Articles Posted in Boston Work Accidents

Regulators are focusing on work-safety issues within the health care industry, where more workers suffer illness or injury than in any other career field.

Common risks include contact with hazardous chemicals or biological materials; exposure to radiation, x-rays and radioactive material; ergonomic and lifting hazards; violence; and exposure to contagious disease. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration reports more than 650,000 health-care employment injury cases are reported annually, some 25 percent more than manufacturing, which is the industry sector with the second-highest number of on-the-job injuries or illnesses.3mspraymount-138829-m-300x225

Our Boston workers’ compensation attorneys know it’s not just medical staff who are at risk, as non-medical personnel, including maintenance, housekeeping, groundskeeping, food service and administrative staff, also face above-average risk. However, nurses, aides, orderlies and attendants are at particularly high risk. These employees reported musculoskeletal disorders at a rate of 249 per 10,000 workers, compared to the national average of 34 injuries per 10,000 workers.

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Hopefully you are enjoying a warm holiday season with friends and family.

But as the New England weather turns frigid, many workers and employers must take steps to prevent injuries through Massachusetts’ long winter season.snowworkinjury-300x225

When we think of work-related injuries associated with winter weather, we often think of utility crews, snow-plow and road crews, law enforcement and other employees who must brave outside temperatures as part of their daily routine. Certainly, these workers are at heightened risk. But many others face increased injury risks, from those working in cold factories and warehouses to retail workers task with snow removal and other outdoor activities. In fact, such employees are often unprepared for winter-weather tasks, which can put them at even greater risks than those used to working in extreme temperatures (both hot and cold) as part of their work routine.

Workers’ compensation lawyers in Boston know the risks are substantial but not unpreventable. Both employees and employers must do their part to stay safe on the job as temperatures plummet across New England.

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Boston Channel 7 News reports a construction worker was killed after being struck by a utility vehicle in Concord. The badly injured worker was transported to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead, according to the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office. Investigators report the worker was on the side of the road when a backing utility vehicle ran him down.reverse-300x225

We recently wrote about the high risk of injury in construction work. And it’s true construction workers face greater and more frequent injury risks than those working in many other occupations. However, transportation accidents are a leading cause of fatal workplace injury across industries and occupations. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration reports more than one-third of all fatal workplace accidents are caused by transportation incidents, claiming more than 1,700 lives a year.

With the start of winter weather, a wide variety of workers in New England are at increased risk of transportation accidents. From law enforcement, to utility crews and snow-removal crews, workers are often at the mercy of passing motorists when it comes to avoiding serious or fatal on-the-job injuries.

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According to a recent news article from WCVB 5 News Boston, fatal Boston work accidents are at the highest levels they have been since 2000, and this is justifiably causing serious concern. This not only includes the City of Boston, but also fatal work accidents in the Greater Boston metro area, including cities such as Cambridge, Newton, Natick, and the north and south shores.

Number of Work-Related Deaths in Boston Metro Area at Near Record Highs

Boston Workplace AccidentsAs discussed in this news article, 75 lives have been lost by workers in the Boston metropolitan area in 2016 alone. In actual numbers, this was an increase in 27 worker fatalities, but in terms of percentages, we are looking at an approximately 56 percent increase from the previous year. Continue reading

In most serious Boston workers’ compensation cases, we have an injured worker who needs to undergo medical treatment, and will also miss considerable time away from work.  These are exactly the type of cases for which the workers’ compensation system in the Commonwealth was established. However, there are also cases in which a worker is killed on the job, and these are also situations where a workers’ compensation claim may be the only appropriate remedy.

Workers’ Compensation as an Exclusive Remedy in Boston Workplace Accident Cases

The workers’ compensation system in Boston, which is codified in Section 152 of the Massachusetts General Laws (M.G.L.) is designed tworkers' compensationo be an exclusive remedy.  This means if a worker is injured on the job in Boston, or elsewhere in Massachusetts, he or she must file a claim with his or her employer in order to have medical bills and the cost of rehabilitation compensation paid, and to receive any money for lost wages during the time of recovery. In terms of a permanent personal injury, there may be permanent benefits paid as well, but these are the only two types of compensation in most workers’ compensation cases.  There is no recovery for pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and other types of special damages typically seen in Boston personal injury cases. Continue reading

In most jobs in the Greater Boston area, a worker is an employee of his or her company or boss and there is very little question about that classification.  This is true if you work for hourly wages at a fast food restaurant and it is also true if you are the regional manager for a large company in most cases. The point is, most workers get a paycheck every two weeks or each month and the employer must withhold taxes based upon the allowance claimed by an employee.  At the end of the year, an employee is entitled to a W-2 form declaring to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS), what he or she has made each year and how much he or she has already paid in taxes and other federal withholdings. There are however, some occupations where the lines are blurred and the worker may actually be an independent contractor.

Boston Workers' Compensation This matters in Boston workers’ compensation cases because while an employee within the meaning of the statute (Chapter 152, Section 1(1A) of the Massachusetts General Laws (M.G.L)), is entitled to workers’ compensation in the event of an on the job injury or work-related illness, independent contractors are not.  This means if an independent contractor is injured on the job or becomes sick due to a work-related illness, he or she will have to use personal health insurance and will not be compensated for any lost wages due to time missed from work unless he or she has private short or long-term disability insurance. If it is possible to afford such coverage, it is usually a good idea to get it in the even the worker in injured while on the job in Boston. Continue reading

Falls on-the-job are among the most common type of injury on construction sites in Boston. They are also often quite serious and sometimes deadly. construction falls

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), keeps detailed records and  statistics of work-related fall injuries.  According to OSHA, the top four most common workplace accidents on construction sites includes falls, which account for 40 percent of all deadly construction accidents. Other top injury causes were workers’ being stuck by objects, workers electrocuted, and workers being caught in between objects vehicles or equipment.  OSHA has dubbed these the “Fatal Four” in terms of all construction accidents resulting in worker deaths in Boston and across the country.

Falls from great heights are more likely than other types of construction accidents to result in death or serious injury. They tend to involve higher medical bills and more time in lost wages. Because the stakes are higher, working with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer in Boston is imperative.  Continue reading

The supplemental pay (vacation and sick day credits) received by a government worker to offset his income while he was unable to work due to disability should not be considered “regular compensation” that is going to count against him in determining his disability date.

This case, Public Employee Retirement Administration Commission v. Contributory Retirement Appeal Board, before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, is important in terms of helping outline how those types of supplemental income received to help offset workers’ compensation will affect one’s retirement. In general, you typically can’t receive both retirement benefits and workers’ compensation, so workers must choose. As noted by the PERAC (which regulates public pensions per MGL ch. 32), public workers do have the ability to seek disability retirement.

What is Massachusetts Disability Retirement? 

In a Boston workers’ compensation claim, there are various types of benefits available to claimants, depending on the facts of the case. These benefits can include money for lost wages and they can also include an award of medical benefits for past and future medical treatment and the cost of rehabilitation.  Rehabilitation will typically include payment for occupational therapy or physical therapy, and possibly mental health counseling.

Boston Workers' Compensation Claims In some workers’ compensation cases, an employer and its workers’ compensation insurance company will do the right thing and not fight valid claims for reasonable medical expenses and lost wages.  However, in other cases, a workers’ compensation insurance company will have claimant go to repeated evaluations at their own doctors, will fight to deny payment for certain treatment and will even delay payments they are already supposed to pay via a settlement or court order. Continue reading

When we think of workplace injury and workers’ compensation cases in Boston, we typically think of someone being injured at the physical location in which they are employed. This could involve a retail worker who is injured by falling stock, or a hospital worker who is injured while trying to administer aid to patients, but the actual definition of a workplace injury involves an employee being injured while working in furtherance of his employer’s interests.  This is pursuant to Section 1 of Chapter 152 of the Massachusetts General Laws (M.G.L.), which is our state’s workers’ compensation act.

Acting in Furtherance of Employer’s Interest Means On the Job in Boston Workers’ Compensation Cases

Boston Workers' CompensationIn some cases, an employee who works at a fixed location will be asked to drive somewhere by his or her supervisor or employer. For example, even though a restaurant typically gets food from local or national suppliers via delivery, sometimes the kitchen will run out of a certain item and need it replaced that night.  The kitchen manager or general manager may ask and employee to drive to a local supermarket and pick up a temporary replacement to hold them over until the next scheduled delivery.  While this might seem strange, it actually happens all the time.  If the employee is driving his or her personal vehicle and is injured while making that grocery run, this is considered being on the job for the purpose of a Boston workers’ compensation case. Continue reading