Articles Posted in Teen Work Accidents

Not every job requires working alongside other employees. In some job positions, you have the responsibility to execute a job while working alone. While some may find these jobs to be relaxing and less stressful, others recognize the dangers. If you’re injured or find yourself in trouble when you’re working alone, who’s there to help? Luckily, there’s a program that’s here to help!
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You may remember Stephanie Moulton, a brilliant 25-year-old social worker who was alone on the job when she was attacked. She had to no one there to offer help and she had no one to call for help. That’s why MassCOSH, SEIU and the family of Miss Moulton worked together to create legislation that would help tighten the protections for social service workers. Under Stephanie’s Law, S2006, specific workers who are alone on the job are to be provided mobile-alert devices to call for help in the event of an emergency. By offering these individuals quick access to help, officials are helping to reduce the risks of work-related accidents in Boston and elsewhere.

Our Massachusetts work accident lawyers understand that MassCOSH is recruiting support for this year’s program. The organization is asking you to join. With more members, Stephanie’s Law can become a larger reality and can help to save lives. That’s not all. MassCOSH is also working toward improving work conditions for all kinds of workers, not just those who work alone.

MassCOSH Memberships Helping To:

-Stop employers who hire temporary employees and offer only low-wage compensation. For this, MassCOSH is working on passing the Employment Agency Reform Bill (HB1393).

-Assist young workers of Massachusetts Through Teens Lead @ Work. This program focuses on our young labor leaders.

-Fight against employees who see the safety and health standards as an inconvenience and as a nuisance. The sad truth is that many employers see these federal safety standards as an obstacle that’s killing their profits and a practice that’s not effective in helping to prevent work-related accidents.

Members of MassCOSH:

-Help the victims of work accidents and the victims’ families. These individuals are not alone. MassCOSH offers a community of individuals who have also been affected by work accidents and have seen a loved one head off to work — and never come home.

-Help to increase the persuasiveness of the group. More members mean more support and more consideration from government. Members recently helped to pass the ban on flammable floor sealers, the same dangerous sealers that recently killed four workers.

Memberships start at just $30. If you donate more than $75 you will get a free MassCOSH shirt. Email Membership Coordinator Jeff Newton for more information.

MassCOSH members continue to fight for the rights of employees and fight to bring safety and health standards into the 21st century.
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Excel Inc. was recently issued nearly $250,000 in proposed fines for violating federal laws regarding the protection of employees. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is continuing its effort to keep workers across the nation safe. The recent violations were issued to the company’s Eastern Distribution Center III, a work site owned by Hershey Co. In correlation with these citations, SHS Staffing Solutions has been issued a $5,000 fine for staffing issues. Allegedly, OSHA inspected the work site after receiving a complaint from the National Guestworker Alliance. The complaint voiced concerns regarding abuses of the J-1 visa program and that workers were forced to work within unsafe work conditions and were exploited.
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It’s important in all states of all industries to make sure that resident workers as well we visa workers are provided with safe work conditions and are protected from known dangers. This includes helping to protect those employees from work-related accidents in Boston as well. The Hershey work site allegedly hired foreign students to work handling the company’s candies. The company employs more than 40,000 workers and has more than 500 work sites across the country. It has been cited for failing to keep records regarding work-related injuries and illnesses for these workers. Both the staffing company and Excel Inc. were cited for mistreating and for failing to protect foreign workers. These workers were all employed with the proper work visas.

Our Massachusetts workers’ compensation lawyers understand that the company was given six violations for not properly recording work-related injuries and illnesses. More specifically, they were fined for neglecting to report these incidents for four years. It was also fined for failing to keep these records accurate and for implementing an effective hearing conservation program. Keeping accurate records is one of the best ways that employers can help to prevent future work-related accidents. With proper records, one can determine likely dangers and ways to prevent them.

“Nothing useful can be learned from an unrecorded injury,” said Secretary Dr. David Michaels, an assistant with OSHA.

Michaels goes on to say that accurate reports and recording systems help to provide important information to employees and employers about what causes work-related accidents as well as useful information regarding ways to help prevent these accidents.

According to federal law, employers are required to keep this kind of information, regardless of industry. It is also required of employers to keep accurate and complete records because, without them, it would be tougher to prevent even more accidents and injuries from happening.

The staffing company was cited for not properly training its employees with the lockout/tagout of energy sources.

To make matters even worse for these companies, the Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division of the Fair Labor Standards Act is looking into the work performed by the sponsored students. Allegedly, documents regarding these workers were deliberately kept hidden investigators.
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There were roughly 17.5 million young workers in the U.S. in 2010 under the age of 24. These workers account for about 15 percent of the entire country’s workforce, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
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This group consistently has the highest rate for work-related injuries in Boston and elsewhere. This can generally be explained by the hazards present in the job positions that these young workers are most likely to hold, such as those in the restaurant industry. Restaurant workers face risks associated with sharp utensils, slippery floors and food preparation equipment. Often, inexperience can play a contributing role in these accidents. Many of these young workers, in middle school and in high school, face obstacles associated with biologic and psychosocial characteristics that can hinder their safety of the job. Oftentimes, these workers suffer from inadequate fit, strength and cognitive abilities to operate certain machinery and equipment.

Our Massachusetts teen work accident attorneys understand that nearly 360 young workers died because of on-the-job work-related injuries in 2009. There were 30 deaths of workers under the age of 18 included in these injuries statistics. From 1998 to 2007, there were about 795,000 injuries to these young employees nationwide. All of these injuries resulted in a trip to the emergency room. This means that these young workers have a rate for injury that was about two times higher than the rate for older workers in the country. This is why it’s important to talk with your teen about work-related injury risks, especially as they will soon be seeking out summer jobs.

According to the U.S. Public Health Service, the Healthy People objective is a program aiming to reduce the risks of work-related injuries for these young workers. Its goal is to reduce the number of injuries by at least 10 percent by 2020.

Right now, there is a teen injured on the job every 9 minutes. We’re asking parents to talk with their teens about the rights they are entitled to as a worker in the U.S. and the risks they need to be on the lookout for. With a thorough education regarding work standards, we can help to reduce the risks for on-the-job injuries for these young employees.

What are your rights at work?

-To work in a healthy and safe place that is free from known dangers.

-To be provided with the proper training for the job.

-To say “no” to jobs and work that can make you sick or can hurt you.

-To earn minimum wage. The minimum wage in Massachusetts is $8 hourly, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

-To be compensated for medical care (for most jobs) if you get sick or injured on the job. You may also be paid for the work you missed as a result of the sickness or the injury.

-To work without being treated poorly, unfairly or being harassed because of national origin, sex, pregnancy, religion, skin color, race, genetic information or disability.

-Ask for changes to your workplace because of your religious beliefs or a medical condition.

-Assist someone who is inspecting or investigating your place of work. You cannot be fired or reprimanded for giving this kind of help.
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The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited several distributing companies in Florida for supplying salons across the country with hair products that contained formaldehyde.

We recently discuss the dangers of this chemical on our Boston Personal Injury Attorney Blog. This chemical can cause serious irritation to the body, possibly resulting in a number of allergic reactions that can affect the lungs, eyes and skin. Formaldehyde has also been linked to lung and nose cancers. Companies that manufacture the product are required to alert consumers about the presence of the chemical, indicate safety measures to take with the product, and what to do in the event of overexposure. These companies failed to warn any of its consumers, according to OSHA.
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OSHA issued more than 15 citations after inspectors observed the companies were failing to protect its employees from being exposed to the chemical as well. They were also cited for failing to let consumers know about the dangers of the products. The proposed penalties that accompanied these violations totaled more than $49,000.

Our Massachusetts workers compensation lawyers understand that product manufacturers, stylists and salon customers face the risks of being exposed to the chemical if the proper precautionary steps are not taken. Gloves, masks, ventilation systems and disposal systems are all steps that those who come into contact with the product can use to prevent an injury. Manufacturers are required by law to inform consumers about the ingredients in products, and employers are required to ensure that products are being safely handled in the workplace.

“Employers are responsible for identifying the risks associated with producing and using these hair products,” said Cindy Coe, an OSHA Administrator, in a news release.

Copomon Enterprises and M&M International Inc. have both been cited and are required to pay penalties of a combined $25,200. The companies were cited specifically for neglecting to provide information regarding the presence of formaldehyde in its products or the hazards that are caused by formaldehyde.

Pro Skin Solutions Inc. was also cited for improperly labeling its keratin-based products. It also neglected to practice safety procedures, including creating a respiratory protection plan or offering workers an eyewash station. Keratronics Inc. was also issued several additional citations, totaling a $9,000 proposed fine for the same violations.

The inspection into the Florida companies came after the Oregon’s Occupational Safety and Health Division got a tip of the dangerous ingredient from an anonymous report. The health division tested more than 100 products from 50 salons that had been using the hair products from the Florida distributors. The test results concluded that the products in fact contained ingredients that were causing irritation from formaldehyde.

All of the salon-product manufacturers are required by federal law to list formaldehyde if it is present in a product. The list with the ingredients must also be accompanied by information about the dangers of formaldehyde and how to handle an emergency involving formaldehyde exposure.
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Heat is still a major contributor to work injuries in Massachusetts. Recently, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration released a new downloadable, mobile device application that lets employees and employers monitor the current weather conditions, more specifically the head index, at a number of local work sites. This way, workers will be able to better prepare themselves for the effects of the day’s heat.

“Summer heat presents a serious issue that affects some of the most vulnerable workers in our country, and education is crucial to keeping them safe,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis.
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Our Boston workers’ compensation attorneys encourage all workers and employers to take advantage of this new mobile application as it is a very useful tool in preventing these types of job-related injuries and illnesses.

The application comes in both English and Spanish and offers heat index information from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The application also offers a number of safety precautions that workers should take to prevent heat-related injuries in there specific area. Employers are offered helpful information that will help them get their workers acclimated to the weather conditions as well.

The app is designed for the iPhone, certain versions of the BlackBerry and for users of the Android operating system. The application is available for download.

In 2009, it was estimated that more than 30 workers died as a result of heat stroke. Every year, thousands more are injured from heat exhaustion and other heat-related illnesses. Those who work outdoors, including farmworkers, landscapers, baggage handlers, construction workers, roofers and outdoor air transportation workers have some of the highest rates of heat-related incidents.

Heat-related illness is preventable. Employers are urged to:

-Schedule rest breaks in shaded or air-conditioned areas.

-Provide workers with plenty of water.

-Schedule heavy work as early in the day as possible.

-Properly train workers with knowledge regarding heat and other job dangers.

-Be prepared for any type of medical emergency.

The Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA, Dr. David Michaels, says that the Administration’s message should be clear. By remembering three words, rest, water, share, we should all be able to help prevent serious injury, if not death, from the hot weather conditions we’re facing this summer.

Common signs and symptoms for heat exhaustion include:

-Confusion
-Headache
-Dark-colored urine: The dark color indicates dehydration.

-Muscle cramps
-Dizziness
-Nausea
-Fainting
-Pale skin
-Fatigue
-Rapid heartbeat
If you observe a worker who may be experiencing heat exhaustion and is displaying some of the symptoms listed above, you’re urged to quickly move them to a cool place to rest. You should remove extra clothing from their body and put cool cloths on their skin. You should also fan their skin. Your best bet is to give them a cool sports drink that contains salt and sugar. Gatorade is a good drink for those experiencing heat exhaustion. If the victim is unable to follow commands, seems to be unconscious or is vomiting, then you’re urged to call 911 immediately!
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New statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics reveal that the number of youth in the United States age 16- to 24-year-old that were out of work from April to July of this year rose nearly 2 percent, to about 745,000.

Less than 50 percent of young residents in this age group were employed in July, which is the lowest figure on record since 1948. This is alarming because July is usually the month when we see the highest number of employed individuals in this young age group.
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Because of the high unemployment rate among our young workers, more young job seekers are looking for work in more dangerous fields. A number of workers are facing grueling work conditions just to keep their current job. Many are scared to step up with safety concerns that may help prevent a work injury in Boston just to lay low at work and avoid losing their job.

Our Massachusetts workers’ compensation attorneys understand that work is hard to come by. For this reason, more and more adults are seeking jobs that were once held by younger employees. This trend is forcing younger workers to seek more difficult jobs just to earn some extra money during summer break from school.

Recent employment trends reveal that those ages 16- to 23-years-old usually use April through July of each year to look for new jobs. This is when school-aged children seek summer employment and when recent graduates make their break into the job market. Unfortunately, the number of youths looking for jobs grew by more than 11 percent since last year. There were more than 22 million young workers looking for jobs this summer.

As children lower their expectations for jobs and become less and less picky about the positions they hold, parents are urged to keep an eye on their child’s employment status and job location to make sure that they’re not in harms way and are not at risk for a job-related injury.

Make sure your child’s employer is not violating any of the U.S. labor laws:

-Workers ages 14- and 15-years-old: This age group is not allowed to work more than 3 hours a day and more than 18 hours a week during the school year. When school is not in session, members of this age group are allowed to work 8 hours a day and a total of 40 hours a week. Their scheduling is regulated through child labor laws as well. Workers of this age cannot work passed 7:00 p.m. during the school year and no later than 9:00 p.m. during summer break.

-.Workers ages 16- and 17-years-old: Workers in this age group can work as many hours as they wish in an occupation that the Secretary of State has not declared hazardous. They are prohibited from working with dangerous equipment. Equipment that is considered hazardous includes saws, commercial mixers, grinders, meat slicers, power-driven bakery machines, patty forming machines and choppers.

-Workers that are at least 18-years-old: Once an individual turns 18-years-old, they are are no longer covered by child labor laws and can work with the rest of the adult population.

You can visit the Massachusetts State website for more state specific child labor regulations and restrictions.
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(More than 2.3 million teens between the ages of 14 and 18 held jobs in the United States in 2008, according to National Consumer League (NCL). Many summer jobs lead to an increased risk for work accidents in Massachusetts and elsewhere in the United States for our young, inexperienced workers.
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While it’s no secret that a plummeting job market has affected everyone across the board, it has severely affected our young teens that desire to work. The New York Times reported last month that the U.S. lost roughly 8 million jobs in the last two years, causing the teen unemployment rate to rise to nearly 30 percent. Because of the decrease in available jobs for our teen workers, the NCL worries that teens will seek jobs too dangerous for them or will be less likely to report dangerous or illegal working conditions.

Our Boston workers’ compensation lawyers believe that good work ethic is important in our youngsters as holding a job is an important part of youth development. But we also understand the risks and encourage parents to keep an eye on your teen’s choice of jobs and the associated working conditions.

Each day, 14 workers die in United States. Roughly 35 workers under the age of 18 died in the workplace in 2008 alone.

Inexperienced working teens are especially vulnerable to accidents in the workplace. Accidents are the number one cause of death for those between the ages of 10 and 19, as more die from injuries than all over causes combined.

WCVB-TV Boston reports that every year, in the last eight years, at least one teenager die on the job in Massachusetts. Approximately 1,000 teens wind up in the hospital every year because of injuries in the workplace.

“Sometimes, what’s required is more training; sometimes, educating employers; and sometimes, changing laws,” says John Auerbach, the state’s public health commissioner.

The Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health (MassCOSH) aims to change the alarmingly high rate of workplace injuries for teens as they attempt to educate teens of their rights. MassCOSH created a Teens Lead at Work is a peer leadership group that provides proper training and advocacy for teen workers in order to ensure their safety and health in the workplace and to help teens recognize their rights in the workforce.

“Our mission is to make sure that all people can go to work and return home with their lives and limbs intact,” said Marcy Goldstein-Gelb, executive director of MassCOSH.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) names these conditions as the main causes of workplace injuries. Accidents typically fall into these seven categories:

-Inadequate supervision.

-Alcohol and drug use.

-Stressful working conditions
-Inadequate training.

-Unsafe equipment.

-Trying to hurry.

-Dangerous work that is illegal or inappropriate for young workers.

“It’s the employer’s responsibility to make sure they know what’s safe for a young person, that they provide them with all the protective equipment they need and that they make sure that they’re well trained,” said Goldstein-Gelb.
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