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New York Workers' Compensation Blog

Workers can face a multitude of lifting and overexertion hazards

One of the many health hazards that construction and utility workers in New York have to face is overexertion caused by heavy lifting in materials handling. Safety authorities say a significant number of workplace injuries and many lost work days result from the cumulative trauma that lifting injuries can cause. Your most vulnerable body parts are your back and your neck.

Authorities have identified the most dangerous aspects of lifting in these industries, and they suggest precautions to prevent the most common injuries. These include spinal injuries, muscle strains, sprains and tears, along with wrist, elbow and shoulder injuries.

Child care workers suffer a high incidence of workplace injuries

Child care workers in New York City and nationwide are exposed to a high percentage of injuries and illnesses through their work activities. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that child care workers are 18 percent more likely to experience a lost-time injury on the job than the general working population. Workplace injuries and illnesses to that group of workers has engendered efforts to pass legislation to try and prevent or lessen the injuries with better training.

Child care workers suffer an inordinate amount of back injuries, slips, falls and exposure to illnesses. In one state, legislators are trying to make training mandatory and to provide the programs at the government's expense. A healthier work force would logically mean a healthier group of children under their care.

Workers' compensation insurers may trade quality for cost savings

Insurance companies that handle workers' compensation claims execute a number of protocols intended to keep their costs down. However, insurers tend to simultaneously neglect the true needs of workers when they engage in excessive cost-cutting programs. The controversial subject of prescribing opioid painkillers has become an issue in workers' compensation matters nationwide and in New York City.

The attempts of insurers to keep opioid prescriptions limited to necessary treatment is an attempt at frugality on the insurers' parts. However, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have published recent research findings showing that medical providers caring for injured workers are doing a better job at reducing opioid use than in caring for those not injured at work. The control mechanisms used by insurers in this narrowly defined area of medical care thus has shown a positive return for employers and workers alike.

Reporting an injury may impact workers' compensation claim

Employers nationwide, including in New York City, will have to become compliant with the regulation of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration regarding electronic reporting of injuries by Dec. 1, 2017. The ability of OSHA to maintain data regarding the extent and occurrence of various injuries will theoretically help government entities to then strengthen the focus and efficiency of both safety rules and workers' compensation statutory frameworks. The regulation would require employers with more than  250 employees to submit data electronically regarding worker injuries.

The regulation also would require reporting by employers with more than 20 employees in certain high-risk industries. The regulation requires the employer to establish reporting protocol and provides penalties for employers who retaliate against employees for reporting injuries or illnesses. The dramatic change in the political face of the federal government, however, has put the fate of the regulation in doubt.

Construction injuries send 3 to hospital after collapse in Queens

Multiple people risked their lives at a rescue operation in New York City on a recent Tuesday afternoon. Three workers suffered construction injuries in a partial collapse of a building in Queens. After using every piece of equipment on the FDNY rig, firefighters managed to save the lives of three victims.

Reportedly, the incident occurred around 4 p.m. at a residential building for which an additional floor is being constructed. A load of building material that had been loaded onto the roof by a crane proved to be too heavy, causing the roof to collapse. Thousands of pounds of construction materials crashed through the roof and the second story.

The hazards of working beneath the earth

There are probably numerous things you enjoy about your construction job. Maybe you like the physical labor, working outdoors and the good people who work alongside you. Hopefully, you make good money to enable you to support your family. Obviously, there are things you may hate about your job, such as the long hours and the way your back feels in the morning.

The one part of construction that you could do without is the danger, especially if you work in excavation. Construction in New York is already a dangerous job, but trench work accounts for 112 percent more fatalities than other areas of construction.

Healthcare workers falling prey to increasing workplace injuries

Not only do healthcare workers in New York City face the usual work injuries regarding slips, falls, sprains and other lifting injuries, but they are increasingly facing the specter of being victims to violence-related work injuries. Reliable statistics indicate about a 65 percent increase in workplace injuries that are violence related for all healthcare workers from 2012 through 2014. The increase for nurses was 55 percent for the same period.

These injuries are in most cases covered by workers' compensation benefits. Hospital human relations offices must assure workers that they can make a claim for benefits when a violence-related injury occurs. Whenever a worker is not provided with ready access to information and forms in that respect, it is time to see a workers' compensation law firm for professional guidance.

Workers' compensation covers most hospital worker injuries

The public perception is that the highest numbers of workplace injuries occur in the construction and manufacturing industries. In fact, although construction is high on the list, the highest rate of on-the-job injuries in New York City and nationwide occur in hospitals to health-care workers. Most of those workplace injuries to hospital workers are covered by workers' compensation insurance benefits.

Nurses and other health-care personnel must take care to follow the basic protocols for reporting their work-related injuries. Trying to claim benefits at a later date that is weeks or months removed may result in an administrative delay or, worse, in a rejection of benefits. That is why a health-care worker should report the injury or work-related illness to the employer immediately or as soon as practically possible. The employer will usually have a set protocol for reporting a work-related injury.

Safe + Sound Week intends to reduce workplace injuries

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration of the U.S. Department of Labor recently announced that it is creating a "Safe + Sound Week," which will take place on June 12 to 18, 2017. This will be a nationwide effort to have businesses and organizations work in a wide variety of industries to raise awareness of workplace safety and health. Several national safety organizations are already on board in supporting the event. In New York City, there is always a need for more efforts to join the community in promoting safe working conditions and for the reduction of workplace injuries.

Construction workers in the city are more exposed to more dangerous work conditions than in many other areas around the country. Nonetheless, statistics show that more than four million workers suffer serious workplace injuries or illnesses nationwide every year.  The commemorative week will be participated in by over 85 trade associations, industry and professional level.

Construction injuries befall 13 workers due to building collapse

Construction sites in New York City and elsewhere sometimes involve the collapse of part or all of a building that is under construction. This happened in another state recently when an apartment complex unit under construction collapsed, injuring 13 workers. In the realm of construction injuries, these were relatively gruesome, although fortunately no one died.

Each of the injured workers is qualified to collect workers' compensation benefits due to being injured while performing work duties. Although fault is not relevant to the process of being qualified to receive workers' comp benefits, it is worth noting that buildings generally don't collapse without there being a lack of safety precautions and other negligence. If the collapse occurred through the negligence of third party entities, other than the worker's employer, he or she may have a personal injury claim over and above the limits of the workers' compensation benefits.

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