Articles Posted in Workers’ Compensation Benefits

The Ohio Supreme Court considered recently a workers’ compensation case involving two types of disability claimed by the same worker. woman

Although this isn’t a Massachusetts case, it’s worth a look from our Boston workers’ compensation lawyers because sister courts often take into account one another’s decisions in considering similar cases, especially those of first impression.

In this matter, claimant, S.R., was receiving permanent total disability payments on the basis solely of a psychological condition in her workers’ compensation case. However, she later applied for permanent partial disability benefits on the basis of physical conditions on the exact same claim. Should this be allowed? Continue reading

Occupational diseases are every bit as compensable under Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation law as work-related injuries. However, causation in cases of disease is not always as easily provable. For example, a fall at work can be easily connected to an injury, but how do you prove your carpal tunnel syndrome – which develops over time and not as the result of a single incident – is in fact related to your job, as opposed to some other activity?firefighters

Recently, the Washington Supreme Court took on two cases wherein the industrial board and lower courts took a different approach to the question of proof burdens for causation of occupational disease for two firefighters. Each suffered from a condition called malignant melanoma, which is a cancer of the skin. Research has shown that firefighters have much higher rates of developing many different types of cancer as compared to the general population due to on-the-job exposure to numerous toxins.

In these cases, the question arose regarding the presumption given in favor of the worker that the disease was in fact work-related. Employer/ city had the burden of rebutting that presumption in order to deny benefits. The issue was whether the rebuttal was a factual determination properly given to a jury or a matter of law. In one case, the matter was sent to a jury and in another, the case was decided by a judge. The court ruled such matters should go before a jury, therefore it affirmed the decision in the first claim and reversed in the second. Continue reading

The greater Boston area has a serious problem with opioid addiction among broad sectors of industry. In some cases, it’s heroin and other illicit street drugs. However, we are also seeing a major problem with an addition to prescription painkillers among injured workers, according to a recent news article from the Lowell Sun.

needleThis statewide problem has gotten to the point where Governor Charlie Baker and his administration have decided to start a two-year pilot program. This pilot program is for workers in Boston and around the Commonwealth who have already settled their workers’ compensation cases. All of the workers who will participate in this program are currently being treated with opioid-based painkillers for their on-the-job injuries. Continue reading

Millions of Americans are currently suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), and many of these people have never even gone to get an official diagnosis and have never mentioned anything to their respective employers.  Instead, they choose to suffer on their own and will even go so far as to try home remedies or get braces and other types of supportive wraps from a local drug store and continue to suffer at work each day.

wrist-pain-3-1411523However, the pain from carpal tunnel syndrome does not go away at night for many patients. In fact, the pain can get worse throughout the day and keep patients up at night, and this will make the next day at work even worse than the previous one.  Before we discuss what you should do if you have carpal tunnel syndrome, the first thing to do is to take a look at the symptoms and causes of CTS. Continue reading

Interiano-Lopez v. Tyson Fresh Meats, a case from the Nebraska Supreme Court, involved a claimant who was living in Iowa and working at a meat packing plant in Nebraska.  He had various responsibilities as a result of his employment, but one of his jobs was cutting open the stomachs of cows.  This part of the cow is known as the paunch in the meat packing industry, and the contents of the stomach are supposed to dump out on the factory floor as part of the dump paunch line of production.

death-line-1239945In October 2013, claimant was working on the line with a trainee, and allegedly failed to properly hanging the meat on meat hooks. As a result, pieces of meat kept falling off the hooks as they passed buy the dump paunch line.  In order to cut the paunch, claimant had to lift each piece of meat back onto the hooks in a proper manner, and his arms were getting very tired. Continue reading

Each winter, many people in Boston will head north to go skiing in Vermont and Maine.  Many will drive a couple of hours north to the big ski areas in southern Vermont like Stratton, and others will drive a bit farther up to Killington, which is a larger mountain and more popular with younger people.  There are even day trips on buses that leave from Boston every weekend in the winter.

spyndleruv-4-1484582While many people travel a great distance to ski in Vermont, there a lot of locals who work there to keep the mountain slopes running. Although there is a possibility of being injured with any job, these workers face some unique work site safety challenges. In cases where workers are injured, workers’ compensation may be paid.
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Employers in Boston and throughout the U.S. will have additional time to make sure they are compliant with the new anti-retaliation rules handed down by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).sad1

The agency recently announced it would delay its enforcement of the action, which will have an impact on workplace drug testing and certain safety incentives. Instead of enforcing the action in August, as originally intended, the agency won’t start ensuring those anti-retaliation and record-keeping provisions are in place until November.

The new anti-retaliation rule is part of an effort to block companies from discouraging workers from reporting workplace illnesses or injuries. Continue reading

Demolition workers helping to tear down the former Wollaston Theatre in Quincy, Mass. were seriously injured after they became trapped when a wall fell on top of them. wall1

According to Masslive.com, the incident happened just south of Boston at a place that was once known by locals as, “The Wolly.” It opened in 1926, but was being torn down after it had fallen into disrepair and the site purchased in 2012.

The structural collapse incident at the 90-year-old landmark occurred when a 15-foot wall made of brick and steel collapsed during the demolition process. One worker was trapped on the ground and another hurt his arm after he jumped from a cherry picker. The man on the ground was reportedly stuck under 4 feet of brick and steel. Firefighters believe a steel beam probably saved his life. His torso and below were completely buried.  Continue reading

Recently, federal administrators issued a long-awaited rule that is intended to reduce workers’ exposure to respirable crystalline silica. Codified in 29 CFR, sections 1910, 1915 and 1926, the new regulations go into effect his year and are intended to drastically slash the amount of silica dust to which companies may expose workers. Additionally, a number of preventative measures will become mandatory. miningtruckdust

The goal of the final rule is to slash the risk of lung cancer, silicosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and kidney disease – all a risk to U.S. workers who are exposed to silica.

The construction industry has pushed back on these efforts for years – most recently with a study from the Construction Industry Safety Coalition (CISC) opining compliance with the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA)’s final rule would cost the U.S. construction industry approximately $5 billion a year – almost $4.5 billion more annually than OSHA estimated. However, this change was a long time coming, according to work safety advocates. That’s because silica dust has been known for more than 80 years to be deadly.

U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez did not mince words: “This rule will save lives.”  Continue reading

It wasn’t long ago that a worker in Leominster, about an hour west of Boston, lost his life in a tree-trimming accident after he reportedly fell out of a tree bucket. manwithsaw

According to news reports quoting police and fire investigators, the landscaping worker was employed by an out-of-town tree service that had been called in by the property owner, who called the company because he had a tree in danger of falling. He needed it to be taken down by professionals. Authorities said the worker had stripped the tree of all its branches and was cutting off the top of the tree when he fell some 50 feet to the ground. He suffered severe traumatic injuries and was transported to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

It’s the kind of incident about which the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) warns in its public safety guidelines on the tree care industry. The OSHA Hazard Bulletin on Tree Care Work details the many serious hazards in tree care work. Chief among those: Falls and falling objects. Continue reading