May 2014

Workers’ Comp Changes and the Rights of Providence Workers

Massachusetts workers' compensation attorneyNine people were badly hurt in an accident at a Providence, RI circus recently, leaving audiences stunned. The Boston Globe reported that the performers suffered broken bones, head injuries and lacerations after falling 30 feet.

While this type of accident is unusual, workers do suffer falls and other injuries on-the-job very frequently.  When they do, workers’ compensation benefits should provide the injured employees with disability benefits and with coverage for their medical care. Workers’ compensation benefits provide important protection to workers and those who are hurt should contact a workers’ compensation lawyer in Providence for help making a work injury claim. Employers and workers’ compensation insurance providers also need to ensure that they are keeping up with changes and updates that could affect the healthy and safety of workers.

Challenges Ahead for Workers’ Compensation

Recently, the Insurance Journal outlined some challenges that the workers compensation system will face in upcoming years including:

  • Technology changes and innovations. Technology is changing the way in which patients access their medical information and communicate with their doctors. For example, the “Blue Button Project,” which the Veterans’ Administration is undertaking, will make it possible for patients to  access their electronic medical records and contact care providers online. By creating a central portal for workers’ compensation recipients to also access their information, patient care could be streamlined and health outcomes potentially improved.
  • Marijuana legalization. With the legalization of marijuana for medicinal and even recreational use in many states in the U.S., questions are being raised regarding how marijuana use should impact workers’ compensation benefits. An employee on drugs could be denied coverage for a work injury through workers’ compensation. But testing positive for medicinal marijuana should not necessarily disqualify an employee from receiving benefits.  Decisions will also need to be made regarding whether workers’ compensation medical benefits should cover treatment with medicinal marijuana if recommended by a doctor.
  • More manufacturing jobs. A lack of upward wage pressure, a boost in worker productivity and a decline in the prices of natural gas are all contributing to a resurgence in the field of American manufacturing. Manufacturing jobs can be dangerous, especially if new workers enter the field that don’t necessarily have the experience of older workers.  Employers need to provide proper training and guidance to workers new to the industry in order to reduce the dangers.
  • A changing workforce. Older people are retiring and being replaced by a younger workforce that may not have the same skills or experience. Furthermore, the growth of telemarketing means that the workforce is more mobile and employers may not have as much control over a centralized group of workers.  Remote workers could be at risk of injury and employers will need to find new ways to ensure that safety precautions are followed and workers are protected.

Employers need to rise to the challenges to ensure that workers stay safe and that preventable workplace injuries and deaths are avoided.

Contact a Providence accident lawyer at the Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl at 508-677-4900 to schedule your free consultation.

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