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Work Related Injuries in Suffolk County

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Workplace accidents and injuries are going up across the United States. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were a total of 5,486 fatal injuries in 2022, an increase of 5.7% from the prior year, as well as 2.8 million non-fatal work injuries, up 7.5% from the prior year. These increases indicate that the American workplace is becoming riskier for workers, which should compel employers to take a fresh look at their accident prevention strategies to ensure that they provide maximum protection for workers. Our Suffolk County workplace accident attorneys can assist workers in identifying risks in their workplace and pursuing workers’ compensation claims when they suffer injuries. 

The Most Commonly Violated Safety Standards 

The federal agency tasked with establishing workplace safety standards and investigating violations thereof is the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Each year, OSHA publishes a list of the top 10 standards for which they issue violation citations. They publish this list as a public service to employers so that they can take steps to identify and remedy these hazards for the safety of their workers. The list also provides a good starting point for identifying the most common risks in the workplace. 

For 2023, the 10 most frequently issued OSHA violation citations were: 

  • Fall protection, construction industry (7,188 violations) 
  • Hazard communication, general industry (2,639 violations) 
  • Ladders, construction industry (2,449 violations) 
  • Respiratory protection, general industry (2,412 violations) 
  • Scaffolding, construction industry (2,251 violations) 
  • Control of hazardous energy (lockout/tagout), general industry (2,139 violations) 
  • Powered industrial trucks, general industry (1,896 violations) 
  • Fall protection training, construction industry (1,762 violations) 
  • Eye and face protection, construction industry (1,572 violations) 
  • Machinery and machine guarding, general industry (1,469 violations) 

What is remarkable about this list is how little it changes from year to year. While there may be more of a certain type of violation in a specific year (i.e., ladder accidents ranking lower in some years and higher in others), the top 10 violations themselves don’t change very much, making them perennial risks for workers. If you’ve suffered a workplace injury (whether it was in the top 10 or not), a Suffolk County workplace accident attorney can help you in your recovery. 

OSHA-Recommended Practices for Identifying Risks 

There is only much individual workers can do to protect themselves from injuries in the workplace. Employers are responsible for ensuring that their workplaces are safe and creating a strong safety culture. Part of accomplishing those goals is identifying risks in the workplace and implementing policies and procedures for addressing them. While our Suffolk County workplace accident attorneys can assist in this area, OSHA recommends the following steps

Collect Existing Information About Workplace Risks 

Employers can often identify risks in their workplaces by examining their own data and information provided by the manufacturers of machinery and other tools they use. The first step in identifying workplace risks is to collect, organize, and review this information, which can include: 

  • Equipment operating manuals 
  • Existing health and safety plans 
  • Safety Data Sheets provided by chemical manufacturers
  • Past self-inspection reports and reports from government inspectors and insurance carriers
  • Records from previous workplace injuries and illnesses
  • Workers’ compensation records
  • Worker input, including from surveys 

Inspect the Workplace for Safety Risks 

Workplace inspection is not a “one-and-done” undertaking. New hazards can emerge as practices change, new tools are introduced, and existing tools reach the end of their usefulness. Employers should conduct regular physical inspections of their workplaces to identify risks and potential safety shortcomings. They should also document these inspections so that they can later verify when particular risks arose or were rectified. 

Identify Health Risks 

Not all workplace risks are immediately obvious to the naked eye. Long-term exposure to certain workplace conditions can often result in occupational illnesses. These types of risks include: 

  • Chemical hazards (e.g., solvents, adhesives, paints, and dusts) 
  • Physical hazards (e.g., excessive noise, heat, cold, and sources of radiation) 
  • Biological hazards (e.g., molds, toxic plants, infectious diseases, and animal materials) 
  • Ergonomic hazards (e.g., repetitive motions, vibrations, heavy lifting, and work above shoulder height) 

Employee medical records are a good resource for identifying health-related risks, so long as they are properly redacted for privacy reasons. 

Conduct Incident Investigations 

Incident investigations serve as “case studies” of sorts. Whenever an accident occurs, the accident itself can point to hazards. By thoroughly investigating accidents, employers can locate specific risks that are likely to cause accidents in the future. Keep in mind that incidents do not necessarily need to lead to injuries to prompt an incident investigation. Close calls and near-misses should also be investigated, as a repeat occurrence could cause injuries in the future.  

Identify Hazards Associated With Emergency and Non-Routine Situations 

Most workplace accidents occur within the course of employees’ day-to-day routine tasks, but occasionally, emergency and non-routine situations arise that can present additional risks to workers. These events can include: 

  • Fires and explosions 
  • Chemical releases 
  • Hazardous material spills
  • Equipment startups after shutdowns 
  • Infrequently performed activities 
  • Structural collapses
  • Infectious disease outbreaks
  • Weather emergencies and other natural disasters 
  • Medical emergencies 
  • Workplace violence

While employers never know if or when these scenarios will occur, they are all foreseeable, and a comprehensive workplace risk identification strategy should take them into account. 

Triage Risks for Hazard Control 

Once risks are identified, employers should then determine the severity of injuries likely to result and prioritize the most pressing risks for control. When evaluating risks, consider the severity of potential outcomes, the likelihood of occurrence, and the number of workers who may be affected. Employers may want to consider implementing interim controls for egregious risks until long-term controls can be implemented. 

Who Our Suffolk County Job Accident Attorneys Represent

Our clients are individuals who have suffered injuries or illnesses that prevent them from working in the same capacity as before their injury or illness, including injured workers, disabled individuals, and veterans.

Injured Workers

Work-related injuries are a serious concern for many American workers. This is particularly true in blue-collar occupations in which workers are frequently exposed to the elements, loud noises, dangerous machinery, toxic chemicals, and the risk of slips and falls. Some of the most common work-related injuries we see in Suffolk County include:

  • Overexertion
  • Slips, trips, and falls
  • Repetitive motion injuries
  • Strikes by falling objects
  • Crashes and collisions

Manual laborers, particularly construction workers, are at a highly elevated risk of suffering work-related injuries due to the routine dangers of their occupations. These daily hazards include falls, scaffolding collapses, electrical shock, building collapses, crane accidents, and fires and explosions. Severe injuries in this industry can result in total disability or even death.

A Suffolk County job accident lawyer can also represent individuals who develop illnesses as a result of their work. These occupational diseases include:

  • Repetitive Stress Injuries
  • Hearing loss
  • Infectious diseases
  • Asthma and other respiratory diseases
  • Fertility and pregnancy abnormalities

Occupational diseases often take many years to develop and may not present symptoms until it is too late.

Disabled Individuals

Not all injuries and illnesses are work-related, but they can nevertheless impact the injured individual’s ability to work. This category of illnesses and injuries includes those that are chronic, genetic, or infectious. We have represented many individuals in Suffolk County who suffer these types of conditions, including:

  • Cancers
  • Heart disease
  • Mental illness
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Diabetes
  • Neurological disorders
  • Spinal disorders
  • Gastrointestinal disorders
  • Liver and kidney disease
  • Orthopedic disabilities
  • Visual and auditory disabilities

Each Suffolk County job accident lawyer at our firm has extensive experience working with our clients and their family, friends, coworkers, and healthcare providers to document and prove the severity of their conditions.

Veterans

Military service can take an enormous physical and emotional toll on members of the armed forces. As such, veterans who have served our country frequently return home with injuries and illnesses, both physical and psychological. Some of the most common include:

Veterans and other members of our armed forces put themselves in harm’s way for our protection, and we are proud to advocate for their wellbeing.

Speak to a Suffolk County Workplace Accident Attorney if You Have Been Injured at Work 

If you have suffered an accident or illness in the workplace due to your employer’s failure to mitigate risk, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. To learn more, please contact a Suffolk County workplace accident attorney at Turley, Redmond & Rosasco by using our online form or by calling us at 631-582-3700 (Ronkonkoma) or 631-399-0400 (Shirley/Riverhead). 

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