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April 14, 2014

Utility Workers Fatally Injured in Bourne, MA Crane Accident

Two Massachusetts utility workers were the victims of a tragic fatal crane accident this weekend in Bourne, Massachusetts.

The men, who were contracted by NStar, were working 150 feet in the air on electricity lines near the Scenic Highway when their boom truck collapsed. The men were killed on impact.

Officials are still unsure how and why this could have happened, and the incident is now under investigation by OSHA.

AERIAL LIFT ACCIDENTS

An aerial lift is any vehicle-mounted device that is used to elevate personnel, including:

• Aerial ladders
• Extendable boom platforms
• Articulating boom platforms
• Vertical towers

Due to their mobility and flexibility, aerial lifts often replace scaffolding and ladders on certain job sites. They may be made of metal, fiberglass, plastic, or a combination of materials, and can be powered or manually operated. As exemplified by this unfortunate instance, aerial lift and crane workers risk sustaining serious and life-threatening injuries because of the substantial heights at which they are working.

The most common types of work accidents associated with aerial lifts include:

• Falls from an elevated level
• Objects falling from lifts
• Ejections from lift platform
• Tip-overs
• Structural failure
• Electrocutions/electrical shocks
• Entanglement hazards
• Contact with objects
• Contact with ceiling or overhead object

Continue reading "Utility Workers Fatally Injured in Bourne, MA Crane Accident" »

April 11, 2014

Deceased Worker’s Family Awarded $39 Million after Company Failed to Follow Safety Plans

A Cleveland, Ohio jury has awarded a $39 million verdict against a paving company that sacrificed worker safety to save a few dollars, resulting in the death of a member of the construction crew. The Shelly Company of Thornville, Ohio was found to be negligent and at fault for the death of Randy Roginski, who leaves behind a wife and three children.

The fatal accident occurred on July 27, 2010. Randy Roginski, a 41-year-old Ohio native, was working as a paving inspector on an active construction site for Solar Testing Labs, Inc. According to the National Trial Lawyers, “Roginski [who was wearing reflective clothing] was standing on the berm on the right side of the highway when he was struck by a passing motorist.” When first responders arrived, he was pronounced dead at the scene.

The speed limit on that heavily traveled area of highway is 65 miles per hour. Drivers were expected to slow down to approximately 25 miles per hour when travelling past the active construction zone, which proved to be extremely difficult at the time of the accident—around midnight. According to Christian Patno, one of the plaintiff’s attorneys, “the Shelly Company was supposed to have hired at least two highway patrol officers to provide protection that night, with one cruiser stationed at the start of the construction zone, and another four miles into the zone. But only one patrolman was working that night, stationed about halfway into the zone.”

Continue reading "Deceased Worker’s Family Awarded $39 Million after Company Failed to Follow Safety Plans" »

March 31, 2014

OSHA Announces National Events for Fall Prevention in Construction

The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced it will host national safety events between June 2 and 6 in an effort to raise awareness among employers and workers about the hazards of falls on construction and industrial worksites. Falls are currently the leading cause of death among workers in the United States construction industry; accounting for more than one-third of all types of worker fatalities.

OSHA plans to organize events geared at raising awareness for the prevalence of these types of accidents, in addition to focusing on prevention and hazard recognition. During the stand-down, employers and workers will pause their workday to discuss fall prevention in construction, highlighting topics like ladder safety, scaffolding safety and roofing work safety. OSHA has also launched an official national safety stand-down website with information for employers and management officials on how to conduct a successful stand-down. Afterwards, employers will be able to provide feedback and receive a personalized certificate of participation.

This five-day event is part of an ongoing Fall Prevention Campaign, which OSHA started in 2012 and was developed in partnership with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and NIOSH's National Occupational Research Agenda program. The campaign provides employers with lifesaving information and educational materials on how to plan ahead to prevent falls, provide the right equipment for their workers and train all employees in the proper use of that equipment.

Continue reading "OSHA Announces National Events for Fall Prevention in Construction" »

March 30, 2014

Nail Gun Accident Leaves Contractor With One Eye

A contractor recently lost his eye after the nail gun he was using accidentally discharged. He was working outside a home when the work accident happened. A local fire official said that it is not known at this time how the gun went off, but that it did cause a nail to strike the worker’s eye.

Unfortunately, nail gun accidents are not that uncommon, especially because they are frequently used on construction jobs. While they are faster and more efficient than the manual insertion of nails, nail guns are linked to tens of thousands of work injuries yearly. Please contact our Boston workers’ compensation lawyers today if you have been injured by a nail gun or some other tool while on the job.

According to OSHA, one study found that over four years, 2 out of 5 residential carpenter apprentices will suffer a nail gun injury. Seeing as many construction workers needed their hands to do their job, sustaining even a puncture wound can make it hard for him/her to go back to work right away. There may be needed recovery time and even physical therapy. An injury may be so severe that the Boston construction worker may not be able to work in the industry again or perhaps only in a lesser capacity. This can severely impact a person’s ability to make a living and sustain a career.

Generally employees cannot sue their employers for their work injuries. However, they are usually entitled to Massachusetts workers’ compensation benefits. Unfortunately, there may be disagreement over what happened and how much you are owed, which is why you want to contact a Boston workers’ compensation lawyer that will protect your rights and make sure you get your benefits as soon as possible. Sometimes the disagreement can be with the employer's insurer.

Common nail gun injuries:

• Soft tissue injuries
• Fractures
• Structural damages
• Hand injuries, including those to the fingers, nerves, and tendons
• Lower body extremity injuries, including the thigh, knee, or foot areas
• Head injuries
• Neck injuries
• Chest injuries
• Abdominal injuries
• Spinal cord injuries
• Broken bones
• Traumatic brain injury
• Paralysis
• Puncture wounds

There also may be third parties that are not your employer who should be sued for the Massachusetts construction accident, which is where our Boston personal injury lawyers can help. For example, if your nail gun accident happened because of a defective product, you could have reason to pursue a Massachusetts products liability lawsuit against the manufacturer. Other possible defendants, depending on the specific of your case, could include the property owner, other contractors, and other negligent parties.

At Altman & Altman, LLP, we know how tough it can be to worry not just about your recovery but how to pay your bills. The sooner you speak with a Boston workers' compensation lawyer the sooner your claim can be prepared and processed.

Nail Gun Safety, OSHA (PDF)

Contractor loses eye in nail gun accident in Maplewood, New Jersey.com, March 2, 2014

Workers' Compensation, Mass.gov

Occupational Safety & Health Administration, United States Department of Labor


More Blog Posts:
Boston Man Dies After Back Bay Elevator Shaft Fall, Massachusetts Workers' Compensation Lawyer Blog, March 28, 2014

Worker Who Suffered Electrical Explosion Injuries Awarded $3.8 Million, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, March 18, 2014

Man Involved In Quincy, Massachusetts Construction Accident Suffers Electrical Burns, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, June 12, 2013

March 28, 2014

Boston Man Dies After Back Bay Elevator Shaft Fall

Tragedy struck in a landmark Back Bay building last Friday. First responders were called to 31 Saint James Avenue after reports of a man falling to his death in an elevator shaft. According to Boston Fire spokesman Steve MacDonald, the man was an elevator operator in the building and was found unresponsive at the bottom of the shaft.

Though the police report indicates they do not believe that foul play was involved, OSHA and Boston Police investigators are still trying to determine the cause of the deadly accident. Some are speculating a safety mechanism that could have failed as the elevator was stuck between the first floor and the basement, and the man is believed to have attempted to jump to the first floor. Several local voices piped up on social media to express their concern over the freight elevator. Those who worked in the building often avoided it out of fear that something like this could happen.

Though the risk of dying in an elevator is small, the possibility of getting injured or killed on the job is not. According to the United States Department of Labor, there were 3 million work-related injuries or illnesses in 2012. Victims who are injured on the job and their families face emotional and physical pain, and well as a steep financial burden from mounting medical bills, ongoing treatment, and lost future wages.

Continue reading "Boston Man Dies After Back Bay Elevator Shaft Fall" »

March 20, 2014

Two Injured in Chinatown Construction Accident

Emergency crews were called to the scene of a partial building collapse at 45 Stuart Street this morning. Boston Fire Department reports that two victims were treated at the scene of an accident at a high rise construction site. One of the victims had minor injuries while the other was taken to Tufts Medical Center with serious head injuries, according to the Boston Globe.

The accident occurred when the twelfth floor of a partially constructed building collapsed down to the fifth floor when 120 workers were on the site. “A dead load on the 12th floor collapsed, pancaked down to the fifth floor,” Deputy Fire Chief Robert Calobrisi told CBS Boston. The cause of the collapse was not immediately known, but construction workers are not permitted to resume work until the structural integrity of the building is evaluated by an engineer.

Continue reading "Two Injured in Chinatown Construction Accident" »

February 28, 2014

Massachusetts Office Accidents Can Cause Serious Boston Work Injuries

An office setting can be rife with potential safety hazards. Yes, sitting behind a desk is definitely safer than hauling lumber at a construction site, but don’t think Boston injury accidents still don’t happen. If you were injured at the office, please contact our Massachusetts workers’ compensation law firm today. You may want to explore your options.


Common Office Accidents:
• Fall accidents are the most common kind of office accident (includes slip and fall accidents, trip and fall accidents, step and fall accidents, and other falls.) According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, office workers are at least two times likely to sustain a disabling injury in this type of incident. Common causes include wet floors, poor lighting, bending or reaching for an object while in an unsteady chair, electrical cords on the ground, an open drawer, uneven flooring, objects left on the floor, or standing on a chair instead of a ladder, and dark hallways and stairwells.

• Injuries from lifting heavy items can also happen, even if an office worker is just carrying a box full of papers if his/her posture isn’t properly aligned. Neck, shoulder, and back injuries may result.

• If you are not seated correctly and your work station isn’t ergonomically set up, you could end up with musculoskeletal problems, repetitive trauma, carpal tunnel syndrome, back injury, and posture problems. Eye strain and fatigue can also happen from the hours spent staring at the computer.

• Sexual assault and other violent crimes: Office buildings, like any other property, must have adequate security measures in place to prevent violent crimes from happening. Security cameras, secured entrances and exits, and security personnel may be required depending on the office setting.

• Other office accidents can happen: electrocution, electrical injuries, burn injuries from fires, carbon monoxide poisoning, and other incidents.

Debilitating injuries can make it hard for an office employee to do his/her job. This could mean time off from work, visits to the doctor, and the inability to tend to the other activities and commitments of life.

Although you cannot sue your employer for Boston personal injury or Massachusetts wrongful death, workers are typically entitled to work injury benefits. However, before you agree on the terms of your benefits with the company that you work for, you should speak with Altman & Altman, LLP right away.

Unfortunately, your employer and/or its insurer may disagree with about exactly what happened and if an office accident was the cause of your injury.This could prevent you from getting all of the benefits that you are owed. This is why you should talk to an experienced Boston workers’ compensation lawyer who can protect your rights and advocate on your behalf.

Also, you may be able to sue third parties that were involved, such as the maintenance company whose employee did not properly wipe up a wet floor or a security company that failed to do its job, for Boston personal injury or wrongful death.

Workers' Compensation: What Benefits Will I Get?, MassResources.org

Massachusetts Workers' Compensation Guide for Injured Lawyers, Mass.gov (PDF)

What are the Top Injuries in a Typical Office and How Can You Avoid Them?, Einstein.yu.edu


More Blog Posts:

Injured Logan Airport Construction Worker Awarded $3 M in Personal Injury Settlement, Massachusetts Workers' Compensation Lawyer Blog, February 25, 2014

OSHA Focuses on Protecting Cell Tower Employees after Increase in Worksite Fatalities, Massachusetts Workers' Compensation Lawyer Blog, February 20, 2014

Dozens Injured After Being Exposed to Carbon Monoxide, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, February 28, 2014

February 25, 2014

Injured Logan Airport Construction Worker Awarded $3 M in Personal Injury Settlement

A Logan Airport construction worker was awarded $3 million in a settlement with his employer and the general contractor for the airport, after he suffered debilitating injuries from an incident in 2008.

The 37-year-old man had fallen nearly 35 feet through an unprotected opening on the arrival/departure ramp at Logan International Airport in Boston, landing on a roadway beneath the ramp and suffering multiple traumas including a traumatic brain injury. The victim’s lawyer had filed a lawsuit against the general contractor, who then filed a third-party claim against the worker’s employer. All of the parties involved agreed to partake in a mediation, which included four loss-of-consortium claims for the worker’s wife and three children.

The lawyer who undertook this case hired numerous experts including a behavioral neurologist—to demonstrate the long-lasting health effects of the victim’s brain injury, as well as cinematographers to produce video of witness interviews. Orthopedic surgeons, a neuropsychologist, a life-care planner, and physical and speech therapists were also interviewed during the mediation to further back up the victim’s claim against the plaintiffs. In a court-approved settlement, the worker was granted 58% of the monetary verdict, while his wife and children were awarded 42%. The court also granted a workers’ compensation lien reduction of $378,000. Since the initial settlement, this workers’ compensation case has been settled for an additional $1.5 million.

When a worker is injured in the state of Massachusetts, often it is through workers’ compensation that a person will collect payment to cover injury-related medical costs and lost wages. The purpose of workers’ compensation is to ensure that workers, should they be injured on the job, will be taken care of in exchange for not filing a lawsuit against their employer. Achieving all of these workers’ compensation benefits can sometimes be challenging and what people do not often realize is that workers’ compensation does not cover personal injury in the future, and that their benefits are only limited. What many people fail to know is that they can be eligible to file a secondary claim against a third responsible party to receive additional compensation for their injuries.

Continue reading "Injured Logan Airport Construction Worker Awarded $3 M in Personal Injury Settlement" »

February 20, 2014

OSHA Focuses on Protecting Cell Tower Employees after Increase in Worksite Fatalities

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration is collaborating with the National Association of Tower Erectors and other industry stakeholders to ensure that communication tower employers understand their responsibility to protect workers in high-hazard work environments.

This comes in response to a series of tragic fatalities last month in Texas and West Virginia involving several cell tower works who had fallen during routine working operations at their cell tower stations.

"Tower worker deaths cannot be the price we pay for increased wireless communication," said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health. "Employers and cell tower owners and operators must do everything possible to stop these senseless, preventable tragedies."

The agency has expressed concern over the alarming increase in preventable injuries and worker fatalities at communication tower jobsites. Last year, there were 13 fatalities that occurred in this industry—more than in the two previous years combined. The majority of these fatalities were the result of serious falls. The trend appears to be continuing with the four worker deaths occurring in the first five weeks of 2014. OSHA has now focused its attention on tower safety, and last week, sent out a letter to communication tower employers urging compliance and strict adherence to safety standards and common sense practices.

By law, OSHA requires employers to provide adequate fall protection equipment, train employees how to use the safety equipment and ensure that they use it properly and consistently. In addition to falls, tower workers have also been injured or killed by falling objects, the structural collapse of towers and equipment failures. For example, OSHA issued citations in December 2013 to Custom Tower LLC of Scott, LA for one willful violation following the death of a worker who fell approximately 125 feet.

Continue reading "OSHA Focuses on Protecting Cell Tower Employees after Increase in Worksite Fatalities" »

February 17, 2014

MA Excavation Company Cited by OSHA After Violating Excavation Safety Standards

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited Wakefield, MA excavation and utilities contractor Joseph P. Cardillo & Son Inc. for willful and serious violations of excavation safety standards at a Milton, MA worksite. Cardillo is subject to almost $145,000 in proposed fines following an inspection by OSHA’s Braintree office in August of 2013 in response to an anonymous complaint.

According to Brenda Gordon, a representative for OSHA’s Braintree office, the proposed fines were based on the gravity of the hazards and the employer knowingly refusing to comply with using required safety standards. “The workers could have been crushed or buried in seconds beneath tons of soil and debris, without any escape options,” Gordon stated.

Under OSHA’s standards, all trenches and excavations 5 feet and deeper must be protected against sidewalls collapsing. Protection may be provided through shoring of the trench walls, sloping the soil at a shallow angle or by using a protective trench box.

Since 2011 Cardillo has been in OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program which focuses on employers with a history of safety violations that endanger workers by demonstrating indifference to their responsibilities under the law. The company is eligible to comply or appeal the citations.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance.

Continue reading "MA Excavation Company Cited by OSHA After Violating Excavation Safety Standards" »

February 7, 2014

OSHA Cites Packaging Corporation of America For Repeat Safety Hazards After MA Plant Inspection

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited the Packaging Corporation of America for two repeat violations of workplace safety standards following an inspection of the company’s Chelmsford, MA manufacturing plant. The company is now facing up to $66,000 in potential fines.

OSHA spokesperson Jeffrey Erskine stated that, “While no injuries occurred, the potential for serious injury was evident.” Specifically, OSHA inspectors found that plant workers were exposed to crushing, struck-by and caught-in machinery hazards while setting up a press. Inspectors also found that operating procedures—shutting down and locking machines’ power sources—were not followed, and workers were at a high risk for being caught in operating conveyer belts on the same machine that lacked protective guarding.

Similar violations had been found in the company’s Opelika, AL location, therefore OSHA cited the company for a repeat violation.

OSHA’s hazardous energy control standard requires machines to be powered off and their power sources suspended before conducting maintenance services to avoid injury and fatalities should the machine once again become powered on. The machine-guarding standard requires that machine-operating parts be guarded to protect caught-in hazards.

Packing Corporation of America, which is based in Illinois, had 15 business days from the receipt of its citations and proposed penalty to comply, meet with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the OSHA Review Commission.

While luckily there were not any worker injuries in this case, this situation demonstrates a lack of oversight on behalf of the Packaging Corporation of America to keep its workers safe. According to OSHA standards, employers have a legal responsibility to ensure that a safe workplace is provided to all of their employees.

Continue reading "OSHA Cites Packaging Corporation of America For Repeat Safety Hazards After MA Plant Inspection" »

February 7, 2014

Seasoned Natick, MA DPW Employee Fatally Injured in “Freak Accident”

A long-time employee of the town of Natick was killed and a second town employee was injured Tuesday night while making emergency repairs to a water line.

According to reports, six members of the Department of Public Works went to repair a water line break. Two of the employees on scene were working in a trench, when a backhoe was accidentally pulled forward and the stabilizer struck the workers.

No other information was provided and police and town officials are continuing their investigation of the incident.

For family members of those who have been killed on the job, there is undoubtedly no amount of monetary compensation that can recompense their loss of life. Family members including spouses and children may file a wrongful death and/or workers’ compensation claim to receive financial relief. Immediate family members may be entitled to recover up to 60% of the deceased worker’s average weekly wage as well as other benefits.

Continue reading "Seasoned Natick, MA DPW Employee Fatally Injured in “Freak Accident”" »