011

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.

Continue reading "National Safe Digging Month Raises Awareness about Dangers in Massachusetts and Elsewhere" »

April 9, 2011

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.

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

April 5, 2011

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" »

April 3, 2011

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" »

April 1, 2011

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 " »

March 27, 2011

Four Workers Injured in Middleton Chemical Plant Explosion

Federal inspectors are now looking over the current safety procedures at the Bostik Chemical Plant in Middleton after a recent explosion and a four-alarm fire injured four workers. The cause of the explosion still remains unknown. Those four injured workers were sent to the hospital. Workers' compensation in Massachusetts is designed to cover their medical bills and lost wages while they recover.

Massachusetts workers' compensation attorneys would like to stress the process is not stress free -- and many workers find it to their benefit to consult an experienced attorney to help ensure their rights are protected throughout the process. It is an employer's duty to provide a safe work environment. In a previous entry on our Boston Personal Injury Attorney Blog we noted that 2011 marked the centennial mark for the Massachusetts workers' compensation law.
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According to NBC 7, a decontamination tent was set up at the hospital for the injured workers because of the concern about hazardous chemicals. Several teams, including hazardous-materials and environmental protection teams, were called to the scene of the explosion to monitor air and water quality to avoid runoff into neighboring residential areas, where many rely on wells.

Authorities are now moving into the next phase of the investigation where third-party experts will be brought in to conduct chemical testing at the plant, reports Boston.com.

"OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) remains committed to protecting workers from toxic chemicals and deadly safety hazards at work; ensuring that vulnerable workers in high-risk jobs have access to critical information and education about job hazards; and providing employers with vigorous compliance assistance to promote best practices that can save lives," said In a message from Assistant Secretary Dr. David Michaels about the future of OSHA.

OSHA, established in 1971, has been dedicated to making the workplace safer. In 1970, nearly 14,000 were killed on the job -- in 2009, approximately 4,000.

Continue reading "Four Workers Injured in Middleton Chemical Plant Explosion" »

March 23, 2011

Crane and derrick accidents a common cause of construction injuries in Massachusetts

Our Boston workers' compensation lawyers often report about the dangers of working at a construction site. Operators of cranes and derricks are at increased risk of being injured or electrocuted on construction sites, where job accidents can lead to life-altering work injuries in Massachusetts.

As a follow up to a rule change last year, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration recently came out with a Small Entity Compliance Guide for Cranes and Derricks, which is meant to help small businesses comply with the new standards set last August for the use and operation of cranes and derricks.
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The final rule is meant to help employers at construction sites achieve a safer work environment.

There are approximately 200 fatalities or injuries each year as a result of cranes and derricks work accidents in the construction industry. The original standard set back in 1971, needed updated to help reduce the number of injuries and fatalities occurring each year at constructions sites.

A few of the notable changes proposed by the Final Rule which are addressed in the compliance guide are:

-By 2014, crane operators will need to be certified or officially qualified.

-The newly designed certification requirements are meant to work in combination with local and state laws.

-Employers will be responsible for paying for all training required by the final rule, as well as, certification of equipment operators who work for them.

-Employers are required to use a qualified rigger for assembly/disassembly during rigging operations.

With certified operators and other noted changes the number of injuries should diminish each year, which is the ultimate goal of the U.S. Department of Labor.

"Over the past four decades, we've continued to see a significant number of worker injuries and deaths from electrocution, crushed-by and struck-by hazards while performing cranes and derricks operations," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. "This guide will help employers understand what they must do to protect their workers from these dangerous, sometimes fatal incidents."

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