Archive for February, 2020

Massachusetts researchers release analysis of statewide workers’ compensation claims

Massachusetts workers' compensation attorney

If you work in transportation, warehousing, construction, or healthcare, your chances of being injured on the job are high, according to a recent study. Researchers from the Massachusetts departments of Public Health, Industrial Accidents and Labor Standards recently analyzed more than 92,000 statewide workers’ compensation claims between 2014-2016.

The report focused on these key areas:

  • Causes of workplace injuries and illnesses
  • The most common injuries and illnesses
  • Injury rates by industry and job type

Which industries have the highest claim rate in Massachusetts?

Transportation and warehousing had the highest claim rate, accounting for 29.3 claims per 1,000 full-time workers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the transportation and warehousing sector involves transporting passengers and cargo, storing inventory in warehouses, scenic and sightseeing transportation, and transportation for other purposes.

Among subsectors, couriers and messengers had a claim rate of 46.4 and truck transportation had a rate of 34.2.

According to the report, transportation and warehousing was followed by:

  • Construction — claim rate of 18.3
  • Health care and social assistance — claim rate of 12.4
  • Retail trade — claim rate of 12.1
  • Wholesale trade — claim rate of 13.4

What are the leading incidents and injuries?

Overexertion and bodily reaction was the most common type of injury, accounting for nearly 38.1 percent of all claims. This was followed by:

  • Slips, trips, and falls — 28.7 percent of claims
  • Contact with objects or equipment — 19.2 percent of claims
  • Transportation incidents — 5.5 percent of claims
  • Violence involving a person or animal — 4.6 percent of claims

The majority of workers’ compensation claims (95.4 percent) involved injuries. The rest involved illnesses (3.7 percent). Most claims involved:

  • Sprains and strains — 51.3 percent of claims
  • Contusions, crushing, bruises — 11.7 percent of claims
  • Fractures — 8.8 percent of claims
  • Cuts, lacerations, punctures — 8.4 percent of claims

How likely am I to sustain an injury on the job?

Work-related injuries or illnesses can happen in any industry or workplace. That’s why all Massachusetts employees who were hurt on the job are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, which covers medical expenses and wage loss.

If you were hurt or become ill on the job, you must notify your employer and seek medical attention as soon as possible. That statute of limitations in Massachusetts is four years from the date of the incident.

In order to avoid having your claim denied, all paperwork must be properly filled out and your claim must be filed in a timely manner. More importantly, it’s critical to consult with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney who can help streamline the process and maximize your chances of receiving benefits.

The Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl represents injured workers in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Contact us online to get started on your claim.

Long, hard work hours may be linked to high blood pressure

Massachusetts workers' compensation attorney

If your job requires you to work long hours, exert physical energy, or both, you could be at risk of high blood pressure. This can lead to a heart attack or stroke, if ignored.

Roughly half of American adults experience high blood pressure (hypertension), which results in more than 82,000 deaths each year. About 15-30 percent of American adults have masked hypertension, an overlooked form of high blood pressure. Their blood pressure readings may appear normal during a routine health care visit, but may appear higher when checked somewhere else.

How many hours of work are linked to high blood pressure?

A recent study published in the American Heart Association’s journal Hypertension found a link between long work hours and masked hypertension. For example, employees who work 49 or more hours per week are:

  • 70 percent more likely to develop masked hypertension than those who don’t
  • 66 percent more likely to have sustained hypertension-elevated blood pressure readings

The likelihood of developing hypertension reduces with fewer hours worked. For example, employees who work 41-48 hours per week are:

  • 54 percent more likely to develop masked hypertension than those who don’t
  • 42 percent more likely to develop sustained hypertension

The study also factored in job strain, age, gender, level of education, occupation, smoking status, body mass index, and other factors.

According to the study authors, nearly 19 percent of participants in the study had hypertension, some of which were already being treated with medication for high blood pressure. More than 13 percent of workers had masked hypertension, and therefore, were not being treated for it.

Can I collect workers’ compensation for my heart attack?

Heart attacks and other medical events related to high blood pressure aren’t often regarded as work-related injuries. The stress of high job demands and long hours, however, can significantly increase the risk of a heart attack.

According to the American Heart Association, it may take two weeks to three months before a heart attack patient can return to work. Treatment may include chest X-rays, medications, and possibly surgery. The average cost of heart attack treatment is $18,200. The cost could be higher depending on the seriousness of your condition.

The biggest challenge many workers who suffer heart attacks face is proving that their medical event was work-related. That’s why it’s absolutely critical that you consult with an experienced and knowledgeable workers’ compensation attorney if this has happened to you.

The Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl has helped injured workers obtain workers’ compensation benefits for about four decades now. We serve clients in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Contact us online to schedule your free case evaluation.