Archive for May, 2024

Survey Highlights PPE Challenges for Women in Construction

A young woman worker wearing a protective helmet and safety gear on a construction site.

When PPE doesn’t fit right, it can do more harm than good. For women working in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, ill-fitting PPE is a common workplace hazard—especially on construction sites.

Ill-fitting safety equipment can do more harm than good

PPE, or Personal Protective Equipment, encompasses any specialized gear or attire utilized to safeguard individuals from potential hazards or risks in various environments. Examples of PPE include:

  • Safety boots and shoes.
  • Hard hats.
  • Safety gloves.
  • High-visibility clothing.
  • Eye and ear protection.
  • Aprons, trousers, and life jackets.
  • Respirators.

In a recent survey of 100 women in construction, industry executives, and construction owners, almost 70 percent said that gender-friendly safety equipment is not available at construction sites. In addition, 85 percent said there is no maternity-friendly PPE at work sites. The survey highlights the pressing need to mitigate the heightened risk of injury faced by women in the construction industry.

Understanding the PPE gender gap

When the right PPE is not available to women, not only does it undermine their safety but also their comfort and productivity on the job. Improper PPE can cause injuries affecting women, such as:

  • Respiratory-related injuries and disabilities.
  • Overexertion, sprains, and strains.
  • Wounds and bruises.
  • Bone fractures.
  • Eye injuries.
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis.
  • Burns.
  • Respiratory system diseases.
  • Skin disorders.

However, knowing the extent of the PPE problem or risk is difficult. Occasional studies shine a light on the issue. For example, one study found that women in the workplace report experiencing musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) such as neck and shoulder pain at a rate twice as high as men. Researchers said the disparity may stem from tasks requiring women to exert more muscle effort than men or ill-fitting PPE designed primarily for men.

A study from 1996 found that women in construction labor are twice as likely as men to be fatally injured in a motor vehicle accident. Across all industries, exposure, and events that were more likely to injure women than men included overexertion in lifting and repetitive motions, falls, and exposure to harmful substances.

We fight for injured women workers’ rights

With very few exceptions – and regardless of PPE availability – women injured on the job are entitled to compensation for their medical expenses, lost wages, and possibly more. Workers’ compensation and personal injury laws generally apply to all employees regardless of gender. In Massachusetts and Rhode Island, the process typically involves reporting the injury to the employer, seeking medical treatment, and filing a claim with the relevant workers’ compensation board or agency.

However, just as women encounter discrepancies in PPE, they can also be subject to injustices in pursuing injury compensation. We can help level the playing field. At The Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl, our workers’ compensation lawyers and work injury attorneys understand that your workplace injuries are serious and deserve maximum compensation.

If you were injured on the job at a Massachusetts or Rhode Island construction site or another type of workplace, contact us for a free case evaluation. We can explain your options for seeking lost wages and medical expenses and whether there is potential for Social Security Disability benefits and/or an injury claim or lawsuit against a third party like a subcontractor, defective parts manufacturer, or negligent driver. Contact us today so we can listen to what happened, hear what kind of injuries you’ve sustained, and explain how workers’ compensation attorney can help.

Can You Get Workers’ Comp for an Injured Hand?

Manufacturing worker holds hand in pain while a co-worker comes to his assistance.

The use of your hands is crucial in performing daily job duties. Hand injuries account for a large number of upper-limb workplace injuries and workers’ compensation claims. Beyond physical pain, they impair work and daily activities and can cause financial and personal distress.

Common causes of work-related hand injuries

Hand injuries can vary widely in type and severity. While an injured hand can happen in any industry, construction workers, factory workers, welders, mechanics, and healthcare professionals are the most at risk. Here are some common types of hand injuries:
  • Broken hands from falls or direct blows to the hand.
  • Crush injuries due to hands being caught or compressed by heavy machinery.
  • Hard arm vibration syndrome caused by prolonged use of vibrating tools, leading to numbness, pain, and muscle weakness.
  • Nerve damage from repetitive movements or direct trauma.
  • Burns from contact with hot surfaces, chemicals, or electricity.
  • Sprains and strains that affect the tendons and ligaments, often due to overuse or trauma.

Can I claim for an injured hand at work?

You may be entitled to compensation when you suffer an injured hand at work. However, your hand injury must have happened within the scope of your employment. For example, it could have happened on a job site or while traveling as part of your job.

Understanding how to determine eligibility and what kind of proof you need is crucial for a successful claim. Proving that your hand injury is work-related is a key step in securing compensation. This involves compiling convincing medical evidence, gathering witness statements, and obtaining accident reports.

Here’s how to get started:

  • Inform your employer that you suffered an injured hand on the job. Get a copy of the incident report as proof that the hand injury is job-related.
  • Take pictures of the accident scene where you sustained your hand injury and get contact information of nearby witnesses.
  • See a doctor as soon as possible and let them know that your hand injury happened at work. Also, get a copy of your medical diagnosis to link your injury to your job.
  • Keep all medical bills, receipts, prescriptions, and appointment logs.
  • File your claim with the Massachusetts or Rhode Island workers’ comp board. Your application must be accurate and complete. An experienced workers’ comp attorney can help you with this process.
  • Get help from a lawyer knowledgeable in Massachusetts and Rhode Island workers’ comp law.

How much compensation will I get for a hand injury at work?

If you sustained a hand injury on the job, you may be entitled to compensation for:

  • Medical expenses: Coverage for hospital and medical bills related to your hand injury, including surgeries, medications, and rehabilitation.
  • Lost wages: Compensation for a portion of the wages lost due to your inability to work during recovery.
  • Disability benefits: Payments for temporary or permanent disability, depending on the severity of your hand injury and its impact on your ability to work.
  • Rehabilitation costs: Coverage for physical therapy and vocational rehabilitation to help you return to your job or transition to a new one.

By providing these benefits, workers’ compensation ensures that employees receive the necessary support and care following a workplace injury, while also protecting employers from potential lawsuits related to the incident.

Get legal help from a workers’ compensation attorney

If you’ve suffered a hand injury at work, the Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl can help you recover both physically and financially. Our legal team is dedicated to representing injured workers in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Whether your injury is due to a construction accident or repetitive stress, we believe you deserve full compensation.

Our legal team can guide you through the claims process, maximize your benefits, and appeal any claim denials that arise. Let us fight for your rights and ensure you receive every penny you deserve. Contact us online or call us to set up your free initial consultation.