Category: Workers’ Compensation

How Can You Avoid Work Injuries in the High Heat?

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Piscataway Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Help Workers Injured by High Heat Conditions.

High temperatures take a toll on the body, especially those working outside. Many workers fall ill yearly because of excessive heat and humid conditions; some have even died from extreme temperatures.

Working in the heat is not only uncomfortable but is also dangerous to your health. Heat-related illnesses happen when a hot environment and the body releases heat more slowly. When the body cannot release heat through sweat evaporation, it begins to overheat and then is unable to control its temperature.

Those who work in the heat not only have an increased chance of suffering a heat-related illness or injury, but it also hinders their ability to work at a productive pace. Extreme temperatures cause dizziness, decreased focus, and even sweaty hands, which raises the chances of an accident. Some studies show that worker productivity reduces by more than one percent every two degrees above 77 degrees Fahrenheit. When at hotter temperatures, such as 99 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, work productivity decreases by over 22 percent.

Although employers should enforce safety guidelines to protect their workers from illnesses, workers can also follow safety tips to protect themselves:

  • Hydration: Ensure you always have water on hand and stay hydrated as much as possible. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommends drinking about a liter of water or a cup every 15 minutes. Water should be potable and less than 59 degrees Fahrenheit. Sports drinks with electrolytes are also okay, especially when sweating profusely. You can also cool your body temperature by spraying water on your body.
  • Rest: Take frequent breaks, primarily if you work in direct sunlight or near hot machinery in rooms with poor airflow. Allow the body to eliminate excess heat by moving to the shade or into an air-conditioned room. Your employer should allow adequate break times for individuals exposed to hotter temperatures.
  • Acclimatize: Acclimatization is when the body builds a tolerance to the heat. This process takes time, whereas newer workers who are not acclimatized should start with about 20 percent of exposure on their first day and increase that in 20 percent intervals over the next several days. Dramatic temperature changes should have workers adjust their time outside by half and then slowly increase that workload over the next three days. Some workers may need longer than the recommended seven to 14 days to acclimatize, and taking breaks while acclimatizing will not affect it.
  • Be prepared: If your job allows, wear lightweight clothing, light-color clothing, and a hat that can protect you from the sun. Most outdoor jobs require extra safety equipment, so only wear light clothing if your job site allows it. Be careful of what you eat and drink before working in hot weather. Eat smaller meals and avoid drugs and alcohol, as well as caffeine. Knowing the weather beforehand helps you better prepare for extreme heat, so check the forecast and heat index when possible.

How Can Employers Help Workers?

There are numerous ways an employer can reduce workplace injuries and Workers’ Compensation claims:

  • Train workers to recognize the signs of heat-related illnesses. Before any work outdoors or in hot conditions begins, it is best to have your workers properly trained in heat safety. These programs should train employees to recognize the signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses and how to minimize the risks. Workers also need to be trained to respond should they begin feeling the effects of extreme heat and report it to any supervisor.
  • Train workers on how to use the equipment. Workers should be trained on how to use heat-protective clothing. Emergency services should be contacted if workers are showing signs of heat-related illnesses.
  • Heat stress prevention. Employers need to create a safe environment for their workers that is free of hazards. Employees working in the heat should have their time limited and an increase in recovery time. Employers can control heat stress by reducing the job’s demands and increasing the number of workers per task to reduce strain and stress. Implementing a buddy system can minimize heat-related injuries as well. This is where workers can monitor each other for any signs and symptoms of heat stress, as well as monitor themselves. Employers can implement proper heat acclimatization plans and provide adequate water for their employees.

The OSHA recommends safety measures for extreme heat conditions to begin at 90 degrees Fahrenheit, and precautions should increase as the temperatures get hotter. The OSHA also recommends having plans in place before the temperatures become too hot, such as hydration and break schedules and effective cooling solutions that are also cost-effective. Fans are an excellent option to keep the air moving. Perhaps one of the best cooling solutions is an evaporative cooler, which can lower temperatures by almost 30 degrees Fahrenheit.

Piscataway Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Help Workers Injured by High Heat Conditions

You may be entitled to compensation if you suffer from a work-related injury or illness caused by extreme temperatures. Contact one of our Piscataway Workers’ Compensation lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr immediately for help with your claim. Call us at 732-249-4600 or fill out our online form for a free consultation. Located in Highland Park, New Jersey, we proudly serve the communities of New Brunswick, Somerset, Piscataway, Edison, South River, Sayreville, Metuchen, East Brunswick, South Plainfield, Fords, Middlesex, Old Bridge, Iselin, Bound Brook, Perth Amboy, Colonia, Elizabeth, and Newark.

Does Sleep Deprivation Cause Work Injuries?

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Piscataway Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Help Injured Sleep Deprived Workers Understand Their Rights.

Most people occasionally experience a night or two of lost sleep. What happens when sleep deprivation becomes a constant issue, though? Does it affect your ability to safely work?

According to data from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, around 40 million people in the United States experience long-term sleep disorders. The National Safety Council reports that about four out of every 10 individuals do not get adequate sleep. This means many employees come to work fatigued, which is a risk factor for workplace accidents and injuries.

Workers who have insomnia, sleep apnea, depression, PTSD, narcolepsy, or other related conditions may find it difficult to concentrate. Focusing becomes increasingly difficult for people who have trouble falling or staying asleep. As a result, those people become much more likely to make errors at work or be unable to perform their job duties as expected. No matter the industry, sleep deprivation in workers is a real hazard.

Some Employees Lose Sleep Because of Their Work

An employee’s health condition is not the only reason for on-the-job sleep deprivation. Some sleep disturbances are caused by the occupation itself. For instance, jobs in health care, law enforcement, trucking, and industrial operations require employees to work long shifts. Swing shifts, long shifts, double shifts, and excessive commutes can disrupt an employee’s sleep patterns and cause dangerous symptoms.

Although less common, sleep disorders can arise from work itself. An individual who gets hurt on the job and gains significant amounts of weight may be diagnosed with sleep apnea. Someone who has experienced trauma at work may be unable to get a whole night of sleep.

What Are Signs of Sleep Deprivation?

Loss of sleep manifests itself differently in people. Some individuals become very depressed and moody. Others find it challenging to make decisions. Many may feel weak and have trouble lifting objects or performing routine tasks.

Another issue linked to sleep deprivation is a reduced immune system. Exhausted workers may be more apt to get sick and use their paid time off (PTO) hours. Having a weakened immune system can exacerbate other problems. Workers who get too little sleep may increase their risk of developing cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, or diabetes.

How Can Workers Prevent Sleep Deprivation?

Employees who struggle with lingering sleep problems have a few options for getting the rest they need. Some solutions include:

  • Taking time off. Using PTO hours can help you catch up on sleep. Workers should not be afraid to use any PTO hours they have been given to spend time away from the job.
  • Practicing sleep hygiene routines. Making minor sleep hygiene tweaks, like not drinking caffeine after lunch or eating a lighter dinner, can help you sleep.
  • Talking with a medical professional. Seeking the help of a doctor can be a wise first step to diagnosing a sleep disorder.
  • Avoiding shift work. If possible, workers who have been negatively affected by working swing shifts should look into other shifts. Those who cannot avoid shift work may want to get on a schedule that allows them to have a regular bedtime.
  • Leaving the office at the end of work. Employees should feel comfortable clocking out after putting in their full workday rather than working too much overtime.

It can be challenging for many people to say “no” to working extra shifts or longer hours, particularly if they need money. However, sleeping should take precedence.

Workers’ Compensation for Sleep-Related Injuries

Workers’ Compensation is given to employees who have been hurt on the job. Workers’ Compensation covers medical expenses related to the injury and a portion of the worker’s pay while they are unable to perform their job duties.

Employees who experience chronic sleep deprivation would have to prove that their sleep deprivation is work-related. This may be challenging.

Sleep deprivation can cause workplace injuries, and a sleep disorder could also result from a workplace injury. Someone in chronic pain for weeks or months after a workplace accident may have trouble sleeping. Workers’ Compensation benefits may cover the cost of treating the sleep problem directly associated with the workplace injury.

Should I Contact a Lawyer?

You may want to talk with a lawyer if your Workers’ Compensation claim has been denied. A lawyer can help you understand your rights. They can also intervene if insurance companies or employers refuse to cover the costs of your workplace injury.

Piscataway Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Help Injured Sleep Deprived Workers Understand Their Rights

If you are having trouble with your Workers’ Compensation claim, speak with one of our Piscataway Workers’ Compensation lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr. Call us at 732-249-4600 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. We are located in Highland Park, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout New Brunswick, Somerset, Piscataway, Edison, South River, Sayreville, Metuchen, East Brunswick, South Plainfield, Fords, Middlesex, Old Bridge, Iselin, Bound Brook, Perth Amboy, Colonia, Elizabeth, and Newark.

How Does a Workers’ Compensation Settlement Work?

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Piscataway Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Help Injured Workers Who Are Considering Workers’ Compensation Settlements.

Workplace accidents can be devastating, life-altering events that can impact not only you, but your family as well. Fortunately, you are likely covered by your employer’s Workers’ Compensation insurance program, which entitles you to financial assistance and medical care related to your work injury.

Most employers are required to carry Workers’ Compensation insurance. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), nearly 3 million workers are injured per year, costing companies nearly $62 billion for lost-time workplace injuries.

Any workplace accident needs to be reported to management immediately, and the employer is required to begin a report and investigate the circumstances that caused the accident. Seek medical attention, even if you think the injury is minor. Some complications may not appear until later, and if you fail to be evaluated by a medical professional, you risk losing benefits.

Following the accident, you or your employer will file a Workers’ Compensation claim with the insurance carrier. The claim is a request for benefits you are entitled to and not a lawsuit against your employer. In determining whether to approve or deny your claim, the insurance carrier may investigate the circumstances of your accident and will review medical records as well. You may be required to participate in the investigation and possibly required to submit documentation to the state Bureau of Workers’ Compensation office.

Not all Workers’ Compensation cases end with a settlement. If the injuries are minor, there are no further medical costs, and the employee is able to return to work, then the claim is closed. However, if the injuries result in long-term or permanent disabilities, the carrier will offer a settlement based on specific payout calculations that include estimated future medical costs and lost wages, plus a specific amount based on your injury itself.

Worker’s Compensation settlements are paid one of two ways, either a one-time lump-sum payout or on a structured scale, meaning you will receive regular payments over a designated period of time. In determining your final settlement, the insurance carrier will review your medical condition, wages, and state laws pertaining to your claim. They will specifically be assessing your level of impairment, as determined by a doctor, to calculate the monetary value of your settlement.

Benefits might include:

  • Permanent total disability: Injuries are severe enough that no future work will be possible in any capacity.
  • Permanent partial disability: For workers with a partial long-term disability that prevents performing certain types, but not all, of jobs.
  • Temporary total disability: Injuries initially prevent returning to work but expected to recover fully.
  • Medical benefits: Workers’ compensation pays for current and future medical costs related to the injury.
  • Death and burial benefits: If the injured dies within four years of the accident, the deceased’s dependents may receive compensation.

A portion of the settlement offer will be based on the state’s defined rate for specific loss. For example, the loss of a limb would likely have a higher payout rate than a broken leg or knee injury. Each state has its own scale.

Do I Have to Accept the Settlement Offer?

If you do not think the insurance carrier’s settlement offer is sufficient, do not accept it until you seek legal counsel. If you accept, you cannot seek any further compensation should you have injury-related future medical bills or expenses. Acceptance is final.

To ensure you are getting the full compensation for your injuries, work with a skilled Workers’ Compensation lawyer from the beginning of your claim. An experienced lawyer will calculate what you are entitled to based on your injuries, disability, future medical costs, loss of wages, and other financial assistance.

Piscataway Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Help Injured Workers Who Are Considering Workers’ Compensation Settlements

If you have been injured in a workplace accident, one of our experienced Piscataway Workers’ Compensation lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr can help. We can determine if a settlement is the right path for you. Call us at 732-249-4600 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Located in Highland Park, New Jersey, we serve clients in New Brunswick, Somerset, Piscataway, Edison, South River, Sayreville, Metuchen, East Brunswick, South Plainfield, Fords, Middlesex, Old Bridge, Iselin, Bound Brook, Perth Amboy, Colonia, Elizabeth, and Newark.

Am I Eligible for Workers’ Compensation if I Have Not Clocked in Yet?

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Piscataway Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Fight for Benefits to Cover Unusual Workplace Accidents.

The majority of employers in most states including New Jersey must carry an appropriate level of Workers’ Compensation insurance. When a worker is injured while doing a job on behalf of an employer, this special type of insurance pays for all related medical treatment costs, a portion of the worker’s lost wages, and disability benefits when appropriate.

When you picture a workplace accident that might necessitate the use of Workers’ Compensation, you probably picture something happening in an office, a manufacturing plant, or a busy outdoor construction site. Yet not all Workers’ Compensation claims are for incidents that happen while a worker is engaged in activities inside or at a place of work. Some accidents that are covered by Workers’ Compensation happen elsewhere, including before and after someone officially “clocks in.”

Under what circumstances can you submit for Workers’ Compensation if you are injured? Below are a few common accident scenarios and the answer to that pressing question.

Can You Get Workers’ Compensation if You Are Hurt on Your Daily Commute?

 

Lots of people commute to and from work. If you use a car, you could get into an accident on your way to your job. However, you cannot file for Workers’ Compensation for this type of injury.

The law views your commute under the so-called portal to portal or coming and going rule. In other words, it is the time when you typically journey from home to employer or vice versa. Therefore, any accidents that happen during this timeframe would not be covered by your employer’s Workers’ Compensation even though you are traveling to and from your job.

 

Are You Eligible for Workers’ Compensation Walking to or from Your Car to Work?

 

The portal to portal or coming and going rule does have a few exceptions. One of them is if you get injured while on a property that is owned by your employer, such as a parking lot.

For example, you might park your car, get out of it, and slip and fall on a patch of ice that had not been cleared. As long as the parking lot was supposed to be maintained by your employer, you could file a Workers’ Compensation claim. The same would be true if you had an accident on a sidewalk or green space owned by your employer as long as you were there during the normal course of business.

However, you might be tempted to use your employer’s parking lot as a free space to park over the weekend so you could bring your family downtown. If you tripped and hurt yourself then, your Workers’ Compensation claim would be denied.

 

What Happens if You Drop by Your Employer Off the Clock and Get Hurt?

 

Your colleagues are hosting a 65th birthday for the boss in your workplace cafeteria. Even though you are scheduled to be off that week, you decide to come to the office for the big event. During the time you are on the premises, you trip and twist your ankle. Are you eligible for Workers’ Compensation? Maybe and maybe not.

Some employers and insurance providers have fought these types of Workers’ Compensation claims, particularly if you were not told that you had to be onsite. However, if your employer knew you were probably going to show up, you might be able to get a Workers’ Compensation denial reversed. This is where having help from a Workers’ Compensation lawyer can be critical.

 

Can You Submit for Workers’ Compensation if You Are Running Errands for Work?

 

A few minutes before you clock out, your supervisor pulls you aside. She asks you to pick up some doughnuts and coffee the next day as a surprise for everyone. After giving you some money, she sends you on your way. The next morning, you switch up your normal commute so you can swing by the nearest bakery and coffee shop. On your way back to work, you get in a nasty car accident and suffer serious injuries.

Although you were technically going to work on your commute, you were actually on a special assignment. Special duties and responsibilities such as being asked to pick up coffee or go to the post office are usually covered by Workers’ Compensation. After all, you would not have been traveling on a different route if you had not been asked to do something out of the ordinary by your employer.

 

What if I Get Hurt Going to a Client’s Office or a Conference?

 

Not everyone works in an office. Some people, such as those in sales, regularly travel using their personal car or a company vehicle. Others occasionally travel short or long distances to attend a variety of events from large international conventions to intimate client dinners.

Any time you travel for work, you should be covered under your employer’s Workers’ Compensation. The major exception would be if you did anything criminal that led to your injuries, such as driving while intoxicated. Getting charged and convicted with a DWI will negate your opportunity to receive Workers’ Compensation benefits.

 

How Can I Make Sure I Get My Workers’ Compensation Benefits?

 

Though you cannot force your employer or your employer’s insurance carrier to approve your first Workers’ Compensation claim, you can do a few things to make it easier to prove your case. The first is to get medical treatment right away. Doing this helps you prove a link between the accident and your injury.

Secondly, keep all documentation including hospital invoices, receipts for payment, and insurance paperwork. These documents will provide supporting evidence and can be used to help you get reimbursed sufficiently.

Finally, keep attending all medical appointments. You may consider stopping care because it is getting expensive. Nevertheless, it is in your best interest to continue. Otherwise, a Workers’ Compensation insurance provider or your employer may argue that you are healthy when you have not yet healed.

If you think your Workers’ Compensation claim may be an uphill battle, consider getting in touch with a Workers’ Compensation lawyer sooner rather than later. An initial consultation does not oblige you to hire an attorney. It just gives you some insight into your rights and potential legal standing.

 

Piscataway Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Fight for Benefits to Cover Unusual Workplace Accidents

 

If you are having trouble receiving Workers’ Compensation benefits for injuries that happened “off the clock,” reach out to the Piscataway Workers’ Compensation lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr. Our legal team will protect your rights and fight to obtain the compensation for which you are entitled. Call us today at 877-249-4600 or 732-249-4600 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Highland Park, New Jersey, we serve clients in New Brunswick, Somerset, Piscataway, Edison, South River, Sayreville, Metuchen, East Brunswick, South Plainfield, Fords, Middlesex, Old Bridge, Iselin, Bound Brook, Perth Amboy, Colonia, Elizabeth, and Newark.

 

 

OSHA Charges Over $127K in Penalties for Hazardous Chemical Exposure in Factory

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workers with eye problems

Sinclair & Rush, Inc., a leading product protection and packaging company in Carlstadt, New Jersey, is being charged with 11 health and safety violations by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). OSHA cited issues related to methylene chloride hazards. Workers exposed to this solvent are at risk of critical health issues. These violations resulted in fines of over $127,000.

According to a statement by OSHA made public today, an investigation at Sinclair & Rush, Inc. found that workers were overexposed to methylene chloride hazards and not provided with personal protective equipment (PPE), eyewash stations, and medical surveillance for those who were exposed or potentially exposed. The company is also charged with failing to put together a work safety plan to reduce employee exposure.

According to OSHA’s Area Director, exposure to methylene chloride puts employees at an increased risk of certain cancers, heart, liver, and central nervous system damage, as well as skin or eye irritation. She added that OSHA recommends employers use less hazardous chemicals to prevent exposure.

When workers are injured on the job, there are two problems: fear of loss of income and the added expense of medical bills for the injury. New Jersey’s Workers’ Compensation insurance laws require all non-federal employers to offer coverage for workers who are hurt on the job, so New Jersey workers will continue to receive compensation while recovering and have their medical bills covered.

While the state Workers Compensation laws protect workers, some Workers Compensation claims are denied. Attorneys can help in these situations, to protect the rights of the worker and the worker’s family.

Piscataway Workers’ Compensation lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr help workers who have been injured on the job. Call 732-249-4600 or complete an online form today to schedule a free consultation. Located in Highland Park, New Jersey, the firm serves clients throughout New Brunswick, Somerset, Piscataway, Edison, South River, Sayreville, Metuchen, East Brunswick, South Plainfield, Fords, Middlesex, Old Bridge, Iselin, Bound Brook, Perth Amboy, Colonia, Elizabeth, and Newark.

What Are Examples of Third-Party Liability in Construction Accidents?

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Piscataway Construction Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Can Fight for Your Rights after Construction Accident Injuries.

Every year, the construction industry is the industry that has the most work-related injuries. Other sectors of the economy and job types usually do not come close to the number of injured workers each year. Over the past decade, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) indicates that there are, on average, about 5,000 work-related deaths each year in the United States. Of those 5,000, approximately 20 percent are in the construction industry. Nearly 60 percent of the fatalities in construction accidents were attributed to falls, electrocution, falling objects, crane accidents, and from being caught in-between a piece of equipment.

 

Usually, when a construction worker gets injured on the job, they will have their employer’s Workers’ Compensation insurance company to rely on. If you are a laborer on a construction site and get hurt, the insurance company should pay for your medical bills and you will receive a portion of your gross wages each week that you cannot work. But usually, that is the limit of benefits. All you get is your wage loss and medical bills, no matter how badly you are hurt and no matter whose fault it is. If the accident was your fault, you still get Workers’ Compensation benefits. If your employer was negligent and caused your injury, you still only receive Workers’ Compensation benefits. You cannot sue your employer for negligence.

 

However, on construction sites, there is the possibility that another party or business was responsible for your injury. What can you do when the cause of your serious work injury was not you or your employer, but another company that was working on the site? If that other company was negligent, and that negligence was the cause of your injuries, it is possible to file a lawsuit against them and get different damages, more than just medical and wage loss. These types of lawsuits are called third party liability lawsuits. These lawsuits happen in the construction industry all the time.

 

Examples of Negligent Conduct by Third Parties on Construction Sites

 

It makes sense that third-party lawsuits occur often on construction sites. There are usually many different companies performing different jobs and tasks and have different responsibilities. There is the general contractor in charge of the entire project. Then there are architecture firms and engineering firms. In addition, there are several different kinds of subcontractors performing various jobs. If any one of these entities does something that is negligent and causes injuries, they could be held responsible.

 

Third-party claims and lawsuits can provide much-needed compensation for workers who sustain serious or catastrophic injuries. Examples of cases in which third parties were held liable to injured workers include:

 

  • Negligent design or manufacture of safety devices or equipment such as lack of shut-off valves or guarding or lack of use of lockout/tagout procedures
  • Use of substandard materials in constructing scaffolds and other structures, causing them to collapse
  • Faulty blueprints and designs by the architects or engineers that cause collapse or inadequate support or weight bearing
  • Faulty demolition plans crafted by the engineers and/or architects
  • Collapsed wall or ditch constructed or fabricated by another subcontractor
  • Failure to warn of dangerous conditions by subcontractor or property owner
  • Work-related motor vehicle accidents caused by third parties
  • Faulty wiring by the electrical contractor, causing electrocution risk
  • Another subcontractor neglects to cover an opening, drops a heavy object onto a worker, or strikes another worker with a crane or other piece of heavy equipment
  • Negligent exposure to toxic chemicals and substances

 

Difference Between Workers’ Compensation and Third-Party Lawsuits

 

The difference between a Workers’ Compensation claim and a third-party lawsuit is significant. As stated above, with a Workers’ Compensation claim, all you are entitled to receive are your medical bills paid and your wage loss paid. The wage loss would be two-thirds of your average weekly gross wages. Once you return to work, your wage benefits stop. That is all you receive. However, with a third-party liability lawsuit, you can get much more compensation.

 

With a third-party liability lawsuit, you can seek pain and suffering damages, along with lost wages and unpaid medical bills. Pain and suffering is the category of damages that compensates you for the actual pain you had to endure from the injury and the treatment you had to undergo. It is supposed to compensate you for all the loss of life’s pleasures you endured because of the injury and its effects. The addition of this category of damages is significant and can increase the amount of money you receive for your injuries a great deal.

 

There are other categories of damages that are open to plaintiffs with third-party liability lawsuits. The injured worker’s spouse can file a loss of consortium claim as part of the lawsuit. This type of claim reimburses the spouse for the loss of the services and comfort and care that the injured worker could give them because of the injuries. Also, in rare cases the injured worker can file a claim for punitive damages against the responsible party. Punitive damages claims are not to compensate the injured worker, but to punish the defendant for outrageous conduct. Punitive damages claims are rare because there must be proof of more than mere negligence. The responsible party must have acted in an outrageous, wanton, and reckless manner.

 

Again, all these different types of damages would not be available with a simple Workers’ Compensation claim. Therefore, it is extremely important to consult an experienced construction accident lawyer to see if you have the option to file a separate lawsuit, above and beyond your Workers’ Compensation claim.

 

Piscataway Construction Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Can Fight for Your Rights after Construction Accident Injuries

 

Construction site accidents can be very complicated, involving many different companies, subcontractors, and workers. If you have been seriously injured in a construction accident, the Piscataway construction accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr will advocate for you so that you receive the compensation for which you are entitled. Call us today at 877-249-4600 or 732-249-4600 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Highland Park, New Jersey, we serve clients in New Brunswick, Somerset, Piscataway, Edison, South River, Sayreville, Metuchen, East Brunswick, South Plainfield, Fords, Middlesex, Old Bridge, Iselin, Bound Brook, Perth Amboy, Colonia, Elizabeth, and Newark.

 

What Are the Most Dangerous Jobs?

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most dangerous jobs

When determining the most dangerous jobs, you may wonder how to rate the different criteria. Should you rate the jobs based on the number of injuries? Should you rate the jobs based on the number of work-related fatalities? This discussion looks at the jobs with the most fatalities. The most dangerous jobs in the United States are those that involve working with or around hazardous materials. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), these include jobs in the mining and construction industries, as well as those in law enforcement and emergency services.

For example, in 2015, the BLS reported that 5,190 workers were killed on the job in the United States. Of these, 818 died as a result of an accident involving a hazardous material. Mining and construction accounted for the majority of these fatalities, with 434 and 344 deaths, respectively. Working with hazardous materials can be extremely dangerous, as even small amounts can cause serious injury or death. In some cases, workers may not be aware of the dangers posed by the materials they are handling. In others, they may be able to identify the risks but have no choice but to work with them as a matter of routine.

Top 15 Most Dangerous Jobs

The BLS list of the top 10 most dangerous jobs is based on fatal work injury rate. The BLS does not just look at the total number of deaths in a particular industry. If this were the case, truck drivers would always be at the top of the list. However, there are more truck drivers employed in the United States than most of the other categories. Therefore, the BLS looks at the rate of deaths as per 100,000 workers. This more accurately rates the inherent danger of the job.

Here are the 15 most dangerous jobs, in increasing order of fatal injury rate.

  • Electrical power-line installers and repairers: Fatal injury rate is 14.6 per 100k, and fatal injuries per year is 21.
  • Police and sheriff’s patrol officers: Fatal injury rate is 14.6 per 100k, and fatal injuries per year is 108.
  • Construction laborers: Fatal injury rate is 15.1 per 100k; fatal injuries per year is 254.
  • First-line supervisors of mechanics, installers, and repairers: Fatal injury rate is 15.7 per 100k, and fatal injuries per year is 44.
  • Miscellaneous agricultural workers: Fatal injury rate is 17.4 per 100k, and fatal injuries per year is 156.
  • Grounds maintenance workers: Fatal injury rate is 17.4 per 100k, and fatal injuries per year is 217.
  • First-line supervisors of construction trades and extraction workers: Fatal injury rate is 18.0 per 100k, and fatal injuries per year is 134.
  • Farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers: Fatal injury rate is 23.1 per 100k, and fatal injuries per year is 260.
  • Drivers/sales workers and truck drivers: Fatal injury rate is 24.7 per 100k, and fatal injuries per year is 918.
  • Structural iron and steel workers: Fatal injury rate is 25.1 per 100k, and fatal injuries per year is 16.
  • Refuse and recyclable material collectors: Fatal injury rate is 34.1 per 100k; fatal injuries per year is 31.
  • Roofers: Fatal injury rate is 48.6 per 100k, and fatal injuries per year is 101.
  • Aircraft pilots and flight engineers: Fatal injury rate is 55.5 per 100k, and fatal injuries per year is 75.
  • Fishers and related fishing workers: Fatal injury rate is 86.0 per 100k, and fatal injuries per year is 24.
  • Logging workers: Fatal injury rate is 135.9 per 100k, and fatal injuries per year is 91.

The highest fatality rate of any other profession is that of loggers, with nearly 100 on-the-job deaths in 2019. Working with potentially dangerous power tools and heavy equipment adds to the risk, as seen by the most prevalent cause of fatal injuries, as do transportation incidents. The most common fatal injury in this field is contact with objects and equipment, which is also the case in only one other occupation. With a 38 times higher fatality rate than the national average, logging tops the list as America’s most hazardous profession.

Do You Need a Lawyer if You Are Seriously Injured at Work?

The best course of action if you have suffered a serious injury at work is to contact a lawyer. There are two reasons why you need a lawyer. First, you want a lawyer who is thoroughly familiar with New Jersey Workers’ Compensation law. Although most work injury cases resolve themselves fairly quickly, if the injuries are really serious, you may be out of work for a long time. You want a skilled lawyer knowledgeable in Workers’ Compensation making sure you are receiving the correct compensation benefits.

Second, if the work injury was caused by a third party’s negligence, you may be able to file a lawsuit against that negligent party and win compensation above and beyond what you received from Workers’ Compensation. In most cases, if your employer was negligent and caused a work injury, all you get from them is compensation benefits, such as medical bills paid and lost wages covered. You cannot sue your employer for pain and suffering. However, if someone else caused the serious injury, you may be able to sue for pain and suffering. For example, assume you were injured in a work-related truck or car accident. If the other driver was at fault, you can file a lawsuit against that driver. Another example would be if you were working at a construction site, and scaffolding that was installed by another company collapsed, injuring you. You might be able to sue that scaffolding company for your pain and suffering. But the only way for you to know if this is possible is to contact a lawyer experienced in Workers’ Compensation and personal injury who knows how to handle compensation cases and third-party liability cases.

Piscataway Construction Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Can Help Workers Injured on the Job

If you were seriously injured at work on a construction site or some other dangerous job, reach out to the Piscataway construction accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr. We will fight for your rights and help to secure the compensation for which you are entitled for your injuries. Call us today at 877-249-4600 or 732-249-4600 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Highland Park, New Jersey, we serve clients in New Brunswick, Somerset, Piscataway, Edison, South River, Sayreville, Metuchen, East Brunswick, South Plainfield, Fords, Middlesex, Old Bridge, Iselin, Bound Brook, Perth Amboy, Colonia, Elizabeth, and Newark.

How Can Scaffolding Accidents Be Prevented?

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scaffolding

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have estimated that 2.3 million construction workers, or 65 percent of the construction industry, work on scaffolds, making them a necessity in most development of ongoing projects. Construction workers utilize the temporary structures to assist in building and repairing the developments they work on. The employment of scaffolds on construction sites are used to prevent accidents. However, accidents do occur. Chief among them are slip and fall incidents, along with being susceptible to being struck by falling items that can lead to personal injury or death.

OSHA identifies routine types of scaffolds: supported scaffolds, which contain of one or more platforms maintained by rigid, weight-bearing members such as poles, legs, frames, outriggers, and other supports; and suspended scaffolds, which are comprised of one or more platforms suspended by lines or other non-rigid, overhead support.

It is worth noting that scissor lifts and aerial lifts can be considered as other types of supported scaffolds, according to OSHA. Workers who use scaffolds can be found in the following subcontracting work on a construction site: erectors, users, and designers.

It is worth noting that scaffolding accidents are largely avoidable. However, despite the best intentions of construction crews and safety regulations, they still occur.

Why Do Scaffolding Accidents Occur?

Erected correctly, scaffolding can help workers and pedestrians remain safe. However, if not installed properly, they could cause significant injuries for all parties involved. Those who are responsible for setting up scaffolding must be trained in the meticulous details of erecting a safe and solid temporary structure from which to work. Without the proper knowledge to install solidified scaffolding, overloading or improper construction of the structure can make the scaffolding slant or fail.

Insufficient entrances, along with wobbly planks, have the potential risk of a construction worker falling from various altitudes. The deficiency of or flawed secondary infrastructure may allow fallen items to strike those in its track. Oftentimes injuries are determined by the nature of the accident, with sustained injuries ranging to traumatic brain injuries to collapsed lungs to broken bones. Pennsylvania regulates policies to keep construction workers safe on the job, yet despite all these safety nets developers are known to be cunning when it comes to meeting construction deadlines. In doing so, they may knowingly violate safety violations on the job site.

Pennsylvania is under federal OSHA jurisdiction, which protects most commercial sector workers within the state. State and local municipality workers are not covered by federal OSHA.

Scaffold Risks

OSHA has identified the following collective perils related with all scaffold builds:

  • Drops from elevation, owing to lack of fall defense.
  • Breakdown of the scaffold, caused by unsteadiness or overworking.
  • Being hit by falling tools, work materials, or fragments.
  • Electrocution, owing to the proximity of the scaffold to overhead power lines.

Remaining Safe around the Scaffolding Work Area

It is paramount to inspect all scaffolding before use to confirm that it is appropriately built and designed to handle the prospective job. Keeping a tidy workspace will remove potential risks, along with falling debris and equipment that could compromise the integrity of a temporary structure. As a construction worker, it is imperative that you use the proper protective equipment such as a hardhat, boots, gloves, belt and holders, and tool safety lanyards. Also, never overcrowd the scaffolding with too many workers. Keeping these protective measures in mind will help you remain safe on the jobsite.

Being aware of the scaffold’s surroundings can help prevent accidents as well. Stay clear of power lines and employ supporting items such as safety netting or guard rails to deliver an extra layer of security.

Oftentimes, perilous conditions surrounding scaffold accidents can be circumvented with appropriate training of those installing and employed on the scaffolds, observance to procedures, and routine assessment. If there are any safety concerns on site, make your supervisor aware of the conditions immediately. The onus is on the developers to cultivate a safe construction environment at all times with employees working on scaffolds cognizant of the following safety procedures:

  • A hardhat should be always worn in the construction area, including the scaffold workplace.
  • Extra emphasis should be placed on the erection of the scaffold as intended, without deviation, and the scaffold should be inspected after construction.
  • If weather has made the scaffold work slippery with snow, ice, or other slipping hazards, it should not be used until it is sufficiently cleared and dry.
  • Free-standing ladders or boxes should never be placed on scaffolds because the potential for them to fall off the scaffold creates a perilous situation.
  • When mounted ladders are utilized, safety instructions that are intended to keep the employee safe should be followed.
  • Designated methods of access should be used when entering a scaffold, with employees refraining from using short-cuts to enter the work area.
  • Employees must be aware of surroundings when working on or near a scaffold.
  • A supervisor should be notified of any potential safety violations or concerns. The best practice is to inform them of any issues with the scaffold to avert any potential accidents.

Comprehending Scaffolding Safety Principles and Standards

Federal and state regulations have authorized that developers follow strict protocols in order to foster safe work conditions for all parties at the construction site. Construction companies must remain cognizant of the type of scaffolding that is being employed at the project site. Below are safety procedures and standards that need to be adhered when working on scaffolds:

  • Companies must take into consideration the type of scaffolding being used at the construction site.
  • Safe entrances must be provided at all altitudes of access on a scaffold.
  • Planking must be able to maintain its own load rating, plus four times or more of the envisioned load.
  • Repetitive inspections of scaffolds and riggings must take place in advance of each shift.
  • Work is not permitted on scaffolds with debris.
  • Scaffold must be at least 10 feet away from electrical power lines.
  • Steps and landings added to the scaffold must utilize non-slip treads and guardrails, along with steady and level footing.
  • A manager must be told before scaffolds are erected, moved, dismantled, or changed in any way.
  • Employees must be taught by a competent individual familiar with scaffold-related hazards and learn how to mitigate risks. This includes any hazards associated with falls, tumbling objects, electrical use, material management, and how to use scaffolds correctly.
  • Scaffolds must be suitably and firmly attached to construction facades.
  • Any accessories used in combination with scaffolds, including ropes and ladders, must be in proper working order, and if any equipment is deficient, it is to be replaced or fixed immediately.
  • Canopies and security netting should be used as necessary to protect workers and bystanders from potentially falling debris.

In addition, larger scaffolds should be subjected to further review by a professionally trained and certified engineer.

Scaffolding Accident Statistics

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that adequately protecting workers who use scaffolds could help avoid up to 4,500 injuries and over 60 fatalities a year. These accidents would help construction companies save $90 million from lost workdays. The Bureau of Labor Statistics also reported that 72 percent of workers injured in scaffold accidents attributed the mishap either to the planking or support giving way, or to the employee falling or being struck by a falling object. These accidents could be avoided if the erecting of the scaffolding is in compliance with OSHA standards.

South River Construction Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Help Workers after a Scaffolding Accident

By following safety protocols, workers using scaffolding on the job should stay safe. Unfortunately, accidents do occur. If you have been injured at work because of a scaffolding accident, reach out to the South River construction accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr. We will investigate the cause of your accident and fight to secure the compensation for which you are entitled. Call us today at 877-249-4600 or 732-249-4600 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Highland Park, New Jersey, we serve clients in New Brunswick, Somerset, Piscataway, Edison, South River, Sayreville, Metuchen, East Brunswick, South Plainfield, Fords, Middlesex, Old Bridge, Iselin, Bound Brook, Perth Amboy, Colonia, Elizabeth, and Newark.

What Should I Do if a Defective Chainsaw Caused My Work Injury?

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chainsaw accidents

Consumers in the United States buy more than three million chainsaws every year and suffer more than 28,000 chainsaw-related injuries. The majority of those injuries harm the user’s hands and lower extremities. About 10 percent of chainsaw injuries are potentially deadly when they occur to the neck or head, but deadly chainsaw accidents are rare. Most result in injuries that could be very serious and potentially life-threatening.

In most cases, user error causes chainsaw injuries, but manufacturer defects and other issues could result in manufacturer and distributor liability for injuries or deaths. Chainsaw injuries and potentially deadly accidents commonly occur via chainsaw:

  • Kickback
  • Pushback
  • Pull-in

A kickback happens when the saw contacts a knot or other especially hard spot within the wood that you are cutting. The chain could stop dead in its tracks while the drive mechanism continues trying to move it. That can cause the saw to suddenly kick back and strike the operator. Kickback is the greatest danger affecting chainsaw operators and causes the most injuries.

Pushback is similar to kickback and happens when the chain encounters a knot or other hard object on the top bar. The entire chainsaw suddenly cold push back into the operator and cause injuries. Pull-in occurs similarly to pushback but happens when the chain section on the bottom bar suddenly stops while the top section continues moving. The effect pulls the chainsaw in closer to the cutting area and could injure fingers, hands, and the forearms.

Other chainsaw injuries could occur by accidentally placing an ungloved hand on the hot exhaust and by operating the saw without safety guards and similar equipment in place.

Preventing Chainsaw Accidents

Most chainsaw accidents could be prevented by following basic safe-operating procedures. You should hold the saw firmly with both hands on the designated handholds and pay close attention to the nose of the guide bar. You should ensure the chain is sharp so that it can make quick work of the trees, logs, and limbs that you are cutting. You never should cut more than one log at a time and never use the nose to cut through limbs or small branches.

It is critically important to ensure you have good footing and do not hold the chainsaw at odd or unusual angles. You need the full strength of your hands, arms, back, and body to control the chainsaw. You also should stand to the side so that your body is not in the pathway of the chain.

Once you start the initial cut, you should continue with the chainsaw going full throttle until finished with the cut. While cutting, the chainsaw never should be above your shoulders, and you should avoid twisting the saw while cutting through a log. A twisting motion could cause the saw to catch the chain and cause a kickback, pushback, or pull-in.

If you suffer an injury while using a chainsaw, it could require immediate medical attention. That is especially true if the chain cuts into any part of your body. You always should have a first-aid kit handy to help stop any bleeding and disinfect any minor cuts or abrasions.

Third-Party Liability for Chainsaw Injuries

If you are injured while working on the job, Workers’ Compensation insurance can help to cover the costs of injuries and lost work. However, you still could pursue a third-party liability claim against the manufacturer and distributors of a potentially defective chainsaw.

Design and manufacturing defects could contribute to the conditions that cause an accident that results in a serious injury. If a safety guard is inadequate to protect you against a chain failure, the designers, manufacturers, and distributors could be held liable for negligence and a manufacturing defect. If the ignition does not work properly and causes the chainsaw to catch fire and possibly set the operator on fire, that also would be a potential liability claim against the designer, manufacturer, and other third parties.

Failure to warn is another legal mechanism that could come into play and hold third parties liable for injuries and accidents that should not have occurred. The potential dangers of using a chainsaw are obvious, but manufacturers and distributors must make reasonable efforts to warn buyers and users of the potential dangers and how to prevent them. That includes explaining the proper use of the chainsaw and any related safety equipment.

How the New Jersey Product Liability Act Affects Third-Party Claims.

If you are injured while using a chainsaw in New Jersey, the New Jersey Product Liability Act (NJPLA) affects claims made in state courts. If a defective chainsaw or other defective product causes you to suffer an injury because of that defect, the NJPLA essentially streamlines the process by ensuring all legal claims are processed as strict liability claims in state courts.

Strict liability holds third parties potentially liable for any injuries or other damages arising from product use. If a design flaw resulted in the injury, the NJPLA also provides a mechanism to hold that third party liable for damages.

Whenever filing claims for products liability in New Jersey courts, you must prove that the product was not made as it was designed. If the chainsaw was designed with a particular safety feature that the manufacturer omitted, a products liability claim could succeed at the state level.

A failure to warn claim must affirm the defendant did not provide an adequate warning or instructions on the chainsaw’s safe use. Proving a design defect in New Jersey requires proving the product could have been designed for safer use or that the risk outweighed the chainsaw’s ability to do the job. That is why you could not sue because it has an exposed chain, which is needed to provide the cutting power.

Perth Amboy Construction Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Will Assist You in Your Third-Party Liability Claim

The designers, manufacturer, and distributors of chainsaws are required to mitigate the potential dangers with proper safeguards and by fully informing owners and others about the safe use of chainsaws. If you or someone you know is injured while using a chainsaw and you want to hold the manufacturer and other third parties liable for damages, the experienced Perth Amboy construction accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr can help you build and present a strong case. Call us today at 877-249-4600 or 732-249-4600 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Highland Park, New Jersey, we serve clients in New Brunswick, Somerset, Piscataway, Edison, South River, Sayreville, Metuchen, East Brunswick, South Plainfield, Fords, Middlesex, Old Bridge, Iselin, Bound Brook, Perth Amboy, Colonia, Elizabeth, and Newark.

 

When can an Injured Construction Worker File a Third-Party Claim?

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third-party-liability

If you become injured while working on a construction site, you rely on Workers’ Compensation to help pay your bills. The problem is although it will help cover some of the economic expenses you have encountered, it will not recoup your emotional loss, nor will it make up for any other impact that may result from your accident.

Although you cannot file a claim against your company, you do have the option to go after any third party that could be responsible for your accident. These can be complicated cases and can be helped along when you bring in a lawyer experienced in construction accidents.

What are the Drawbacks of Workers’ Compensation?

After you become injured working on a construction site, Workers’ Compensation should reimburse you for your medical expenses. You will have to go to the doctors that your company’s insurance requests and make sure to keep all your records and bills for your claim. Workers’ Compensation will also reimburse you for lost wages you may have experienced because you had to miss work while you were recuperating.

Although it is great to have a safety net when it comes to these expenses, there are certain trade-offs. Workers’ Compensation will reimburse your lost wages; however, it will only pay a fraction of your salary. In addition, there are other expenses and emotional trauma that you experience from an accident for which Workers’ Compensation will not reimburse you, and you cannot file a claim against your company, as that is the trade-off to receiving Workers’ Compensation.

That means if your injury prevents you from handling chores around the house to the point at which you must hire someone to do them for you, those expenses will be coming out of your own pocket. Workers’ Compensation will not pay for your pain and suffering, loss of quality of life, nor loss of consortium.

What is a Third-Party Injury Claim?

A third-party claim is one that is brought against another entity that bears all or a portion of the responsibility for the circumstances that caused your accident. It can be an individual or a business, so long as there can be a direct connection to their actions leading to your accident.

There are several entities that could be held liable as third parties in your accident. They include:

  • Property owner: This person could be responsible for maintaining the work environment where you company is operating, including a private residence. They could be responsible for an accident if they fail to keep it clean and safe.
  • Manufacturer: You could have become injured while operating a machine at work or the safety equipment you were using failed. Even though your company might have failed to inspect the equipment, you can file a claim against the individuals who manufactured it.
  • Driver: Not all accidents occur while you are on a site. You could be transporting materials to a site and be hit by another vehicle that causes your injuries. Although this is still a work-related accident, you can file a claim against the other driver for damages.
  • Subcontractor: Before you begin work at a site, your employer may hire another company to install equipment or bring certain machines onto the site. They might not properly install that equipment, which cause lead to your accident, making them liable.

You can file a claim against a third party as you are still working through your Workers’ Compensation, although depending on the amount you receive through your third-party claim, you may be required to return some of the money you collected from Workers’ Compensation.

When you file a claim against a third party, your lawyer will have to demonstrate how their actions caused your injures. To win the case, the lawyer will have to prove that:

  • You had a work-related accident.
  • The third party owed you a duty of care.
  • The third party failed in their duty of care.
  • Your suffered verifiable injuries as a direct result.

It is important that you speak with a lawyer soon after your accident so that you can understand your legal options in seeking compensation beyond Workers’ Compensation.

What Should I Do after My Accident?

If you have experienced an accident at the construction site where you are working, there are several steps that you should take to protect yourself and leave the option available to you if you chose to file a third-party claim in the future:

  • Call emergency services: If you have been injured in an accident, you should seek medical treatment right away. Even if you do not believe you sustained any injuries, you should have yourself checked out by a doctor.
  • Document the scene: Once you are able, take notes about what took place at the scene of the accident. Note the conditions that existed that contributed to your accident as well as the circumstances that led to it.
  • Speak to witnesses: In addition to documenting the case, you should also speak with anyone who witnessed the accident who can verify your recollection. Make sure you get their names and contact information in case your lawyer needs to get in touch with them later.
  • Report the accident: After an injury occurs, you must report it to your supervisor. This is a necessary step, particularly if you plan to collect Workers’ Compensation. If you are taken to the hospital immediately after your injury, report the accident or have a trusted co-worker do it as soon as possible.

You will need to decide soon after your accident if you intend to file a third-party claim. The statute of limitations for such a claim in New Jersey is two years from the day of the accident. Although it may seem like a large window, that time can go quickly, so you should speak with a construction accident lawyer right away to determine if it makes sense for you to move forward on a third-party claim.

South River Construction Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Take on Your Fight in Your Third-Party Liability Claim

Workers’ Compensation is a great benefit for workers who are injured on a construction site. Unfortunately, it will only provide so much for you and your family. You might find other expenses piling up because of your injury. Filing a third-party liability claim can help fill that gap. The South River construction accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr can help determine if you have such a case and help you with it. We will fight to see that you obtain the compensation you deserve. Call us today at 877-249-4600 or 732-249-4600 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Highland Park, New Jersey, we serve clients in New Brunswick, Somerset, Piscataway, Edison, South River, Sayreville, Metuchen, East Brunswick, South Plainfield, Fords, Middlesex, Old Bridge, Iselin, Bound Brook, Perth Amboy, Colonia, Elizabeth, and Newark.