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Queens Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Toxic exposure at work can have a toxic effect on your life

All New York workers have the right to a workplace that is free from hazards and unnecessary threats to their health, including exposure to toxic substances. While any type of employee could face exposure to things that may cause significant harm to his or her health, those who do experience sickness or disease because of this have the right to recovery. 

Whether it was using cleaning supplies over time or direct exposure to dangerous chemicals, you may have a claim to workers' compensation benefits. If your injury or illness is a result of your job duties or an accident that occurred at work, you have a valid claim to this type of financial support.

New law may limit fatal New York construction workers' accidents

Along with the construction boom in New York City came an unacceptable death toll of workers that exceeded 30 over the past two years. Many believe that the majority of these construction workers' accidents were preventable. In many cases, it is apparent that construction company owners prioritized profits over safety.

In the past, the City's Department of Buildings (responsible for enforcing the building codes) was not obliged to inform the Occupational Safety and Health Department (responsible for enforcing safety regulations on worksites). In a move that might prevent many deaths, the New York City Council recently passed several bills aimed at employee safety. One of these is the Occupational Safety and Health Administration Notification Act by which the DOB must notify OSHA of hazardous construction sites, training and safety violations.

Workplace accidents: Meatpackers face amputation risks

New York employees in the poultry processing industry are extremely vulnerable to suffering severe injuries. The National Employment Law Project indicates that workplace accidents in this industry cause amputations to 27 workers every day. Reportedly, these catastrophic injuries occur in processing plants of all sizes, including some of the nation's biggest poultry processors.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the chances of poultry plant workers and meatpackers suffering workplace illnesses or injuries are significantly higher than for employees in many other occupations. The poultry industry is number 12 on the list of severe injury reports. The list is topped by the medical industry, oil and gas support and construction -- both institutional and commercial.

Too many victims of fatal workplace injuries in New York

Workers across the country, including in New York, stopped to pay tribute to all those who said goodbye to their loved ones and went to work, never to return. Workers Memorial Day took place on April 28. The most recent data on record is that of 2015, which indicates that the number of fatal workplace injuries in that year exceeded 4,800 -- 236 of those were from New York. The intention is to maintain awareness of the importance of workplace safety.

Although job safety has improved greatly since laws were passed to protect workers over 40 years ago, employee health and safety remain a significant concern in these challenging times. The total number of federal occupational safety inspectors in New York is only 93. This means that to inspect only existing workplaces one time, it would take those inspectors 152 years.

Construction workers' accidents: 1 more worker falls to his death

Following the death of yet another construction worker, a union leader urged the New York City Council to mandate stricter safety training through legislation. He said most fatal construction workers' accidents are avoidable, and city authorities agreed. According to the union leader, most of the victims of these tragedies are exploited nonunion workers who never received proper training.

Construction is one of the most dangerous industries, and it is alarming to see how employers disregard safety regulations -- even knowing that it may cause fatalities. A 59-year-old worker fell to his death from the second floor of a Times Square construction site. Reportedly, the worker was standing on an 18-feet high I-beam when he lost his balance.

Another man injured in 1 of many construction workers' accidents

A paramedic with the Schoharie County EMS says they responded to a workplace accident that was reported just after 9:30 a.m. on a recent Tuesday. This was one of many construction workers' accidents that have been reported in the state of New York over the last few months. Reportedly, this incident occurred at a road construction site in Otsego County.

According to the county sheriff, the work crew was busy with a project involving a ditch and a bridge. As workers were being elevated to work on the underneath part of the bridge structure, the machine that was used to lift them apparently tipped over. One worker was trapped under the heavy piece of equipment.

Construction workers' accidents: Worker pinned under 7-ton hammer

The high number of construction accidents in New York has been a subject of concern for safety authorities for some months. On a recent Wednesday morning, a construction worker in Queens miraculously escaped death in a construction workers' accident that involved a 7-ton falling hammer. This man was incredibly lucky to suffer injuries that were not considered a threat to his life. 

Reportedly, the incident occurred at approximately 11 a.m. at a construction site in Kew Gardens. Under circumstances under investigation, the steel hammer fell on the construction worker's legs. Responders were initially at a loss to figure out how to extricate the worker from under the massive steel object.

If you don't look out for your safety at work, who will?

Regardless of the industry in which you earn your income, your safety and health could be at risk. Workplace accidents can occur anywhere and at any time – and, in spite of your best efforts, you might become a victim through no fault of your own. While you have to cope with pain and anxiety about lost wages, you will likely have many questions about workers' compensation benefits such as what procedures should you follow and which losses will the benefits cover?

Fortunately, you are entitled to retain the services of an experienced workers' compensation attorney who can handle all the intricacies of filing benefits claims with the workers' comp system. The support and guidance of such a professional will allow you to recover and return to work while he or she represents you at the administrative hearing before the New York State Workers' Compensation Board and negotiates a settlement with your employer and the insurance company.

Safety is in your hands

The bones, muscles and nerves working together to move your hands are nothing short of miraculous. The dexterity and ability to manipulate your fingers and thumbs sets humans apart from all other animals. Your hands allow you to operate heavy machinery at work, then go home to tuck your children into bed or tenderly hold the hand of someone you love.

To lose the use of your hands would be a devastating blow. On average, doctors in emergency rooms in New York and across the country treat 16 million hand injuries each year. About 75 percent of all disabling work injuries are hand-related. If you are among those statistics, you understand the frustration of a hand injury.

Construction workers' accidents: Excavator rollover kills 1

Working along the busy highways of New York and surrounding states can be extremely hazardous. The risks that construction workers face were underscored in a recent fatal accident in a neighboring state. The death of a 60-year-old construction crew member who was working on an overpass was but one of the many fatalities in construction workers' accidents that occur nationwide every year.

Reportedly, emergency departments received notice of a construction accident shortly before 1 p.m. on a recent Wednesday. State troopers arrived to find an excavator that had tipped over. The operator was apparently ejected from machine's cab the when the excavator rolled onto its side, causing the boom to lean against the overpass.

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