Articles Posted in Workplace Accidents/Construction Accidents

There are certain jobs that have a greater degree of inherent danger associated with them. One such job are tower climber positions. Tower climbers are workers who, as part of their job, go up communication towers, like cellphone towers, in order to perform work on them. Workplace safety is of the utmost importance in such higher-danger industries, as work accidents in such industries can have utterly devastating results.

The fatality statistics for tower climbers from last year and the start of this year are a cause for alarm. Thirteen tower climbers died on the job in 2013 and there have been four such deaths in the opening five weeks of 2014. This reverses a brief slowdown that had been occurring when it comes to fatalities in this industry.

Another thing that has been occurring when it comes to communication towers in recent times is that there has been a rush to upgrade such towers to include LTE technology.

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Workplace safety should always be a top priority at manufacturing plants. Accidents at manufacturing plants can have severe consequences; in some instances, they even lead to explosions occurring. Explosions at manufacturing plants can result in workers suffering a variety of serious injuries, such as burn injuries or injuries caused by being struck by flying debris.

On Monday afternoon, a pair of explosions occurred at a manufacturing plant in another state in the New England area, New Hampshire. The plant is a ball bearing factory.

According to a fire official, the two explosions happened in a chemical mixing area of the manufacturing plant. The two explosions happened in rapid succession, with the second one being larger than the first.

The exact cause of the explosions is still unclear, and the explosions are under investigation.

According to the Boston Globe article which reported on this story, the explosions caused 13 people to get injured. Two of the individuals suffered critical injuries and four of the individuals suffered serious injuries. The 13 hurt individuals were hospitalized following the explosions.

Being the victim of an explosion at one’s workplace can be an incredibly traumatic experience for a worker. The long-term and short-term impacts of such workplace incidents can be numerous.

The process of seeking financial relief for such impacts can be a very complex one. However, workers don’t have to go through this process alone. Personal injury attorneys can help individuals here in Massachusetts who have been hurt in a workplace explosion with the relief-seeking process.

Source: The Boston Globe, “13 injured in blasts at factory in N.H.,” Travis Andersen, Haven Orecchio-Egresitz and Derek J. Anderson, Feb. 10, 2014

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A rail worker was recently hurt in a workplace accident here in Massachusetts.

The worker in question is a man from Greenfield who works at a rail yard in Deerfield. An accident occurred while the man was working by some railroad tracks at the yard on Jan. 28. The article on the Recorder’s website which reported this story did not have any details on the specific nature of the accident.

The man suffered a traumatic leg injury in the accident. He was transported by air to a hospital in Springfield, where he was listed in fair condition.

Leg injuries suffered in the workplace can have major care and medical costs connected to them. Such injuries can also sometimes take a person out of the workforce for awhile, thus impacting their ability to bring in income.

Consequently, workers who have suffered work-related leg injuries can find themselves in a difficult financial position. Thankfully, there are several different options for pursuing monetary relief that an injured worker may have access to, such as: workers’ compensation claims, disability benefits claims and third-party personal injury claims. Which specific options are available for a given worker whose leg was hurt in a workplace accident can depend on several things, including: what the cause of the accident was, what parties contributed to the accident and what specific impacts the injury is having on the worker. Experienced workplace accident attorneys can help injured workers come up with a relief-seeking strategy that is appropriate for their given situation.

Source: The Recorder, “Deerfield Rail Yard worker gets injured,” Jan. 28, 2014

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When a person is injured in a workplace accident in the Boston area, it is very important to seek legal counsel soon after the incident. On-the-job injuries not only result in steep medical bills, but also lost wages and, in some cases, temporary or permanent disability. Depending on the nature of a workplace accident, the options for recovering compensation in Massachusetts vary and it is important that injured workers understand their rights in this regard.

According to CBS Boston, a worker was seriously injured earlier today at a chemical plant in West Lynn. A fire was reported at the facility just before 11 a.m. this morning, and the worker suffered burn injuries and was transported from the worksite on Summer Street to Mass. General Hospital.

It has been reported that the worker was working with chemicals at the plant when vapors suddenly ignited, causing a flash fire. The worker suffered facial burns, according to the CBS Boston report.

The chemical plant makes flame-retardant textile coatings as well as water-based polyurethane coatings for floors and leather seating.

After any workplace accident, injured workers and their families may be entitled to pursue different forms of compensation, including workers’ compensation benefits, disability benefits, and/or personal injury claims. After suffering serious injuries on the job, recovery is the first thing on the minds of many injured workers. It is very important, however, to ensure that injured workers in the Boston area are not unnecessarily burdened by financial hardships in the wake of a workplace accident.

Source: CBS Boston, “Worker Burned In ‘Flash Fire’ At Lynn Chemical Plant,” Dec. 18, 2013

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On Monday evening, a 46-year-old worker was killed at Boston Bridge and Steel, near East Boston’s shipyard, after being tragically crushed by a 12,000-pound steel beam. The accident is the second fatal industrial incident to take place in the city within a five-day span, according to My Fox Boston. In the earlier incident, a construction worker died in a scissor lift accident.

The exact causes of these accidents have not yet been reported.

When fatal workplace accidents take place in Massachusetts, it is very important for the loved ones of the victims to seek legal guidance. In many cases, family members can obtain compensation for funeral expenses and lost wages, but this can be a fairly complicated process, depending on the nature of the accident. In some cases, families are best served by obtaining workers’ compensation benefits; but, in other cases, a third-party may have caused the accident, making it important for family members to file a wrongful death claim. While compensation certainly cannot bring a loved one back, it is important to ensure that Boston area families are not unnecessarily financially burdened due to the sudden loss of a loved one in a workplace accident.

In any event, it is always important to determine the cause of any fatal workplace accident in order to ensure that steps are taken to prevent additional accidents, as well as to hold any parties that may be accountable responsible for their actions. Sometimes, construction accidents and industrial accidents are caused by defective equipment or safety gear, for example, and it is critical for such issues to be addressed.

Source: Fox 25, “12,000 pound steel beam kills worker in East Boston,” Gail Waterhouse, Dec. 10, 2013

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As any Massachusetts construction worker can tell you, construction work is dangerous. A large number of construction workers and even passersby suffer injuries and death every year due to the dangerous conditions on and around jobsites. When someone is injured on or near a construction site, it is important to seek legal counsel in order to learn how to obtain compensation and seek justice. The same is true for the loved ones of those killed in workplace accidents.

Depending on the circumstances and nature of an accident, it may be important to file legal claims against a variety of parties. For example, several lawsuits have been filed against a contractor, subcontractor and others after a building that was under construction collapsed in June, killing six people and injuring 13 others.

That construction accident took place in Philadelphia as three attached storefronts were being taken down. During construction, a brick wall was left unsupported and it collapsed onto a neighboring Salvation Army store. Shoppers and employees were among the victims.

In the aftermath of the tragedy, the contractor has been charged with multiple counts of murder and involuntary manslaughter. An equipment operator, a subcontractor on the job, is also facing involuntary manslaughter and criminal conspiracy charges. As mentioned earlier, they are both facing lawsuits filed by victims and their families.

According to the allegations, the contractor cut corners leading to a hazardous construction site and ultimately the collapse. The equipment operator was allegedly operating machinery while under the influence of drugs.

This tragedy is a high-profile reminder of what can happen when contractors and other parties fail to follow safety regulations and prevent known hazards on construction sites here in Boston. When contractors and building owners put profits over safety, construction workers as well as others may pay the price.

Source: Associated Press, “Contractor charged with murder, manslaughter in Philadelphia building collapse that killed 6,” MaryClaire Doyle, Nov. 25, 2013

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In recent years, the number of women in construction has increased dramatically. From 1985 to 2007, the number of women employed in construction grew by more than 81 percent, according to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. However, women still make up only 9 percent of the construction workforce in the U.S., according to OSHA.

One thing that may keep some women from entering the field of construction in Massachusetts is the number of safety risks; women actually face quite a few more safety risks than men in this field. 

One problem is that the protective gear that is designed for construction workers is designed with men in mind. Protective gear may not fit women, and it may not adequately protect women from harm.

Women also deal with insufficient sanitation facilities on many jobsites, which can lead to illness and injury. And, women also may be subjected to reproductive hazards on the job.

The National Association of Women in Construction has recently formed an alliance with OSHA to focus on some of these safety concerns, according to a recent report.

Although construction is inherently dangerous to a degree, workers – both men and women – have the right to work in a safe workplace. The law requires all employers to provide working conditions free from known hazards. It is crucial for construction employers to make sure that the hazards that are unique to women are controlled.

Those who are injured on construction sites in the Boston area should not hesitate to contact a construction accident attorney.

Source: Risk & Insurance, “Partnership targets women at risk in construction,” Nancy Grover, Oct. 21, 2013

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Last week, we wrote about the tragic fatal accident that claimed the life of a Massachusetts tree trimmer. The 26-year-old accident victim, who had been working for the Holliston landscaping company for 10 years, was killed when his chainsaw reportedly came into contact with a high-voltage power line while he was trimming trees.

In the wake of the workplace accident, safety experts say that the tragedy could have been easily avoided if the electric lines had been de-energized before the workers began trimming trees in the area.

A trainer with the Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health said that workers should call the local utility company if they are dealing with tree branches that are less than 10 feet from a power line.

The safety expert said that it may seem like a pain at the time to take this extra step, but it can mean the difference between life and death.

“If you can turn it off, de-energize it…The next best thing to do, shield it. The utility companies will do their best to send somebody out. They’ll put these rubber coverings on,” he said.

According to MassCOSH, about one in eight workplace fatalities in Massachusetts last year involved tree work. In 2012, there were a total of four fatalities involving tree work and this year there have been two fatalities so far.

Many workers who are exposed to hazards on the job think that it is something that they must just deal with, but that is not the case. When workers feel that they are in harm’s way, they should immediately report the dangerous conditions to safety officials who can deal with the employers directly.

Source: WBZ-TV, “Safety Experts: Simple Move Can Prevent Tree Trimming Tragedies,” Christina Hager, Aug. 22, 2013

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A tragic workplace accident claimed the life of a Massachusetts man on Tuesday. The 26-year-old, who had been working with a Holliston landscaping company for 10 years, was reportedly trimming trees with a chainsaw when the chainsaw hit a powerline.

The worker was shocked and suffered severe burn injuries. According to reports, emergency responders had a difficult time reaching the worker at first because he was in an aerial bucket and there was concern that the lifting device had also been electrically charged.

Emergency responders finally reached the worker after the aerial lift had been moved away from the power lines. He was then taken by helicopter to a hospital in Boston where he died.

Co-workers of the man said they are stricken by grief as a result of the accident. They said only a week earlier they had celebrated the man’s 10 years with the company.

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration has opened an investigation into the incident, which will determine if any workplace safety violations contributed to the accident. The investigation is expected to take up to six months, and if safety violations are discovered, the employer could potentially face serious OSHA fines.

Workplace accidents involving electrocutions are often catastrophic. Workers who survive the accidents are often left in excruciating pain and need many surgeries. That’s why it’s so important that safety rules are strictly adhered to when workers are in close proximity to power lines.

Following serious workplace accidents, workers or their families often have several ways in which they may be entitled to compensation, including through workers’ compensation benefits, a third-party injury claim or a disability benefits claim.

Source: MetroWest Daily News, “Grieving process begins in death of tree worker,” Joe O’Connell, Aug. 22, 2013

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Trucking accidents are more common than they should be in Massachusetts, and they often result in serious or fatal injuries. We have learned over the past several years that truck accidents can often be prevented by limiting the number of consecutive hours truck drivers are allowed to be on the road, as many accidents result from truckers drifting off or failing to pay attention behind the wheel.

Therefore, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has imposed rules regulating allowable driving hours. The problem is that many trucking companies — as well as many drivers — ignore these rules and end up putting the public at risk. Unfortunately, sometimes when truckers tell their employers that they don’t want to run over hours, retaliatory action is taken against them.

An example of this occurred in Massachusetts when a Massachusetts-based motor carrier fired an employee driver for refusing to go over his allowable driving hours.

Brillo Motor Transportation and its owner were ordered by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration office in Boston to rehire the trucker and pay him $96,864 in back wages and interest. OSHA also ordered the company to pay the worker $9,669 in compensatory damages and $25,000 in punitive damages for violating the Surface Transportation Assistance Act when the worker was fired in December 2010.

OSHA’s New England regional administrator explained that employers “do not have the right to take adverse action against an employee who refuses to violate safety regulations designed to protect him and the public.”

As you can see, this is an issue that OSHA takes very seriously, and rightly so.

Source: truckinginfo.com, “OSHA Fines Carrier for Firing Driver Who Refused to Run Over Hours,” July 23, 2013

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