Archive for March, 2019

Our Attorneys Offer Ideas to Avoid Work-Related Knee Injuries

Massachusetts workers' compensation attorneyOur knees bear a lot of the workload for our bodies. We use them for walking, lifting, kneeling, and almost every other physical activity on the job. With all that pressure, it is little surprise injuries at work often happen to our knees.

How common are work-related knee injuries?

In a systematic study of work-related knee injuries conducted by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) that studied data from emergency department surveillance, researchers established that knees were the second-most common body part to suffer a work-related injury that resulted in days away from work. The spine took top place.

There was some variance based on factors like industry, age, and gender. The rate of knee injuries relative to all work-related injuries was twice as high in federal and state employees compared to the private sector. Within the private sector, the highest rates of knee injury were found to be in transportation and warehouse work, utilities, and then construction. Younger workers of all genders had a high rate of knee injuries, and older women in the workforce showed similar results.

Knee injuries at a glance

There are a variety of knee injuries one can suffer at the workplace. Some, like osteoarthritis, arise slowly from regular wear and tear on the joint or factors that can be aggravated, but not necessarily always caused, by personal or environmental conditions. That link also describes what to expect with more acute conditions that can be directly caused by a workplace accident.

These include bursitis, when overuse or falls cause irritation to a fluid sac above the knee; patellar dislocation, when the kneecap is moved out of place; or a meniscal tear, where the cartilage in the knee is ripped and causes friction.

Each of these requires rest and some form of pain management. Some conditions may require more extensive work, like removing excess fluid, physical therapy, or even surgery. The common factor is time. Employees who suffer a workplace injury to one or both knees will need time to rest the joint and allow it to recover, as returning to activity too soon can make the problem even worse.

This is a problem when employers will not take responsibility for their involvement in the injury, or when worker’s compensation will not provide adequate means to recover. When this happens, you need someone to help you navigate the law and receive the justice you deserve. Contact us today to learn how we can help.

Attorneys Discuss the Damaging Impact of Crystalline Silica Exposure

Massachusetts workers' compensation attorneyCrystalline silica is a major component of soil, sand, and granite, as well as other materials that construction crews work with daily. It is a known human lung carcinogen, which means exposure to it could cause lung cancer.

It can also cause silicosis, a condition which can yield debilitating symptoms or even death. Some symptoms of silicosis include shortness of breath when exercising, fatigue, chest pain or other respiratory issues. Silicosis is a chronic disease that can appear even decades after exposure.

Who is the most at risk?

In order to determine the magnitude of the exposure to crystalline silica among construction crews, The Department of Public Health along with the University of Massachusetts in Lowell sent a team of researchers out to collect “personal breathing-zone samples,” as well as “area samples” from demolition sites and bridge repair sites.

They found that construction workers who were chipping off concrete on the substructures of bridges were inhaling the highest concentrations of crystalline silica, at an average of 527 micrograms per cubic meter of air. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations state that any concentration above 50 micrograms could have devastating health consequences. That means at this single site, workers were inhaling ten times the required limit put forth by OSHA.

Of the samples gathered, those from other laborers and engineers had the lowest level of exposure at only 17 micrograms per cubic meter. The researchers also found that, even with the use of masks and other respiratory protectors, exposure was still an issue.

You’ve given us your best. Let us do the same

Our construction workers are a vital part of our economy. They brave all manner of extreme weather and hazardous road conditions every day. They sacrifice so much to provide us with sturdy roads, houses and businesses. Their dignified work should not come at the cost of their health.

At the Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl, our team fights for construction workers and all others who have been injured on the job. We believe that a successful case starts with building a strong, trusting relationship with our clients. From your first call to your last court date and beyond, we work tirelessly to get you the care and compensation you so rightly deserve. If you were injured at a job site, don’t wait. Contact us. We’ll take care of the rest.