Archive for the ‘workers’ compensation’ Category

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.

Occupational Hearing Loss Is A Common Work Injury

Male worker with hearing protectors, indoors

Occupational hearing loss is a serious concern that often flies under the radar. It’s a condition that results from exposure to excessive noise levels and chemicals in the workplace. While hearing loss may not be as immediately visible as a broken bone or a burn, it’s a real and permanent problem that often results in workers’ compensation claims.

How many workers are at risk of job-related hearing loss?

Occupational hearing loss is one of the most prevalent work-related conditions. Hearing risks are present across all industries, affecting millions of U.S. workers each year.

The NIOSH Recommended Exposure Limit is 85 decibels (A-weighted) averaged over an eight-hour workday. However, roughly 22 million workers are exposed to noise levels well above the recommended exposure limit.

Another 30 million workers encounter ototoxic chemicals that can harm their hearing. This chemical disrupts the cochlea, a spiral-shaped structure in the inner ear that contains thousands of hair cells. These hair cells are responsible for detecting different frequencies of sound.

What are the consequences of occupational hearing loss?

Hearing loss can be life-altering, impacting individuals in several ways. This includes:

  • Communication difficulties: A direct consequence of hearing loss is communication difficulties. It becomes challenging to maintain relationships with others, both personally and professionally.
  • Health issues: Hearing loss is not an isolated problem. It’s linked to tinnitus (ringing in the ears), heart problems, cognitive decline, and poor mental health. These issues can significantly impact a worker’s quality of life.
  • Safety concerns: Workers suffering from hearing loss may also face concerns about personal safety and the safety of those around them. In a work environment, this can lead to accidents and injuries if a worker can’t hear potential hazards.

How can I prevent occupational hearing loss?

The good news is that occupational hearing loss is preventable. Employers should prioritize their employees’ hearing health by implementing comprehensive hearing conservation programs. This includes:

  • Implementing noise control measures.
  • Offering regular hearing testing.
  • Providing personal protective equipment, such as earplugs or earmuffs.
  • Training employees about the risks of workplace noise and the importance of protecting their hearing.

Workers should also take responsibility for their own hearing health by using the provided protection and reporting any concerns to their employers.

Should I file a workers’ comp claim if I lost my hearing?

If you have experienced occupational hearing loss, it’s crucial to understand your rights. You have the right to file a workers’ compensation claim in Massachusetts or Rhode Island. The workers’ compensation system provides financial and medical support to those who have suffered job-related injuries or illnesses. This includes hearing loss caused by workplace conditions.

The experienced legal team at the Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl understands the workers’ compensation process. Our attorneys can work tirelessly to ensure your claim is properly filed and you receive the benefits you deserve. We understand that hearing loss can have a profound impact on your life, and we’re here to support you every step of the way.

Don’t let occupational hearing loss go unaddressed. Contact us to schedule a free consultation. We’ll go over your potential legal options and answer any questions you have.

Study Reveals Surprising Trends in Workplace Injuries

Man with bandaged hand filling out a work injury claim form.

It’s easy to believe that workplace injuries only happen in certain occupations. For example, construction, manufacturing, and warehouse workers are the most at risk of sustaining injuries on the job.

However, recent research challenges this assumption. It reveals that workers in highly hazardous jobs are less prone to on-the-job injuries than those with moderately dangerous occupations.

Which types of workers are most at risk for workplace injuries?

A study based on 2019 Labor Department data assessed the injury rates across 571 occupations. The injury rate for hazardous jobs such as wellhead pumpers and boilermakers was around three incidents per thousand workers. In contrast, moderately risky jobs recorded significantly higher injury rates. That includes:

  • 23 per thousand for pest-control specialists
  • 43 per thousand for baggage handlers
  • 120 per thousand for welders

At the same time, low-risk professions, such as human resource specialists or loan officers, displayed low injury rates.

A second study explored maritime accidents and their correlation with sea and wind conditions. The highest accident rates occurred when conditions were moderately hazardous, not during extreme conditions.

James Beck, an associate professor at the University of Waterloo in Canada, is one of the study’s co-authors. He sheds light on this paradox. Workers react differently in highly dangerous situations. For example, they often:

  • Display caution by adhering to safety protocols
  • Wear protective gear
  • Follow stringent rules

However, this cautious behavior tends to dissipate in situations perceived as only moderately hazardous.

Video game study reinforces findings in workplace injuries

The researchers conducted a third study to gain deeper insights into worker behavior. In a controlled environment, they asked 92 undergraduates to engage in a simulated video game set in a warehouse. Participants were tasked with placing boxes on shelves with varying degrees of stability. The catch was that some shelves in closer proximity had a greater chance of collapsing.

The results showed that when participants faced a moderately hazardous scenario with a 30% chance of shelf collapse, accidents were 66% more frequent. That’s in contrast to simulations with 10% or 50% chances.

This research suggests that companies should emphasize precautionary measures when the overall risk only increases moderately. While many find it challenging to grasp such risk levels, focusing on precautions will likely reduce workplace accidents and injuries. This approach underscores the importance of worker training and awareness in maintaining workplace safety.

Common injuries in moderately dangerous workplaces

While the specific dangers can vary, some common types of workplace accidents in moderately hazardous jobs include:

  • Slips, trips, and falls: In moderately hazardous jobs, such incidents can occur due to wet or uneven surfaces, cluttered workspaces, or inadequate lighting.
  • Musculoskeletal injuries: Jobs involving repetitive tasks or lifting heavy objects can lead to musculoskeletal injuries. Back strains, muscle sprains, and joint problems are common.
  • Struck-by accidents: Struck-by accidents can result from the improper storage of materials or the lack of protective barriers.
  • Electrical accidents: Occupations that involve working with electrical equipment or machinery can lead to electrical shocks or fires if safety precautions are not followed.
  • Exposure to hazardous materials: Some jobs may require handling or exposure to hazardous materials, chemicals, or substances. Accidents in such environments can lead to chemical burns, respiratory problems, or other health issues.

What to do if you sustained an injury on the job

If you sustained an injury on the job, you may be out of work for weeks or months while you recover. On top of that, the medical bills could pile up. The good news is that you can receive financial benefits through a workers’ compensation claim while you’re out of work. However, getting financial benefits isn’t as simple as it sounds. Any errors in your application or filing process could result in your benefits getting delayed or denied.

The Massachusetts and Rhode Island workers’ compensation attorneys at the Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl can help you through the process. They can gather evidence to support your claim and advocate for maximum compensation on your behalf. To learn more about how we can help with your potential case, contact us online and set up your free initial consultation.

Traumatic Brain Injury Risks in Construction

Working in construction comes with inherent risks; among them, traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are a significant concern. Every day, construction workers face potential TBI risks on the job.

Head and brain injuries are common in construction

Although head injuries are largely preventable, they remain a considerable hazard for construction workers. With National Concussion Awareness Day falling in September, we can shed light on the various forms of TBIs, ranging from minor concussions to more severe cases, and underscore the importance of awareness and safety measures within the construction industry.

In the unfortunate event of a construction-related TBI, it’s essential to understand that you have legal rights and options available to you. Seeking compensation for your injuries and ensuring that your rights are protected can be a complex process, which is why consulting an experienced construction accident lawyer is crucial.

What is a traumatic brain injury?

According to Occupational Health & Safety, a traumatic brain injury affects the brain’s normal function. TBIs can happen from a direct hit to the head, a penetrating injury, or a jolt. You may be suffering from a TBI if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Sensitivity to light or sound
  • Fatigue

Traumatic brain injuries can vary in levels of severity. At the milder end of the spectrum are concussions, which typically involve temporary symptoms like confusion and headaches. More severe TBIs can result in long-term complications such as impaired motor skills, cognitive deficits, mood disorders, and, in the most serious cases, coma or permanent disability.

Fall-related TBIs

Falls are a leading cause of traumatic brain injuries among construction workers. They often happen when workers are exposed to dangerous situations, such as working at heights. Common factors that can cause a fall on a construction site include:

  • Lack of fall protection
  • Absence of safety equipment such as guardrails
  • Misuse of ladders and other equipment
  • Failure to use protective gear
  • Slippery or uneven surfaces
  • Weather conditions

TBIs resulting from construction falls frequently occur due to a direct impact on the ground or other hard surfaces. Despite using safety gear like hard hats, the force of a direct impact can still be strong enough to cause a TBI.

Struck by falling and flying objects

In the construction industry, there’s another significant TBI risk: flying and falling objects. These accidents happen when materials, tools, or debris are propelled into the air, often due to equipment malfunctions, improper handling, or weather conditions. The risk of these objects becoming airborne increases when work zones are crowded and busy work zones.

When an object hits a worker, the impact can lead to an injury because of the force and weight involved. These accidents can result in various levels of TBIs, ranging from mild concussions to skull fractures and even penetrating wounds.

Talk to a workers’ comp attorney today

Construction workers who’ve sustained traumatic brain injuries may qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. However, eligibility doesn’t always ensure you receive benefits. Navigating workers’ compensation cases can be challenging, but having the guidance of an experienced workers’ comp attorney can make all the difference.

At the Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl, we have a deep understanding of workers’ compensation systems in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. We work tirelessly to demand the compensation you rightfully deserve. Contact us for a free consultation with a workers’ compensation attorney who will stand by your side when it matters most.

Preventing Struck-By Objects Accidents at Work

An accident in a warehouse. Woman running towards her colleague lying on the floor next to a forklift.

Struck-by accidents are a common cause of workplace injuries and fatalities. They occur when workers get struck-by objects and can happen in a wide range of industries and settings. They typically involve contact with tools, equipment, vehicles, materials, or even falling objects.

Employers play a crucial role in preventing struck-by accidents

Knowing the potential risks on the job and what action to take if you’re injured is important. The workers’ compensation attorneys at the Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl discuss the four types of struck-by accidents, how employers can prevent them, and how to file a claim.

What are the four types of struck-by objects accidents?

There are four main categories of struck-by accidents, as defined by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA):

  • Struck-by flying object: This occurs when an object becomes airborne and strikes a worker. For example, a tool or material may be ejected from a machine and hit a worker.
  • Struck-by falling object: This type of accident happens when an object falls from a height and strikes a worker below. It can occur in construction, manufacturing, or warehouse environments where materials or equipment are stored or moved overhead.
  • Struck-by swinging object: In this scenario, an object that is being swung or suspended strikes a worker. This can include cranes, hoists, or equipment on a swing arm.
  • Struck-by rolling object: This type of accident involves objects that roll, move, or slide. Examples include vehicles, forklifts, and carts.

What should employers do to prevent struck-by accidents?

Preventing struck-by object accidents is a crucial aspect of workplace safety. Employers can take various measures to reduce the risk, such as:

  • Providing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Implementing safety training programs
  • Securing materials and objects properly at heights
  • Storing heavy items close to the floor
  • Using safety barriers and warning signs
  • Securing loose items
  • Using caution around corners
  • Lifting all loads evenly
  • Training workers on potential hazards and encouraging them to follow safe worker practices.

What should I do if I was injured in a struck-by object work accident?

If you’ve been injured in a struck-by accident at work, taking certain steps to protect your legal rights is essential. Here’s what you should do:

  • Seek immediate medical attention: Even if your injuries seem minor, getting a medical evaluation is important. Some injuries may not be immediately apparent but could worsen without treatment.
  • Report the accident: Inform your supervisor or employer about the incident immediately. Be sure to follow your workplace’s specific reporting procedures. Provide a detailed account of the accident, including the date, time, location, and any witnesses present.
    Document the incident: Write down a description of how the accident occurred and any contributing factors. If possible, take photographs of the accident scene, your injuries, and any equipment or objects involved. Visual evidence can be valuable when filing a workers’ compensation claim.
  • Follow doctor’s orders: Attend all medical appointments and follow your healthcare provider’s treatment plan. Also, keep records of your medical treatment, including diagnoses, prescriptions, and medical bills.
  • File a workers’ compensation claim: To recover medical expenses and lost wages, you’ll need to file a workers’ compensation claim. You’ll have to apply in Massachusetts or Rhode Island to start the process. The application process can be confusing. To avoid any delays in your compensation, it’s best to have an experienced workers’ comp lawyer help you.
  • Consult with an attorney: To receive financial benefits, you’ll need to prove that your injury was work-related. Be sure to consult with an attorney who can gather the facts and present your case before the Massachusetts or Rhode Island workers’ compensation boards. An attorney can also advise you on your legal rights, help you navigate the workers’ compensation system, and handle all the complex paperwork.

Contact a workers’ comp lawyer today

If you’ve been injured in a struck-by accident in Massachusetts or Rhode Island, an attorney at the Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl can help. We know how workers’ compensation cases work and have a proven track record of successfully representing injured workers.

Take the first step and contact us online to schedule your free consultation. We’ll work tirelessly to help you get the benefits you deserve while you focus on recovery.

New Construction Companies Have More Workers’ Comp Claims, Study Finds

Construction worker has an accident while working on new house. The worker is lying on the ground with his yellow hard hat in the foreground

A construction accident lawyer reveals what you should know

Employees who work for newer construction companies file the most construction accident workers’ comp claims, according to a new study conducted by AmTrust Financial Services Inc., an insurance company that handles claims filed by injured construction workers.

In a recent article published by Business Insurance, the insurance company’s contractor risk report found that employees who work for construction contractors that have been in business for less than four years make up 75 percent of all workers’ compensation claims paid to injured construction workers.

What construction workers are the most at risk?

AmTrust Financial Services’ report was based on an in-depth analysis of 26,000 workers’ compensation claims filed within the past 10 years, according to Business Insurance. The report also identified which workers are most at risk and what types of injuries they sustained the most. Researchers concluded that the following workers are most at risk of sustaining an injury in a construction accident:

  • Construction workers with less than one year of experience made up 33 percent of all workers’ compensation claims.
  • Construction workers with one to two years of experience made up 16 percent of all claims.
  • Plumbers file 28 percent of all workers’ compensation claims.
  • Electricians file 19 percent of workers’ compensation claims.
  • August was the month in which the most claims were filed (construction work is often seasonal and takes place during the warmer months)

These are just some of the workers who face the highest risk of sustaining an injury or illness that requires medical care, time off from work, and other treatment often associated with workers’ compensation claims. Even so, all construction workers face a high risk of sustaining a serious workplace injury. That’s why workplace safety is so important on job sites.

Construction accident statistics

Certain types of construction accidents often result in workers’ compensation claims. According to the AmTrust Financial Services’ report, the most common injury claims among construction workers involve:

  • Slip, trip, or fall accidents – Specifically, lost workdays due to slip and fall injuries were 67 percent greater than the median for all injuries, at 21 days away from work.
  • Lifting strains – The most common construction accident injury at 11 missed workdays.
  • Burn injuries – The second-highest median days out from work at 19 missed workdays.

Many other injuries frequently result in days away from work to rest, recover and receive medical care. When this happens, it’s critical that injured construction workers get the support they need and deserve to fully recover. That’s why it’s important to fully understand your legal rights.

Talk to a construction accident attorney today

Construction accidents might seem like straightforward workers’ compensation claims. Unfortunately, these claims can quickly turn into complex legal cases. Don’t be surprised if your injury claim is rejected by your employer’s insurance for any number of reasons. That’s because insurance companies will look for any excuse to reduce or deny your claim, whether they say you have a pre-existing medical condition or that you got hurt outside of work.

At the Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl, we know how to handle complex legal cases. We have years of experience handling injury claims for construction workers throughout Massachusetts and Rhode Island. As your attorney, we can get straight to work on your case, including helping you pursue a third-party claim for damages, if applicable.

Discover what we can do you and contact us right away to schedule a free case evaluation with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer. We understand how the legal system works when it comes to construction accidents and can work with you to build the strongest possible legal case. Schedule an appointment today. We have three offices conveniently located in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, and we handle construction claims in both states.

Hospital Workers Face Higher Risk of Injuries & Illnesses

Tired depressed female scrub nurse wears face mask blue uniform gloves sits on hospital floor.

An experienced workers’ comp lawyer explains

Nurses, doctors, surgeons, occupational therapists, medical technicians, and other healthcare professionals working in hospitals face a significantly higher risk of sustaining an injury or illness on the job compared to other professions, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the federal agency responsible for enforcing workplace safety and health standards nationwide.

According to the most recent OSHA workplace injury and illness statistics, hospitals nationwide reported 221,400 work-related injuries and illnesses in 2019. Such work-related illnesses and injuries amounted to 5.5 incidents for every 100 full-time hospital employees. That incident rate is almost twice as much as the injury and illness rate for all private industries nationwide, making hospitals “one of the most hazardous places to work,” according to OSHA.

Many work-related injuries and illnesses are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. However, obtaining these benefits can often be challenging. This is why it’s important for sick or injured hospital professionals to better understand the issue and their legal rights.

Common hospital worker injuries

Injuries sustained in hospitals by employees working there can cover a wide range. Common injuries among nursing aides, orderlies, medical assistants, paramedics, and other hospital professionals include:

  • Broken bones due to slip and fall accidents, being crushed by an object, falling from a height or blunt force trauma.
  • Musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) due to hazardous or dangerous working conditions. MSDs often involve injuries to the muscles, nerves, joints or tendons due to repetitive work involving muscle strains and sprains, as well as carpal tunnel syndrome. This is why an MSD is often referred to as a repetitive motion injury, overuse injury, or repetitive stress injury.
  • Back injuries, especially lower back injuries, due to overuse or as a result of a single incident. Such injuries can range from chronic lower back pain to a herniated disc, which is also known as a bulging disc.
  • Head injuries, including concussions and other traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). These injuries are often sustained in slip and fall accidents or due to physical assaults by patients, co-workers, or the general public.
  • Strained or sprained muscles, either due to overuse over time or a single, direct blow to the muscle. Either way, hospital workers and other healthcare professionals face a high risk of sustaining such injuries.
  • Cuts and lacerations, including deep skin cuts to subcutaneous tissue, the innermost layer of skin. These types of cuts often require stitches, staples, or sometimes even surgery.

These are just some of the injuries hospital professionals regularly sustain on the job. There are many other types of injuries that can be just as serious and which require immediate medical attention.

Common hospital worker illnesses

Unlike many other professions, hospital workers face a high risk of contracting an illness on the job. Common illnesses sustained by hospital professionals include:

  • Healthcare-acquired infection (HAI), which is an infection acquired in a hospital or another healthcare setting, including an acute care hospital, skilled nursing care facility or emergency room. Infections include pneumonia, gastrointestinal illness, urinary tract infections and Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), otherwise known as a staph infection.
  • Sepsis, which is an illness in response to a severe infection. If not treated immediately, sepsis can be life-threatening.
  • Airborne diseases such as measles, influenza (flu), and whooping cough (Pertussis). Hospital workers often contract such diseases due to coming into close contact with infected patients.
  • Viruses such as the coronavirus, which can cause diseases such as COVID-19, due to exposure to patients and other people in the hospital with such diseases.

These are just some of the illnesses hospital professionals face every day on the job. This is why it’s important that hospitals take precautions to prevent worker illnesses or injuries.

Keeping hospitals safe and clean

There are many preventative steps hospitals can take in an effort to prevent workers from sustaining a serious injury or illness on the job, including:

  • Maintaining sanitary conditions in the hospital.
  • Hospitals providing workers with safety equipment and proper safety training.
  • Providing employees with ergonomic equipment designed to prevent repetitive stress injuries.
  • Providing workers with break times during their shift, especially if the job is physically demanding.
  • Hiring security personnel to protect hospital workers from harm.

These are just some of the steps hospitals can and should take to protect workers’ health and safety. Unfortunately, some hospitals do not take all of these preventative measures, resulting in a serious workplace injury or illness. When that happens, it’s important that hospital workers understand their legal rights.

A workers’ comp attorney can help

If you sustain an injury or illness while working in a hospital, you may be eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits and other benefits designed to help with your medical care and recovery. Unfortunately, obtaining workers’ comp benefits can sometimes be very difficult. This is why it’s important to talk with an attorney right away if you get hurt or sick while working in a hospital.

At the Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl, we have years of experience helping hospital workers and other employees throughout Massachusetts and Rhode Island. As a result, we’re familiar with the state and federal rules and regulations that apply to healthcare workers and workplace safety. As your attorney, we can thoroughly investigate your claim and serve as a strong legal advocate, every step of the way.

Learn more about how we can help you and contact us today to schedule a free case evaluation with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer. We have three office locations in Rhode Island and Massachusetts and handle workplace injury claims in both states.

Overheating & dehydration are common causes of construction accidents

Closeup side view of construction worker finishing a rooftop edge wall on the apartment building. One of them is taking a short break on a hot sunny day.

Lawyers who handle workplace injury cases explain

Many construction accidents occur due to dehydration and workers overheating, according to a recent study that emphasized the importance of construction workers staying properly hydrated while working in hot and humid weather.

An estimated 5 to 10 million construction workers face health risks every day on the job due to overheating, according to the study. That’s why it’s critical that construction companies provide regular access to clean drinking water to employees in order to avoid heat-related injuries.

“Without easy access to fluids, workers can become dehydrated, which is a prime cause of heat illness,” the study states, adding that the “health benefits of proper hydration” makes “for a more productive and healthier work force.”

How common are heat-related injuries?

A total of 79,660 construction workers sustained injuries on the job that required them to miss work in 2019, according to annual workplace injury statistics compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Precise statistics concerning how many of those injuries involved excessive heat exposure were not available.

However, heat exposure-related injuries involving all workers in all industries have been a problem for years, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). In particular, OSHA noted that 50 to 70 percent of heat exposure-related illnesses or injuries “occur in the first few days of working in warm or hot environments because the body needs to build a tolerance to the heat gradually over time.”

In addition, OSHA noted that roofing workers are some of the most at-risk construction workers when it comes to heat-related illnesses and injuries. Specifically, thousands of roofers become seriously sick each year due to occupational heat exposure, another OSHA study stated.

What’s the best way to prevent heat illness?

The best way to avoid heat illness while working at a construction site is to stay properly hydrated throughout the day. This means drinking water regularly. Construction workers should drink 5 to 7 ounces of fluids every 15 to 20 minutes, OSHA recommends.

In addition, employers need to make sure that construction workers have access to water at all times on the job. Employers also need to make sure that construction workers have the time to take short breaks in order to regularly drink water.

Construction workers and employers should also be aware of the warning signs of heat exhaustion or other heat-related illnesses:

  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Throbbing headache
  • Bright red skin
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Muscle cramps
  • Disorientation or confusion

Construction workers and construction companies need to take warning signs very seriously. Otherwise, workers can get very sick or ill due to heat exhaustion, dehydration, and other heat-related illnesses.

How can a lawyer help?

You might think you don’t need an attorney if you sustained a heat-related injury or illness while working at a construction site. Many cases often turn out to be complicated legal matters, however. Sometimes, it’s because the construction company denies doing anything wrong. Other times, the construction company’s insurance company can make things difficult and deny your injury claim.

Construction accident attorney Deborah G. Kohl and her talented legal team at the Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl know how to deal with these types of cases. Our familiarity with them comes from years of working with construction workers injured on the job in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. You may be entitled to financial compensation in the form of workers’ compensation benefits or additional money, especially if the construction company you work for failed to take preventative steps to protect your health and safety.

Learn more about your legal rights if you or a loved one sustained a serious injury or illness due to heat exposure at a construction site. Contact our law firm and schedule your free case evaluation at one of our three office locations in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

Unsafe working conditions result in fatal workplace accident

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Our attorneys explain what you need to know

Two Veterans Affairs hospital employees who were killed while on the job died due to unsafe working conditions that could have been prevented, according to a recent federal investigation.

The fatal work accident occurred in November 2020 in West Haven, Connecticut, according to the Hartford Courant. A recent investigation conducted by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) revealed the incident occurred due to hot steam rapidly releasing onto the two workers. Three other workers were injured in the accident, and the OSHA investigation discovered nine safety violations, including a lack of safety measures that could have prevented the hot steam accident.

Worst of all, such accidents are not isolated incidences. Thousands of people are killed and injured each year around the country in workplace accidents.

How common are workplace accidents?

Despite efforts to improve workplace safety, accidents in the workplace remain common and result in thousands of fatalities and injuries every year. In 2019, there were 2.8 million workplace accidents nationwide, according to statistics compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Such accidents resulted in 888,200 injuries, including 295,180 muscle sprains, strains or tears, along with 136,190 back injuries.

As for workplace fatalities, they reached a 12-year high in 2019. That year, there were 5,333 workplace fatalities, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That figure is the highest number since 2007 when there were 5,657 workplace fatalities.

As for where the workplace fatalities took place in 2019, Massachusetts had 86 workplace fatalities and Rhode Island had 10 fatalities. The state with the most workplace fatalities in 2019 was Texas, where 608 workers died in work-related accidents.

What are the common causes of these accidents?

While workplace accidents happen for many different reasons, certain situations often result in more workplace accidents than others. The most common cause of workplace fatalities are road-related accidents in which employees are driving for work-related purposes. In 2019, for example, 1,270 work-related fatalities occurred due to roadway incidents.

Slip, trip and fall accidents are another common cause of workplace injuries and fatalities. In 2019, a total of 244,000 injuries and 880 fatalities occurred due to slip and fall accidents at work.

Other common causes of fatal workplace accidents include coming into contact with another object or workplace equipment (which resulted in 732 workplace fatalities nationwide in 2019) and exposure to harmful or dangerous substances (642 fatalities in 2019), according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

How can a lawyer help me?

You might think you don’t need an attorney if OSHA or another state or federal agency is investigating your workplace accident. State or federal investigators are focused on determining the cause of your accident, however, not whether you’re fairly compensated for your injury-related expenses. In addition, your employer, their insurance company, and their attorneys are often doing everything they can to pay you as little as possible or deny your injury claim.

Workplace accident attorney Deborah G. Kohl and her talented legal team at the Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl have years of experience handling these types of cases. As a result, we’re familiar with the state and federal rules and regulations governing workplace safety. We know how to investigate workplace accidents and find evidence in support of your claim. Whether it’s reviewing inspection reports or accident records, we work tirelessly to build the strongest possible legal case. Learn more about how our law firm can help you with your workplace accident. Contact us and schedule your free case evaluation at one of our office locations in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.