Articles Posted in Machinery Accidents

The waiting period built into workers’ compensation benefits functions as a type of deductible. If you are injured on the job, workers’ comp generally pays for associated medical treatment, a portion of your lost wages, and compensation for permanent disability. If you cannot work, these payments can mean the difference between financial disaster and financial stability.

Many workers’ comp applicants are surprised to discover that benefits rarely start immediately. In most cases, beneficiaries will be subjected to a waiting period. During this time, you will be unable to collect benefit payments, with few exceptions. A MA workers’ comp lawyer can help you determine how to move forward if you’ve suffered a workplace injury.

Waiting Period

More construction accidents occur during spring and summer than in any other season. And the increase applies to all accident types, including falls, sun stroke, electrocutions, and motor vehicle accidents. There are many reasons for the spike in construction accidents during warmer months, including longer daylight hours, distractions, poor sleep schedules, heavier traffic in roadway work zones, high temperatures, and an increase in construction work overall. Read on for more information about construction accident high season and how to avoid serious injury and death.

Tips to Avoid Construction Accidents

In 2014, more than 20 percent of work-related fatalities occurred in construction. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), its efforts have significantly reduced work-related fatalities – approximately 66 percent since 1970. By following the tips below, you can significantly avoid being injured or killed in a work-related accident.

In 2016, Travelers Insurance released an “Injury Impact Report” identifying the leading causes of work-related injury accidents. The study reviewed more than 1.5 million workers’ comp claims from a diverse selection of industries. The claims, filed between 2010 and 2014, revealed the top five most common claims and their relative costs.

Lost Work Time

The most common injuries by far were strains, sprains and fractures, contusions, cuts and punctures, inflammation, and chronic sickness. The average lost work time for strains and sprains was 57 days, and cuts and punctures followed at 24 days. But the main causes of missed work time were inflammation and fractures, with fractures resulting in 78 days lost and inflammation-related injuries resulting in 91. A Boston workers’ compensation attorney can help you determine how to move forward if you’ve been injured in a work-related accident

When an employee misses six or more days of work due to an on-the-job injury, it is considered a “serious” workplace injury. According to the 2017 Liberty Mutual Insurance Workplace Safety Index, these serious injuries and accidents cost U.S. employers about $59.9 billion in 2014. The study, which has been conducted for each of the past 17 years, seeks to help employers concentrate on the most important areas of workplace safety.

What Are the Top 10 Leading Causes of Serious Workplace Injuries in Massachusetts and Nationwide?

Although any work-related accident can result in serious injuries, the following 10 causes accounted for more than 83 percent of the total $59.9 billion spent nationwide in 2014. And the top three causes collectively represent nearly half of that total.

  1. Overexertion
  2. Same level falls
  3. Falls to a lower level
  4. Struck by an object
  5. Other types of overexertion or bodily reaction
  6. Roadway accidents involving motor vehicles
  7. Slip or trip accidents without a fall
  8. Being caught in or compressed by an object or objects
  9. Struck against an object
  10. Repetitive motions related to micro-tasks

“Each year, we rank the top 10 causes of the most serious, nonfatal workplace injuries by their direct costs to help companies better protect employees and the bottom-line,” reports Liberty Mutual spokesperson Debbie Michel. “Workplace injuries impact both employees and employers. Injured employees face potential physical, emotional and financial harm. Employers face the direct costs of workplace injuries – medical care related to the accident and some portion of an injured employee’s pay – and the indirect costs, including hiring temporary employees, lost productivity, and quality disruptions.”

When compared to the 2016 report, the top 10 causes of serious workplace accidents remained the same. However, the share of those 10 causes in the cost of total workplace accidents grew from 82.5 percent in 2016 to 83.4 percent in 2017. Roadway accidents and same level falls continued the upward trend while overexertion saw a substantial decrease. These results help companies like Liberty Mutual advise employers of how to effectively reduce serious workplace accidents. If you’ve been injured in a serious workplace accident, it’s crucial to consult with a skilled MA serious workplace injury lawyer. Your employer will prioritize his or her best interests. You should do the same.

Which Occupations Have Highest Risk of Serious Workplace Injuries?

Although certain occupations have a greater risk of serious workplace injuries, you can be injured while performing any type of job duty, from secretarial work to fighting fires. The occupations below have some of the highest rate of workers’ comp claims for serious workplace injuries:

  • Laborers
  • Truck drivers
  • Nurses and nursing aides
  • Construction workers
  • Carpenters

If you have suffered any of the above injuries, or have experienced another type of workplace injury such as carpal tunnel syndrome or chemical burns, it is in your best interest to hire an experienced Boston work injury lawyer right away. The right representation can ensure that you obtain the compensation you deserve in a timely manner. Continue reading

A 51-year-old Stoughton worker was tragically killed on Jan. 24 after an incident at his place of work in Freetown. Alphonse Ferent was working at a distribution center for Stop & Shop when he fell between a loading dock and a tractor trailer that was pulling away from the loading dock.

As the truck pulled away, a forklift that was unloading product from inside the tractor trailer fell out of the back of the truck and onto Ferent, killing him, as reported by the Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health (MassCOSH).

Ferent’s death marks the 21st worker death that resulted from heavy objects falling and crushing the victim since 2007. Nationally, the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates that there are about 85 fatal accidents involving forklifts every year, and approximately 11 percent of the 855,900 forklifts used across the United States will be involved in some type of work accident.

“Our thoughts go out to the friends and family of Alphonse,” said MassCOSH Interim Executive Director Al Vega. “Here at MassCOSH, we have seen far too many lives lost at loading docks. Until employers recognize the inherent dangers that come with moving goods at distribution centers and take to heart their responsibility to keep their workers safe no matter what, we will continue to senselessly lose men and women on the job.”

Employers are responsible for worker safety

This tragic accident involved many aspects that could have been avoided. Any situation involving a forklift on a moving apparatus such as a tractor trailer should be properly supervised and only performed by trained employees utilizing proper safety protocols. In this case, an investigation will be launched to ascertain why the truck began moving with the forklift still performing work in its cargo-holding area.

OSHA requires that all workplace deaths must be immediately reported and investigated to find out what went wrong and what could be done to prevent any future tragedies. The managers at the distribution center, and Stop & Shop, very well may face citations and penalties for any failures found that resulted in the compromising of their employees’ safety.

Although this event could have been the result of a tragic, ill-timed accident, it nonetheless puts a spotlight on the dire importance of proper safety protocols in areas where heavy machinery are used in close conjunction to employees. The family of the worker who lost his life will never be able to regain what they have lost, but they may be able to file a suit for wrongful death if an investigation shows that his death was preventable. Continue reading

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has declared the death of a worker at a Bellingham Massachusetts used auto parts business as preventable, and the result of a lack of proper safety training.

The employee was inflating a tire while working at John’s Used Autos and Parts LLC when he was struck in the head by a “chain come-a-long” device that is used to mount rim wheels onto tires. The incident occurred on Oct. 31, 2016 and the employee perished from his injuries on Nov. 11.

An investigation into the workplace fatality was launched by OSHA’s Braintree office and found that the employer did not:

LTL freight company, Central Transport, has committed to work on improving their company-wide safety protocols, and to specifically address safety concerns regarding outdated and unsafe forklifts and industrial trucks at over 100 of their terminals in 26 states across the nation.  The commitment to safety changes came after extensive investigations from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) revealed many citations and violations of safety standards, totaling $165,400 in total penalties, which Central Transport must pay as part of the agreement. These violations could have caused, and may still cause, crushing or struck-by injuries at these locations.

Central Transport must remove damaged, defective and unsafe forklifts from all of their locations and implement a comprehensive and detailed timetable and a step-by-step list on how they will address safety concerns moving forward.  These steps must be verified by an internal monitor to ensure that the implementation is going according to the agreement. This monitor will make at least 20 checks on terminals across their service area. In addition to an internal monitor, a third party monitor will also made unannounced checks on their terminals and conduct interviews with employees to see if the changes are being implemented.

The violations were noted at Central Transport terminals in 26 states, including the Billerica terminal in Massachusetts. It is now up to each of these states to honor and enforce this settlement agreement to help ensure the safety of its workers.

Proper safety regulations are non-negotiable

Industrial jobs, such as working in a loading dock for a freight company like Central Transport, carry inherent risks for the employees. Any profession that involves heavy machinery, large trucks and massive payloads may pose obvious dangers that could lead to permanent injuries or death.  It is for this reason that all companies that employ workers in potentially-dangerous fields should take the utmost care to ensure that they are doing everything possible to prevent avoidable accidents that can lead to the irreversible harm or death of their employees. OSHA exists to hold companies accountable for this responsibility, and this recent agreement shows why OSHA is important.

Were it not for OSHA investigating and revealing unsafe working conditions, how long would Central Transport have pushed their luck using outdated and hazardous forklifts? Would change only have happened after somebody was hurt, or worse? Now that they have been cited and given the order to update their safety protocols, it will hopefully result in an overall safer work environment for their employees. Continue reading

Construction sites are dangerous places, there’s no doubt about that. And crane accidents are among the deadliest types of construction-related accidents. In fact, earlier this month, a worker died in a crane accident in Longwood Medical area of Boston.  Improved technology has positively impacted productivity, but safety issues remain for workers on and around cranes. The information below will help you identify the leading causes of crane accidents and how to avoid them.

How Do Crane Accidents Occur?

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has identified the leading causes of crane accidents. They include:

  • Coming into contact with power lines
  • Cranes overturning
  • Falls from high places
  • Mechanical failures

In addition to deadly crane accidents, there are countless minor crane accidents that result in lost wages and productivity, an increase in insurance costs, OSHA fines, and more. In fact, a 1997 OSHA study concluded that most crane accidents are non-fatal. It is likely that most of these minor accidents are never even reported. Contact a Massachusetts Work Injury Lawyer if you’ve suffered an on-the-job injury.

Tips for Preventing Crane Accidents

If you work on or around cranes in Massachusetts, the following tips will dramatically reduce your risk of being seriously harmed or killed in a crane accident.

  • Assess: Assess for the potential of a crane accident and ensure that hazards are identified and remedied. This includes making sure the soil is properly prepared and that the crane is not in close proximity to power lines or underground pipelines.
  • Establish: Each crane should have its own safety plan and a person should be assigned to ensure the safety plan is adhered to. In doing so, he or she must ensure that equipment is well-maintained and routinely inspected.
  • Assign: A competent person should be assigned to oversee all crane operations.
  • Train: It’s not enough to only train workers who spend significant time on or around cranes. Any personnel working near a crane for any amount of time, even if only repairing or assembling the crane, should be properly trained in lifting operations.

Following the above advice doesn’t eliminate the risk of working on or near cranes, but it significantly reduces that risk. In Boston and the surrounding areas, it’s hard to turn the corner without seeing a construction site. Employers should ensure the safety of their crew by providing proper safety gear and adequate training, and by keeping equipment in good working order. Continue reading

Cases of faulty anchor bolts and concrete collapses are not unheard of.  These materials are used in almost every  Massachusetts building, tunnel, bridge, and piece of infrastructure because they can be so secure and durable.  However, if improperly constructed, malfunctions can occur that can cause serious injuries or fatalities.  Common causes of anchor bolt failures leading to concrete collapses are improperly securing the bolts due to poor training, insufficient supervision of workers, or plain negligence.  It is not uncommon for construction workers to skimp on protocol in order to save time and money.  Although workers may not realize the amount of damage that can be caused by taking short cuts, lives have been lost due to this kind of carelessness.

Anchor bolt failures can occur during or after construction.  Serious injuries can result from these failures such as bleeding, head/back/neck/spinal cord injury, amputation, paralysis, and death.  To ensure these injuries are minimized, it is important to adhere to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration guidelines when working with anchor bolts to secure pieces of concrete.  Such guidelines include “All columns shall be anchored by a minimum of four anchor rods (anchor bolts)” and “Prior to the erection of a column, the controlling contractor shall provide written notification to the steel erector if there has been any repair, replacement or modification of the anchor rods of that column”.  These and other requirements implemented by OSHA are put in place in order to ensure anchor bolts are correctly installed and maintained.  Bolts that have been repaired, replaced, or field-modified improperly have been responsible for collapses of concrete slabs and consequent injuries and deaths.

Therefore, proper maintenance of anchor bolts is also crucial to protect the longevity of the components and the safety of bystanders.  There are a few types of evaluation procedures to test the integrity of the anchor bolts, both non-destructive testing and semi-destructive testing.  The three main techniques typically used are 1) Acoustic impact, in which the bolt is struck by a hammer and the tone determines its condition, 2) Ultrasonic metal flaw detection, essentially passing a mechanical stress wave over the bolt and the way the wave is reflected or transmitted determines the condition of the bolt, and 3) Excavation and discovery, which bolts are cleaned of corrosion and an instrument called a vernier caliper is used to determine the diameter of the bolt.  Once these tests have been performed, there are several sub sequential steps that need to be taken.  The condition of the anchor bolt determines the next course of action.  Possible options following anchor bolt integrity tests include, leaving the bolt alone (if it is in good condition), repairing existing bolts, relocating bolts, or complete anchor bolt extraction and reinstallation.  Continue reading

A trench collapse that occurred Tuesday morning in Halifax is under investigation by OSHA. A 50-year-old landscaper with Evergreen Landscaping Company became trapped when the trench collapsed. Paul Brown of Plymouth, and several other workers, were inspecting a septic tank when the incident occurred. Paramedics and a rescue team, including the Halifax Fire Department, worked for several hours to free Brown from the trench. Contact a Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Today.

Rescue Workers Provided Intravenous Fluids and a Heater to Prevent Hypothermia

According to firefighters, the rescue was especially difficult because they couldn’t use sophisticated equipment to free the victim. “It comes down to little army shovels and 5 gallon buckets. (We) can’t use big machinery because vibrations will cause more sand to collapse on top of the victim,” said Halifax Fire Chief Jason Vizeiros.  While Brown was still trapped in the 8-foot deep trench, he couldn’t move his legs but he was able to speak with the rescue workers. In order to protect Brown from becoming hypothermic, paramedics administered intravenous fluids and provided a heater to keep him warm.

Once freed from the trench, Brown was taken by ambulance to the landing pad of a medical helicopter. He was immediately flown to Boston Medical Center, where he remains in good condition. The victim was lucky. Trench collapses often result in serious injuries and death. “They don’t always end this way, so it is definitely a happy ending,” said Duxubry Fire Department Chief Kevin Nord.

Trenching is a High-Risk Occupation

Trenching is actually one of the most dangerous jobs around. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 271 workers died in trenching collapses between 2000 and 2006, and 488 trenching-related fatalities occurred between 1992 and 2000. Most trenching hazards are preventable and easy to recognize. It is the employer’s responsibility to promote safe work practices, and to provide a safe working environment, protective equipment, and adequate training.

OSHA Standards for Trenching Safety

  • When workers are exposed to danger from moving ground, trench walls must be guarded by a shoring system, ground slope, or equivalent means.
  • When ground material is soft or unstable, sides of trenches 5-feet deep or deeper must be shored, sloped, braced, sheeted, or supported by equivalent means.
  • Trenches adjacent to backfilled areas or prone to vibrations from highway traffic, railroads, or heavy-machine operation must be given additional bracing and shoring.

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