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According to a recent news article from the Kansas City Star, one worker was killed and four others were injured when an explosion occurred at an ammunition factory.  The explosion happened around 1 p.m. in a building at the plant where primer is manufactured. In a center fire ammunition casing, there is a metal cap that contains primer powder.  When the hammer or firing pin strikes the priming cap, the small explosion that is created is designed to ignite the main powder charge inside the shell casing.

bulletsAfter the explosion occurred, first responders were immediately called to the factory to make sure there was no fire and to offer assistance to the five workers who were caught in the explosion.  This particular factory is managed by the U.S. Army Joint Munitions Command and is staffed largely by civilian contractors under the supervision of U.S. Army personnel, including enlisted service members and officers. Continue reading

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Over the past year of so, we have been hearing a lot on the news about the alarming rates of people addicted to opioid painkillers and heroin across the nation. Many cases begin with a person who suffers a work-related injury and then goes on narcotic medications to deal with the pain when over-the-counter medications like Motrin no longer work.

wrist painExperts believe that there are statistically significant numbers of people who are addicted to opioid painkillers who are also receiving workers’ compensation benefits.  This is not to say that everyone, or even most people are who receive workers’ compensation benefits are addicted to painkillers, but, if programs can be established to help those who are, then it could have a positive effect on everyone involved, as well as society as a whole. Continue reading

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We have all been burned at some point in our lives.  Whether we are talking about being burned on the stove, suffering a moderate to severe sunburn or actually being badly burned by fire or electricity, we know just how painful burn injuries can be.  For the most part, our experiences are limited to fairly mild burns to a small area of our body.  Unfortunately, some workers are not that lucky. There are few things more painful or serious than serious burn injuries.

weldingDoctors grade burns according to the severity.  We are usually dealing with the issue of the depth of the burn, as measured in degrees, and the size of the burn on a patient’s body, as measured in a percentage.  Most people have heard of first, second and third-degree burns.  A first-degree burn is something like a mild sunburn that may blister or peel, and a third degree burn involves the destruction all dermal (skin) layers as well as some muscle beneath.  However, there is what are known to doctors as fourth-degree burns that involve full thickness destruction. This means that the burn goes through all layers of skin and then destroys bone and other tissues. If a fourth-degree burn is to a large area of the injured worker, the result is often fatal.  Even if the burn does not kill the injured worker, the body will be very susceptible to staph and other secondary infections, because the skin is the body’s best defense to bacteria and many viruses.
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Working on ladders, especially tall ladders that lead to a roof, is extremely dangerous work.  While many people who do this type of work take safety for granted and do not worry too much about falling, it happens all the time.  Not only do workers fall off ladders and roofs all the time, these fall accidents often result in serious injury or death.

scaffoldAs for serious injury, there are not only cases with broken arms and legs, but also many cases where a worker will suffer a spinal cord injury that results in permanent paralysis.  There are also many cases where a worker who falls of a ladder or roof will suffer a serious head injury that results in permanent brain damage.  Any of these accidents can seriously affect a worker’s quality of life in a negative manner and can also have devastating and life-changing consequences for family members.  There are also many cases where falling from a high ladder or roof results in death. Continue reading

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There is no question that working on the side of a highway or even doing roadwork in downtown Boston can be extremely hazardous.  This is the reason there are so many safety campaigns that urge drivers to slow down in work zones and be careful to assure that nobody is injured or killed.  It is also the reason speeding fines are often doubled in work zones and additional penalties are added.   Most of us have probably noticed the signs warning drivers to slow down because “my mommy works here” or something similar.

construction hatIt is dangerous whether you are working as a heavy equipment operator or some other job, such as being a flagger.  In fact, standing in the middle of the street or road flagging traffic and telling drivers to stop or drive slow is probably one of the most dangerous jobs you can have.  This is true in Boston and just about anywhere else in the country.   Continue reading

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In a recent case from the South Carolina Court of Appeals, claimant was working at an employer’s big box hardware store when he was injured on the job. His injury occurred in September 2010 when he slipped and fell.  This resulted in a serious injury to his back.

stethascopeFollowing initial treatment for his back injury, claimant went to a neurologist who specialized in spinal cord injuries, and he was diagnosed with herniated disc that was compressing his spinal column, and this caused the serious pain from which he was suffering. Continue reading

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The death of a worker  in Massachusetts at a used auto part company was deemed preventable, according to a review by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety & Health Administration. The work-related fatality was reportedly the direct result of the company’s failure to adhere to proper safety training standards.tires

The worker was reportedly inflating a tire at the store, located in Bellingham, when all of the sudden, he was hit hard in the head by a “chain come-a-long,” which is a device commonly used to affix rim wheels onto tires.

This was at the end of October of last year. The worker died less than two weeks later.  OSHA’s investigation, conducted by local inspectors, concluded the company did not provide adequate training to the worker and other employees, and also failed in the responsibility to make sure there were proper safeguards on the equipment.  Continue reading

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In Massachusetts, the workers’ compensation system is codified in a section of the Massachusetts General Laws known as the Workers’ Compensation Act (WCA). The WCA provides that whenever an employee is injured on the job, that injured employee shall be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, and the worker shall not be required to prove the employer was negligent in connection with the workplace injury.

shipThis is beneficial to the employee, because it will often take much less time to get approved for a workers’ compensation claim than it would take to settle a civil personal injury or to take the case to trial, should a fair and appropriate settlement not be reached. However, as an advantage to the employer, the employee is not able to file a civil personal injury lawsuit after an on-the-job injury in the vast majority of cases.  This limits their exposure, as there are no damages for pain and suffering or punitive damages.   Continue reading

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Workers’ compensation is a benefit afforded to almost all employees in Massachusetts, including those who work primarily for tips. While this work arrangement is common in restaurants and other service industry jobs, it can sometimes complicate the question of benefits owed in the event of a work-related injury. restaurant

This is why it’s so important to have an attorney who is experienced in workers’ compensation law to fight not only for the right to benefits, but also for the full amount of benefits you deserve.

In a recent case before the Kentucky Supreme Court, justices were asked to consider whether the administrative law judge who weighed a plaintiff’s workers’ compensation claim appropriately calculated her average weekly wage. (This figure is important because it determines how much an injured worker receives in benefits. Massachusetts General Law offers up to 60 percent of a worker’s gross average weekly pay – up to the state maximum – for workers who receive temporary total disability.) Continue reading

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In a workers’ compensation action, claimant can request money for past medical bills associated with the on-the-job injury, lost wages, future medical expenses and the cost of rehabilitation.  Unlike in a civil personal injury lawsuit, the claimant cannot ask for benefits for pain and suffering.  However, also unlike a civil personal injury action, the claimant in a workers’ compensation case doesn’t have to prove any negligence of behalf of his or her employer or a fellow employee.

golf cartIn a case from the Louisiana Supreme Court, a golf cart hit claimant while he worked at a youth ranch.  According to his filing for benefits, he alleged that the golf cart collision resulted in him suffering a head injury and injuries to his shoulder, back, one wrist, hip leg, knee, and ankle. A pain management specialist treated him, and that medical professional recommended the employee receive treatment using a device known a spinal cord stimulator.   Continue reading