Archive for February, 2022

Feb 2022

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.

Feb 2022

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.