Category: Workplace Injuries

How Can You Avoid Work Injuries in the High Heat?

  |   By  |  No comments

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?

   |   By  |  No comments

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?

   |   By  |  No comments

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.

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

   |   By  |  No comments

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 the Most Dangerous Jobs?

  |   By  |  No comments

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?

  |   By  |  No comments

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.

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

  |   By  |  No comments

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.

Can I Collect Workers’ Compensation for a Burn Injury?

   |   By  |  No comments

Each year, 5,000 employees are affected by serious burn injuries, according to Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) data. Additionally, on-the-job burns account for about eight percent of all burns that require medical attention. A burn injury can be claimed for Workers’ Compensation benefits. The Workers’ Compensation system allows employees to recoup the costs associated with recovery from workplace injuries. If the injured employee becomes permanently disabled due to the burn injury, the worker will likely be eligible for long-term Workers’ Compensation benefits, like permanent partial or total benefits.

However, receiving appropriate benefits for a burn injury may not happen, especially if the employee’s recovery takes longer than expected or the insurance provider denies the claim. A Workers’ Compensation lawyer can help an injured employee understand their rights and potentially help them receive higher compensation.

What are Common Types of Workplace Burns?

Each type of burn comes from a different source and is categorized as one of the following:

  • Thermal Burn: Heat-based burns result from exposure to an extremely hot surface. These injuries are common and can happen at work or home.
  • Electrical Burn: Electrical burns happen when someone gets exposed to a live electric current. The current travels rapidly through the body and may affect numerous soft tissues and organs. Although electric burns often originate from manmade sources, they can happen due to lightning.
  • Chemical Burn: Chemical burns may occur in several different ways, such as toxic gas or vapor. If a chemical is inhaled, it can damage the nose, mouth, and lungs. Corrosive chemicals may come in contact with bare skin, causing mild to severe burning.

Medical personnel assess and treat burns based on their severity. A burn can be classified as one of the following:

  • First-Degree Burn: A first-degree burn only affects the top layer of the skin. It requires the least attention and may be treated without a physician.
  • Second-Degree Burn: A second-degree burn goes deeper into the layers of the skin than a first-degree burn. Second-degree burns may cause pain, blistering, and scars.
  • Third-Degree Burn: A third-degree burn goes deeper into the body, destroying tissues and affecting nerves. Third-degree burns tend to be extremely painful and may cause permanent damage.
  • Fourth-Degree Burn: A fourth-degree burn is the most catastrophic and can be fatal. A victim of a fourth-degree burn may require years of treatment, or they may never recover from bone, soft tissue, nerve, and other damage and disfigurement.

Medical Treatments for Workplace Burns

After getting burned at work, employees may care for their wounds in a number of ways, depending on how the burn happened and its type. Some of the more common types of treatments for burns include:

  • Application of ointments and salves
  • Covering of the burn area
  • Emergency surgery
  • Skin grafts
  • Cosmetic surgery
  • Pain management
  • Physical therapy
  • Psychological treatment

In some cases, a burn may require multiple kinds of treatment and ongoing attention.

High-Risk Occupations

Not all employees are vulnerable to workplace burn injuries. However, people working in restaurants, manufacturing plants, and emergency responder environments are more apt to get burned. There are several reasons why these workers are at risk for burn injuries, including the following:

  • Restaurant workers frequently deal with hot items. These include everything from scalding water to hot plates and steaming grease.
  • Manufacturing and industrial facilities are often outfitted with hot machines, raw materials, and byproducts. Electrical burns may also happen more routinely at plants where employees deal with toxic ingredients.
  • Emergency responders may be called to fires, accidents, chemical spills, and explosions. Emergency personnel may be burned at the scene of a car accident or fire.

Additionally, certain workers may be at elevated risk for burns based on their gender and age. Any worker who has a burn injury should seek medical attention.

How can I Prevent a Burn Injury at Work?

An employee can lower their chance of a burn injury by taking precautionary measures, such as the following:

  • Maintain and clean work spaces.
  • Secure and store chemicals and flammables appropriately.
  • Wear well-fitting personal protective equipment (PPE) at all times.
  • Remain conscientious and careful around flammable or hot objects, equipment, and raw materials.
  • Repair all malfunctioning or broken equipment, including frayed wires.
  • Understand emergency procedures related to workplace burns.

What Should I Do if I Have an Occupational Burn Injury?

An employee who has been burned should take immediate action to protect themselves and limit further damage. For example, a worker who has been splashed in the face with a chemical will want to go to a designated eyewash station to flush out the chemical as much as possible.

Even in the case of what appears to be a minor burn, a worker should still get medical treatment. Seeing a health care professional helps document the extent of the burn. This information will be helpful when filing a Workers’ Compensation claim. A worker should not avoid going to an emergency room or doctor. Getting help is necessary to avoid long-term issues related to the burn.

A worker is expected to tell their supervisor about the burn accident so the company can initiate an accident report. An internal accident report is not the same as a Workers’ Compensation claim. The injured employee must ask for a claim form, fill the form, and submit the form promptly for consideration.

When Should I Contact a Lawyer?

After experiencing a first-degree burn on the job, a worker may not feel the need to contact a lawyer. On the other hand, a worker who has suffered extensive burns may want to consult with a lawyer. Workers’ Compensation insurance providers may minimize the extent of workplace burns. A lawyer can provide advice on the best way to receive the maximum amount of compensation.

New Brunswick Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Provide Assistance to Employees with Severe Burn Injuries

A burn injury can severely impair a victim. If you have a workplace burn injury, contact a New Brunswick Workers’ Compensation lawyer at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr for help. Complete our online form or call us at 732-249-4600 for a free consultation. We have an office located in Highland Park, New Jersey, and 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.

What is a Work-Related Overexertion Injury?

   |   By  |  No comments

Overexertion injuries can be very dangerous, and it is important to know the risks and what to do if they happen. Overexertion is pushing the body beyond its limits. It could be staying up all night working long shifts or carrying too much weight. Overexertion is common in the workplace and can lead to exhaustion and physical workplace injuries, like muscle tears and more.

Workplace injuries can be minor, serious, or even debilitating. Some injuries may even start out as something seemingly small, like a muscle strain or a headache, and develop into something much more severe. Workplace injuries account for a significant number of injuries and court cases in the United States each year. Sometimes, employees feel compelled to hide these injuries or to continue working because they fear repercussions from their employer. It is important to remember that health is important and anything that threatens one’s well-being should not be ignored.

Different Types of Overexertion Work Injuries

An overexertion injury can be short-term or long-term. Short-term injuries include:

  • Pulled muscles
  • Sprains to joints, like wrists and ankles
  • Excess fatigue and exhaustion
  • Bumps, bruises, cuts, and scrapes resulting from falls

Long-term injuries include permanent muscle damage, broken bones, torn muscles, and disabilities.

To avoid overexertion injuries, employees need to know their limits and not try to push beyond them. Both the employee and employer need to keep reasonable expectations for work. This will go a long way in preventing injuries.

How can I Prevent an Overexertion Work Injury?

It is important to know what steps an employee should take to prevent a work injury. Some good rules to follow for workplace safety include the following:

  • Follow safety guidelines. Most employers will have some kind of safety procedures in place. Safety procedures help employees understand how to avoid injuries.
  • Understand limitations and risks. Employees need to keep in mind the limitations of what they can do, and always remember the risks of overexertion.
  • Pay attention to hazards. Environmental hazards in the workplace can include dangerous chemicals.
  • Be aware of the signs and symptoms of an injury. Early detection is often the key to successful treatment of injuries and illnesses. By recognizing the early warning signs of fatigue or stress on both the body and mind, employees can prevent injuries from developing or getting worse.

What Should I Do if I Have a Work Injury?

After being injured at work, it is important to take the right steps. The following tips are good to follow for any sort of workplace injury:

  • Notify the employer as soon as possible. Most places of business will have a form to fill out in case of an accident. For some injuries that result from more prolonged issues like carpal tunnel syndrome, an incident report might not be requested. However, in any case of injury resulting from work, it is necessary to not only have it reported, but also have it documented at the worksite.
  • Seek medical attention. If the business has an on-site employee health nurse, that is a good first step. Otherwise, an appointment with a doctor is best as soon as possible after the discovery of the injury. In an emergency situation, calling 9-1-1 should be the first step.
  • Document what happened. For a successful Workers’ Compensation case, the employee must be able to provide detailed information about what happened. Writing down this information as soon as possible can save a lot of time in the long run.
  • Document any issues resulting from the injury. In addition to documentation of what led to the injury, it is also crucial to document the injury itself along with any symptoms.

When Should I Contact a Lawyer?

Health and safety are not issues to be taken lightly. If an employee is injured in a work accident, it is imperative to get medical attention. If an employee needs help with a Workers’ Compensation claim, they should seek legal assistance. A lawyer will ensure their client receives the maximum amount of compensation.

Highland Park Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Help Employees with Serious Overexertion Injuries

If you think your injury is the result of overexertion at work, contact one of our experienced Highland Park Workers’ Compensation lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr. Call us at 732-249-4600 or contact us online 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.

Are Construction Workers Frequently Exposed to Toxic Chemicals?

   |   By  |  No comments

Construction is a highly dangerous industry. According to statistics from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), in 2019, one out of every five worker fatalities were in the construction industry. When it comes to work injuries and illnesses, construction is one of the top 10 most dangerous occupations. Working at heights, and around electrical installations, heavy machinery, and moving vehicles, are all part of a normal day on a construction site, but workers must also be aware of the dangers associated with exposure to toxic chemicals.

How are Construction Workers Exposed to Toxic Chemicals?

Construction workers may be exposed to toxic chemicals in a variety of ways. Some common chemicals and substances include:

  • Solvents
  • Glues
  • Insulations materials
  • Paints
  • Industrial cleaning agents
  • Pesticides
  • Acids
  • Gasoline fumes
  • Hot tar
  • Carbon monoxide

Tasks requiring construction workers to remove or install insulation, weld, solder, mix and lay cement or concrete, and use paint or varnish remover are at risk. The following is a list of some of the toxic chemicals that construction workers may encounter:

  • Arsenic: Used in many wood products as a preservative.
  • Asbestos: Used in many insulation products, tiles, and bricks.
  • Beryllium: Used as an alloy element with copper and other metals, beryllium’s toxicity is highly regulated by the OSHA to protect workers.
  • Cadmium: This chemical prevents rust from forming and is present on most of the steel products found on construction sites.
  • Formaldehyde: Commonly found in wood products.
  • Hydrocarbons: These chemicals are used for cleaning and degreasing. Heat and ultraviolet radiation can turn hydrocarbons into toxic phosgene gas.
  • Zinc: Used in metal manufacturing and presents a danger to workers when the metals are cut and welded for construction.
  • Manganese: Present in welding rods and produces toxic fumes.
  • Mercury: Used in some rust-proof coatings and paints. Heat releases harmful mercury vapors.
  • Iron Oxide: Welding of steel produces toxic iron oxide fumes.
  • Lead: Some paints are lead-based, and lead is also present in metal alloys.
  • Silica: Contained in tile, stone, and sand.

What Injuries and Illnesses are Caused by Toxic Chemicals?

Exposure to toxic chemicals may not immediately affect a worker. Sometimes, symptoms show up years after exposure to a toxic substance. Examples of injuries and illnesses from exposure to toxins include:

  • Lead Poisoning: Damages the brain, reproductive system, kidneys, muscles, nervous system, and circulatory system.
  • Metal Fume Fever: A flu-like illness caused by inhaling zinc fumes. Symptoms of this serious condition include nausea, joint pain, and muscle aches, shortness of breath, and pneumonia.
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): COPD comprises a wide number of lung conditions, including emphysema. Toxic chemical exposure can cause lung irritation, emphysema, and pulmonary edema.
  • Cancer: Lung cancer, larynx cancer, and cancer of the urinary tract can occur in those welding or working near welders.
  • Manganism: Results from inhaling manganese fumes or dust and is a permanent neurological disorder similar to Parkinson’s disease that causes tremors, facial spasms, and difficulty walking. Continued exposure can cause damage to the lungs, liver, and kidneys. Symptoms that present early in the progression of the disorder include irritability, aggressiveness, and hallucinations.
  • Mesothelioma: A form of cancer caused by asbestos exposure.
  • Silicosis: This occurs in workers who inhale silica dust, usually those cutting tiles, stone, bricks, or sand blasting. The lungs become scarred, making it difficult to breathe.

What are My Rights Regarding Toxic Chemicals in the Workplace?

In New Jersey, workers have the right to be informed about the hazardous substances used on a jobsite. The New Jersey Worker and Community Right to Know Act requires both public and private employers to provide information about hazardous chemicals or toxins to their employees. This is often through Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs) about each substance, including its toxicity, reactivity, health effects, how to administer first aid, proper storage and disposal procedures, and spill and leak procedures.

Armed with this knowledge, workers can make good decisions about their employment, ensure that they know how to work safely with hazardous substances in their workplace, and protect their families. Awareness of toxic chemicals on job sites and how they affect one’s health makes it easier to obtain a correct diagnosis and treatment.

How can I Reduce Exposure to Toxic Chemicals at Work?

The first step to reducing exposure is awareness about the presence of toxic substances. Ask for the MSDSs that employers are required to keep on file. Keep an eye out for warning labels and signs, and make note of the information. There are many websites that provide detailed information about toxic chemicals and their health effects.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends several ways employers can protect their workers from exposure to toxic chemicals. Whenever it is possible, toxic chemicals or processes should be replaced with a less hazardous substance. Personal protective equipment (PPE), such as masks, personal ventilators, or protective clothing, should be provided to employees as needed. Proper ventilation must be installed for controlling hazardous airborne substances. Also, exposure to toxic chemicals can be reduced by limiting employee access to high hazard areas and installing barriers to isolate the hazard.

What Steps Should I Take After Exposure?

Anyone who suspects they have experienced a workplace exposure to toxic chemicals should see a doctor right away. Try to bring as much information about the workplace chemical as possible. Anyone injured on the job should be eligible for Workers’ Compensation benefits. Consulting with an experienced lawyer is a good way to find out about all the available legal options.

New Brunswick Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Help Workers Suffering from Injuries and Illnesses After Chemical Exposure

If you suspect your work injury or illness stems from exposure to toxic chemicals at work, contact one of our experienced New Brunswick Workers’ Compensation lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr. Call us at 732-249-4600 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Highland Park, New Jersey, we proudly 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.