Archive for March, 2023

Mar 2023

Ladder Accidents in Construction: Causes and Prevention Strategies

Construction worker on ladder while working.

In the construction industry, ladders are one of the most essential tools. Ladders allow workers to reach high areas and perform other tasks with ease. However, they can also be involved in serious construction accidents and injuries. According to the Occupational Safety Health Administration (OSHA), falls from ladders are one of the leading causes of death in construction.

With March as National Ladder Safety Month, it’s important to recognize the risks associated with ladder usage and take the necessary steps to prevent accidents from occurring. And if you’re injured on the job, you need to know your legal rights and options.

Common causes of ladder accidents

Because ladders put workers at significant heights, they can be dangerous if faulty or not used correctly. Some of the most common causes of ladder accidents include:

  • Overloading ladders: Ladders can only support a specific weight capacity. When you overload them, they can become unstable and collapse. It’s easy to overload ladders by carrying extra tools and materials or by having multiple people on a ladder at the same time.
  • Defective ladders: Ladders that are damaged or missing parts can pose a safety risk to workers. A faulty ladder can break during use, causing a worker to fall and get hurt. This is why regular ladder inspections are crucial.
  • Improper use: There are different ladders suited for different jobs. Choosing the wrong type of ladder or placing the ladder on an unstable surface can increase the risk of an accident.
  • Lack of safety equipment: Workers should use safety equipment like a harness to protect them at high heights. With a lack of safety equipment, it is harder to prevent falls.

Best practices for safe ladder use

Most ladder accidents are preventable with the implementation of proper safety measures and protocols. Before using a ladder, make sure to inspect your surroundings. This is an essential step in ladder safety because it helps to identify potential hazards around the work area. Whether it’s an object on the ground or a high-traffic area, these hazards should be identified and addressed before using a ladder.

Make sure to follow the ladder three-point rule. This means a worker should maintain three points of contact with a ladder at all times while climbing or descending: either two hands and one foot, or two feet and one hand. This is to ensure the worker always has a secure grip on the ladder.

Learn your rights after a ladder accident

If you or a loved one has been injured in a ladder accident, you deserve compensation to cover your injuries. You should be able to file a workers’ compensation claim and, depending on the circumstances, potentially a third-party claim as well.

The workers’ compensation lawyers at The Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl know how the legal system works in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. We can help you understand your rights and fight to get you the benefits you need.

Contact us and schedule a free consultation with an attorney who will put your best interests first. Don’t hesitate to seek legal advice. We’re ready to hear from you.

Mar 2023

Workplace Eye Safety: Tips for Protecting Your Vision

A female construction worker putting on the proper safety glasses to protect her eyes from injury.

March is Workplace Eye Wellness Month

According to Prevent Blindness, more than 2,000 people injure their eyes at work every day. Whether you work in construction, manufacturing, healthcare, or in an office, eye safety should be a top priority. Eye injuries are common in many workplaces and can have serious consequences, such as loss of vision and long-term disabilities. However, workplace eye injuries can be prevented, and with March being Workplace Eye Wellness Month, it is the perfect time to learn the proper safety measures and precautions.

How do eye injuries happen at work?

Workers deserve a safe work environment, but many workplaces possess hazards that can cause eye injuries. Some common causes of workplace eye injuries include:

  • Projectiles: In many industries, workers are at risk of eye injuries from flying objects. Construction workers can be exposed to flying debris from power tools. Healthcare workers may be at risk from needle sticks or other sharp objects. Any foreign particles in the air, like dust, concrete, metal, or wood, can find their way into the eye.
  • Chemicals: When chemical liquids splash or spill, they can come in contact with the eye. Even chemical fumes from gases can burn the eye. In addition, substances like acids and alkalis can cause severe damage.
  • Radiation: When the eye is exposed to radiation, it can result in vision problems like cataracts and retinal damage. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation, infrared radiation, visible light, heat, and lasers are all hazardous to the eyes.
  • Burns: Eye burns can be caused by hot liquids, steam, and fire. The affected eye will appear red and swollen. Someone with an eye burn injury can suffer from pain, blurred vision, permanent scarring, and vision loss.

How to protect your eyes at work

Protecting your eyes while on the job is crucial for maintaining your vision and preventing potential eye injuries. You can do three things to prevent an eye injury at work. The first is to know what hazards may be on site.

Being aware of the hazards you may come across can help reduce the risk of an eye injury. Like with most things, knowledge is power. Once familiar with the potential dangers, you can take the proper steps to eliminate them. This should be completed before the commencement of any work task.

Even with the completion of an eye hazard workplace assessment, accidents can still happen. That’s why the third tip to protecting your eyes is wearing safety eyewear. It’s not just about wearing safety eyewear but the right type of eyewear for the job at hand. Here are some examples of common eyewear options for various workers:

  • Safety glasses with side shields: Crucial for workers exposed to an environment with hazardous flying objects or particles.
  • Face shields and welding helmets: Special safety eyewear like face shields and welding helmets can protect workers at risk of radiation exposure.
  • Goggles: Goggles are approved safety protection to shield the eyes against chemicals.

Talk to a workers’ comp attorney about your options

It’s important to know you have rights as a worker injured on the job. You can pursue workers’ compensation, but obtaining the benefits can be complicated. That’s why you need an attorney with experience and knowledge of the workers’ compensation system.

At the Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl, our legal team has been helping clients in Rhode Island and Massachusetts get the workers’ comp benefits they deserve.

Get a trusted lawyer on your side. Don’t delay, workers comp benefits have strict legal deadlines. Contact us today to learn more.