Report: Nail Salon Workers Poisoned on the Job

Anyone who has ever gone into a nail salon is familiar with the strong smell of chemicals and workers wearing face masks when doing client's manicures. While these chemicals may not be harmful to customers who go into a nail salon a few times a month at most, they are proving very dangerous to nail salon workers who spend all day around toxic chemicals such as acetone throughout each work day.

nail-polish-1430027-m.jpg

According to a recent investigation by The New York Times, nail salon workers are being poisoned. The author focuses on the lives at one popular nail salon in New York City. When a customer opens the door, seemingly happy workers greet her and ask her to pick a color for her nails.

At the first work station, an immigrant worker trims a client's nails while talking about her two children. She does not mention a child lost in miscarriage. Another worker is on the internet looking for reasons she had a miscarriage, as well, along with four others before the most recent one.

Continue reading "Report: Nail Salon Workers Poisoned on the Job " »

Dukane Precast, Inc. v. Perez: Workplace Safety Violations

Dukane Precast, Inc. v. Perez, a case from the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, involved employee who worked at a concrete products plant. This workplace accident occurred when employee was standing in a large sand bin trying to scrape sand from the sides of the bin. The bin was about 10 feet wide at the top opening and narrowed down forming a cone, which was 18 feet deep.

abandoned-factory-369979-m.jpgWhile employee was scraping the sides of the bin, the sand on which he was standing gave way, causing him to sink into the sand and then get buried by more sand up to his neck. Employee screamed for help, and several employees heard him and came running to offer assistance. Despite their best efforts, they were only able to dig out the top portion of his body, so the tightly packed sand trapped him from his waist down.

At this point, other employees managed to find the plant manager to tell him what happened. This took about 10 minutes. Plant manager went to the bin and decided there was no emergency, as employee was in no immediate danger. Other employees told plant manager they believed they could dig him out, so manager left them on their own to try to free trapped employee. Employees tried their best to dig him out but were not trained in how to help him, and the sand removed only left a space for more sand to fall into the holes, thus increasing pressure exerted on trapped employee. He pleaded with everyone to dial 911, but, according to court records, nobody called for assistance.

Continue reading "Dukane Precast, Inc. v. Perez: Workplace Safety Violations " »

Hill v. City of Horn Lake: Workers' Compensation and Independent Contractors

In Hill v. City of Horn Lake, a case from the Supreme Court of Mississippi, two employees were working at the bottom of a trench when it collapsed without warning. The trench was 17 feet deep at its lowest point. When it collapsed, one worker was killed, and the other was seriously injured.

bulldozer-757759-m.jpgFollowing the accident, deceased worker's estate and injured worker filed civil negligence suit against the city under a theory that their employer, construction company, had acted negligently in allowing the trench to collapse while they were inside.

Continue reading "Hill v. City of Horn Lake: Workers' Compensation and Independent Contractors " »

Payment for Scarring in Massachusetts Workers' Compensation Cases

According to a recent news article from Boston.com, some disfigured employees are not being compensated for scarring caused by work-related accidents. Pursuant to Massachusetts law, employees injured on the job are entitled to workers' compensation benefits to cover medical bills, future medical expenses, and lost wages for injuries expected to keep workers off the job for a period of more than five days. However, in some cases, additional compensation is allowed when an employee has scarring or other permanent injuries such as lost limbs.

lab-work-803100-m.jpgThis article discussed the story of an employee who constantly lives with severe pain. The 56-year-old worker was cleaning ventilation ducts when he lost his balance and fell into a vat of chemicals at the metal finishing factory where he worked. He was an employee for 14 years prior to his serious work-related accident.

Employee suffered severe burns, including second- and third-degree burns that ran from his thighs down to his feet. His doctors had to perform extensive skin grafts by taking skin from his back and chest and other areas his body and using it to cover the burns on his legs.

Continue reading "Payment for Scarring in Massachusetts Workers' Compensation Cases " »

Workers' Memorial Day in Massachusetts

Each year thousands of workers die as result of on-the-job injuries and illness. While these people will never be forgotten by their families, it is still important to take a day to pay our respects to those who sacrificed their own lives so the rest of society could live their lives in a way in which we have all become accustomed.

1342515_flag.jpgThis Workers' Memorial Day, labor officials in Massachusetts listed the names of 62 workers who died in the past 16 months while working throughout our state.

A recent news article from Mass Live says this amounts to approximately one death per week - deaths that could have been prevented if there was a greater set of safety regulations, according to the director of the National Council for Occupational Health and Safety (COSH).

Continue reading "Workers' Memorial Day in Massachusetts " »

Car Crashed into Chef Mario Batali's Hollywood Restaurant, Worker Injured

Millions of tourists come to Hollywood each year to see where movies are made and see where the stars spend their free time. People generally do not expect to see a car plow through a crowded restaurant while they are enjoying the sights.

pizza-1426108-m.jpgAccording to a recent news article from Fox News, a worker was injured when a pickup truck and car crashed in way, which sent the pickup flying through the restaurant's front door. Authorities say workers were at the restaurant at around one in the afternoon preparing the business to open later that afternoon when the pickup truck came crashing into the restaurant, causing him to suffer serious, but not life-threatening injuries.

While first responders were primarily there to help injured workers and driver of the pickup truck, who ultimately declined to be taken to a hospital, they became concerned about structural damage to the building and were worried it could collapse causing additional injuries. In total 44 firefighters responded to the scene of this car accident, along with city building inspectors to help contain the damage and prevent a structural collapse.

Continue reading "Car Crashed into Chef Mario Batali's Hollywood Restaurant, Worker Injured " »

Boeing Co. v. Dep't of Labor & Indus.: Workers' Compensation and Self-Insured Employers

Boeing Co. v. Dep't of Labor & Indus., a case from the Supreme Court of Washington, involved claimant who filed a claim for workers' compensation benefits after she suffered chemical exposure during her time working for employer.

3mspraymount-138829-m.jpgChemical exposure aggravated her pre-existing asthma condition. As result of this chemical exposure, claimant requires ongoing medical treatment. After submitting her claim, the workers' compensation department made a determination she was permanently and totally disabled. In addition to her asthma and asthma complications due to chemical exposure, claimant also had a right knee injury, which was a determined to be a contributing factor to her permanent total disability rating. She was awarded a pension based upon her disability rating.

Employer applied for what is known as second injury relief, and workers' compensation department ordered a portion of her benefits consistent with the percentage of disability rating associated with the knee injury to be paid from a second injury fund. In other words, employer was not responsible for paying for injuries not related to chemical exposure, but claimant would still get the money to which she was legally entitled. Department also determined claimant was entitled to post-pension compensation for her ongoing medical treatment for her chemical exposure-related asthma complications, and employer would be responsible for those costs.

Continue reading "Boeing Co. v. Dep't of Labor & Indus.: Workers' Compensation and Self-Insured Employers " »

State ex rel. Turner Constr. Co. v. Indus. Commission: Workers' Compensation Litigation

In State ex rel. Turner Constr. Co. v. Indus. Commission, a workers' compensation case from the Supreme Court of Ohio, claimant filed for benefits in connection with four on-the-job injuries. State ex rel. Those injuries occurred in early 1992, June 2005, October 2005, and July 2007. This appeal was filed in relation to claimant's 2007 on-the-job injury.

gavel-2-1409592-m.jpgIn 2007, claimant was employed as a bricklayer when he suffered a thoracic injury and a depressive disorder related to the single incident. In 2011, claimant applied for a permanent total disability rating. Claimant included a report from his treating physician featuring an opinion claimant was suffering from permanent disability due alone to his psychiatric illness related to the 2007 injury. The workers' compensation commission hired an independent physician to evaluate claimant, and this doctor agreed with claimant's treating physician that claimant was not able to work due solely to his psychiatric condition caused by the 2007 accident.

Continue reading "State ex rel. Turner Constr. Co. v. Indus. Commission: Workers' Compensation Litigation " »

Roberts Dairy v. Billick: Workers' Compensation Disability Rating

In Roberts Dairy v. Billick, a case from the Supreme Court of Iowa, claimant who injured his back while working at a feed company owned by employer. This injury occurred in 1985, and claimant eventually entered into a workers' compensation settlement with employer at an 85 percent disability rating.

tanker-truck-reflection-395160-m.jpgIn 1993, claimant was injured while working for a trucking company. He was driving a tanker truck in bad weather when he lost control and crashed. Claimant injured his neck, back, legs, arms, head, and shoulder. Claimant again filed for workers' compensation disability and entered into another settlement with his new employer's insurance company. This time, the parties agreed on an 18.5 percent partial disability rating for the whole body. As our Boston workers' compensation attorneys can explain, in disability cases it is often necessary to assign a disability rating as either partial or permanent to determine what is the appropriate amount of benefits.

In 2001, claimant began working for another dairy company driving a semi-tractor trailer. This employer required claimant to drive milk products to various businesses around the region. In 2004, claimant was loading his truck with a pallet of milk crates filled with bottles when he lost control of it, and it pinned him between the pallet and truck's loading gate, crushing his ankle. For reasons not explained, most other drivers' trucks were loaded by others, but claimant was instructed to load is own truck. He suffered four identifiable injuries as a result of this incident and sought medical treatment.

Continue reading "Roberts Dairy v. Billick: Workers' Compensation Disability Rating " »

Sather v. SAIF: Workers' Compensation and Preexisting Conditions

Sather v. SAIF, a workers' compensation appeal from the Supreme Court of Oregon, involves a claimant who filed for benefits in 2009. Prior to the date of claimant's on- the-job injury, he suffered from a preexisting degenerative disc disease. He also had a prior medical history of lower back pain with bilateral radiation to his legs. It is common for back pain to essentially spread to other parts of the body such as the legs though a process known to doctors as radiation.

1314902_medical_doctor.jpgClaimant then suffered a lumbar strain resulting from an on-the-job injury. Claimant applied for workers' compensation benefits and employer's workers' compensation insurance company agreed to pay his claim in connection with the lumber strain. At this point, claimant filed another petition for workers' compensation in connection with the combined condition of this preexisting back problem and his lumbar strain. This time, employer's workers' compensation insurance company denied his claim. The basis for denial of his claim was their belief his work-related injury was no longer a major contributing cause of the combined condition.

Under relevant state law, claimant was authorized to challenge insurance company's denial and requested a hearing before the workers' compensation commission. Following a hearing, the board upheld insurance company's denial of claimant's workers' compensation benefits applications for the combined condition. Once the board denied his appeal, claimant filed a timely appeal before the state intermediary court of appeals.

Continue reading "Sather v. SAIF: Workers' Compensation and Preexisting Conditions " »

Domestic Workers to Receive Workers' Compensation Protection in Massachusetts

Childcare in Boston is expensive. Even those who can afford to send their children to daycare may likely be on a wait list. For this reason, many families decide to go the route of hiring a nanny to come to their home and watch their children during the day.

nanny.jpgSome families will even "share" a nanny with other families and the nanny will watch more than one child at one. While the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has long required parents to treat their nannies or other domestic workers as employees by withholding taxes and giving the employee a W-2 form, employers were not until now required to provide workers' compensation for these employees or provide other protections normally reserved for employees.

According to a recent news article from WCVB 5, Massachusetts legislators have just passed an act to provide additional protections to domestic workers, and this act has been signed into law by Governor Deval Patrick.

Continue reading "Domestic Workers to Receive Workers' Compensation Protection in Massachusetts " »

Milbrandt v. Bibb's, Inc.: Third Party Actions in Workers' Compensation Cases

Milbrandt v. Bibb's, Inc., an appeal from the South Dakota Supreme Court, involved claimant who was injured in a work-related car accident. Claimant was injured in the car crash on May 30, 2007. He was working as a truck driver, and was forced to drive off the road by another driver and injured his head, chest, neck, shoulder and hip.

825017_crash_car.jpgHis employer approved his claim for workers' compensation benefits and paid him. At this point, claimant negotiated a settlement with at-fault driver's insurance company in connection with negligence resulting in the car accident.

Continue reading "Milbrandt v. Bibb's, Inc.: Third Party Actions in Workers' Compensation Cases " »

Watters v. Nissan N. Am., Inc. - Workers' Compensation Appeals

Watters v. Nissan N. Am., Inc., an appeal from the Supreme Court of Tennessee's Special Workers' Compensation Appeals Panel at Nashville, involved claimant who was injured while working at an automobile manufacturing plant.

factory-2-1396494-m.jpgClaimant was working for employer at an automobile plant in 2006, when he first started to notice an odd fatigue in his arms and shoulders while on the job. One day in January 2007, he felt a sharp pain in his right arm. He immediately reported this incident to his supervisor and went to see an orthopedic surgeon for diagnosis and treatment.

His doctor first examined him on January 17, 2007 and determined the best course of action for claimant was physical therapy and work restrictions. His employer reassigned claimant to work at a collet retainer machine, which did not require heavy lifting. His doctor also referred him to another doctor who specialized in physical rehabilitation. There was a concern claimant was suffering from a condition known as thoracic outlet syndrome or had problems with his cervical spine. This new doctor ordered an MRI, and an EMG. The results of both tests were normal.

Continue reading "Watters v. Nissan N. Am., Inc. - Workers' Compensation Appeals " »

Injured Worker Exposed to Radiation at Nuclear Power Plant

According to a recent news article from AL Live, a worker at a nuclear power plant suffered an on-the-job injury and was exposed to radiation during the accident.

chernobyl-powerplant-1376891-m.jpgWitnesses say worker was busy conducting an inspection of an area of the nuclear plant known as a dry well in anticipation of shutting down the number 2 reactor to refuel it. This particular dry well contained a depression, which is around 6 feet deep, and worker somehow fell into it. He fell into the hole and hit his forehead, causing a head injury.

Plant officials say it was in the depression where worker was also was exposed to radiation. A spokesperson for the nuclear power plant is saying worker was only exposed to a minor amount of radiation. The reason for the contamination was this dry well was in a layer of the reactor housing, which surrounds the actual Number 2 reactor.

Continue reading "Injured Worker Exposed to Radiation at Nuclear Power Plant " »

Wal-Mart to Finally Stop Fighting Fine for 2008 Trampling Death of Employee

As you may remember, in 2008, a worker at Long Island Wal-Mart store was trampled by customers running into the store for a sale known as the "Black Friday Blitz."

gavel-2-1409592-m.jpgFollowing worker's death from on-the-job injuries, the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) conducted an investigation into whether Wal-Mart was responsible for workers' death, and if so, if the company should be required to pay a fine. Wal-Mart was also facing workers' compensation claims and possible criminal charges in connection with this tragic work-related death.

With respect to criminal charges and workers' compensation claims, Wal-Mart agreed to $400,000 in victim's compensation and to make donations in the amount of $1.5 million to non-profit social services organizations. However, this did not stop the OSHA investigation from continuing.

Continue reading "Wal-Mart to Finally Stop Fighting Fine for 2008 Trampling Death of Employee " »