24
Jun 2022
By

Forklift Accidents Can Cause Severe Injuries & Fatalities

Forklift in a warehouse

Forklift accidents continue to be a serious problem, resulting in thousands of serious work-related injuries and fatalities each year. Sadly, many of these accidents are preventable. For instance, a recent fatal forklift accident resulted in a company being cited for unsafe working conditions, according to an article published by Occupational Health & Safety magazine.

“A forklift typically weighs between 4,000 to 9,000 pounds and poses significant risk of severe injury or death to workers who may be struck-by this equipment,” said Ramona Morris, an Area Officer Director for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Forklift accident statistics

Thousands of people are injured or killed annually in forklift accidents across the country. Each year, nearly 80 people die and more than 7,000 people are injured in forklift accidents, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Workplace accident statistics compiled by the National Safety Council show that forklift accidents resulted in 78 work-related fatalities and 7,290 nonfatal work injuries in 2020.

Common causes of forklift accidents

What makes forklifts so dangerous? Forklift accidents happen for many different reasons. Some of the most common causes of forklift accidents include:

  • Poorly maintained forklifts.
  • Inexperienced forklift drivers.
  • Improper training on how to safely operate a forklift.
  • Reckless forklift operators.
  • Workers being struck by an object dropped from the forklift.

These are just some of the reasons why forklift accidents happen, but it’s important to remember that workers’ compensation is a no-fault system. Still, obtaining the benefits you’re entitled to isn’t always easy, and it’s common for injured workers to run into obstacles at different points in the process.

How a workers’ compensation attorney can help

You might think you don’t need a workers’ compensation lawyer if you were hurt in a forklift accident at work. All you have to do is tell your employer about your work-related injury, and that’s it, right?

Don’t be so sure. In many cases, workers’ compensation claims quickly turn into complicated legal cases. Often, it’s because of complications that sometimes come up when dealing with your employer’s insurance company. For example, they might claim that you have a pre-existing medical condition and refuse to cover necessary and reasonable medical treatment for your work injuries.

At the Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl, our workers’ compensation lawyers have been helping injured workers in Rhode Island and Massachusetts for decades. As a result, we have an in-depth understanding of both states’ workers’ compensation laws and how they apply to forklift accident claims.

Put your trust in a law firm that puts your needs first. Contact us and schedule a free case evaluation with a workers’ compensation attorney focused on getting you the outcome your case deserves. We have three offices conveniently located in Rhode Island and Massachusetts and handle workers’ compensation claims in both states.

Leave a Comment »
24
Jun 2022
By

How To Prevent Heat Illness While Working at a Construction Site

Construction worker sweltering in the heat.

Heat-related work injuries often occur during the summer at construction sites. That’s why construction companies and workers must do everything possible to prevent such serious construction accident injuries.

But what steps can companies and workers take to avoid heat illness at construction sites? Below, you can learn more about the warning signs of heat illness and tips to stay safe while on the job site.

Common heat-related work injuries

Heat illness, heat stroke, heat exhaustion, and other heat-related injuries often occur on the job. In 2019, a total of 43 people died due to work-related heat injuries, according to workplace accident statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

And when it comes to different industries, construction workers face the highest risk of dying or being injured on the job due to heat-related illnesses. In particular, construction work “had 13 times the risk of heat-related deaths than the average annual heat-related workplace fatality rate in all other industries,” according to a recent Equipment World article.

That’s why the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently started an educational program focusing on educating construction companies and workers about the dangers of working in dangerously hot weather.

Warning signs of heat illness

Construction companies and construction workers must pay close attention to the warning signs of heat illness and other heat-related injuries. Symptoms of heat illness often include:

  • Dry skin or excessive sweating.
  • Dizziness and difficulty concentrating.
  • Extreme tiredness and fatigue.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Frequent and severe headaches.

If something doesn’t feel right, construction workers need to act fast. Otherwise, they could put themselves and their co-workers in danger.

Ways to prevent heat illness on construction sites

There are many steps that construction workers and construction companies can take to avoid heat-related injuries and accidents. Preventative measures include:

  • Educate construction workers about the dangers of working in high heat and explain what warning signs of heat illness to look for on the job.
  • Make sure construction workers have enough water to drink throughout their work shift, especially if where they’re working is consistently above 80 degrees.
  • Frequently check on construction workers throughout their work shift to ensure they’re safe and not suffering from heat stroke or other heat-related illnesses.
  • Slowly acclimate workers to working in warm-weather conditions.
  • Shift when workers work to cooler times of the day, perhaps earlier or later.
  • Provide cooling stations where employees can take a break and cool down.

These are just some steps companies and employees can take to prevent heat illness at construction sites. But unfortunately, despite such efforts, heat-related injuries often involve construction workers. Therefore, it’s important that injured construction workers fully understand their legal rights and talk to a lawyer as soon as possible.

How a construction accident attorney can help

Injured workers have the right to seek workers’ compensation benefits, but the process isn’t always easy, especially in cases involving heat-related injuries and illnesses. That’s why the sooner you have a construction accident lawyer handling your heat illness claim, the better. Your attorney can investigate your injury and help you navigate the workers’ compensation process.

The construction accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl understand how the legal system works. That’s because we have been helping injured construction workers in Rhode Island and Massachusetts for decades. When you have our legal team on your side, you can demand the money you need and deserve.

Discover what we can do for you. Contact us and schedule a free case evaluation with a construction accident attorney who knows how to build strong legal cases. We have three offices conveniently located in Rhode Island and Massachusetts and handle workplace injury claims in both states.

Leave a Comment »
27
May 2022
By

Conveyor Belt Systems Pose a Big Risk to Workers

Boxes on a conveyor belt system

Conveyor belt accidents in warehouses, factories, and other workplaces often result in serious injuries, according to workplace accident statistics compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

In many cases, injured workers can receive workers’ compensation benefits to pay for their injury-related expenses. But actually getting the money injured workers rightfully deserve can sometimes be more challenging than many people might realize.

How common are conveyor belt accidents?

Workplace accidents caused by conveyor belts cause an estimated 9,000 injuries and 40 to 50 workplace deaths every year, according to BLS statistics. That’s more than one conveyor belt accident every hour of every day. This is why it’s critical that companies take steps to prevent serious or potentially fatal conveyor belt accidents in the workplace.

What are common conveyor belt injuries?

Because conveyor belts are powerful pieces of equipment, they often cause very serious workplace injuries. Some of the most common – and most serious – conveyor belt injuries include:

  • Bone fractures or broken bones, especially in the hands or arms, which can easily be crushed in a conveyor belt.
  • Head injuries, including concussions and other types of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) caused by objects falling off a conveyor belt.
  • Amputation injuries, including the loss of an arm or another body part trapped in a conveyor belt.
  • Abrasion injuries to the skin caused by conveyor belts.

Did you sustain another type of conveyor belt injury? Whatever type of injury you’re dealing with, make sure you get immediate medical care. Then, talk to a workers’ compensation lawyer right away to learn more about your legal rights and options.

How do conveyor belt accidents happen?

Often,  conveyor belt accidents have one thing in common – the injured worker’s employer didn’t take the necessary steps to prevent such an accident. Examples of such reckless or negligent behavior can include:

  • The company failed to regularly inspect the conveyor belt system to make sure the machine was safely operating.
  • The employer did not provide training to workers, teaching them how to safely operate a conveyor belt.
  • The company did not properly maintain the conveyor belt, resulting in a malfunction that caused the accident.
  • The conveyor belt was overloaded, resulting in boxes and other objects on the conveyor belt falling off and hitting a worker.

These are just some of the reasons why conveyor belt accidents happen. And in each case, injured workers need to make sure such accidents are investigated and their rights are respected. That’s why employees need an experienced workers’ compensation attorney on their side.

Get the compensation you deserve for your conveyor belt accident

When you have an attorney handling your workers’ compensation claim, you can make sure your conveyor belt accident receives the attention it rightfully deserves. Even if an inspector from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is already investigating your accident, your lawyer can make sure you receive the financial compensation you need to get your life back on track.

At the Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl, we know how to handle complex legal cases. That’s because we have years of experience fighting for injured workers in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. When you have our legal team handling your case, you can focus on what matters most – your recovery. We’ll handle everything else.

Discover what we can do for you. Contact us today to schedule a free case evaluation with a workers’ compensation lawyer you can count on when it matters most. We have three offices located in Rhode Island and Massachusetts and handle workers’ compensation claims in both states.

Leave a Comment »
27
May 2022
By

Study Shows Injury Claims by First-Year Employees Are Rising

Warehouse worker's boot gets snagged on debris laying on the floor.

Workplace injuries involving first-year workers have steadily increased in the past decade, according to a recent study by Selective Insurance, which analyzed workplace accident statistics nationwide, according to EHS Today.

Workers’ compensation benefits cover injury-related expenses due to on-the-job injuries and illnesses. However, it’s important to understand how the legal system works when it comes to work-related injuries or illnesses, especially if you get hurt during your first year on the job.

First-year work-related injury claims increase

Selective Insurance conducted the study, which analyzed work-related injuries nationwide between 2011 and 2021. During that 10-year period, the number of injury claims filed by first-year workers increased by 18 percent.

In particular, 38 percent of first-year employees filed a work-injury claim the first year on the job in 2021. In contrast, 32 percent of first-year employees filed a work injury claim in 2011, according to the study.

In 2011, employees filed their first work injury claim 6.4 years after they started work. In 2021, that figure had fallen to an average of 5.2 years.

What are common injury claims?

Certain work injury claims are more common than others. According to the Selective Insurance study, the most common workplace injury claims between 2010 and 2021 varied from one industry to another. The three most common work-related injuries by industry were:

Construction Work

  • Strain injuries – 22.4 percent of work-related injury claims
  • Slip and fall accidents – 19.7 percent
  • Cut, puncture or scrape injuries – 16.8 percent

Manufacturing and Wholesale Work

  • Strain injuries – 27.2 percent
  • Cut, puncture or scrape injuries – 18.6 percent
  • Struck by object accidents – 16.4 percent

Retail and Professional Services

  • Cut, puncture or scrape injuries – 23.5 percent
  • Slip and fall accidents – 21.1 percent
  • Strain injuries – 17.3 percent

What can employers do to keep workers safe?

There are steps employers can take to prevent work-related injuries, including:

  • Educate new workers and provide them with proper safety training.
  • Provide workers with appropriate safety equipment and train them on how to use it.
  • Regularly inspect workplaces to make sure they’re free of hazardous conditions.
  • Quickly fix and address hazardous work conditions.

There are other steps employers can and should take to make workplaces safer, depending on the specific nature of the work being done. If you get hurt at work, it’s critical that you understand your legal rights and options, including the right to seek workers’ compensation benefits.

Talk to a workers’ comp attorney today

You might think you don’t need a lawyer if you got hurt at work. The problem is work injury claims can turn into complicated legal cases for a wide range of reasons, and if you’re not careful, you could miss out on the compensation you’re entitled to.

The workers’ compensation lawyers at the Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl can help you every step of the way. We thoroughly understand how the workers’ compensation system works in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. That’s because we have years of experience helping injured workers get the money they deserve to get their lives back on track.

Learn more about your legal options. Contact our law firm and schedule a free case evaluation with a workers’ compensation attorney you can trust to put your best interests first. We have three offices located in Rhode Island and Massachusetts and handle workers’ compensation claims in both states.

Leave a Comment »
25
Apr 2022
By

Promoting Safety With a Multilingual Workforce

Group of multi-ethnic workers

Employers need to consider cultural backgrounds

The racial and ethnic diversity of the population increases every year in the United States, and with that comes an increase in the number of multilingual workforces. Although having a diverse group of workers is beneficial in many ways, some of these workers may not speak English. Studies published in Safety and Health Magazine show that in companies with less than 50 workers, only 37.5 percent of supervisors spoke the same language as immigrant workers.

This raises a concern when it comes to the health and safety of these workers.  Misunderstanding safety protocols and miscommunication with other workers and management all come into play when there are language barriers. Sadly, those barriers often lead to preventable workplace accidents.

How to avoid language barriers

It is up to employers to make resources available to non-English-speaking employees. This may seem unnecessary when things like Google Translate exist, but online tools aren’t always perfect, and often, they can make communication more confusing. Online tools can be great at translating things word for word but don’t take into account sentence structure, grammar, and different dialects.

Having an in-person translator is a great first step toward clearer communication in the workplace. Simply having a translator who speaks, reads, and understands the same language may not be enough, as dialects bring further complications. For instance, one word could have two different meanings depending on cultural background.

Training non-English-speaking employees

Training workers who don’t speak English is crucial for their safety. Effective training, according to Chron, covers operation instructions, emergency procedures, company policies, regulations, and safety procedures. Training should be delivered slowly, repeatedly, and in simple terms. A translator and other resources in a worker’s native language can be a huge help.

Construction Regulatory Alert and the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) advise tips and extra training steps to help ensure all workers fully understand the ins and outs of the job and company, regardless if they speak a different language:

  • The law. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires all employees to be provided with safety training in a language they understand.
  • Demonstration. Everyone has different learning styles and sometimes words are just not enough. To help employees fully understand, demonstrations make it easy for workers to simply watch, follow along and copy what they see.
  • Simplicity. To avoid confusion, train with simple words and materials. Avoid advanced terminology that could be confusing in any language.
  • Visuals. Images are more universal and can speak louder than words. Signs, posters, and videos are great ways to spread information.

Protecting the rights of ALL workers

No matter where you were born or what language you speak, you deserve to be safe while on the job. You also deserve to know your legal rights if you were hurt at work.

That’s why if you suffered a workplace injury, you should talk to an experienced workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible to get a clear understanding of all your available options.

You may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills and a portion of your lost wages, but the only way to know for sure is to contact a workers’ compensation lawyer in your area to review your case.

At the Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl, we’re proud to serve as aggressive advocates for injured workers in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Let us go to work for you and fight for the outcome your case deserves.

Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

Leave a Comment »
25
Apr 2022
By

Falls From Height Cause the Most Fatal Construction Accidents

First aid support accident at work of construction worker at site. Builder accident falls scaffolding on floor, Safety team helps employee accident.

Falling from a ladder, scaffolding, or roof
can have grave consequences

There are many different types of construction accidents that can be fatal, but falls from height are the No. 1 hazard that construction workers face on the job site. In 2020, there were a total of 351 construction deaths due to falls and thousands of injuries.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, and National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) have all partnered together on a Fall Prevention Campaign. The goal of the campaign is to raise awareness about falls in construction and provide safety tips to workers and employers.

OSHA shares three steps employers and workers can take to help prevent falls from happening.

Plan.

Having a set plan before any work begins is crucial to avoid safety hazards that can lead to falls. This includes deciding how the job will be completed, each task and step it will take to complete the job, and the safety equipment needed for each task. Planning ensures the success of the job and protects the safety of the workers.

Provide.

Making sure workers are provided with the right equipment is key to protecting their safety. Employees working on a site six feet or more above lower levels are especially at risk for injury or death if a fall occurs. Workers need the right kinds of ladders, scaffolds, harnesses, and other safety gear to avoid an accident.

Train.

Everyone needs to be properly trained on the use of equipment. Workers should know everything about the equipment before using it. Employers also have to train workers on recognizing hazards on the job. Having training refreshers is highly advised.

Jobs that have the highest risk of falling

ConstructionConnect provides a list of the top 10 jobs that resulted in fatal injuries in 2020, and many of these jobs come with a risk of falling from height:

  • Construction Laborers – 308 deaths
  • Supervisors of Construction and Extraction Workers – 88 deaths
  • Roofers – 88 deaths
  • Carpenters – 79 deaths
  • Electricians – 70 deaths
  • Construction Equipment Operators – 65 deaths
  • Painters and Paperhangers – 53 deaths
  • Pipelayers, Plumber, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters – 30 deaths
  • Helpers, Construction Trades – 19 deaths
  • Structural Iron and Steel Workers – 16 deaths

Let a construction accident lawyer review your case

Recovering from a construction accident involving a fall can take a long time. Your health comes first and should be your main focus. But medical bills and other accident-related expenses can stack up fast, making it difficult to focus on healing. Whether you apply for workers’ compensation benefits or file a lawsuit against a negligent third party, you should be able to receive financial compensation for your losses. Unfortunately, that’s easier said than done.

That’s where we come in. At the Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl, we have years of experience getting our clients the medical care and compensation they deserve. We know the ins and outs of the law in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, and we know what it takes to get real results for our clients.

Discover what our law firm can do for you. Contact us today for a free consultation with an experienced construction accident lawyer. We have three offices conveniently located in Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

Leave a Comment »
24
Mar 2022
By

Eye Safety Wellness & How To Prevent Work-Related Eye Injuries

Doctor examining wheelchair patient after eye surgery

Thousands of people every day sustain a work-related eye injury. In particular, an estimated 2,000 workers injure their eyes every day and need emergency medical care, according to Weekly Safety, a blog devoted to workplace safety-related issues.

Some work-related eye injuries happen in an instant. Other eye injuries might take months or years to develop. Either way, employers need to do everything they can to prevent work-related eye injuries, which are often covered by workers’ compensation benefits.

As a result, Prevent Blindness, a volunteer eye safety and health organization, has designed March as Workplace Eye Wellness Month for the second year in a row. The goal of the workplace safety initiative is to educate employers and workers about eye injuries and some of the best ways to prevent them.

What are common work-related eye injuries?

As noted above, an estimated 2,000 people sustain work-related eye injuries every day that require emergency medical treatment. This includes 15,000 welding-related eye injuries every year, according to Weekly Safety. Some of the most common work-related eye injuries include:

  • Cut or scratch to the eye
  • Corneal abrasion (a scratch to the cornea or white part of the eye)
  • Punctured eyeball
  • Acute hyphema (bleeding between the iris and the cornea of the eye)
  • Eye strain, particularly digital eye strain
  • Vision deterioration
  • Partial or total blindness

Why do workplace eye injuries happen?

Workplace eye injuries often occur due to five common causes, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These causes are:

  • An object scraping the eye – Such objects can include dust, metal slivers, wood chips, or glass.
  • Blunt trauma to the eye – An object striking the eye, often with strong force.
  • An object penetrating the eye – Whether it’s a piece of metal, wood, or a nail, when such objects pierce the eyeball, partial or total blindness can occur.
  • Chemical burns to the eye – Powerful cleaning products or chemicals can cause damage to someone’s eye (or both eyes) if they come into contact with the eye or surrounding tissue.
  • Thermal burns to the eye – Excessively high heat or steam can cause work-related eye injuries. Welders in particular often sustain this type of eye injury.

In addition, eye strain caused by looking at computer screens or other electronic devices for too long can cause long-term eye damage and reduced macular health.

What can be done to prevent workplace eye injuries?

There are many steps employers can take to prevent eye injuries in the workplace. Such safety measures include:

  • Provide employees with protective eyewear (goggles, face shields, etc.) if their job could potentially result in a work-related eye injury.
  • Employers should conduct a safety assessment of the workplace to determine if there are any potential hazards that could result in an eye injury.
  • Provider workers with safety training, including highlighting possible dangers.
  • Place signs around the workplace reminding employees to wear eye protection in hazardous areas.
  • Make sure computers used by employees are positioned correctly so workers do not experience digital eye strain.

Find out how an eye injury attorney can help you

Having an eye injury lawyer on your side can often make a dramatic difference in the outcome of your case. Even if you’re eligible for workers’ compensation or other benefits, your attorney can help you explore all your legal options. This is especially important if you become blind and permanently lose your ability to see due to your work-related eye injury.

At the Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl, our attorneys can help guide you through the complex legal process and fight for your best interests. Contact our law firm and schedule a free case evaluation with a workers’ compensation attorney you can trust. We have three offices conveniently located in Rhode Island and Massachusetts and handle workers’ compensation claims in both states.

Leave a Comment »
24
Mar 2022
By

How Common Are Workplace Burn Injuries?

Bandage for burn injury

One of the most common and most serious workplace injuries someone can sustain is a burn injury, according to a medical study conducted by doctors who regularly treat burn injury victims.

In an instant, someone can sustain a serious burn at work. Such injuries often require immediate medical care, including emergency medical treatment. Such work-related injury expenses are often covered by workers’ compensation. But actually obtaining such benefits can often be challenging.

So how bad is the problem? How common are workplace burn injuries? And why do these accidents happen on the job? Below, you can learn more about burn injuries sustained at work and the legal options available to injury victims.

How common are workplace burn injuries?

Overall, people sustain more than 5,000 burn injuries each year, according to statistics compiled by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Of these burn injury victims, more than 60 people die each year on average due to work-related burn injuries, according to the National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries.

Based on such statistics, work-related burn injuries account for 40 percent of all burn-related deaths, according to the medical study published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI). The study was conducted by doctors and medical researchers who treat people for burn injuries.

Another study cited by researchers reported that burn injuries accounted for 42 percent of all work-related injuries. As a result, burn injuries are one of the most common on-the-job injuries.

Causes of on-the-job burn injuries

Work-related burn injuries happen for many different reasons. The most common causes include:

  • Burn injuries caused by fires
  • Electrical burns
  • Burn injuries caused by explosions
  • Scalding burns caused by hot liquids
  • Chemical burns caused by gasoline, paint thinner, cleaners, and other substances

What some people might not realize is many work-related burn injuries occur due to negligence or mistakes made by employers that result in unsafe working conditions. Examples include:

  • Not providing workers with protective safety equipment
  • Failing to train workers how to safely operate equipment
  • Not properly maintaining equipment, resulting in an accident
  • Inexperienced workers causing an accident that results in a burn injury

Who is most at risk of suffering a burn injury at work?

Certain workers and industries sustain more burn injuries than others. Men sustain 90 percent of burn injuries, according to one study cited by the doctors who treat burn injury patients. In addition, younger men are more likely to sustain a work-related burn injury. One study found that men between the ages of 25 and 34 sustained the most work-related burn injuries, followed by men between the ages of 35 and 44.

As for particular employers, 29 percent of work-related burn injuries involve people working in the manufacturing industry sector. Restaurant workers sustained the second-most work-related burn injuries at 15 percent, followed by electrical workers (15 percent of work-related burn injuries), automotive workers (13 percent), construction workers (10 percent), and chemical plant workers (9 percent).

Talk to a burn injury attorney today

You might think you don’t need an attorney if you or a loved one sustained a burn injury at work. Such injuries are often covered by workers’ compensation. A type of insurance, workers’ compensation should provide injured or sick workers with money for medical expenses and replacement income.

However, actually obtaining workers’ compensation benefits can be very difficult. And depending on the circumstances of your work-related accident, you may be eligible for additional financial compensation.

The experienced workers’ compensation lawyers at the Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl can help you explore all the legal options available to you. Contact us and schedule a free case evaluation with a workers’ compensation attorney who knows how to skillfully handle such complicated legal cases. We have three offices conveniently located in Rhode Island and Massachusetts and handle workers’ compensation claims in both states.

Leave a Comment »
15
Feb 2022
By

How Safety Complacency Can Result in Workplace Accidents

Male worker falls through a wooden pallet while on the job.

Our workers’ comp lawyers explain how to keep workplaces safe

Companies need to put employee safety first at all times. Otherwise, workplace accidents can easily occur, resulting in a serious workplace injury. Each year, more than 2.7 million people sustain a work-related injury or illness, according to the latest statistics compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

When accidents happen at work, injured employees often need extensive medical treatment, time off from work, and support to help them fully recover. That’s why workers’ compensation benefits are so important.

But what if there were steps companies could take to prevent such injuries in the first place? According to a recent report, there is something companies can do to reduce workplace injuries and keep workers safe. The answer? Not becoming complacent about workplace safety.

“Complacency is a state of decreased external awareness and reduced sensitivity to hazards caused by the brain’s ability to activate neural pathways,” Sharon Lipinski, CEO of Habit Mastery Consulting, recently wrote in EHS Today.

What is safety complacency at work?

Complacency means becoming satisfied with the current state of events. The word also often implies a resistance to change. This might sound good if everything’s going great. But when it comes to workplace safety, employers need to be vigilant and constantly stay on top of the latest developments in workplace safety, according to Lipinski.

“Successfully combatting complacency starts by understanding that the root cause of complacency is how the brain handles repetitive behavior,” Lipinski writes. “In other words, complacency is a byproduct of habit.”

This means that when companies don’t make safety a priority, bad habits can result in hazardous work conditions. And the more hazards in a workplace, the more likely an accident will occur on the job.

How companies can make safety a priority

There are many different ways companies can make workplaces safer. In terms of complacency, Lipinski offered several suggestions for creating a workplace culture that puts workplace safety first. Such suggestions include:

  • Create pre-planning checklists for workers. Before someone starts a job, make sure they know exactly what they need to do. Such checklists can range from which tools to use to what steps should be taken to perform their job safely.
  • Anticipate what might go wrong. Think ahead. Use your experience. When injuries occurred in the past, what went wrong? Try to anticipate possible unexpected events
  • Change workers’ perspective. Ask them to put themselves in someone else’s shoes at work. Encourage them to examine a problem from another point of view.
  • Make safety a priority at work. This includes addressing the most dangerous conditions at work first.

Companies also need to provide workers with the necessary safety equipment and safety training to do their job right.

Give your workers’ comp case the attention it deserves

You might think you don’t need an attorney if you or a loved one got hurt at work. All you have to do is tell your employer you got hurt on the job. Then you’ll receive workers’ compensation benefits, right?

Don’t be so sure. Getting the benefits you deserve can be much more challenging than you might realize. And if you don’t receive those benefits, you could end up having to pay for your injury-related expenses out of your own pocket.

That’s not right. That’s why we want to help. At the Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl, one of our experienced Rhode Island workers’ compensation lawyers can make sure your workplace injury gets the attention it deserves. We know what to do because we have years of experience helping injured workers throughout Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

Learn more about your legal rights. Contact our law firm and schedule a free case evaluation with a workers’ compensation attorney who puts your best interests first. We have three offices conveniently located in Rhode Island and Massachusetts and handle workers’ compensation claims in both states.

Leave a Comment »
15
Feb 2022
By

Reducing Slip & Fall Accidents in the Workplace

Business lady falling down stairs

A workers’ comp lawyer serving RI & MA explains what to know

Slip and fall accidents remain a common cause of serious injuries and fatalities at work. Every day, numerous people slip, trip, or fall at work. As a result, injury victims often need extensive medical care and time off from work to recover. Workers’ compensation should cover such injury-related expenses. But getting the benefits you deserve can often be very difficult.

That’s why it’s important for employers to do everything they can to prevent slip and fall accidents from happening in the first place. Below, you can learn more about these common workplace accidents and effective strategies for stopping them at work.

How common are workplace slip and falls?

Sadly, slip and fall accidents at work happen far more often than you might realize. Worst of all, they’re becoming even more common in recent years. In 2019, workplace fatalities due to slip, trip, or fall accidents increased by 11.3 percent compared to 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

In addition, 27 percent of the 888,220 nonfatal work injuries (239,800 injuries) that required employees to miss work in 2019 were due to slip, trip, and fall accidents, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

What’s more, for the past 11 years, slip and fall accidents have consistently topped the list of the most frequently cited causes of workplace accidents, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Keeping workers safe

Companies can employ many different strategies for preventing slip and fall accidents in the workplace. Some of the strategies recommended in a recent Safety + Health article about workplace safety include:

  • Identify contributing factors – In the case of slip and fall accidents, this often means identifying potentially hazardous situations at work.
  • Keep surfaces clean – Many slip and fall accidents at work occur due to water or other substances left on the floor, stairs, or walkways.
  • Proper footwear – Make sure employees have shoes with a firm grip. Slip-resistant shoes can prevent workers from slipping and getting hurt.
  • Remain vigilant – Employers can’t simply make a few changes and stop making any improvements. Preventing slip and fall accidents at work needs to be a year-round effort.
  • Prioritize safety – Companies need to make sure safety comes before profits or productivity. That’s because many slip and fall accidents occur because employees care more about meeting deadlines than worker safety.

“All industry leaders want a safe workplace, but there are often competing messages that prioritize production speed,” said Bradley Evanoff, professor of occupational and environmental medicine at Washington University in St. Louis. “Companies need consistent messaging and action that shows the importance of safety.”

Get fast, effective legal representation when you’re injured

If you get hurt at work due to a slip and fall accident, you should receive financial compensation for your injury-related expenses, including medical bills and replacement income. Employees often receive this money in the form of workers’ compensation benefits.

But actually getting workers’ comp benefits can be much harder than people think. The experienced workers’ compensation lawyers at the Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl can help you every step of the way. We know how the system works, and we know how to help our clients get the workers’ comp benefits they need and deserve. That’s because we have years of experience helping injured workers in Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

Discover how our law firm can help you. Contact us today and schedule a free case evaluation. We have three offices conveniently located in Rhode Island and Massachusetts and handle workers’ compensation claims in both states.

Leave a Comment »