Category: Workers’ Compensation

Is COVID-19 Covered by Workers’ Compensation?

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Can you file a Workers’ Compensation claim if you contracted coronavirus through your work or employment? Will Workers’ Compensation pay for your medical treatment, time out of work, and any permanent disability caused by your coronavirus diagnosis?

There have been no specific rulings on these questions yet.

Did your coronavirus illness arise out of or during the course of your employment, or did you contract coronavirus directly from your workplace?

The answers to these questions may depend on your profession. For example, there is a strong argument that health care professionals, such as nurses, working with coronavirus patients can easily contract the disease through their work. It is more probable than not that they contracted the disease through their work.

Each case must be evaluated individually, but there may be compensation for physical damages related to COVID-19. Additionally, if a relative or spouse died from COVID-19, there may be dependency benefits available to you. Our Highland Park Workers’ Compensation lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr help workers obtain compensation for work-related illnesses. If you believe you have contracted the coronavirus at work and wish to have a free consultation, contact us online or call us at 877-249-4600. 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, and Colonia.

Can I Get Workers’ Compensation If I am Hurt Off-the-Clock?

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When a worker is injured on the job, they are entitled to Workers’ Compensation benefits. However, these legal lines often blur when the employee sustains their injury off duty. When an injury occurs during lunch or a break, the employee may wonder whether they are entitled to Workers’ Compensation benefits. The answer to this question depends on the case and a few other variables, like the location of the injury, what interest the task served, and the worker’s job description. Ultimately, this determines what injury is compensable or not.

What is Workers’ Compensation?

Workers’ Compensation is an insurance that helps cover the costs of a work-related injury. The benefits one receives from Workers’ Compensation helps to cover medical bills, treatment, lost wages, disability benefits, and other expenses related to the injury. In return, the employer is generally protected from obtaining a lawsuit from the injured worker.

Fortunately, injured workers do not need to prove that their employer is responsible for their injury. However, they do need to prove that their injury or illness is work-related. Many may define a work day from when they get to the worksite to when they leave. However, it is more complicated than that. An employee may be considered off-the-clock during the work day.

A worker might be considered off duty during lunch or break. This may prevent them from obtaining Workers’ Compensation since the injury is not work-related; however, there is an exception to this rule. If the worker is performing a job for the employer, their break could still be considered work-related. However, if the employee was on a break and did not help the employer, they are likely not entitled to Workers’ Compensation. The interest of the task impacts whether it is compensable. However, this may depend on the victim’s state laws, therefore, they should contact a Workers’ Compensation lawyer to discuss their legal options.

What is Considered a Job-Related Duty?

An injured worker can still obtain Workers’ Compensation for an injury that happened while off-the-clock; however, this is only true if the employee performed job-related duties during the time of the injury. Job-related duties include any action that benefits the employer. It is crucial to look at a few factors, including the location of the injury and what the worker was doing. Both of these factors can help determine whether the employee was still doing job-related duties. Ultimately, this determines whether the injury is compensable or not.

Are Injuries from Car Accidents Compensable?

In general, if a worker obtains an injury while on their commute, it is not considered compensable because of state portal-to-portal laws. These laws state that an individual is not covered by Workers’ Compensation until they get to the worksite. Similarly, their insurance ends when they leave at the end of their shift. This is because their commute is not for the benefit of the employer. However, if the worker’s commute changed because the employer asked them to complete a task, it could be considered work-related. Ultimately, the idea of interest impacts whether or not the injury is considered compensable.

What if My Employer Asked Me to Perform the Task?

Another thing to consider is whether the worker completed several tasks during a break, including some that were personal and others that were job-related. For example, an employer may ask a worker if they can perform a job-related task while on their lunch break. In these situations, the court will determine whether the injury is compensable by looking at the employee’s route. If the route was deviated only slightly for personal interests, the worker is likely still entitled to Workers’ Compensation benefits. However, if the employee’s personal tasks were the main tasks at hand when the accident occurred, then the liability falls to the driver. Since the business was personal, an employer is not responsible to pay compensation.

What if I Was Injured on My Employer’s Property?

Employees might also be covered by Workers’ Compensation if they face an injury on an employer’s premises. According to most state laws, a worker’s shift begins when they enter an area controlled by the employer. A controlled area may include property that an employer pays taxes on, owns, or pays mortgage on. Areas might be sidewalks, grassy areas, parking lots, among other places. For example, if an employee suffers an injury on the property after finishing their shift, they are likely still entitled to Workers’ Compensation benefits.

Workers who work off an employer premises could also receive benefits. For instance, a delivery driver who was injured in a car accident could receive Workers’ Compensation for their injuries. This is because the accident occurred while the employee was performing job-related duties. However, they may not receive compensation if they stray from their route.

Is Mental Illness Compensable?

A mental illness could impact one’s ability to work. Mental illness affects millions of Americans each year. Symptoms associated with mental illness could lead to lost work time, medical bills, and other losses. However, it may be difficult to prove that a mental illness is work-related. For instance, if a worker had symptoms of mental illness prior to their employment, they may need to prove that their job aggravated their stable condition. In order to prove that a mental illness is related to work, the victim likely needs both psychiatric documentation and a good lawyer that can help advocate for their case.

Highland Park Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Help Injured Workers Obtain Workers’ Compensation

If you or a loved one has a workplace injury or illness, you should contact one of our Highland Park Workers’ Compensation lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr. Our lawyers help injured workers obtain entitled compensation for their injuries. This can ultimately help alleviate the financial losses associated with injuries, including medical bills and lost wages. If you are interested in exploring your legal options, contact us online or call us at 732-249-4600 for a free consultation. Located in Highland Park, New Jersey, we proudly serve workers throughout New Brunswick, Somerset, Piscataway, Edison, South River, Sayreville, Metuchen, East Brunswick, South Plainfield, Fords, Middlesex, Old Bridge, Iselin, Bound Brook, Perth Amboy, and Colonia.

Will I Receive Workers’ Compensation for COVID-19?

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As the coronavirus continues to sweep the nation, workers are wondering if they qualify for Workers’ Compensation benefits if they contract COVID-19 on the job. In most states, the only workers that may qualify for Workers’ Compensation benefits are those who work in the health care field or as a first responder. The nature of your job and the specific circumstances surrounding your workplace will determine if you qualify for benefits.

How Are Workers Protected?

The New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Act was originally passed in 1911 and then amended to include those with occupational illnesses. Illnesses and diseases contracted through the workplace included anthrax poisoning, lead poisoning, mercury poisoning, and Caisson disease, among others. The act was amended once again in 1949 to compensate workers for other health problems that were caused by their workplaces.

Does Workers’ Compensation Cover Illnesses?

Workers’ Compensation normally covers diseases that workers contract at work or because of their work. The challenge with the coronavirus is that it can be difficult to figure out where someone contracted the virus from. A worker may state that he or she was exposed to COVID-19 at work, but this might not necessarily be the case. A widespread, infectious disease affects the whole community, and it is difficult to pinpoint the exact person or place of where it came from.

What if You Contract Coronavirus at Work?

In New Jersey, the courts have been more lenient with granting Workers’ Compensation benefits to those who believe that they were exposed to the coronavirus at work. The worker in question needs to prove a probable link between their workplace conditions and the occupational disease to be considered for benefits. It is recommended to hire a Workers’ Compensation lawyer for help with legal disputes and appeals and to help with the process of filing a claim through the worker’s employer.

In recent news, the New Jersey Senate President, Stephen Sweeney, has discussed his new legislation proposal that will provide compensation to essential workers if they get sick at work. If an essential worker contracts the coronavirus from interacting with the public during work hours, he or she might be eligible for Workers’ Compensation benefits.

Should You Contact a Lawyer?

For complicated Workers’ Compensation claims, the best option is to contact a skilled Workers’ Compensation attorney who can help navigate your case. Each case is different and there is no guarantee that, despite the current laws delegating Workers’ Compensation benefits, your case will be denied. Our legal team can help ensure that appropriate benefits are obtained.

Piscataway Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Advocate for Victims of COVID-19

If you believe that you have contracted COVID-19 through your workplace, our Piscataway Workers’ Compensation lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr will fight for your rights. We understand the difficulties involved in this pandemic and its impact on workers across the country. For a free consultation, call us at 732-249-4600 or 877-249-4600 or contact us online. 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, and Colonia.

Hazards for Warehouse Workers

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Working in a warehouse has always been extremely hazardous. Today, there is an additional threat due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Serious injuries among warehouse workers, especially workers who operate forklifts, are surprisingly common. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), about 100 employees are killed every year in forklift accidents, and 95,000 workers are injured. Forklift turnovers caused most of these injuries and deaths.

For warehouse workers, managers, and corporations, it is important to follow OSHA guidelines to prevent injuries and costly Workers’ Compensation claims. Additionally, it is crucial to recognize common accidents and injuries to prevent them. To prevent accidents, overseers can adhere to the following OSHA guidelines:

  • Properly train and certify forklift operators
  • Make certain that operators are at least 18 years old
  • Maintain equipment
  • Identify potential hazards before use
  • Follow the right procedures while loading and unloading
  • Drive at safe speeds, which is no more than five miles per hour

Slip and Falls

Slip and fall accidents are common in warehouse industries. According to the United States Department of Labor, slip and falls account for 15 percent of accidental deaths and 25 percent of injury claims. Wet floors, debris, unaccounted equipment, and poor lighting are some reasons why tripping accidents occur in warehouses. OSHA recommends the following to avoid these accidents:

  • Pick up all litter
  • Keep organized and eliminate overcrowding in aisles
  • Immediately clean spills
  • Use caution tape when necessary
  • Illuminate hard-to-see areas

Repetitive Motion Injuries

Repetitive motion injuries occur due to bending, lifting, and the wear and tear of muscles and tissue. Back, hand, and leg injuries are common due to repeated motions among warehouse workers. To prevent these injuries, OSHA recommends to:

  • Review and provide enough space for workers
  • Provide rubber pads for legs and feet
  • Teach employees and supervisors to lift with their legs, not their back
  • Use back braces

Falling Objects

Warehouses are littered with heavy items. Being hit by falling objects happens because items can shift on shelves. When unloading, it is crucial to be mindful of shapes and the weight of items. Properly store merchandise and make sure they are safely secured.

COVID-19

Today, the novel coronavirus has been invading warehouses, especially in Amazon environments. Several Amazon employees across the United States have made headlines because of their Coronavirus diagnosis, including a worker in the Edison, New Jersey location. Amazon has been extremely critiqued by its workers. Many workers feel that Amazon is not doing enough measures to ensure their safety and that universal testing should be required. If a worker feels that their work environment is unsafe, they are encouraged to speak to an experienced attorney to discuss their options.

Highland Park Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Advocate for Injured Warehouse Workers

Warehouse industries should follow strict guidelines to prevent injuries and accidents. If you feel your employer failed to provide a safe workspace, our Highland Park Workers’ Compensation lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr will evaluate your case and determine if you are eligible for compensation. Contact us online or call us at 732-249-4600 for a free consultation. 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, and Colonia.

Types of Workers’ Compensation Benefits

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Employees that suffer a work-related accident or illness are entitled to Workers’ Compensation insurance benefits. Knowing what benefits are available and what your legal rights are to claim these benefits can ensure that you receive the maximum amount of compensation available.

What Type of Workers’ Compensation Benefits Can I Expect?

State laws regarding Workers’ Compensation benefits vary, but most plans include the following benefits:

  • Medical Benefits: Doctor visits, prescription medications, surgeries, hospitalizations, emergency room visits, wheelchairs, walkers, assisted mobility devices, and pain management services related to work injuries or illnesses are covered under Workers’ Compensation.
  • Rehabilitative Services: Workers may require physical or cognitive therapy as part of their recovery or ongoing medical treatment plan. These benefits are provided under Workers’ Compensation insurance. Vocational rehabilitation services are also provided for those that need retraining to return to their job or for those unable to return to their former line of work. Vocational rehabilitation can cover the cost of evaluation, tuition, retraining, and expenses incurred with these services.
  • Disability Benefits: Compensation for lost wages is available for those workers that cannot return to work. There are four different categories of disability benefits:

Temporary total disability is offered to those that cannot work during a short-term recovery period.

Temporary partial disability provides differential pay when an injured worker can only return to work in a limited capacity for a limited amount of time.

Permanent partial disability is offered to workers with a disability that partially limits their ability to work. The length of payments is limited in most states.

Permanent total disability is for workers that have suffered an injury or illness that prevents them from returning to work in any capacity.

  • Death Benefits: Compensation is available to spouses, children, and other relatives that were financially dependent on a worker who suffered a fatal work-related injury or illness. A portion of the worker’s salary will be paid in increments or in one lump sum to compensate for the loss of the deceased’s income. A funeral expense benefit is also available to the family.

Are there Limits or Restrictions to Workers’ Compensation Benefits?

In most states, employers can require injured workers to get medical treatment from a list of authorized doctors and medical facilities. Prior authorization for medical and diagnostic testing and treatments may be necessary. While most treatments and tests are covered by Workers’ Compensation benefits, experimental and investigative therapies may be denied.

Workers’ Compensation benefits are calculated using the salary or wages earned before the workplace injury or illness occurred. The average benefit amount is two-thirds of the employee’s wages. Compensation from Workers’ Compensation are generally not subject to income taxes.

In some cases, Workers’ Compensation benefits can be initially denied. An experienced and knowledgeable Workers’ Compensation lawyer can dispute the denial through an appeals process. There are strict deadlines to be met during the appeals process and evidence required to support the claim.

Piscataway Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Help Injured Workers Claim Workers’ Compensation Benefits

If you have suffered a work-related illness or injury, you may be eligible for compensation. Our Piscataway Workers’ Compensation lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr will fight for your rights and help you obtain maximum compensation for your injuries. Contact us online or call us at 732-249-4600 for a free consultation. Located in Highland Park, New Jersey, we also serve clients in New Brunswick, Somerset, Edison, South River, Sayreville, Metuchen, East Brunswick, South Plainfield, Fords, Middlesex, Old Bridge, Iselin, Bound Brook, Perth Amboy, and Colonia.

What is Facet Joint Syndrome?

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Facet joint syndrome is a degenerative arthritic condition in the spine where the cartilage between the joints wears down and causes severe pain in the back and neck. Facet joint syndrome is caused by many factors, including stress on the spine caused by repetitive movements. Workers in construction, manufacturing, agriculture, and office environments can become victims of facet joint syndrome when repetitive tasks are part of their daily work responsibilities.

What are the Symptoms of Facet Joint Syndrome?

Pain and decreased mobility and stiffness are the leading symptoms of facet joint syndrome. Unfortunately, by the time a victim seeks help from a medical professional, damage to the joints is already done. Inflammation in the joints, bone rubbing, and nerve damage is most often in its advanced stages at the time of diagnosis.

Facet joint syndrome typically affects people between 40 and 70 years of age. This arthritic condition can also be caused by a combination of repetitive tasks, obesity, poor posture, and spinal injuries. When the disorder is advanced, mobility and pain issues can significantly reduce a person’s ability to work.

Treatment for Facet Joint Syndrome

Treatment for facet joint syndrome should begin immediately upon diagnosis. The common course of treatment includes:

  • Adjustments to posture
  • Work environment accommodations to support proper spinal position
  • Physical therapy
  • Exercises to strengthen leg, back, and abdominal muscles
  • Anti-inflammatory medication
  • Mechanical bracing
  • Muscle relaxers
  • Steroid joint injections
  • Nerve block
  • Radio frequency ablation
  • Surgery

Workers’ Compensation Benefits

When a worker suffers an injury or illness due to an accident, exposure to a toxic work environment, or from repetitive movements, Workers’ Compensation benefits can provide much needed compensation for medical bills and lost wages. Facet joint syndrome resulting from repetitive tasks required by a worker’s job duties will most likely be covered under Workers’ Compensation insurance, so long as the victim can provide medical evidence that the condition was the direct result of their job duties.

In some cases, Workers’ Compensation benefits can be initially denied. This does not mean that benefits will not be provided. Workers that have been denied benefits can appeal the decision and claim the benefits they deserve. Consulting with an experienced Workers’ Compensation lawyer can ensure that the legal rights of the victim are protected and that they claim the maximum amount of compensation they are entitled to receive.

Piscataway Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Help Workers Claim Workers’ Compensation Benefits

If you were diagnosed with facet joint syndrome, contact the Piscataway Workers’ Compensation lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr today. We will review your case and fight for the benefits you rightfully deserve. Call us at 732-249-4600 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation today. 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, and Colonia.

Hand Vibration Syndrome

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Hand vibration syndrome, or commonly known as HAVS, is a disorder that affects the hands and forearms, it is caused by prolonged exposure to vibrating tools. HAVS is a widely recognized workplace injury that can lead to significant long-term medical problems for employees.

According to the National Association of Safety Professionals, around two million workers in the United States are exposed to hand-arm vibration, and half of the workers that are exposed will later develop this debilitating disorder. The organization also emphasizes that practicing certain safety measures can prevent the disorder.

Causes of HAVS

Vibrating tools are used across a variety of different industries, and those who use these tools should be aware of the hazards. The tools that cause HAVS include scabblers, power jigsaws, angle grinders, needle guns, asphalt brakers, pneumatic drills, sanders, polishers, compactors, chipping tools, jackhammers, and riveters. These tools can send strong vibrations into the worker’s hands, arms, and even down the entire length of the body. Experts agree that any type of vibration tool can produce hand-arm vibration, and prolonged exposure increases the risk of getting HAVS.

HAVS Symptoms

Hand-arm vibration can lead to serious vascular injuries; the vibration reduces blood flow and damages the capillaries. It can also affect the muscle structure, which can eventually reduce grip strength. Physical damages and neurological damages are often irreversible.

The initial symptoms of HAVS are tingling sensations and numb fingers. Fingers can also turn white and become swollen when they are cold. After fingers are warm, they can become red and painful. The loss of nerve sensation and grip strength is also common.

This weakness and loss of feeling in the fingers can make it quite difficult to pick up small objects, like nails and pins. Increased numbness, tingling or pain in the fingers, hands, wrists, and arms can also affect the ability to perform daily functions. Wet and cold weather can further aggravate the condition.

Preventing HAVS

Experts offer several recommendations to protect workers from developing HAVS:

  • Companies can switch to tools that have lower vibration.
  • Companies can reduce the employee’s exposure by incorporating time limits on vibrating tools.
  • Employees should grip tools as lightly as possible; tight grips increase vibration coupling.
  • Employees should keep their hands warm and appropriately use hand gloves.
  • Equipment should be properly maintained, and workers should be trained on using the tools.

Experts explain that not all workers will develop this syndrome. But for some workers, it can develop within months or years. If the syndrome occurs, it is irreversible. The best advice is to practice safety measures while operating these tools.

New Brunswick Construction Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Help Employees Injured in Construction Accidents

If you have HAVS or suffer from other workplace injuries, you may be eligible for compensation. Our Brunswick construction accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr will fight for you to obtain the compensation you deserve. Contact us online or call us at 877-249-4600 for a free consultation. Located in Highland Park, New Jersey, we also serve clients in New Brunswick, Somerset, Piscataway, Edison, South River, Sayreville, Metuchen, East Brunswick, South Plainfield, Fords, Middlesex, Old Bridge, Perth Amboy, and Franklin Township.

Power Tool Injuries

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Power tools can cause serious injuries and even death when users do not follow proper safety or operating instructions or when defective power tools do not operate properly. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports close to one million power tool injuries and 200 deaths occur each year among construction workers, carpenters, roofers, landscapers, auto mechanics, electricians, and plumbers. Negligent power tool manufacturers, distributors, and construction companies can be held liable for power tool injuries.

Common Types of Power Tools

The most common types of power tools used in the construction industry include:

  • Power drills
  • Chainsaws, circular saws, jigsaws, miter saws, and concrete saws
  • Power wrenches
  • Nail guns and staple guns
  • Jackhammers
  • Chippers
  • Sanders
  • Chisels
  • Hydraulic jacks and airlifts
  • Compressors
  • Ceramic tile cutters
  • Lathes
  • Power washers
  • Floor sanders
  • Rotary tillers

Common Types of Power Tool Injuries

The most common types of power tool injuries include:

  • Cuts, lacerations, and bruising
  • Broken bones
  • Burns
  • Eye injuries and blindness
  • Hearing loss
  • Puncture wounds
  • Electrocution
  • Facial, head, and neck injuries
  • Spinal and back injuries
  • Amputations
  • Internal organ damage
  • Brain injury

Who is Liable for a Power Tool Injury?

Power tool injuries can result in emergency room visits, hospitalizations, surgeries, physical and cognitive rehabilitation, prescription medications, temporary or permanent disabilities, and lost wages. Compensation for these costs, including punitive and compensatory damages, can be recovered in several ways.

  • Personal Injury and Third-Party Lawsuits: Recovery for medical bills and lost wages, like punitive and compensatory damages, can be recovered in these lawsuits. Victims of work-related power tool injuries caused by negligence can hold their employer or third-parties liable for their injuries. Negligence can include improper training, inefficient personal protective equipment, lack of routine inspections, and poor maintenance of equipment.
  • Product Liability Claims: When a power tool is defective in design, manufacture, or operation, injured victims can claim compensation through product liability claims. Compensation can be claimed for marketing defects like failing to warn consumers of risks associated power tools and failure to provide proper safety and handling instructions.

Workers’ Compensation: When power tool injuries are work related, victims can claim Workers’ Compensation benefits to cover medical bills and a portion of lost wages. Workers give up their right to sue their employer when they claim this benefit.

Evidence of Negligence

Many large manufacturing companies and employers have legal teams dedicated to fight these claims, but strong evidence is needed to prove negligence. Information that is vital for a successful claim includes detailed medical records, witness testimonies, photos or videos of the power tools responsible for injuries, and the documentation for lost wages. The plaintiff will have to prove that the manufacturer or distributor was negligent in providing a safe product and that there was a breach in the manufacturer’s duty of care to the consumer that resulted in the victim’s injuries and damages.

New Brunswick Construction Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Represent Victims of Power Tool Injuries

If you or someone you know has been injured by a power tool, you may be eligible for compensation. Our experienced New Brunswick construction accident lawyers at Law Offices ofHarold J. Gerr will advocate for your rights. Contact us online or call us at 732-249-4600 for a free consultation regarding your potential case. Located in Highland Park, New Jersey, we also 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, and Colonia.

Working in Cold Weather

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Piscataway Workers’ Compensation lawyers fight for those injured working in cold weather.As record cold makes its way across the country, it is important to think about the safety of workers who do their jobs in cold conditions, whether outside or inside. Cold exposure can be a source of injuries and even death for workers. Employers have a duty to protect their employees by complying with the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA).

Cold Exposure Injuries

Exposure to cold without proper protection can result in severe injury to the body. The stress from a cold environment means the body must work harder to maintain a normal temperature. Without protection or intervention, the skin temperature drops first, and then the core temperature of the body. The following are the most common injuries from cold:

  • Frostbite: Tissue frozen by severe cold can be damaged to the point where feeling and color is lost permanently. Severe frostbite injuries may require amputation.
  • Hypothermia: This condition develops when the body temperature drops below 95 degrees Fahrenheit because heat is being lost faster than it can be replaced. Hypothermia can occur more quickly if the person is wet. Severe hypothermia leads to the body shutting down and can be fatal.
  • Trench Foot: This injury to the feet occurs after prolonged exposure to wet and cold conditions. As the body tries to prevent heat loss, it constricts blood vessels and circulation in the feet is shut down, killing the tissue. Feet lose heat 25 times faster when they are wet.
  • Chilblain: This is a skin condition caused by repeated exposure to cold that damages the capillary beds permanently. Frequently seen in the fingers and toes, as well as the cheeks and ears, the affected area turns red and itchy.

Who is at Risk?

Anyone working outside in cold temperatures must be aware of the risk of cold exposure, including postal workers, construction workers, utility workers, firefighters, and police. Indoor workers that endure a cold environment include warehouse workers, those in the food processing and cold storage industries, and supermarket workers.

Preventing Cold Injuries

Workers should receive training in preventing cold injuries and recognizing the warning signs of hypothermia. One of the most important factors in surviving hypothermia is quick intervention and treatment.

To prevent cold injuries, workers should:

  • Dress in loose layers to promote circulation of warm blood to the extremities
  • Wear protection for the face, ears, hands, and feet. Leave as little skin exposed to cold as possible and stay dry as dampness increases the rate of heat loss.
  • Take frequent breaks in warm, dry shelters to regain body temperature. Eating and drinking warm, high-calorie foods and drinks helps the body maintain its temperature. Stay away from alcohol.

Piscataway Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Fight for Workers Injured by Cold Exposure

If you were injured by exposure to cold conditions on the job, you may be eligible for compensation. At the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr, our Piscataway Workers’ Compensation lawyers provide personalized legal representation for each injured worker. Call us at 877-249-4600 today to schedule a free consultation or contact us online. Located in Highland Park, New Jersey, we assist injured workers throughout New Brunswick, Somerset, Piscataway, Edison, South River, Sayreville, Metuchen, East Brunswick, South Plainfield, Fords, Middlesex, Old Bridge, Iselin, Bound Brook, Perth Amboy, and Colonia.

Eye Injuries at Work

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New Brunswick Workers’ Compensation lawyers fight for those who receive eye injuries at work.An injury to the eye is a serious matter that can lead to permanent impairment. When an eye injury occurs at work, the victim needs to seek immediate medical attention. Injuries to the eye can cause temporary or permanent loss of vision, blurred vision, and lifelong disability. Workers’ Compensation benefits provide injured workers with compensation to cover their medical expenses, loss of wages, and disability.

Industries with a High Risk for Eye Injuries

Vision is vital for our quality of life, independence, and productivity. Protecting our sense of sight should be a top priority for everyone, especially for those who face an increased risk for eye injuries at work. Industries with the highest risk for eye injuries include:

  • Welding
  • Construction
  • Machinists
  • Manufacturing
  • Automotive
  • Food Industry
  • Pharmaceutical
  • Mining
  • Offshore workers
  • Oil and gas industry
  • Office work requiring long hours on the computer
  • Medical professionals exposed to body fluids
  • Electricians
  • Plumbers
  • Carpentry
  • Maintenance

Chipping, grinding, masonry work, wood-working, sawing, drilling, chiseling, sanding, and working with high powered tools can cause dust and small particles to fly off and pierce the thin covering of the eye. Severe damage to the cornea and retina can result from scratches, punctures, and exposure to bright light and chemicals.

Types of Workplace Eye Injuries

All eye injuries, even those that appear to be minor should be reported to the worker’s supervisor, manager, or employer. There are a multitude of workplace eye injuries that can occur, such as:

  • Corneal punctures and scratches
  • Dust and small fibers that become imbedded in the eye
  • Abrasions and contusions
  • Flash burns from fire, welding torches, molten metal, sun reflection, and UV radiation
  • Chemical burns and splashes
  • Computer vision syndrome
  • Infection
  • Loss of vision
  • Retinal damage
  • Impact injury to the bone, muscle, or tissue surrounding the eye

Preventing Workplace Eye Injuries

Preventing workplace eye injuries is vital to protecting vision.

  • Wear appropriate eye protection, such as safety glasses, goggles, and UV protection glasses
  • Regularly inspect and fix manufacturing equipment and power tools
  • Use machine guards and work screens
  • Wear face shields when working with chemicals, welding equipment, and blood borne pathogens
  • Regularly replace protective eyewear to ensure maximum vision and protection
  • Properly train employees on eye safety and protection
  • Post signs for workplace hazards and safety procedures
  • Provide proper lighting in work areas to maximize vision
  • Prevent long term exposure to computer screens, lasers, and fiber optics by taking frequent breaks

The United States Department of Labor reports over 20,000 workplace eye injuries occur each year, costing more than $300 million in medical treatments, lost days at work, and Workers’ Compensation benefits. Personal protective equipment and proper training for workers exposed to dangerous work environments can prevent a large number of these eye injuries.

New Brunswick Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Advocate for Worker Safety

If you have suffered a workplace eye injury, call the New Brunswick Workers’ Compensation lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr at 877-249-4600 or 732-249-4600 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation today. Our Highland Park offices 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, and Colonia, New Jersey.