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Construction Workers Are Prone To Traumatic Brain Injuries

Close up of a construction worker wearing a hard hat.

Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) impair brain function and can be classified as mild, moderate, or severe. Mild TBIs, or concussions, may manifest as headaches, nausea, speech issues, and sensitivity to stimuli. Moderate to severe TBIs could lead to extended unconsciousness, severe headaches, confusion, seizures, and even coma. These injuries often occur in construction accidents.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), TBIs cause 176 American deaths daily, with 64,000 fatalities in 2020. Between 2003-2010, the construction industry saw over 2,000 TBI deaths. This made up a quarter of construction fatalities and 24% of all occupational TBI deaths, according to NICOSH research.

What are the leading risks of brain injuries in construction?

In the construction industry, workers face heightened TBI risks due to falls from ladders, scaffolds, and roofs. Impacts with falling objects are also a leading cause of construction TBIs. A study from Injury Prevention in 2015 revealed that employees at smaller construction companies (with less than 20 workers) are 2.5 times more likely to experience fatal TBIs than those at larger firms. Workers in steel, structural iron, and roofing are especially at risk.

How can head injuries in construction be prevented?

Mitigating TBIs on construction sites requires rigorous safety protocols, conducting risk evaluations, and offering comprehensive training. Employers are required to ensure a safe working environment under Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards.

For example, hard hats serve as a fundamental defense against head injuries and help protect against other numerous hazards. Neglecting to wear or using damaged hard hats increases injury risks. Employers must supply appropriate safety equipment and enforce the installation of guardrails and safety nets to minimize fall hazards.

NIOSH, OSHA, and The Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) have collaboratively initiated a fall prevention campaign. This initiative aims to enhance safety for workers on roofs, ladders, and scaffolds. The campaign highlights the importance of using safety harnesses, guardrails, lifelines, and the rigorous inspection of fall protection equipment.

This initiative stresses choosing the right ladder, maintaining three points of contact, ensuring the ladder is secure, and always facing the ladder during use. Scaffold recommendations focus on using fully planked scaffolds, proper access, ensuring scaffolds are plumb and level, completing all guardrails, securing stable footing, and conducting thorough inspections before use.

What should I do after sustaining a TBI on the job?

After sustaining a TBI on a construction site, it’s crucial to get immediate medical attention and report the incident to your employer. No matter how minor or severe your TBI is, you may qualify for workers’ compensation benefits to cover medical expenses, lost wages, and disability. The Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl is committed to helping injured workers get the benefits they deserve while they recover. We understand how complex filing a workers’ compensation claim is, and we’re here to help you every step of the way.

We can ensure that your paperwork is properly filled out and filed. We’ll also advise you on the best practices for building a strong workers’ compensation claim and advocate for fair compensation on your behalf. Our law firm serves injured workers and their families across Massachusetts and Rhode Island. To learn how we can help you, contact us online or call us for a free consultation.

Combating Ergonomic Hazards in Construction

Engineer With Back Pain Injury After Accident At Construction Site

Ergonomic hazards don’t just exist in the office; they are a common risk faced by construction workers (and workers in other industries). Ergonomic injuries often impact joints, tendons, nerves, and muscles. These injuries develop gradually over time. For example, a worker who wears uncomfortable footwear may eventually develop long-term musculoskeletal disorders.

The prevalence of musculoskeletal disorders in construction highlights the importance of integrating ergonomic safety measures. This could safeguard against both immediate dangers and the cumulative impact of ergonomic hazards.

Work injuries from ergonomic hazards

Research by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics reveals that ergonomics-related injuries account for nearly one-third of all cases requiring days away from work. Workers’ compensation claims for musculoskeletal disorders cost U.S. employers over $20 billion annually. These injuries not only incur high costs but can also prolong recovery times and delay workers’ return to their jobs.

This issue is particularly widespread among electrical contractors. OSHA highlights the increased risk of ergonomic injuries within this group as the workforce ages and the range of work expands. Electrical contractors don’t just work in construction. Today, they also work in building maintenance and data or networking installation, areas where ergonomic hazards are prevalent.

Risk factors that contribute to ergonomic hazards in construction

The five key risk factors of ergonomic hazards in construction include:

1. High force: This involves tasks requiring substantial physical effort, such as lifting heavy objects or applying intense grip. High-force tasks increase physical demand and often lead to fatigue and injury to muscles or the skeletal system if repeated or prolonged.

2. Awkward and prolonged postures: Working in positions that significantly stray from a natural posture (e.g., bending, twisting, or reaching) poses ergonomic risks. Electrical contractors often operate in tight spaces or with hard-to-reach equipment, making them susceptible to injuries from awkward postures.

3. Repetition: Repeating the same movements over and over stresses the body. The level of stress is influenced by the number of repetitions, movement speed, muscles involved, and required force. Continuous repetition can result in fatigue and strain on muscles or tendons.

4. Contact stress: This arises when part of the body presses against a hard or sharp surface. Contact stress can cause undue pressure that can impede nerve function and blood circulation over time.

5. Hand-arm vibration: Exposure to vibrations from power tools or machinery can cause discomfort and increase the risk of musculoskeletal disorders after prolonged use.

Mitigating risk factors

In construction, effectively managing ergonomic risks involves a careful balance between the workers’ capabilities and the job demands. Recognizing and mitigating risk factors through a comprehensive safety strategy can reduce ergonomic injuries among electrical contractors. This can be done by recognizing and addressing the above-mentioned risk factors.

Implementing effective controls is crucial to mitigating these ergonomic risk factors. For example, the use of mechanical aids such as forklifts is recommended to prevent awkward carrying positions and overexertion in material handling and heavy lifting. Additionally, it’s important to enforce proper lifting techniques through training and visible guidelines. Limits should be set for lifting (a maximum of 50 pounds) to avoid overloading.

Training sessions should highlight correct lifting methods and stress the importance of mechanical aids. Posting signs as constant reminders and designing a work schedule that allows for task rotation can also lead to a safer workplace.

Workers’ comp for ergonomic injuries

If you develop a musculoskeletal disorder or other injury linked to ergonomic hazards on the job, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. However, navigating the workers’ comp process can be challenging, and if you’re not careful, you could lose out on the benefits you’re entitled to. As such, it’s in your interest to speak to an experienced attorney who can ensure that your claim is properly filed and help you get the full compensation you deserve.

The Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl serves injured workers throughout Massachusetts and Rhode Island. To find out how our dedicated work injury team can help you, contact us to schedule a free consultation. We have law offices in Fall River and Foxborough, MA, as well as Providence, RI.

Injuries Caused by Concrete and Cement on New England Construction Sites

workers pouring cement in road construction

Construction workers in New England face a wide range of risks and hazards every day on the job. In fact, 1 out of 5 workplace fatalities nationwide involve construction accidents, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

While there are many common causes of construction accidents in New England, many of them involve concrete and cement. So, what makes these materials so dangerous? Our legal team at the Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl in Massachusetts and Rhode Island explains.

Common construction injuries involving concrete and cement

Concrete and cement often cause serious injuries to construction workers due to the potentially hazardous components in both building materials. Such workplace injuries often include:

  • Eye injuries due to cement or concrete coming into contact with a construction worker’s eye.
  • Chemical burn injuries due to concrete or cement coming into direct contact with the skin.
  • Respiratory injuries or illnesses, including asthma, due to inhaling hazardous materials often found in concrete or cement, including alkaline compounds such as lime (calcium oxide) and crystalline silica.
  • Back injuries due to lifting or moving cement or concrete, which can be extremely heavy in solid form.
  • Slip, trip, and fall injuries, especially if someone steps in wet concrete or cement.
  • Machine-related injuries, such as broken bones caused by being struck by heavy equipment or power tools used while working with cement or concrete.
  • Work-related injuries involving rebar, the sharp metal rods often pointing up out of concrete at construction sites.

Causes of accidents involving concrete

New England construction sites can be dangerous due to a wide range of hazards. This is why construction companies need to take steps to prevent injuries involving concrete or cement. Unfortunately, many construction companies don’t take the necessary precautions, resulting in a serious injury involving cement or concrete. Common causes of such injuries include:

  • Failing to provide construction workers with safety equipment, such as protective eyewear, respirators, gloves, and sturdy boots that prevent cement from getting inside.
  • Not training construction workers on how to safely use concrete or cement.
  • No warning signs indicating that cement or concrete is being used at a construction site.
  • Poor lighting or poor maintenance, resulting in someone tripping and falling over concrete or into wet cement.
  • Failing to provide construction workers with mandatory rest breaks. This is especially important when working with cement or concrete since such work can often be physically exhausting.

What laws govern construction workers handling concrete or cement?

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), a federal agency, has many laws governing the use of concrete and cement at construction sites. These laws are designed to protect construction workers and prevent construction accidents involving cement or concrete. Such laws include:

  • OSHA 1926 Subpart Q, which contains many rules and regulations for the use of concrete in masonry construction. Such rules include what tools or equipment must be used, as well as OSHA requirements involving precast concrete, lift slabs, and masonry construction.
  • OSHA Standard 1926.701(f), which has specific guidelines for how cement can be applied if using a pneumatic hose. In such cases, construction workers must wear protective head and face equipment.
  • OSHA Standard 1926.701(a), which has strict rules involving construction loads. Specifically, before placing any construction materials on concrete, the person responsible and qualified in structural design must verify that the concrete structure is capable of supporting the load.
  • OSHA Standard 1926.701(e), which prevents supporters from working under loads of concrete buckets while they are being lowered or raised into position.

What should construction workers do after an accident?

Construction companies must respond immediately if an employee sustains an injury due to working with cement or concrete. While such steps will vary from one accident to another, common responses should include:

  • Call 911 and ask for medical attention right away, especially if a construction worker sustains a potentially life-threatening injury involving cement or concrete.
  • Stop work on the construction site, especially if other workers could be hurt while working with concrete or cement.
  • Tell a supervisor right away that a construction accident occurred involving concrete or cement.
  • Ensure that an ambulance or other emergency medical workers can easily access the construction site so there’s no time wasted treating the injured worker.
  • Construction companies should carefully document what happened as soon as possible.
  • OSHA should be notified as soon as possible. That way, OSHA can begin investigating the construction accident right away.

Contact a construction accident lawyer

Construction accidents involving cement and concrete in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and other New England states often result in serious injuries. As a result, injured construction workers might have difficulty getting the financial compensation and support they deserve. That’s because construction companies sometimes deny doing anything wrong because they don’t want to be held responsible for the worker’s injuries.

Whatever the circumstances of your work injury, an experienced construction accident lawyer at the Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl can help you fully understand your legal rights and the potential options available to you.

Make sure your construction injury gets the attention it deserves. Contact our law firm and schedule a free evaluation with a construction accident attorney focused on winning your case. We handle injury claims involving injured construction workers throughout Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

Protecting Workers at Heights: Have a Fall Rescue Plan

A stop fall descent self controller safety device shock absorbing lanyard attached clipping front of rope access inspector industrial full body safety abseiling harness loop preventing from fall

One of the most common – and most serious – work-related injuries involves falling from a height. That’s why it’s critical that employers have a plan for when an employee falls and sustains an injury.

Our workers’ compensation attorneys at the Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl in Massachusetts and Rhode Island explain.

How common are falls from height?

Annually, about 46,000 workers sustain a work-related injury due to a fall to a lower level, according to workplace accident statistics compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and cited by the National Safety Council (NSC). Recent annual falls from height statistics include:

  • 46,005 falls from height injuries in 2022.
  • 49,250 work-related falls from height injuries in 2020.
  • 48,040 injuries in 2019.
  • 52,510 injuries in 2018.

As for fatalities due to falls from a height to a lower level, 700 workers died in 2022, along with 680 fatalities in 2021, according to the BLS.

Common injuries sustained in workplace falls

Certain injuries are more common than others when workers fall to a lower level. According to BLS data cited by the NSC, the most common falls from height injuries include:

  • Muscle sprains and tears – 26 percent.
  • Bone fractures – 23 percent.
  • Bruises and contusions – 13 percent.

As for which part of the body is most often injured, such injuries often impact:

  • Lower extremities – 35 percent.
  • Upper extremities – 20 percent.
  • Trunk, especially the back – 18 percent.

Falls from height causes

There are many reasons why fall accidents happen in workplaces. In many cases, falls to a lower level happen at work because an employer did not take the necessary precautions. Examples include:

  • Poor maintenance.
  • Lack of safety protocols, especially those involving scaffolding.
  • Failure to provide employees with safety equipment, such as safety harnesses or other personal fall arrest systems (PFAS) for employees working on scaffolding.
  • Unmarked hazards that cause employees to trip and fall.
  • Lack of safety training.

What laws govern workplace falls?

Many laws were created to protect workers and prevent falls from height. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), a federal agency, created many of these laws, including:

What should employers do after a fall from height?

Employers need to have a plan in place for how to respond to a workplace fall. Such plans will vary from one profession to another but often include:

  • Posted materials at work sites explaining exactly what workers should do in the event of a fall at work.
  • Employee training that explains such protocols in detail so no time is wasted after a fall from a height accident.
  • Provide regular practice training to workers so they know how they should respond to such situations so all employees know exactly what to do after a fall from height injury.

In general, accident response plans often include the following steps:

  • Call 911 immediately.
  • Do not move the injured worker.
  • Notify a supervisor that a fall from a height accident has occurred.
  • Make sure emergency medical workers can access the injured worker as soon as possible.

Seeking legal help for a work-related fall

Work-related injuries involving falls from height in Massachusetts and Rhode Island often quickly turn into complicated legal cases. This is why it’s important for injured workers to fully understand their legal rights. Otherwise, they might not receive the benefits they deserve.

If you or a loved one was injured in a fall from a height at work, an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer at the Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl can help you every step of the way. We know the rules and regulations that apply to such accidents. We understand how the workers’ compensation system works in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. That’s why we have such a strong track record of success.

Get the personal attention you deserve after your workplace injury. Contact us and schedule a free evaluation with a workers’ compensation attorney focused on your best interests. We can review your case, explain your options, and get right to work on your workers’ compensation claim.

BLS Reports Alarming Rise in Workplace Deaths

Construction engineer worker at heights on top of building with suspended cables and fall protection.

Hazardous work conditions, lack of safety measures, and poor employee training often lead to serious injuries and workers’ compensation claims. However, these factors also lead to an alarming number of preventable workplace deaths.

Recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) highlights a growing concern in workplace safety across various sectors. In particular, the report emphasizes the growing number of worker deaths, as well as the frequency and cause of fatalities on the job.

How many work-related fatalities were there in the U.S.?

In 2022, the United States experienced an alarming increase in fatal work injuries, with 5,486 reported cases. This marked a 5.7% rise from the 5,190 workplace deaths in 2021. Additionally, it marked the sixth time over seven years that workplace fatalities surpassed 5,000 deaths, according to the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries.

One concerning statistic is the frequency of work-related deaths. For example, in 2022, a workplace death occurred every 96 minutes, compared to every 101 minutes in 2021.

Common causes of workplace deaths and occupational risks

Transportation and material moving occupations were hit hardest, with 1,620 fatalities. This accounted for 37.7% of workplace fatalities, making them the leading cause. Most of these deaths were among driver/sales workers and truck drivers. That’s followed by construction and extraction workers with 1,056 deaths, mostly due to falls.

Violence and injuries inflicted by others or animals saw an 11.6% increase to 849 cases, with homicides accounting for 61.7% of these incidents. Unintentional overdoses reached a record high of 525 fatalities, continuing an upward trend since 2012.

Disparities among workplace demographics

Black or African American and Hispanic or Latino workers experienced higher fatality rates than the national average. Transportation incidents were the leading cause. Additionally, foreign-born Hispanic or Latino workers in the construction industry represented a significant portion of fatalities in this demographic.

Workers aged 55 to 64 faced the highest fatality numbers due to transportation incidents and falls. Also, women accounted for a disproportionate number of workplace homicides despite accounting for a smaller percentage of overall workplace fatalities.

Seeking legal help after a fatal work accident

Whether you’re in Massachusetts or Rhode Island, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation death benefits if your loved one died while on the job. Both states offer compensation for burial expenses and dependent benefits.

For dependent benefits, you may receive a portion of the worker’s average weekly wages. The duration and amount of these benefits vary based on your relationship with the deceased worker and your age. Typically, a spouse or minor children are eligible for workers’ compensation death benefits. However, if you’re a grandchild, sibling, parent, or other relative who is financially dependent on the deceased worker, you may be able to pursue death benefits.

To find out what you’re eligible for and how to file a claim, speak to the workers’ compensation lawyers at The Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl. We can help you explore your options and answer any questions you have during a free consultation. To get started, contact us online or call our law offices in Fall River, Foxborough, or Providence.

Safety Helmets: How To Make The Right Selection

Construction helmet on a wooden table

Work-related head injuries are often the result of construction accidents. They’re typically caused by being struck by objects, falling, or accidents involving machinery. These injuries range from mild concussions to severe traumatic brain injuries. They often lead to significant medical expenses, lost work time, and long-term disability. The risk of head injuries on the job highlights the need for safety helmets that offer adequate protection.

With so many different styles, price ranges, and claims of enhanced protection, choosing the right helmet for work is no simple feat. This task is further complicated by a lack of comprehensive test data offering clear, evidence-based recommendations. However, it’s important to focus on brain protection, laceration protection, and helmet retention when making your decision.

Brain protection challenges and solutions

Historically, helmet design has somewhat neglected brain protection, particularly against rotational motion, a key factor in concussions on job sites. Helmets need to address two types of head injuries: skull fractures and brain injuries.

While a rigid outer shell and inner liner can mitigate skull fractures caused by direct impacts, they are less effective against many brain injuries. These typically result from rotational forces during impact, causing brain shearing and potentially irreversible damage.

Notably, over 60% of work-related brain injuries arise from slips and falls and same-level falls. About 90% of them don’t involve skull fractures. This highlights the distinct mechanisms affecting the brain compared to the skull. Recognizing this, sports helmets have incorporated the multi-directional impact protection system (MIPS) to dampen rotational forces. Similar technologies are now emerging in safety helmets.

Do safety helmets offer laceration protection?

Traditional helmets are primarily designed for crown impacts. However, they often fail to provide adequate laceration protection. A study from 1987 highlighted this deficiency, noting the limited effectiveness against side impacts. The ANSI standard Z89.1 addressed this by introducing the Type II designation, indicating helmets tested for lateral impacts.

Despite this, many leading brands still offer predominantly Type I protection. This highlights the need to choose ANSI Type II certified helmets for better lateral impact protection.

Do safety helmets offer retention during an impact?

A helmet’s protective capability should allow it to remain securely in place during an impact. While chin straps are crucial for this, the U.S. standard ANSI Z89.1 doesn’t mandate them but requires retention testing if included.

The European standard EN 12492 for mountaineering helmets necessitates chin straps but has less stringent lateral impact testing compared to ANSI Z89.1. Therefore, helmets with chin straps that meet or exceed ANSI Z89.1 Type II performance are advisable for optimal protection.

Choosing a safety helmet by industry

Various types of safety helmets are used in different industries to prevent workplace injuries. Here are some of the common types:

  • Standard hard hats: These are typically used in construction, mining, and manufacturing. They protect against impact from falling objects and bumps against fixed objects.
    Full-brim hard hats: These are similar to standard hard hats but with a wider brim that offers additional protection against sun, rain, and falling debris.
    Bump caps: These are lighter and more comfortable than hard hats. They’re designed for environments where workers risk hitting their heads against stationary objects rather than from falling objects.
    Safety helmets with face shields: These are used in environments where face and eye protection is necessary, such as in industrial manufacturing or certain types of construction.
    Welding helmets: These provide protection against the intense light, ultraviolet, and infrared radiation generated during welding. They also protect against hot metal and slag that can fly off during the welding process.
    Electrically insulated helmets: These helmets are made of non-conductive materials. They’re designed for electricians and other workers exposed to the risk of electrical hazards.
    Thermal helmets: These are used in environments with extreme heat or cold. They provide thermal insulation to protect the head from extreme temperatures.

Know your rights in the event of a head injury on the job

Safety helmets may reduce the likelihood of a head injury, but they’re not foolproof. If you’re a worker who has sustained a head injury on the job, you may be out of work for an extended period. You may be eligible for compensation through a workers’ compensation claim. However, simply filing a claim doesn’t mean you’ll successfully obtain the benefits you deserve.

Any errors in the application and filing process can lead to your benefits getting delayed, reduced, or denied. That’s why you need the help of the experienced Massachusetts and Rhode Island workers’ compensation attorneys at The Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl. Our legal team can ensure your application is properly filled out and the filing process goes smoothly. Plus, we can help you get the right medical care and advocate for fair compensation on your behalf.

Contact us online or call us to find out how we can help you. We offer free consultations, and there are no obligations. Let us learn about your workplace accident, provide guidance, and answer any questions you have about your potential legal options. We have law offices in Fall River, Foxborough, and Providence.

Mastering Cold Weather: Keeping Workers Safe in Winter

Cold weather workplace injury blog

Work-related cold stress injuries can be severe.

Working outside in New England during the winter months can be dangerous, often resulting in work-related injuries due to extreme cold. That’s why it’s critical that employers take steps to keep workers safe during the winter to prevent work-related cold stress injuries.

“If there weren’t already enough hazards involved in working on a busy job site, winter weather makes a tough, physically demanding job even harder,” according to a recent Occupational Health & Safety magazine article about the dangers of working in cold weather. “Cold temperatures attack winter workers, stealing away body heat, risking their safety and productivity, and making it harder to pay attention.”

How does cold weather impact workers? What are the warning signs of work-related injuries due to extreme cold? Our workers’ compensation lawyers at the Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl in Massachusetts and Rhode Island explain.

How common are cold-related work injuries?

Every year, workers sustain serious work-related injuries or fatalities due to working in the cold, especially employees who work outside the construction industry or other industrial settings. Specifically, weather-related conditions cause roughly 50 workplace fatalities each year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Cold weather puts stress on workers because “the body must work harder to maintain its normal temperature,” according to Occupational Health and Safety magazine. Cold-related stress occurs if someone’s internal body temperature drops below 95 degrees Fahrenheit.

How does cold weather cause injuries?

According to health and workplace safety officials interviewed by Occupational Health and Safety magazine, cold weather causes work-related injuries in five different ways:

  • Radiation – Cold temperatures take heat from the body through radiation or exposed skin, making workers feel cold faster.
  • Convection – Wind-related cold weather injuries due to a steady, cold breeze that takes warm air from the body beneath the skin.
  • Conduction – Injuries caused by skin coming into contact with much colder objects, especially metal tools or cold objects covered with ice.
  • Evaporation – Sweating is often caused by wearing insulated work clothes, which causes workers to lose heat due to evaporation and increases the likelihood of cold stress injuries.
  • Respiration – Breathing in cold air can put stress on workers’ bodies and lower their core body temperature, resulting in pain or making it difficult to concentrate while working.

Common cold-related work injuries

Work-related injuries caused by cold weather include:

  • Hypothermia (abnormally low body temperature, which can affect a person’s brain activity and ability to move)
  • Frostbite (damage to the skin and underlying tissue caused by exposure to extreme cold)
  • Trench foot (foot-related injury due to exposure to extreme cold and damp, sometimes unsanitary conditions)
  • Chilblains (inflammation of the skin, swollen patches, and blistering of the skin, often on the hands and feet, due to cold, damp air)

Warning signs of cold-related work injuries

Different cold-related work injuries have different symptoms. But some of the most common warning signs that someone might be too cold at work include:

  • Shivering
  • Fatigue
  • Numbness in body
  • White patches on the skin
  • Difficulty concentration
  • Poor balance
  • Difficulty speaking

Ways to keep workers safe in the cold

Employers should take steps to prevent workers from being injured at work due to extreme cold. Such preventative measures include:

  • Provide workers exposed to the cold as part of their work with insulated clothing.
  • Conduct workplace inspections to ensure employees working outside in extreme cold do not have any exposed skin.
  • Ensure workers get enough to eat and drink while working in extreme cold.
  • Provide training to workers on how to work outside in extreme cold.

Seeking legal help after a work injury

Work-related injuries caused by working in the cold are common in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, where winter weather can be harsh. If you sustain a work-related injury due to cold winter weather, you should be eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits. However, obtaining the benefits you deserve can prove to be challenging.

Our experienced workers’ compensation lawyers at the Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl are here to help you obtain the benefits you deserve. We know what to do because we have years of experience handling workers’ compensation claims in Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

Put your trust in a law firm that puts your needs first. Contact us and schedule a free case evaluation with a workers’ compensation attorney focused on helping you move forward after a work injury.

Safety Tips for Delivery Drivers to Avoid Work Injuries

Delivery Truck Driver Injury Blog

Delivery truck drivers face risks every day on the road throughout the year. This is why it’s important for drivers and employers to do everything they can to keep delivery drivers safe and to avoid a work-related injury. So what should drivers and employers do to avoid a workplace injury? Our workers’ compensation lawyers at the Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl in Rhode Island and Massachusetts explain.

Delivery driver injury factors

Delivery drivers encounter various work-related injury risks due to the nature of their job. Some of the primary causes of injuries among delivery drivers are a result of:

  • Lifting and carrying heavy packages: Transporting and handling heavy parcels can lead to strains, sprains, and back injuries. Proper lifting techniques and seeking assistance for bulky items are vital measures for driver safety.
  • Extended periods of sitting: Spending prolonged hours seated inside delivery vehicles can result in musculoskeletal problems, such as back pain and stiffness. Regular breaks and incorporating stretching exercises are essential for mitigating these concerns.
  • Slip and falls: Slip and fall incidents may occur while navigating diverse terrains and weather conditions during deliveries. These accidents can cause sprained ankles, fractures, and other injuries. Wearing suitable footwear and adopting cautious movements help reduce slip and fall risks.
  • Repetitive movements: Engaging in repetitive actions, like bending, lifting, or driving for extended durations, can lead to overuse injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome or repetitive strain injuries. Adhering to proper ergonomics and taking regular breaks can alleviate these potential risks.
  • Handling hazardous objects: Delivery drivers often encounter packages containing sharp objects or dangerous materials. Accidental cuts or injuries can result from handling these items. Wearing protective gloves and exercising caution during package handling can minimize such incidents.
  • Traffic accidents: Delivery drivers face significant risks of being involved in motor vehicle accidents. These accidents can result in various injuries, ranging from minor cuts and bruises to severe trauma. Practicing defensive driving, adhering to traffic regulations, and ensuring regular vehicle maintenance are crucial steps to mitigate this risk.

Safety tips for delivery drivers

Delivery drivers can take several steps in an effort to avoid a work-related injury during the holidays. Such safety tips include:

  • Park delivery truck on level ground.
  • Make sure the delivery truck is clearly visible and hazard lights are on when parking vehicle, especially in the dark.
  • Don’t jump out of your vehicle while holding heavy packages.
  • Wear shoes with good traction.
  • Use a headlamp or flashlight if you’re delivering packages in the dark.
  • Do not carry more than one box if any boxes are extremely heavy. Take multiple trips if necessary.

How employers can help delivery drivers

Delivery drivers aren’t the only ones who should take additional steps to avoid a work-related injury. Delivery companies need to do their part as well to keep drivers safe and injury-free. Some of the things delivery companies can do to help keep delivery truck drivers safe include:

  • Make sure all drivers are properly trained, especially when it comes to knowing how to safely lift heavy packages or drive safely at night.
  • Provide delivery truck drivers with reflective clothing and flashlights, especially since many drivers have to walk from their truck to someone’s house in the dark.
  • Make sure delivery truck drivers have back support or other personal protective equipment (PPE) designed to prevent back injuries due to lifting heavy objects.
  • Report all work-related injuries right away to the proper state authority so injured workers can receive workers’ compensation and other important benefits right away.

Contact an experienced workers’ comp attorney

When delivery drivers get hurt on the job in Massachusetts or Rhode Island, they are often eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits, which can provide compensation for medical care and replacement income if an injured worker needs time off to rest and recover.

However, getting these benefits can be challenging. That’s why our workers’ compensation lawyers at the Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl are here to help. Our attorneys have years of experience helping injured workers receive the workers’ compensation benefits they deserve in Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

Learn more about your legal options. Contact us and schedule a free case evaluation with a workers’ compensation attorney you can count on when you’ve been injured on the job. We can review your case, explain your potential legal options, and get right to work on your claim.

Modernized Goggles Revolutionize Workplace Eye Protection

A male worker using equipment in a warehouse wears safety googles and other PPE to avoid injury.

Advancements in technology have made goggles a popular choice for workplace eye protection for many employees, according to a recent Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) article about eye protection and work-related eye injuries.

“Today’s modernized safety goggles provide a tighter, sealed fit and are ideal for workers who may find themselves in environments that produce flying debris and projectiles that could potentially be harmful to the users’ eyes,” the OHS article states.

These advancements in goggle technology are critical. That’s because work-related eye injuries can result in partial or permanent vision loss. Our workers’ compensation lawyers at the Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl in Massachusetts and Rhode Island know because we have helped many injured workers obtain the benefits they rightfully deserve after sustaining a work-related eye injury.

Improved safety goggles provide ‘additional protection’

In recent years, employees who need eyewear protection for their jobs have chosen to wear safety goggles instead of safety glasses, according to the OHS article.

“While safety goggles are certainly not a new concept, recent innovations aim to make them more comfortable to wear, which is fueling category growth as more workers shift to the additional protection that goggles provide,” OHS reports.

The article adds, “Beyond the framework of meeting and even exceeding applicable safety standards, we are seeing new goggle designs in the market that focus on improved fit, comfort, and customization features to cater to a diverse range of users.”

Work-related eye injuries—by the numbers

Protective goggles serve an important purpose. They help protect people from sustaining work-related eye injuries and vision loss. Unfortunately, on-the-job eye injuries still occur at an alarming rate. According to the most recent workplace injury statistics compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 18,510 workers sustained eye injuries in 2020 nationwide. That’s roughly 1.7 injuries for every 10,000 full-time workers.

Common causes of work-related eye injuries

According to the BLS and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the most common causes of work-related eye injuries are:

  • Coming into contact with objects or equipment – 11,980 work-related eye injuries in 2020, according to the BLS.
  • Exposure to harmful substances – 4,830 work-related eye injuries in 2020.
  • Objects scraping or scratching an eye – According to the CDC, small particles such as dust, cement chips, and wood slivers often cause work-related eye injuries.
  • Penetrating objects – Nails, staples, and wood slivers can penetrate an eye and cause a severe injury, according to the CDC.
  • Chemical burns – Industrial chemicals and cleaning products often cause eye injuries and vision loss, according to the CDC.

Employers must provide eye protection

If employees work in an environment where eye injuries are possible, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires employers to provide eye protection to all employees. These rules are defined in OSHA Standard 1926.102, which focuses on personal protective equipment for face and eye protection.

Unfortunately, not every employer follows these rules. That’s why violations of OSHA Standard 1926.102 recently made the top 10 list of OSHA workplace safety violations for fiscal year 2023, which ended Sept. 30. Specifically, OSHA issued 2,074 violations for failing to provide employees with protective face and eye equipment, making this the 9th most common OSHA violation in fiscal year 2023.

Work-related eye injuries can be serious

You might think you don’t need an attorney to help you recover compensation if you sustained an eye injury at work. All you have to do is apply for workers’ compensation benefits, and your employer’s insurance company will take care of everything else, right?

Don’t be so sure. Workers’ compensation claims involving eye injuries or vision loss are often disputed or denied. That’s why if you suffered an eye injury or vision loss at work, you should contact the Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl for help.

Our legal team is dedicated to helping injured workers get the support they deserve after a work-related injury or illness. We have years of experience handling complicated workers’ compensation claims in Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

Find out what we can do for you. Contact us and schedule a free case evaluation with our legal team so we can review your case, explain your options, and help you find your way forward after a work-related eye injury.

OSHA’s Top 10 Workplace Safety Violations Involve Fall Protection, Ladders & Hazardous Materials

Rhode Island workers' compensation lawyer blog

Some of the top 10 most common workplace safety violations involve companies failing to provide fall protection, safety training for employees using hazardous chemicals, and safe ladders for employees to use, according to a recent National Safety Council (NSC) report.

Notably, many of these Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) workplace safety violations are the same violations employers are cited for year after year, according to the NSC report.

“Although incredible advancements are made in safety each year, we continue to see many of the same types of violations appear on OSHA’s Top 10 list,” NSC president and CEO Lorraine Martin said. “As a safety community, we must come together to acknowledge these persistent trends and identify solutions to better protect workers.”

So, what are the top 10 most common OSHA workplace safety violations? Our workers’ compensation attorneys at the Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl in Massachusetts and Rhode Island have the complete list below, as well as information about how a lawyer can help an injured worker.

Lack of fall protection tops OSHA’s list

OSHA Region 6 administrator Eric Harbin announced the top 10 OSHA workplace safety violations for fiscal year 2023, which ended Sept. 30. For the 13th consecutive year, failure to provide fall protection for workers was the top OSHA workplace safety violation.

In fiscal year 2023, there were 7,271 violations nationwide of OSHA Standard 1926.501 (Duty to have fall protection) governing “Fall Protection – General Requirements.” This OSHA requirement states that employers must provide fall protection and safety training to prevent workplace falls.

Falls from a height are some of the most common causes of work-related injuries and fatalities. On average, more than 200,000 workers are injured every year, and 800 die in work-related accidents due to falling from a height, according to an NSC study based on workplace injury statistics compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Other top OSHA violations

Along with failing to provide protection for workers from a fall, the other top 10 OSHA workplace safety violations in fiscal year 2023 were:

Injured workers should know their legal options

On-the-job injuries involving unsafe working conditions can quickly become complicated legal matters. Even if you are eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits, obtaining the benefits you deserve can be challenging. In addition, you could be eligible to receive additional compensation depending on the circumstances surrounding your work-related injury.

This is why it’s best to talk to an experienced work injury attorney who understands how to handle complex cases. Our workers’ compensation lawyers at the Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl can help you every step of the way. We have years of experience successfully handling workers’ compensation claims in Rhode Island and Massachusetts and understand what it takes to get results for injured workers.

Contact us and schedule a free case evaluation with our law firm. Our legal team can review your case, explain your potential options, and get right to work on your claim so you can focus on healing.