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Posted On: August 31, 2010

HAZMAT Crews are Unaware of the Specific Contents of Railroad Cars, Including Deadly Chemicals

According to the Star Gazette, railroad companies often ship deadly chemicals across the country on a daily basis, yet the companies refuse to publicly disclose exactly what those substances are or how frequently they are transported through certain areas.

A spokesman for the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) reported that only railroad companies know what cargo is held within the cars. As a result, HAZMAT crews that are tasked with responding to the scene of an accident have no knowledge of the contents of the railway cars.

The spokesperson defended the railroad company’s lack of disclosure, stating that the information must remain undisclosed since it is a “matter of national security.”

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Posted On: August 31, 2010

Massachusetts Passes New Workers’ Compensation Statute

Governor Deval Patrick recently passed an amendment to Massachusetts' workers’ compensation statute that allows any three private citizens to file a civil suit against employers who fail to follow workers’ compensation laws.

The amendment incentivizes plaintiffs with a monetary award, compensatory and liquidated damages, and costs and attorney’s fee. The plaintiffs will be required to provide the employer and any insurer with a notice of intent to sue 90 days prior to the start of the action.

The statute also provides for a six year statute of limitations, which is twice as long as most other wage-related claims. Experts predict that this will put additional pressure on Massachusetts employers to comply with workers’ compensation laws and correctly classify workers.

The amendment to the workers’ compensation statute takes effect on November 7, 2010.

Source: Workers' compensation private right of action bill creates new hazards for Massachusetts employers, Lexology.com, August 23, 2010

Contact the Massachusetts workers’ compensation law firm of Altman & Altman if you believe you have been wrongfully denied workers’ compensation. Our attorneys have over 50 years of experience in handling a variety of claims and cases.

Posted On: August 30, 2010

Propeller Accident Kills Weymouth Pilot Instructor in Beverly

The head flight instructor for the Beverly Flight Center was killed this past week after being struck by a moving propeller. The victim, a Weymouth resident, had been an instructor for the past ten years at the Beverly Airport.

The Essex District Attorney’s Office stated that the pilot’s death appears to be accidental. The accident occurred at approximately 12:15 p.m. on August 27th. The DA’s office further stated that the victim exited his plane on the runway in order to assist another instructor that was in the process of helping a student with a canopy. It was the propeller on his own plane which struck him.

The victim was pronounced dead upon the arrival of rescue workers at the scene of the accident. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Boston will be conducting an autopsy.

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Posted On: August 30, 2010

Yankee Candle Worker Dies After Fall from Forklift

A 24-year-old worker at the Yankee Candle Co. warehouse in Deerfield died after falling from a forklift. The man started his employment at the warehouse only a few months before the accident. He obtained the position through a local temp agency.

The man fell approximately 30 feet from the forklift. The police have stated that the worker may have been standing on a forklift extension at the time of the accident.

According to the local district attorney’s office, following the fall, the employee was taken by ambulance to Baystate Franklin Medical Center in Greenfield where he was pronounced dead.

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Posted On: August 27, 2010

Most Dangerous Jobs In America According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics

Recently, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released its annual report on fatalities in the workplace. While the final figures will not be released until April of 2010, the preliminary report states that there were 4,340 fatal work injuries in 2009. The number of fatal work injuries has decreased 17 percent since the 2008 report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Interestingly, the report states that 90 percent of all fatal work injuries in 2009 involved workers in the private industry.

The construction industry incurred the most fatal injuries of any industry in the private sector, with 816 deaths in 2009. Private construction fatalities have dropped by more than a third since reaching its highest numbers in 2006. The report suggests that the current economic condition of the country may explain this decline.

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Posted On: August 26, 2010

Construction Worker Hospitalized After Steel Beam Collapses

On Monday afternoon, a 31-year-old worker suffered life-threatening injuries after falling from a structure where he was working. Several beams had reportedly given way and the worker’s safety line was attached to one of the beams, so the falling beam pulled off the wall. He apparently suffered head trauma and was taken to the emergency room following the construction accident.

An official from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was en route to the area to investigate the cause of the industrial accident.

OSHA already conducted a safety check at the job site at the end of May and found no violations. However, the same company paid $5,000 in fines for serious violations of their ‘fall protection systems’ at a different job site in 2009.

Source: Construction worker injured in fall, ArgusLeader.com, August 24, 2010

Omaha Man Pulled Off Wall At Sanford Job Site, Keloland.com, August 23, 2010

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Posted On: August 23, 2010

Worcester Man and His Company Plead Guilty to Violating Massachusetts Wage Laws

A Worcester Superior Court has ordered a 35-year-old man and his company to pay $500,000 in restitution after the man pled guilty to over 60 charges of committing workers’ compensation insurance fraud and violating Massachusetts wage and hour laws. He has also been ordered to serve five years probation.

Labor Solutions, Inc. reportedly provided temporary labor services to manufacturing facilities around Worcester County. The company was charged with Willful Failure to Pay Minimum Wage (13 counts), Willful Failure to Pay Overtime (6 counts), Workers’ Compensation Insurance Fraud (5 counts), and Willful Failure to Furnish Employment Records to the Attorney General (5 counts), among other charges.

According to investigators, the business cheated their workers’ comp insurance carrier out of at least an estimated $509,000 in unpaid insurance premiums. Attorney General Martha Coakley said she hopes the plea and resulting sentence will discourage other employers from breaking the law.

Source: Worcester Company and Owner Plead Guilty, Ordered to Pay $500,000 in Restitution, Boston.CityBizList.com, August 21, 2010

Have you been denied workers’ compensation and other workplace rights? Our Boston workers’ comp lawyers have decades of experience in assisting workers get the medical coverage, workers’ compensation, and other benefits to which they are entitled.

Posted On: August 19, 2010

Massachusetts Driver Suing FedEx Over Contractor Status

Our Boston workplace injury lawyers have learned that a man from Acushnet, Massachusetts is the lead plaintiff in a suit filed in U.S. District Court in Boston against FedEx Corp.

Thirty-one current and former truck drivers are suing the delivery company over improperly classifying them as independent contractors. They allege that the degree of control which FedEx has over its drivers creates an employer-employee relationship and seek an injunction changing the classification and monetary damagers.

This is the latest of several similar lawsuits against FedEx. Among the issues related to misclassification of workers is the fact that companies who classify workers as contractors can often avoid paying workers’ compensation.

Source: UPDATE 2-Drivers sue FedEx over contractor status, Reuters, August 17, 2010

Contact a Massachusetts attorney if you have been denied workers’ compensation.

Posted On: August 16, 2010

Massachusetts Study Finds Discrepancies in Workers’ Comp Fee Schedule Levels

Our Boston worker’s compensation lawyers recently read about a study by the Cambridge-based Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI). The study found that there are dramatic differences among worker’s comp medical fee schedule levels in the 43 states which use them. It used each state’s Medicare fee schedule as a benchmark, although it also recognized that the optimum level of fee schedule rates may not be the same as Medicare.

Only three states, Massachusetts, California, and Florida, set workers’ comp fee schedule rates without 20% of the Medicare rates in those states. Massachusetts’ workers’ comp fee schedule rates were only 8% above Medicare, while Alaska’s rates were 215% above Medicare rates in the state. Five other states also set their rates at levels more than double Medicare rates in the state.

Creating a workers’ comp medical fee schedule is a delicate matter, because if rates are too high, the schedule may not meet the goal of cost containment. However, rates that are too low may jeopardize injured workers’ access to quality healthcare.

Source: WCRI Found Significant Differences in State Workers’ Compensation Medical Fee Schedule Levels When Compared to State Medicare Rates, BusinessWire.com, August 10, 2010

Contact a Boston workers’ comp lawyer if you have been injured on the job and are not receiving the medical attention to which you are entitled.

Posted On: August 12, 2010

Construction Worker Dies After Norfolk Explosion

Last month, a construction worker was killed after being pulled from the ruble of a Norfolk condo explosion. The 48-year-old man was stuck under the burning debris for an hour and a half before being rescued and taken to Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, where he died about 10:30pm that night.

The construction accident occurred at a condo being constructed at a community for people 55 and older. Authorities say they have not determined the cause of the explosion, but they believe it was accidental.

Several other workers were injured in the explosion, including a 72-year-old man from Foxboro, a 43-year-old man from Franklin, and a 17-year-old man from Wrentham. A resident who lived in an attached condo managed to leave the building herself. She was treated for exposure to the effects of the blast at Rhode Island Hospital.

Source: Construction accident, Telegram.com, July 31, 2010

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Posted On: August 9, 2010

Study Finds Workers’ Comp Prescription Meds Cost Per Claim Significantly Lower in Massachusetts

Our Boston workers’ compensation lawyers have learned that the average payment per claim for prescription drugs in the Massachusetts workers’ compensation system was 30% lower than the median of 16 other states studied. Titled Prescription Benchmarks for Massachusetts, the report found that the average payment per claim was $289.

Researchers say this discrepancy is due to Massachusetts’ lower pharmacy fee schedule.

Massachusetts is also one of only three states where physician dispensing of prescription medications is not allowed. In states where this practice is common, physician-dispensers often get even higher payouts than pharmacies for the same prescription. Doctors in Massachusetts were also less likely to prescribe brand name medications to injured workers and other patients.

Source: Massachusetts: WC prescription drug costs per claim lower than most states, RiskandInsurance.com, August 2, 2010

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Posted On: August 6, 2010

Chelsea Construction Explosion Under Investigation by OSHA

This past week, two construction workers were working below street level in Bellingham Square in Chelsea when their equipment contacted an electrical line, causing an explosion. The explosion, which is currently under investigation by the Federal Occupation Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), injured two workers.

One of the injured workers, a 50-year-old resident of Everett, was transported to Massachusetts General Hospital for treatment of the injuries he sustained from the construction accident. The other construction worker injured by the blast received medical treatment at the scene.

The workers' compensation and personal injury attorneys at Altman & Altman have successfully represented injured workers and their families throughout Massachusetts for over 50 years. If you have been injured on the job, please contact our office for an initial consultation free of charge.

Source: OSHA is investigating Bellingham Square Accident, The Chelsea Record, August 4, 2010

Posted On: August 5, 2010

Massachusetts Man Hospitalized After Bulldozer Accident on the Job

Our Boston workers’ compensation attorneys have learned that a workplace accident injured a Massachusetts man earlier this week. The accident occurred at a gas pipeline work site when the man lost control of the bulldozer he was operating and it went down a steep embankment with a grade of about 1,800 or 1,900 feet.

The worker was found about 1,100 feet from where the bulldozer initially went out of control and was taken to a local hospital. He was listed in stable condition and his injuries were not believed to be life-threatening.

Police say it’s unclear whether the fall was the result of mechanical failure or operator error. Federal workplace safety investigators plan to look into what caused the bulldozer accident.

Source: LaFayette bulldozer crash sends Mass. man to hospital, Syracuse.com, August 4, 2010

Have you been injured on the job? Our Massachusetts workplace accident attorneys have years of experience and can help ensure that you get the medical attention and compensation to which you are entitled.

Posted On: August 3, 2010

Seven Injured, One Dead Following a Propane Explosion in Norfolk Home Under Construction

William Nichols, a 58 year old electrician, passed away Friday night as a result of injuries he sustained from a Norfolk home explosion. William Nichols was working in his capacity as an electrician when the Norfolk home suddenly exploded, injuring Nichols and seven others.

Nichols was airlifted to Brigham and Women’s Hospital where he was subsequently pronounced dead. The explosion also injured four other construction workers, two firefighters and a resident who lives in an adjoining unit.

The blast occurred around 12:30 pm as a construction crew was working on the heating and air conditioning system in the unfinished section of a Duplex at the Village at River’s Edge in Norfolk. The explosion caused the ceiling of the home to collapse which trapped Nichols in the basement for over 90 minutes before rescue workers were able to remove him from the rubble.

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Posted On: August 2, 2010

Massachusetts Department of Industrial Accidents Cancels Missed Appointment Fees

Our Massachusetts workplace accident attorneys have learned that the Department Industrial Accidents has changed its policy on missed appointments for impartial workers’ compensation medical examinations.

Now when an administrative judge or the judge’s administrative assistant receives notice of a cancelation at least 48 hours in advance, the department shall reschedule the exam without charging the $100 missed appointment fee. Missed appointments or appointments canceled less than 24 hours in advance will not be rescheduled until the unit manager receives the miss appointment penalty.

However, if the injured worker misses an exam due to an unavoidable emergency, the worker may be eligible for a fee waiver.

Source: Massachusetts: Department cancels missed appointment fees, RiskandInsurance.com, July 29, 2010

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