Articles Posted in Work Injury

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals that less than 10% of construction laborers will be the victim of an injury on site annually. Yet, there were nearly 900 Construction Site Inury Massachusetts personal injury attorneydeaths annually at construction sites across the country.

Construction site injuries and accidents often occur because those in charge try to cut corners to be more profitable. Instead of complying with government standards and regulation, they opt for faster cheaper work. This results in unsafe working conditions, workers who are not trained fully, lack of safety inspections, negligent workers, or defective equipment use.

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In the early morning, dawn hours, of April 14th, a couple of Boston Police patrol cars were in a collision. All threeBoston Police Car Accident of the officers in the vehicles were injured requiring transport to hospital. The accident occurred near Washington Street and Downtown Crossing, according to the Boston Police Department reports.

The patrol cars were traveling in different directions, responding to different assignments. The fourth occupant in one patrol unit was a detainee.

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On April 12, 2018 a Massachusetts jury returned a verdict in favor of Brian Goodrich in the amount of $8.25 million. The award comes after years of litigation beginning in 2013 when Mr. Goodrich’s head was nearly Massachusetts Workplace Injury Results in $8.25M Jury Awardcrushed because the jack holding up a piece of equipment failed. He suffered horrendous injuries which  included facial disfigurement, blindness and loss of cognitive function.

The jury found, after hearing 11 days of testimony, that the company which designed the equipment was a majority at fault. Mr. Goodrich was changing the oil on the equipment meant to melt asphalt and fill cracks in the road. Although Mr. Goodrich acknowledged not using the safety pin with the jack which held the machine up, the company failed to include safety warnings and failed to manufacture the machine appropriately knowing such accidents were possible.

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Earlier this afternoon, as two flatbed truck workers were loading a Honda Accord onto the tow truck, the truck began to roll and ran over one of the workers. He was taken away in an ambulance. The Pipo’s Towing truck ended up descending approximately 250 feet down hill. This occurred on Haviland Street in Worcester at around 1:30 p.m. There were several witnesses to the incident including the three women getting the Honda Accord towed.Tow Truck Rolls Over Worcester Worker

The other Pipo’s Towing worker was also injured when, after attempting to jump into the tow truck to stop it from continuing to roll down hill further, he fell out of the truck onto the pavement. There were no further injuries when the truck came to rest against a tree that stopped it. The accident investigation team of the Worcester Police are investigating mechanical failure as a possible cause, among other factors.

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Our personal injury attorneys in Massachusetts know independent contractors who are injured on the job are typically not covered by workers’ compensation insurance and may be required to file a civil lawsuit.

1095707_fire__fire_4.jpgJentz v. Conagra Foods, Inc., a case from the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, involved a grain bin that exploded in 2010, injuring three workers. The jury, after trial that lasted more than two weeks, awarded plaintiffs $180 million in compensatory and punitive damages. The defendant who owned the grain bin argued that liability should rest with a company hired to fix problems with the bin before the explosion occurred.

The appellate court noted that explosions are a constant danger in grain storage bins. Grain bins produce combustible dust and carbon monoxide that can explosively oxidize to carbon dioxide when a heat source is introduced. Decaying grain can give off enough heat to start the explosive reaction.

Prior to the explosion, company employees noticed a burning smell coming from a bin containing wheat pellets. The company hired defendant, who specialized in fixing “hot bins” at grain storage facilities. The work did not begin immediately because the grain bin owner was trying to get the company to work at a lower rate and started contacting competitors.
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The job of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is to protect workers from dangers or hazards in the workplace. OSHA establishes many different guidelines, rules and requirements for employers in order to ensure that workers are as protected as possible. Unfortunately, OSHA cannot protect workers against nature. As such, winter creates many workplace hazards for workers’ across a variety of industries.1329065_winter_landscape.jpg

Our Boston injury attorneys want to ensure that workers’ and employers are aware of the areas where there is added risk in the wintertime. This is especially important for those who work on construction sites. The vast majority of construction, whether for public projects, roads and streets, residential buildings or commercial buildings, tends to take place outdoors. This means that construction workers’ may be impacted more than most by cold weather and winter snow, sleet or ice.

Winter Dangers That Affect Construction Workers
OSHA has outlined a number of potential winter risks faced by workers. While driving a vehicle is one of the key dangers on OSHA’s list, there are also some other potential workplace dangers that OSHA has identified that are likely to hit construction workers’ hard. For example, some of the potential risks that arise for construction workers in winter include:

  • Driving accidents on dangerous or slippery roads. These accidents could happen when you are driving a construction vehicle, which could pose an especially great risk due to the size and weight of many of the machines used for construction
  • Exhaustion from strenuous activity such as shoveling snow. You may need to clear a jobsite before you begin construction work, forcing you to pick up a snow shovel. Overexertion from using a snow shovel could put you in danger of a heart attack, muscle strain or other injuries.
  • Back injuries or heart attacks as a result of snow removal efforts.
  • Electrocution as a result of power lines that have fallen. Since a great deal of construction work takes place along streets or in well-populated commercial areas, there may be a high concentration of power lines on construction sites that could fall on or near workers.
  • Roof collapses due to the weight of snow. Since construction sites may be unfinished buildings or older buildings with roofs that aren’t up to code, this is a very real concern for Boston construction workers during winter.
  • Hypothermia and frostbite. Both of these problems can occur as a result of exposure to extreme cold for too long. Unfortunately, construction workers may be performing a great deal of their work outdoors or in unheated structures that haven’t yet been completed and that provide little protection from cold temperatures. Construction workers, therefore, can suffer from either hypothermia or frostbite as a result of being on cold construction sites.

These are just a few of the many potential winter hazards that construction workers face on the job. If an employee does suffer an injury from these or other winter workplace hazards, the employee may qualify for a workers’ compensation claim or may be able to identify a responsible defendant to sue for the injuries sustained.
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In early December, Boston.com wrote of a deadly tunnel collapse outside Tokyo. The collapse resulted in nine deaths and led to calls to spend more money on the aging infrastructure in Japan.

While this accident was a world away, it is a clear and tragic illustration of the devastating consequences of the failure to maintain bridges, tunnels, buildings and other essential infrastructure of cities and towns. Unfortunately, in America, our infrastructure is aging too and our Boston injury attorneys are concerned that individuals could be in danger if a collapse occurs. Construction workers are needed to do repairs on failing infrastructure and aging buildings, but could also be at risk when working on failing structures. 1397617_bridge.jpg

Construction Site Risks
With more bridges, tunnels, roads and buildings in need of repair as America ages, more construction work will become necessary in the coming years. Unfortunately, working with aging buildings and structures comes at great risk for construction workers. Those in the construction industry may be asked to tackle tough jobs at dilapidated structures and could be at risk of:

  • Crushing injuries due to falling bridges, ceilings, tunnels and other structures.
  • Fall injuries, including falls to a lower level if aging floors in buildings cave in.
  • Scaffolding injuries when performing work on bridges or on tall buildings and skyscrapers throughout the United States
  • Gas explosions due to aging pipelines. According to Pipeline Safety Awareness, pipelines stretch across 2.6 million miles in the United States and more than 50 percent of the pipelines were constructed during the 1950s and the 1960s. Construction workers can be injured both when called upon to repair aging pipelines and when performing other construction work on the aging infrastructure that disturbs a gas or other pipeline.

Of course, injuries can happen on any construction site. However, the potential risks to construction workers are exacerbated when construction workers are doing work on old and failing infrastructure. The added danger comes not just from the fact that the buildings or structures might collapse or fall, but also from the fact that work done in the past (such as electrical work) may have been done to different safety codes and standards than those used today.

Staying Safe on Construction Sites
Those performing work on repairing the aging infrastructure in the United States need to be aware of the added risks of working on old structures, old buildings, old bridges and old tunnels. Employers need to account for any and all potential risks to their employees and those actually performing the work need to be on the lookout for dangerous situations that could put them at risk.

In most cases, if a construction accident occurs, the employer will be held responsible and the worker will be compensated through a workers’ compensation claim. For some construction injuries, however, a third party is responsible (such as a project manager) and the construction worker will be able to file a personal injury cause of action to recover more compensation than could be obtained in a workers’ compensation claim.
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According to Richard A. Davie, CEO and Secretary of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), officials recently broke ground on the Anderson Memorial Bridge to help to make the necessary improvements connecting Cambridge and Boston via the Charles River.

The restoration project on the bridge is costing the city nearly $20 million and it is being funded through the Patrick-Murray Administration’s Accelerated Bridge Program (ABP). The bridge helps to get North Harvard Street across the Charles River. The project will be done in 4 phases and is expected to be done by the fall of 2014. Until then, drivers and water travelers are urged to be cautious in these areas. Construction work brings about an increase in the risks for accidents in Boston.
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“The rehabilitation of this important bridge reflects our Administration’s commitment to investing in infrastructure improvements in cities and towns across the Commonwealth,” Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray said.

Our Boston personal injury lawyers understand that the bridge is nearly 450 feet in length and is a three-span structure, meaning there’s a lot of work to be done. While construction teams are working on the bridge, they will always keep two arches open so that water travelers can continue their travels down the Charles River. Land travelers don’t have to worry either. They’ll be able to get by too, but only with one lane open in each direction. Traffic will be directed through barrels and striping so you’ve got to be careful! Risks of boat, car, bicycle and pedestrians accidents are significantly increased in construction areas. If you can, you’re urged to avoid this area altogether. If you have to use the bridge, make sure that you do so carefully and be sure to allow yourself plenty of time for traffic and congestion.

According to transportation officials, this bridge and the reconstruction is benefiting everyone. Not only will it last for decades, but it will also provide better and safer accommodations for pedestrians and bicyclists. Frank DePaola with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) says that these kinds of improvements will help to make sure that everyone has an easier and safer way to get around.

There is nearly $500 million in ABP funds to help to improve seven of the bridges that make their way across the Charles River. The Anderson Memorial Bridge serves as the third bridge to get a makeover. The Craigie Drawbridge and the Craigie Dam Bridge have already gotten their turn.

The Anderson Memorial Bridge was built back in 1951 and was named after the builder’s father.

Drivers are asked to be cautions when driving through construction areas. Be on the lookout for other vehicles and for roadside workers. Accidents are likely when travelers are not paying attention. Keep it slow and keep your full attention on your surroundings.
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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.
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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.

1170137_street_works.jpg“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.