Archive for November, 2019

Here’s what you need to know when you have a noisy job

Massachusetts workers' compensation attorney

What do rock stars, elementary school teachers, and manufacturing workers have in common?

According to Acoustical Services Inc., they have noisy jobs that, over time, can lead to hearing loss and other noise pollution-related problems: headaches, tinnitus, stress, depression, and insomnia.

There are many other jobs that expose employees to loud environments. Acoustical Surfaces, a sound insulation company, reports on the following “top 10 noisiest jobs” (dB stands for decibel, a unit used to measure the intensity of sound):

  • Nursery worker or teacher (85 dB)
  • Motorcycle courier (90 dB)
  • Classical musician (95 dB)
  • Commuter music (100 dB)
  • Factor and farmworker (105 dB)
  • Rock star (110 dB)
  • Nightclub worker (115 dB)
  • Construction worker (120 dB)
  • Formula One driver (135 dB)
  • Airport ground staff (140 dB)

OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) sets legal limits that clearly state what is an acceptable level of noise in the workplace. An employee working an eight-hour shift should not be exposed to more than 90 dBA (A-weighted decibels), according to OSHA.

What can you do to protect your hearing?

If you work in a job where the noise exceeds OSHA’s legal dBA limit, you have a right to ask your employer to provide you with hearing protection. Your employer must measure noise levels in the workplace and offer free hearing exams each year. You’re allowed to receive free hearing protection if the limits exceed OSHA’s standards.

Employees should not simply accept a noisy workplace as being part of the job. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics lists occupational hearing loss as the top reported worker illness in manufacturing. A recent article in Occupational Health and Safety outlines the variety of hearing protection devices available for employees who work in noisy environments:

  • Disposable foam earplugs
  • Reusable earplugs
  • Earmuffs
  • Advanced hearing protection

How an attorney can help with a hearing loss claim

It’s not just rock stars who work in noisy environments. Many jobs in Rhode Island, Massachusetts and across the country expose employees to decibel levels that can cause damage over time.

If you experienced hearing loss related to your employment, you will need an experienced workplace injury lawyer on your side.

Your bosses and the insurance companies might say the hearing loss had nothing to do with your job. They may threaten to fire you if you say you can no longer work because of the noise.

That’s why you need to consult with the Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl. You will have a strong advocate with you every step of the way. Contact us today for a free consultation.

According to OSHA: These are the measures your employer should take to prevent chemical exposure on the job

Massachusetts workers' compensation attorney

Exposure to hazardous chemicals on the job can result in serious injuries and adverse health conditions. Chemical exposure is common across a wide range of occupations. Most commonly, miners, construction workers, manufacturers, warehouse workers, food service workers, auto mechanics, agriculture workers, health care workers, and those who work at chemical plants are at an elevated risk of sustaining an injury or serious health condition.

What does OSHA require of employers?

OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard (HazCom) was established to help protect workers from injuries or illnesses caused by hazardous chemicals on the job. In compliance with HazCom, employers in industries that involve the production, handling, use, or storage of toxic chemicals must provide workers with the following information:

  • Hazard classifications: Workers should receive information regarding classifications of health and physical hazards relating to certain chemicals or mixtures.
  • Labels: HazCom requires that chemical manufacturers and importers provide labels, which include:
    • Harmonized signal words – such as “danger” and/or “warning”
    • Pictograms
    • Hazard statements relating to each hazard class and category
    • Precautionary statements
  • Safety data sheets: A 16-section format specifying safety and hazard information
  • Information and training: In order to ensure workers recognize and understand labels and safety data sheets, they must receive adequate training.

Workers are not expected to remember each specific fact regarding chemicals and hazard classifications. They are, however, expected to be aware of the risks of chemical exposure and the protective measures that can be taken to prevent injuries.

What are the risks of chemical exposures on the job?

Chemical exposure may include inhaling harmful vapors, accidentally ingesting harmful substances, or contact with skin and eyes. Depending on the type of chemicals involved or the nature of exposure, workers may sustain:

  • Burns
  • Damage to internal organs
  • Asthma and other respiratory illnesses
  • Allergies
  • Cancer

According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, more than 13 million workers across the United States are at risk of chemical exposure that could absorb through the skin (also known as “dermal exposure”). This can lead to dermatitis, skin cancer, skin infections, and other health conditions involving the skin.

If you have sustained any kind of injury, illness, or adverse health condition on the job due to chemical exposure, it’s important that you take it seriously from the start. You may need time off from work and adequate medical care in order to make a full recovery. While this may seem financially overwhelming, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, which will cover your medical expenses and lost wages.

Proving that your injury or health condition was caused by job-related chemical exposure may be challenging. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney at the Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl can streamline the process and maximize your chances of obtaining benefits. We serve clients in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. To learn how we can help you, contact our law office online and schedule your free case evaluation today.