Massachusetts Workers' Compensation Lawyer Blog
Disclaimer - By publishing this information on this Web site, the Boston, Massachusetts law firm of Altman & Altman LLP is not claiming to represent any clients or cases mentioned here. The content provided is designed to inform readers and is not intended as legal advice.

On Tuesday morning an employee of the contracting company P.A. Landers was killed in Plymouth after his truck became buried under a mound of sand. Charles Pace, aged 65, was operating a bulldozer at the time of the accident. It was reported that Mr. Pace was moving sand onto a conveyer belt within a sand pit when an avalanche-like collapse trapped him inside of his vehicle. Firefighters on the scene went on to say that after the sand accumulated on top of the bulldozer; the truck then rolled over, trapping Charles Pace inside. Continue reading

On-the-Job injuries can occur during the most mundane tasks, such as typing, making phone calls, and sitting at a desk all day. While certain occupations, such as construction, have a higher risk of serious injury and death, desk jobs can cause debilitating injuries that make doing your job painful, and even impossible. Back pain is one of the most common work-related injuries, but it can be easily prevented by taking proper precautions and maintaining overall health. Whether working a construction job, an office job, or outside job this summer, in Massachusetts many workers in will injure their back and often times you won’t know how significant the injury can be.

Dull, achy back pain can make concentrating on your job a challenge. Sharp, stabbing back pain can be equally distracting. However, these uncomfortable feelings are often a precursor to something more serious. Left untreated, back pain can become progressively worse. Certain jobs, such as waiting tables, nursing, and factory work, have a high risk of back injury because they typically require hours of standing, lifting, bending, and other repetitive movements. Desk jobs can also result in severe back pain if a computer and keyboard are improperly positioned, or inappropriate posture is used. Continue reading

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, almost 15 million Americans work the night shift. That is a substantial portion of this country’s workforce. Unfortunately, working a night shift job comes with an increased risk of fatigue, loss of focus and attention, and decreased cognitive function. These negative effects can be especially dangerous for emergency workers such as doctors, EMTs, and police officers, as well as the people they are responsible for helping. Additionally, fatigued night-driving truckers, workers driving home from their night shift jobs, and those they share the road with, are equally at risk. Psychologists are studying the effects of night shift work to determine ways of reducing the risk of accident and injury for workers and the public alike.

Circadian Rhythm

Staying up all night works against the body’s natural circadian rhythm. Our circadian clock acts as a timer, controlling mood, body temperature and alertness, and regulating the release of certain hormones. For example, our brains have evolved to relax after dark and to become alert at daybreak. Night shift workers essentially have to fight their bodies’ natural metabolic processes and rest period. Even with plenty of sleep during the day, it is impossible to completely make up for this level of circadian misalignment.

Unfortunately, most emergency workers have to work the night shift at least periodically. Their jobs require them to be alert at all times, and to quickly and effectively make life-or-death decisions. In addition to night shift work, rookie police officers are often required to work a combination of daytime hours and night hours. This type of schedule is even worse. In addition to fighting its natural, circadian rhythm, the body becomes doubly confused.

Even when night shift work is not required, the higher hourly wage is often enticing for young police officers and other emergency workers. According to recent research, 40 percent of this country’s police force suffers from some type of sleep disorder or chronic fatigue.

Tips For Combatting Night Shift-Related Fatigue and Cognitive Impairment

Although avoiding night shifts and getting the recommended eight hours of sleep per night is ideal, this isn’t a practical option for many people. So, how do we help night shift workers combat fatigue and adapt to their schedules?

Symptomatic relief: For short-term night shift work, such as during doctor residencies and rookie police training, workers can drink coffee at night, and take a sleeping pill or natural sedative (such as Valerian root) in the morning. Of course, long-term use of stimulants and sedatives can have a severely detrimental effect on the body, so psychologists only suggest this strategy for short-term use.

Shift the body’s circadian rhythm. The following practices may help the body adapt to working during the night and sleeping during the day. When night shift workers are exposed to bright intermittent light while at work, wear sunglasses on the drive home, and sleep in a very dark room, it can help align their circadian clock to the challenging schedule.

Altman & Altman, LLP – Boston’s Personal Injury Law Firm

Even self-proclaimed “night owls” can suffer sleep disorders, fatigue, and cognitive impairment from night shift work. This fatigue and lack of focus can be dangerous on the job as well as on the drive home. Unfortunately, many people, including emergency workers, have no choice in the matter. If you’ve been injured on-the-job, in a car accident, or as a result of another’s negligence, Altman & Altman, LLP can help. With nearly 50 years of experience in personal injury law, our skilled, knowledgeable legal team takes pride in protecting the rights of accident and injury victims across MA. You may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Contact us today for a free consultation about your case.

With summer now in full force, it’s important for those who regularly work outdoors to understand the risks of potential heat stress and heat stroke. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety Health Administration has developed a new mobile application that allows workers and employers at job sites calculate the heat index for their job site and determine the risk level to their workers.

“With a simple “click,” [workers] get reminders about the protective measures that should be taken at that risk level to protect workers from heat-related illness-reminders about drinking enough fluids, scheduling rest breaks, planning for and knowing what to do in an emergency, adjusting work operations, gradually building up the workload for new workers, training on heat illness signs and symptoms, and monitoring each other for signs and symptoms of heat-related illness.” (OSHA.gov)

According to OSHA’s website, working in full sunlight increases heat index values by 15 degrees Fahrenheit.

Continue reading

The summer months bring an influx of summer jobs, and teen workers to fill them. In fact, 2.7 million teens entered the workforce during the 2014 summer. While jobs provide an important opportunity for kids to learn skills, workplace behavior, and responsibility, they can also be quite dangerous.

 

Young people are especially vulnerable to on-the-job injuries for several reasons. First of all, lack of life experience in general makes teen workers less able to respond to certain situations, including emergencies. Additionally, teens often lack experience specific to their job because summer jobs provide little time for thorough training. However, the most significant factor in teens’ workplace injuries is their tendency to engage in risky behaviors, and to not report another’s inappropriate or dangerous actions. Continue reading

There is rising concern in the workers’ compensation industry over the security of the personal and health information of employees. Worker’s compensation organizations manage an extensive database of such information on employees around the country. According to managed care services provider Genex Services, L.L.C., the amount of medical data and personal health information stored by the workers’ comp industry positions it as an easy target for data thieves. The concern and threat are real, but many in the industry are beginning to use new technology and security practices to significantly reduce the risk. Continue reading

A worker was injured in an Amherst construction accident when a granite slab weighing about 700 pounds fell on him while he was on the job at the University of Massachusetts Amherst campus. Carlos Velasquez injured his hip, shoulder, and leg. He was transported to a Springfield hospital.

The Massachusetts work accident took place while the 55-year-old worker was underpinning supports for a renovation and expansion project. Velazquez is employed by Schnabel Foundation Co. The Springfield company is the subcontractor for this job.

The impact of the granite slab falling onto Velasquez pushed him into an excavated area. Workers removed the slab from his body.

Continue reading

A Brockton roofing contractor is facing more than $72,000 in fines after OSHA officials passing by a Rhode Island jobsite spotted a dangerous situation and pulled over to investigate.

According to reports published by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, OSHA inspectors were on their way back to their Providence office on January 22, after completing an unrelated inspection, when they passed the North Smithfield jobsite and saw a dangerous situation in clear view.

Two men working for Brockton contractor Ivan Paredes were spotted without protective gear and the ladder-jack scaffold they were working on did not have the necessary guardrails. They were working 16-feet off the ground and faced a possible life-threatening hazard. According to OSHA reports, the passing inspectors pulled over and ordered the two roofing employees off the scaffold and began inspecting the jobsite.

“This was a clear-and-present danger. These employees could have fallen at any time and been killed or disabled. Ivan Paredes knew of this hazard, but chose to ignore it and his legal responsibility to protect his employees,” Patrick Griffin, OSHA’s area director for Rhode Island, said in a statement to OSHA.

The contractor’s willful negligence and failure to provide fall protection resulted in OSHA citing Paredes the maximum fine for a willful violation: $70,000. Paredes was also cited an additional $2,800 for an additional hazard for not having employees use an access ladder to reach the work platform safely.

Continue reading

According to Bureau of Labor statistics from 2011, cumulative trauma disorders comprise over half of all occupational illnesses in the U.S. CTDs are caused and aggravated by repetitive movements or exertions that affect specific parts of the body. Nerve tissue, muscles, and tendons can be damaged over time, with the wrists, shoulders, knees, hands, eyes, neck, and back among the most common body parts affected.

CTDs can be cause by small, repetitive movements, not taking breaks, poor workstation setups, non-ergonomic working conditions, working in the same position for extended periods, too much physical grasping while working, poor work techniques.

Continue reading

Contact Information