Articles Posted in Workers’ Compensation Benefits

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

Small Business Trends takes a closer look at the top five most common workplace accidents and examines ways to prevent these accidents from occurring.  The data on what accidents are the most common came from a recently released report by Travelers Insurance Company.  It should come as no shock that a company that charges employers for workers’ compensation insurance coverage wants to do whatever it can to avoid paying out money in benefits as a way to maximize profits.

bulldozer-in-action-1548988As for the top five causes of workplace injuries across the county, the most common are injuries that involve material handling.  This can mean that a heavy object falls on a worker, injures his or her back or neck while carrying it, cutting and working on a sharp edge, and a whole host of other work-related accidents caused by material handling. Continue reading

Harsh working conditions in slaughterhouses and meatpacking plants are not a new phenomenon in the meatpacking plants of Chicago and other cities across the United States. The problem was first brought to public attention when journalist Upton Sinclair published his now famous novel, The Jungle, highlighting the plight of immigrants and other workers

mmftBzMAs a result of this novel and many subsequent changes in worker’s rights laws, most workplaces have been a lot safer, and this includes slaughterhouses.  However, according to a recent news article from NPR, the latest government report is not capturing the total number of accidents in the meat and poultry industry.  Continue reading

According to a recent news update from the Boston Herald, two electrical workers were just shocked while on the job.  Authorities say they were working on an electrical box when they were both shocked by a powerful current.  In addition to being electrocuted, they suffered serious electrical burns during the workplace accident.

nwCxyICOne of the workers was severely injured, and when first responders arrived on the scene, they did not believe he would survive an ambulance ride to a level-one trauma center with a burn ward, so they called for a medevac helicopter, so he could be airlifted to Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) in downtown Boston.  Continue reading

A new report by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) reveals that while we know of 10,000 serious work-related injuries every year that result in permanent consequences to the workers and their families. But it also shows us that is probably only half the story.worker3

Under a new requirement that took effect Jan. 1, 2015, companies have to report any work-related amputation, in-patient hospitalization or eye loss to OSHA within 24 hours. They must also report fatalities to the agency within 8 hours.

Now that it’s been more than one year since this new rule was implemented, OSHA offices tallied nearly 10,400 “severe” work-related injuries in all of 2015. That is the first full year of federal data under the new reporting requirement. This figure included nearly 2,650 amputations and more than 7,640 hospitalizations. But officials say even this is a serious under-count. By how much?

“We think the actual number is twice as high,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor David Michaels in an interview with The Washington PostContinue reading

Workers’ compensation insurance companies that have paid benefits have a right to pursue equitable contribution from other insurance companies that also provide insurance to the same policyholder, according to the latest ruling by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.drive7

Although this doesn’t necessarily affect the injured worker directly, it’s important to keep abreast of what’s happening with workers’ compensation law in Massachusetts courts, particularly when it involves the Commonwealth’s highest court.

In this case, Insurance Company of the State of Pennsylvania v. Great Northern Insurance Company, the court ruled the doctrine of equitable contribution could be applied even though the injured worker’s company didn’t give notice of that injury to the second insurance company.  Continue reading

Chronic pain is one of the most common claims made to workers’ compensation carriers. There are often a range of treatments, including physical and occupational therapy and medication. pills1

But it’s the medication part that has raised concern over the last two decades. In particular, the prescription of opioid drugs. These are medications that relieve pain by lowering the intensity of pain signals reaching the brain. Some of the most common include Oxycontine (oxycodone), Percocet, Vicodin (hydrocodone), morphine and fentanyl.

These drugs do have a legitimate purpose for those who have suffered a work-related injury. However, problems have been known to arise when opioids are used for long-term treatment. A recent report by WorkCompCentral revealed employees who are taking a medium-to-high dose of opioids for a year or more experience a death rate of 1.75 per 1,000 patients. That may not sound like a lot, but let’s compare that to the death rate for logging and fishing (the riskiest jobs in the U.S.). Those workers face an annual death rate of 1 worker for every 1,000. Opioid users are almost twice as likely to die.  Continue reading

A 70-year-old man who had been recently fired from a local business in Cambridge reportedly returned to inflict harm on his former boss, who’d had a role in his termination.

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According to The Boston Herald, the alleged shooter drove tot he company and waited in his vehicle for the 58-year-old victim to arrive. When he did, the suspect reportedly fired several rounds from his 12-gauge pump shot gun. Thankfully, he did not inflict serious injury. The victim used his briefcase to shield his face from the blast, though he did suffer minor shrapnel wounds.

Other workers stepped in to intervene, at which point the gunman got in his car and killed himself, police said. Authorities said the man had been fired several months earlier and had reportedly had no contact with the company or its workers from then until the day of the shooting.  Continue reading

Most people have heard of Folsom, formally known as the California State Prison in Folsom, due the fact that it was featured in a famous song by Johnny Cash.  However, it is a real prison, and it is still in operation.

prison-1431133-mAccording to a recent news feature from Fox News, four employees of the prison were injured in what is alleged to have been an attack by one or more inmates.  Authorities have said a 32-year-old inmate was supposed to be receiving his medication when he allegedly attacked two psychiatric technicians. Continue reading

A fire at a sewage treatment facility in Quincy resulted in five workers being hospitalized for smoke inhalation. According to a recent news article from ABC News Boston, the fire started deep underground in a system designed to reduce the odor of air being released into the local community.

safetymaskWhile authorities are not sure of the exact cause of the fire, one worker believed it may have involved an electrical issue with a fan they turned on in part of the odor control system known as an air scrubber. Continue reading

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