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27
Sep 2022
By:

Are Injured Warehouse Workers Eligible for Workers’ Comp Benefits?

Forklift in a warehouse

Warehouse accidents can cause severe and debilitating work injuries.

Warehouse workers often sustain serious injuries on the job. When they do, they are usually eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits.

In some cases, injured warehouse workers can receive additional financial compensation that’s not covered by workers’ comp, such as compensation for pain and suffering.

Talking to an experienced workers’ compensation attorney about your legal rights and options is key. Below, you can find the answers to common questions about warehouse accidents and the potential benefits available to injured warehouse workers.

Injuries are common among warehouse workers.

Warehouse workers sustain far more work-related injuries than many other professions. On average, employees who work in the warehouse and storage industry have an injury rate of 4.8 per 100 workers, according to work-related injury statistics compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) as reported by Safety + Health Magazine.

To put such numbers in perspective, 2.7 workers per 100 workers on average get hurt at work in all other private industries combined, according to BLS data cited by Safety + Health Magazine. Based on such statistics, warehouse injuries are 77 percent higher than work-related injuries in other industries.

What are common causes of warehouse worker injuries?

Certain types of accidents are more common than others among warehouse workers. Some of the most common and most serious warehouse accidents include:

  • Slip and fall accidents, especially in cases involving concussions and other head injuries.
  • Forklift accidents, including being hit by a forklift or getting hurt when a forklift overturns.
  • Packaging machinery accidents, especially if a worker’s hands get caught in the machinery.
  • Pallet truck accidents, especially if workers are trapped in or underneath such machinery.
  • Falls from a height, especially when warehouse workers fall off a ladder or fall to a lower level.
  • Being struck by a falling object is especially common in warehouses since there are so many boxes being moved around a warehouse at all times.
  • Exposure to harmful or dangerous substances, including hazardous chemicals.

Are injured warehouse workers eligible for workers’ comp benefits?

In most cases, injured warehouse workers are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. However, workers’ compensation laws vary from state to state. For example, in Massachusetts, “All employers operating in Massachusetts are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance for their employees and themselves if they are an employee of their company,” according to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ website.

Rhode Island has similar rules. State law “requires employers with one or more employees to provide workers’ compensation insurance,” according to the State of Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training website.

Can injured warehouse workers obtain additional compensation?

The answer to this seemingly-simple question varies depending on the circumstances of your warehouse accident. In many cases, injured warehouse workers are only eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits. However, there are certain situations when injured workers may be able to receive additional financial compensation.

Situations in which injured warehouse workers may be able to receive additional money for their injury-related expenses may include:

  • Injuries that are caused by someone working for a different company in the same warehouse, in which case the injured worker may be able to file a third-party lawsuit.
  • Injuries that are caused by hazardous situations at work that the company knew about but did not address in a reasonable amount of time or that the company simply ignored.

Can injured warehouse workers sue their employer?

Here again, the answer to this question varies depending on your work injury circumstances. In many cases, injured workers cannot sue their employer for injuries sustained at work. However, the best way to know if you or a loved one can file a lawsuit against your employer for a warehouse injury is to talk to an experienced work injury lawyer as soon as possible.

Why you need a workers’ compensation attorney

Obtaining workers’ compensation benefits can be a very complicated process. If you make a mistake, you might have to wait a long time to get benefits, or your initial application for benefits might get denied.

At the Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl, we have extensive experience helping people in Rhode Island and Massachusetts get the benefits they deserve. As a result, we know how the system works in both states and can help you find your way forward.

Discover what we can do for you. Contact us and schedule a free case evaluation to see how a workers’ compensation attorney can help you. We have three offices conveniently located in Rhode Island and Massachusetts and handle workplace injury claims in both states.

27
Sep 2022
By:

Can Construction Workers Get Workers’ Comp for Hearing Loss or Impairment?

Rhode Island construction worker uses a saw to cut pavement

Getting workers’ comp for hearing loss can be complicated.

People who work in construction are among the employees most likely to suffer hearing loss or hearing impairment due to their jobs.

Typically, workers injured on-the-job in Massachusetts and Rhode Island are eligible for workers’ compensation, but collecting benefits for hearing loss can be an uphill battle.

Employers and insurers often deny workplace hearing-loss claims. They’re hoping you will believe them when they say you do not deserve workers’ comp. They want you to give up on pursuing what is rightfully yours.

Injured construction workers deserve compensation.

If your hearing was damaged because of work, do not give up on getting the compensation you deserve. Dig in your heels. Call us. We can help.

The Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl, P.C. knows the truth about construction workers and workers’ comp benefits.

  • 1. More than half of older construction workers have work-related hearing loss.
  • 2. Work-related hearing loss is covered by workers’ comp.
  • 3. Injured workers deserve compensation.

If you work in construction or another field and have experienced work-related hearing loss or hearing impairment, contact us for a free case consultation. Our law firm serves all of Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts. At no cost to you, we can explain how the law applies to your situation and your potential legal options.

Workplace hearing loss risks

Construction workers are 40 percent more likely to suffer work-related hearing loss than employees in other industries. According to a recent study, carpenters and boilermakers are among the construction jobs at the highest risk for hearing damage.

Loud noises come from jackhammers, concrete saws, crashing lumber, dockyard cranes, collapsing scaffolding, high-pitched warning alarms, gas leak explosions, drills, sanders, bulldozers, grinders, and other construction equipment.

Employers are required to provide you with a safe working environment. This includes protection against hearing loss and impairment. The risk of damage can be reduced when employers supply workers with adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) like earplugs and headphones. However, many employers don’t do this or provide poor-quality PPE.

How to prove workplace hearing loss

Unless your hearing loss is due to a catastrophic event, like an explosion, an adjuster might claim that your hearing loss is due to something other than work – like age, pre-existing injuries, hobbies, or lifestyle choices. We’ve even seen insurance adjusters with the nerve to accuse seriously injured workers of “faking it.”

At The Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl, we do not accept these excuses – and neither should you. To prove your hearing loss to workers’ compensation authorities, our work injury attorneys use evidence such as:

  • Thorough medical examination report.
  • Audiometric report (a special test that measures your hearing abilities).
  • Expert medical testimony.
  • Witness statements describing how hearing loss has affected your life.
  • Worksite decibel measurements.
  • Regulatory investigations and reports.
  • Recordings.
  • Your own personal and powerful story of how work-related hearing loss has devastated your life and reduced your ability to communicate with and relate to the people around you.

Types of workplace hearing impairment and deafness

In general, there are three or four types of work-related hearing loss.

  • Traumatic hearing loss – Typically caused by a single, loud event like an explosion, gunshot, or direct ear injury.
  • Cumulative hearing loss – This is caused by repeated exposure to loud noises. The damage builds up over time, leading to hearing impairment, deafness, or tinnitus (ringing in the ears).
  • Ototoxic substances – Chemical substances and toxic materials can do just as much damage to the ears as loud noises and physical force. In construction, common ototoxic substances workers may be exposed to include solvents like carbon disulfide, styrene, and trichloroethylene, as well as lead, mercury, and carbon dioxide.
  • Dual exposure – Many construction workers are exposed to more than one type of hearing damage. This is called dual exposure, and it may heighten the risk of hearing damage.

Construction workers who are deaf or hearing impaired due to their jobs are entitled to benefits. Workers’ compensation pays for injury-related medical expenses, rehabilitation, temporary and permanent disabilities, and lost wages.

Compassion, experience, respect, results

Since the 1980s, the legal team at the Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl has fought hard to get injured construction workers the compensation they deserve. Our law firm knows what it takes to prove that your hearing damage is from work.

We know how to obtain the type of evidence necessary to prove work-related hearing loss. If you have a hearing impairment, hearing loss, deafness, or tinnitus due to your work in construction, or another industry, contact us for a free case consultation to see how a work injury attorney can help you. We serve all of Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts, with offices in Fall River, Foxborough, and Providence.

Do not delay in reaching out. You must meet strict deadlines to successfully apply for workers’ compensation. A member of our team is available to hear from you anytime, day or night. Contact us today to schedule your free case evaluation.

22
Aug 2022
By:

Medical Treatment Being Delayed by Workers’ Comp? Here’s What To Do

If you become sick or injured due to a work-related injury or illness, you deserve to get the medical care and support you need to fully recover. That’s why many people file for workers’ compensation benefits.

Unfortunately, getting the benefits and medical care you deserve can become much more complicated than you might expect. And one of the reasons why are delays caused by workers’ compensation insurance companies.

Why does this happen? And what can you do to respond? Below, you can find the answers to these questions and many more, courtesy of workers’ compensation attorneys with years of experience handling complex legal cases in Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

How workers’ compensation insurance companies delay medical care

Workers’ compensation is a form of insurance all employers must have in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. If you sustain an injury at work or develop an occupational illness, you should receive medical care (including surgery, physical therapy, and follow-up doctor’s appointments) designed to help you recover from your work-related injury or illness. Workers’ compensation may also provide cash payments if you need time off from work to recover from your injury or illness.

Unfortunately, some workers’ compensation insurance companies do the opposite. Their actions result in delays in medical treatment and testing. As a result, you might have to wait a long time to get the medical care you need to recover. Such delays can involve:

  • Taking longer than average to investigate whether you got sick or hurt at work. In Massachusetts, insurance companies have up to 14 days to approve a workers’ compensation claim. In Rhode Island, insurance companies need to do the same within 10 days. However, in certain circumstances, companies may be able to ask for an extension and take longer to approve an application for workers’ compensation benefits.
  • Delaying scheduling medical appointments to diagnose what’s wrong with you. For example, you might need an MRI or CT Scan but have to wait weeks for one to find out what type of work-related injury or illness you sustained on the job.
  • Questioning the doctor you want to treat your illness or injury. Often, insurance companies will claim they can choose your doctor. Don’t believe them. You have the right to see the doctor you want in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. It’s the law.
  • Processing delays by the insurance company. For example, your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company might take a long time to process payments for your medical care, resulting in a delay in follow-up medical treatment.

There are many other ways business and insurance companies can try to delay providing you with the medical care and support you need and deserve under workers’ compensation. When this happens, make sure you take action to protect your rights. Make sure you contact an experienced workers’ comp lawyer right away.

What to do in response

You can do many things if you are not receiving the medical care and support you need for your work-related injury or illness. Such steps include:

  • If your employer does not notify your workers’ compensation insurance company within 30 days of your work-related injury or illness, notify your insurance company directly.
  • If your workers’ compensation insurance company denies your application for benefits, you can file an appeal.
  • Stay focused on recovering from your work-related injury or illness. If you have a severe injury that requires medical care, demand to see a doctor.
  • Keep records of all your medical treatment, including copies of all medical bills and written prescription medications.
  • Hire a workers’ compensation lawyer as soon as possible after you get sick or hurt at work.

Why you need a workers’ compensation attorney

You are entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits if you sustain a severe injury while on the job or develop an occupational illness. That’s the law in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. That’s why it’s critical that you meet with an attorney at our law firm.

Our workers’ compensation lawyers at the Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl have been helping people get the support they need for years in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. As a result, we know how the legal system works here, and we’re prepared to do the work that needs to be done for you.

Learn more about your legal rights. Contact our law firm and schedule a free case evaluation with a workers’ compensation attorney focused on winning your case. We have three offices conveniently located in Rhode Island and Massachusetts and handle workplace injury claims in both states.

22
Aug 2022
By:

Work-Related Hand Injuries Are Common

Man in a blue shirt holds his broken wrist with his other hand.

Injuries to the hands and fingers often occur at work, making them one of the most common – and most serious – work-related injuries, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

And in many cases, injured workers are eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits for their hand injury. Financial help and support can be critical for many injured workers. Without such help, they might not physically recover and can face financial hardships due to the significant financial toll of many hand-related injuries.

Hand injuries in the workplace

Each year, an estimated 1 million workers sustain an injury to the hand or fingers that require emergency medical care, according to BLS statistics cited by Occupational Health & Safety magazine. This is especially true for construction workers, who are at the highest risk of sustaining a work-related hand injury, according to Occupational Health & Safety.

Compared to other work-related injuries, hand injuries are the second most common reason why employees need to take time off for a work injury, according to Safety + Health magazine. The most common reason why is due to neck or back injuries.

Here’s another startling statistic – 23 percent of all work injuries involve injuries to the fingers or hands, making them “the most frequent preventable injuries” at work, according to the same Safety + Health magazine article.

The financial toll of hand injuries

Injuries to the hands and fingers sustained on the job aren’t just painful. They can take an enormous financial toll on injury victims. According to Occupational Health & Safety, the direct economic costs of specific hand injuries include:

  • $2,000 for stitches to the hand or fingers.
  • $10,000 for cuts (lacerations) to the hand.
  • $70,000 for a severed tendon.

The financial toll can be even higher if your hand or finger injury requires surgery, an overnight stay in a hospital, or long-term medical care due to permanent damage to the hand. This is why it’s crucial to have an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer handling your legal case and demanding the money you deserve.

Bandage for burn injury

Common work-related hand injuries

Work-related injuries involving the hands or fingers can cover a wide range. According to the Health & Safety Institute (HSI), the most common hand and finger injuries include:

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome and other types of nerve damage to the hand.
  • Bone fractures or broken bones.
  • Avulsion fracture. This occurs when the tendon moves in one direction, and the bone moves in the opposite direction, resulting in a broken bone in the hands or fingers.
  • Cuts or lacerations to the hand or fingers.
  • Hand amputation (loss of the hand).
  • Abrasion injuries to the skin on the fingers or hands, including soft tissue damage.
  • Burn injuries to the hand or fingers.
  • The hand being crushed by a heavy object.
  • A puncture wound caused by a sharp object puncturing the hand.

Common causes of work-related hand injuries

Work-related injuries to the hand or fingers often occur due to hazardous or unsafe working conditions. This can include:

  • Employers not providing workers with safety equipment designed to prevent hand injuries. Personal protective equipment (PPE) can be as simple as protective gloves.
  • Employers do not adequately train workers on how to safely use equipment, especially power tools or potentially-dangerous equipment.
  • Unmarked hazards or poorly visible objects due to bad lighting result in a slip, trip, or fall accident that causes a hand injury.
  • Not properly grounding electrical equipment results in a power surge that causes a severe hand injury.

Is this how your work-related hand injury occurred? Or are you dealing with a different situation? Whatever the circumstances, ensure you fully understand your legal rights. Make sure you talk to a workers’ compensation lawyer right away so you can weigh all your legal options.

How a workers’ compensation attorney can help you

When you have an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer handling your hand injury claim, you can focus on what matters most – your recovery. That’s because your attorney can deal with all the red tape associated with complicated legal cases.

The workers’ compensation lawyers at the Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl have the knowledge and experience you need to demand the compensation you deserve. We know what to do because we have been helping injured workers in Massachusetts and Rhode Island for decades.

Discover what we can do for you. Contact us and schedule a free case evaluation with a Massachusetts workers’ compensation attorney you can count on when it matters most. We have three offices conveniently located in Rhode Island and Massachusetts and handle workplace injury claims in both states.

27
Jul 2022
By:

7 Ways To Keep Workers Safe & Prevent Work Accidents

Three workers in hard hats and safety vests overlook a manufacturing plant from inside a command center.

Workplace safety should be a priority for every business.

Work-related injuries and illnesses cost employers more than $1 billion a week in workers’ compensation-related costs for non-fatal workplace injuries and illnesses, according to a recent news article published by EHS Today.

However, injuries and illnesses sustained on the job cost people more than just money. For example, nearly 5,000 workers are killed annually in work-related accidents or due to work-related illnesses, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Employers and employees must do everything possible to prevent work accidents. Recently, EHS Today offered 7 suggestions to keep workers safe.

EHS safety tips

EHS Today recently offered seven recommendations to keep workers safe. They are:

  • Normalize risk assessment – This suggestion involves regularly assessing possible risks workers may face and making adjustments to prevent workplace accidents. For example, observe how workers lift heavy objects and provide adequate training to help prevent an injury when performing that task.
  • Make safety rules part of the job description – This proactive step sends a strong message to employees that workplace safety is part of the job.
  • Create a work safety culture – Don’t just occasionally mention workplace safety. Protecting workers’ health and well-being is a daily part of a company’s operations.
  • Provide Proper PPE – Ensure employees have the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) to do their job safely. Also, make sure employees actually use the equipment when it’s required.
  • Allow remote work, if possible – Employees who can do their job remotely should be allowed to do so, especially if the employee isn’t feeling well. Working remotely prevents other workers from being exposed to possible diseases and illnesses.
  • Provide ergonomic training – Companies need to ensure workers are safely operating equipment at work and not putting unnecessary strain on their arms, back, shoulders, and other body parts.
  • Develop onsite injury assessment – In some instances, a medical professional can assess a worker’s injury using telemedicine to determine if the injured worker needs additional in-person medical care.

Other ways to prevent workplace injuries

Along with the seven suggestions provided by EHS Today, there are other steps employers can take to prevent work-related injuries and illnesses, including:

  • Regularly inspect workplaces to make sure there are no hazardous conditions that could result in a workplace accident.
  • Create a process for employees to report unsafe working conditions or concerns to the company, such as an anonymous tip line or suggestion box.
  • Hold regular staff meetings with workers to address all their safety concerns.

Taking measures to improve workplace safety and prevent accidents is a step in the right direction. Nevertheless, it’s important to realize that work accidents will still happen. It’s also important to note that injured workers have the right to seek workers’ compensation benefits. However, the process isn’t easy, and it’s common for hurt workers to encounter many obstacles in pursuit of the benefits they deserve.

If you were hurt at work in Massachusetts or Rhode Island, you need to fully understand your rights. More specifically, you need to talk to a workers’ compensation attorney who can listen to your situation and clearly explain your legal options. Depending on the circumstances of your work injury or illness, you may be eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits and additional forms of compensation.

Contact our law firm for a free case evaluation.

At the Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl, we take pride in helping the hard-working people of Massachusetts and Rhode Island get the workers’ compensation benefits they’re entitled to under the law. Our dedicated legal team has the knowledge, experience, and resources to handle every aspect of your claim and will not rest until you get the outcome you deserve.

Contact us today to learn more about your legal rights and options during a free case evaluation with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney from our law firm. We have three offices conveniently located in Rhode Island and Massachusetts and handle workplace injury claims in both states.

27
Jul 2022
By:

Landscape Professionals: Watch Out for These Common Work Hazards While You’re On the Job

Adult male landscaper wearing protective workwear trimming a hedge with an electrical saw in a New England yard.

On-the-job accidents involving landscapers often result in severe and sometimes fatal injuries.

Gardeners, arborists, lawn care specialists, and other people who work in the landscaping and horticultural industry often sustain serious workplace injuries due to risks they face on the job, according to Occupational Health & Safety magazine. Consequently, many landscapers are hurt in work accidents and need to file for workers’ compensation benefits.

Unfortunately, navigating the workers’ comp system can be a challenge. And without experienced legal representation to guide you through this unfamiliar situation, you could lose out on the benefits you’re entitled to under Massachusetts or Rhode Island law. That’s why if you’re a landscaper in either state and you were injured in a work accident, it’s in your interest to talk to an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer about your legal rights and options.

Common landscaper injuries

Landscaping workers often suffer severe work-related injuries and illnesses while on the job. On average, 12,380 workers in the landscaping industry suffer serious injuries or illnesses each year, according to work-related injury statistics compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). An additional 122 landscapers die due to fatal workplace injuries or illnesses each year on average as well, according to the BLS.

According to Occupational Health & Safety magazine, common landscaping injuries include:

  • Lawn mower injuries
  • Heat stroke and heat exhaustion
  • Injuries sustained from being struck by falling tree limbs or other falling objects
  • Electrocution injuries, especially when landscaping workers come into contact with power lines
  • Vibration syndrome injuries caused by operating vibrating lawn equipment such as leaf blowers or lawn mowers
  • Hearing loss due to prolonged exposure to dangerously loud landscaping equipment
  • Exposure to dangerous or hazardous chemicals
  • Injuries due to loose clothing being caught in gears, blades, and other dangerous machines

How to prevent landscaping injuries & accidents

According to Occupational Health & Safety magazine, here are some steps that employers can take to prevent a work accident or illness:

  • Properly train workers to safely use equipment, including lawnmowers, hedge trimmers, and other potentially dangerous tools.
  • Provide appropriate safety equipment, including protective eyewear, hearing protection, and hard hats.
  • Inspect work sites before starting a job to ensure there are no existing hazardous situations, including loose tree limbs or nearby power lines.
  • Provide workers with enough water to drink on the job and consider setting up a cooling station.
  • Make sure workers take rest breaks, especially on hot and humid days when workers are at risk of sustaining heat illness or heat stroke.

Remember, work-related injuries and illnesses are common among lawn care specialists and other landscaping employees. That means even if you and your employer take precautions, you could still suffer a work injury or illness. Fortunately, injured landscapers generally have the right to seek workers’ compensation benefits. Unfortunately, obtaining those benefits isn’t always as easy as it should be. That’s when having an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer in your corner can make a meaningful difference in the outcome of your case.

Contact a workers’ compensation attorney today.

At the Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl, we have been helping injured workers in Rhode Island and Massachusetts for decades. As a result, we understand what it takes to build the strongest possible legal case and know how to fight for the benefits our clients deserve.

To learn more about your legal rights and options, contact us today to schedule a free case evaluation with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney from one of our three law offices in Massachusetts or Rhode Island. We proudly handle workplace injury claims in both states and look forward to seeing how we can help you.

24
Jun 2022
By:

Forklift Accidents Can Cause Severe Injuries & Fatalities

Forklift in a warehouse

Forklift accidents continue to be a serious problem, resulting in thousands of serious work-related injuries and fatalities each year. Sadly, many of these accidents are preventable. For instance, a recent fatal forklift accident resulted in a company being cited for unsafe working conditions, according to an article published by Occupational Health & Safety magazine.

“A forklift typically weighs between 4,000 to 9,000 pounds and poses significant risk of severe injury or death to workers who may be struck-by this equipment,” said Ramona Morris, an Area Officer Director for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Forklift accident statistics

Thousands of people are injured or killed annually in forklift accidents across the country. Each year, nearly 80 people die and more than 7,000 people are injured in forklift accidents, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Workplace accident statistics compiled by the National Safety Council show that forklift accidents resulted in 78 work-related fatalities and 7,290 nonfatal work injuries in 2020.

Common causes of forklift accidents

What makes forklifts so dangerous? Forklift accidents happen for many different reasons. Some of the most common causes of forklift accidents include:

  • Poorly maintained forklifts.
  • Inexperienced forklift drivers.
  • Improper training on how to safely operate a forklift.
  • Reckless forklift operators.
  • Workers being struck by an object dropped from the forklift.

These are just some of the reasons why forklift accidents happen, but it’s important to remember that workers’ compensation is a no-fault system. Still, obtaining the benefits you’re entitled to isn’t always easy, and it’s common for injured workers to run into obstacles at different points in the process.

How a workers’ compensation attorney can help

You might think you don’t need a workers’ compensation lawyer if you were hurt in a forklift accident at work. All you have to do is tell your employer about your work-related injury, and that’s it, right?

Don’t be so sure. In many cases, workers’ compensation claims quickly turn into complicated legal cases. Often, it’s because of complications that sometimes come up when dealing with your employer’s insurance company. For example, they might claim that you have a pre-existing medical condition and refuse to cover necessary and reasonable medical treatment for your work injuries.

At the Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl, our workers’ compensation lawyers have been helping injured workers in Rhode Island and Massachusetts for decades. As a result, we have an in-depth understanding of both states’ workers’ compensation laws and how they apply to forklift accident claims.

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 getting you the outcome your case deserves. We have three offices conveniently located in Rhode Island and Massachusetts and handle workers’ compensation claims in both states.

24
Jun 2022
By:

How To Prevent Heat Illness While Working at a Construction Site

Construction worker sweltering in the heat.

Heat-related work injuries often occur during the summer at construction sites. That’s why construction companies and workers must do everything possible to prevent such serious construction accident injuries.

But what steps can companies and workers take to avoid heat illness at construction sites? Below, you can learn more about the warning signs of heat illness and tips to stay safe while on the job site.

Common heat-related work injuries

Heat illness, heat stroke, heat exhaustion, and other heat-related injuries often occur on the job. In 2019, a total of 43 people died due to work-related heat injuries, according to workplace accident statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

And when it comes to different industries, construction workers face the highest risk of dying or being injured on the job due to heat-related illnesses. In particular, construction work “had 13 times the risk of heat-related deaths than the average annual heat-related workplace fatality rate in all other industries,” according to a recent Equipment World article.

That’s why the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently started an educational program focusing on educating construction companies and workers about the dangers of working in dangerously hot weather.

Warning signs of heat illness

Construction companies and construction workers must pay close attention to the warning signs of heat illness and other heat-related injuries. Symptoms of heat illness often include:

  • Dry skin or excessive sweating.
  • Dizziness and difficulty concentrating.
  • Extreme tiredness and fatigue.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Frequent and severe headaches.

If something doesn’t feel right, construction workers need to act fast. Otherwise, they could put themselves and their co-workers in danger.

Ways to prevent heat illness on construction sites

There are many steps that construction workers and construction companies can take to avoid heat-related injuries and accidents. Preventative measures include:

  • Educate construction workers about the dangers of working in high heat and explain what warning signs of heat illness to look for on the job.
  • Make sure construction workers have enough water to drink throughout their work shift, especially if where they’re working is consistently above 80 degrees.
  • Frequently check on construction workers throughout their work shift to ensure they’re safe and not suffering from heat stroke or other heat-related illnesses.
  • Slowly acclimate workers to working in warm-weather conditions.
  • Shift when workers work to cooler times of the day, perhaps earlier or later.
  • Provide cooling stations where employees can take a break and cool down.

These are just some steps companies and employees can take to prevent heat illness at construction sites. But unfortunately, despite such efforts, heat-related injuries often involve construction workers. Therefore, it’s important that injured construction workers fully understand their legal rights and talk to a lawyer as soon as possible.

How a construction accident attorney can help

Injured workers have the right to seek workers’ compensation benefits, but the process isn’t always easy, especially in cases involving heat-related injuries and illnesses. That’s why the sooner you have a construction accident lawyer handling your heat illness claim, the better. Your attorney can investigate your injury and help you navigate the workers’ compensation process.

The construction accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl understand how the legal system works. That’s because we have been helping injured construction workers in Rhode Island and Massachusetts for decades. When you have our legal team on your side, you can demand the money you need and deserve.

Discover what we can do for you. Contact us and schedule a free case evaluation with a construction accident attorney who knows how to build strong legal cases. We have three offices conveniently located in Rhode Island and Massachusetts and handle workplace injury claims in both states.

27
May 2022
By:

Conveyor Belt Systems Pose a Big Risk to Workers

Boxes on a conveyor belt system

Conveyor belt accidents in warehouses, factories, and other workplaces often result in serious injuries, according to workplace accident statistics compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

In many cases, injured workers can receive workers’ compensation benefits to pay for their injury-related expenses. But actually getting the money injured workers rightfully deserve can sometimes be more challenging than many people might realize.

How common are conveyor belt accidents?

Workplace accidents caused by conveyor belts cause an estimated 9,000 injuries and 40 to 50 workplace deaths every year, according to BLS statistics. That’s more than one conveyor belt accident every hour of every day. This is why it’s critical that companies take steps to prevent serious or potentially fatal conveyor belt accidents in the workplace.

What are common conveyor belt injuries?

Because conveyor belts are powerful pieces of equipment, they often cause very serious workplace injuries. Some of the most common – and most serious – conveyor belt injuries include:

  • Bone fractures or broken bones, especially in the hands or arms, which can easily be crushed in a conveyor belt.
  • Head injuries, including concussions and other types of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) caused by objects falling off a conveyor belt.
  • Amputation injuries, including the loss of an arm or another body part trapped in a conveyor belt.
  • Abrasion injuries to the skin caused by conveyor belts.

Did you sustain another type of conveyor belt injury? Whatever type of injury you’re dealing with, make sure you get immediate medical care. Then, talk to a workers’ compensation lawyer right away to learn more about your legal rights and options.

How do conveyor belt accidents happen?

Often,  conveyor belt accidents have one thing in common – the injured worker’s employer didn’t take the necessary steps to prevent such an accident. Examples of such reckless or negligent behavior can include:

  • The company failed to regularly inspect the conveyor belt system to make sure the machine was safely operating.
  • The employer did not provide training to workers, teaching them how to safely operate a conveyor belt.
  • The company did not properly maintain the conveyor belt, resulting in a malfunction that caused the accident.
  • The conveyor belt was overloaded, resulting in boxes and other objects on the conveyor belt falling off and hitting a worker.

These are just some of the reasons why conveyor belt accidents happen. And in each case, injured workers need to make sure such accidents are investigated and their rights are respected. That’s why employees need an experienced workers’ compensation attorney on their side.

Get the compensation you deserve for your conveyor belt accident

When you have an attorney handling your workers’ compensation claim, you can make sure your conveyor belt accident receives the attention it rightfully deserves. Even if an inspector from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is already investigating your accident, your lawyer can make sure you receive the financial compensation you need to get your life back on track.

At the Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl, we know how to handle complex legal cases. That’s because we have years of experience fighting for injured workers in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. When you have our legal team handling your case, you can focus on what matters most – your recovery. We’ll handle everything else.

Discover what we can do for you. Contact us today to schedule a free case evaluation with a workers’ compensation lawyer you can count on when it matters most. We have three offices located in Rhode Island and Massachusetts and handle workers’ compensation claims in both states.

27
May 2022
By:

Study Shows Injury Claims by First-Year Employees Are Rising

Warehouse worker's boot gets snagged on debris laying on the floor.

Workplace injuries involving first-year workers have steadily increased in the past decade, according to a recent study by Selective Insurance, which analyzed workplace accident statistics nationwide, according to EHS Today.

Workers’ compensation benefits cover injury-related expenses due to on-the-job injuries and illnesses. However, it’s important to understand how the legal system works when it comes to work-related injuries or illnesses, especially if you get hurt during your first year on the job.

First-year work-related injury claims increase

Selective Insurance conducted the study, which analyzed work-related injuries nationwide between 2011 and 2021. During that 10-year period, the number of injury claims filed by first-year workers increased by 18 percent.

In particular, 38 percent of first-year employees filed a work-injury claim the first year on the job in 2021. In contrast, 32 percent of first-year employees filed a work injury claim in 2011, according to the study.

In 2011, employees filed their first work injury claim 6.4 years after they started work. In 2021, that figure had fallen to an average of 5.2 years.

What are common injury claims?

Certain work injury claims are more common than others. According to the Selective Insurance study, the most common workplace injury claims between 2010 and 2021 varied from one industry to another. The three most common work-related injuries by industry were:

Construction Work

  • Strain injuries – 22.4 percent of work-related injury claims
  • Slip and fall accidents – 19.7 percent
  • Cut, puncture or scrape injuries – 16.8 percent

Manufacturing and Wholesale Work

  • Strain injuries – 27.2 percent
  • Cut, puncture or scrape injuries – 18.6 percent
  • Struck by object accidents – 16.4 percent

Retail and Professional Services

  • Cut, puncture or scrape injuries – 23.5 percent
  • Slip and fall accidents – 21.1 percent
  • Strain injuries – 17.3 percent

What can employers do to keep workers safe?

There are steps employers can take to prevent work-related injuries, including:

  • Educate new workers and provide them with proper safety training.
  • Provide workers with appropriate safety equipment and train them on how to use it.
  • Regularly inspect workplaces to make sure they’re free of hazardous conditions.
  • Quickly fix and address hazardous work conditions.

There are other steps employers can and should take to make workplaces safer, depending on the specific nature of the work being done. If you get hurt at work, it’s critical that you understand your legal rights and options, including the right to seek workers’ compensation benefits.

Talk to a workers’ comp attorney today

You might think you don’t need a lawyer if you got hurt at work. The problem is work injury claims can turn into complicated legal cases for a wide range of reasons, and if you’re not careful, you could miss out on the compensation you’re entitled to.

The workers’ compensation lawyers at the Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl can help you every step of the way. We thoroughly understand how the workers’ compensation system works in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. That’s because we have years of experience helping injured workers get the money they deserve to get their lives back on track.

Learn more about your legal options. Contact our law firm and schedule a free case evaluation with a workers’ compensation attorney you can trust to put your best interests first. We have three offices located in Rhode Island and Massachusetts and handle workers’ compensation claims in both states.