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Green jobs bring new risks of Massachusetts work accidents

In the fight to lure “green jobs” the government is working to make sure state and federal safety regulators are prepared to ensure worker safety and to prevent Massachusetts work accidents and employee injuries.

Defined loosely as products and jobs that improve the environment, the so-called “green jobs” include wind energy, solar, insulation and sealants, hydrogen fuel cells, geo-thermal energy, biofuels, recycling and green roofs. Employees in these industries may be exposed to new manufacturing processes and may be at increased risk of a work accident covered through a Massachusetts workers’ compensation claim.
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The Occupational Safety & Health Administration cites exposure to Cadmium Telluride as an example. The chemical is a known cancer-causing agent and is used in the solar-energy industry.

“We’re all aware of the job opportunities that green jobs offer, and in the present economy, new technologies with the potential of new jobs are especially welcome,” said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor. “We must use our knowledge and skills to identify potential hazards as they emerge. We can’t wait years for hazards to be completely characterized, to let industries shift their responsibility or defer workplace protections by producing “doubt” instead of actively practicing prevention.”

Accordingly, OSHA is pushing for Prevention through Design, which means instituting manufacturing processes and designing equipment with worker safety in mind. By utilizing worker safety and health professionals in the design process, engineers are encouraged to “design out” hazards employees may otherwise face.

The government notes that jobs in green technology will already carry many of the same risks as traditional employment, including transportation accidents, fall accidents and electrical or fire injuries.

If you have been injured on the job in Massachusetts, contact Boston Workers’ Compensation Attorney Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call 877-617-5333.