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North Andover Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Blocked emergency exits can lead to workplace accidents

One of the most important ways that employers can protect the rights of their workers is to adhere to safety standards in every way possible. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, two Massachusetts Target locations have failed to do this by keeping certain exit doors blocked. This can make it more difficult for workers to escape in the event of an emergency and increase the chance of workplace accidents.

Inspectors found that the doors were blocked by things that would be difficult and cumbersome to move quickly if needed. These included carts, boxes of products, ladders, equipment and even one truck. The fines for these types of safety violations are serious, and in this case they amounted to $227,000. The stores claim that after the inspection revealed the issue the safety concerns were quickly addressed.

Your rights as a Massachusetts undocumented worker hurt at work

While the national debate about immigrants and their rights shows no sign of a quick resolution, there are already thousands of immigrants with and without documents living and working across the United States. Undocumented workers are a very important source of work for many businesses across the country and in Massachusetts.

Although federal law specifically prohibits companies from hiring undocumented workers, many businesses do so anyway, in part because they can pay undocumented workers less for dangerous or strenuous work and can often get away with violating their basic rights. Workers isolated by legal and language barriers will be less likely to stand up for themselves when the company they work for does something unsafe or illegal.

Disability benefits and the compassionate allowance

There are a lot of medical conditions that can leave an individual unable to work. Some medical issues affecting mental health, the skeletal system and the immune system are just a few that may leave an individual disabled. Coping with the physical realities of one of these disabling conditions can be challenging in and of itself, but the stark truth is that these individuals often struggle to find the financial resources needed to adequately treat their medical condition and maintain everyday stability. The Social Security disability system may provide relief to those who qualify, but the fact remains that securing these benefits can take a significant amount of time, especially if an initial claim is denied and an appeal is warranted.

Fortunately, those who suffer from the most serious of medical conditions may automatically qualify for Social Security disability benefits through what is known as a compassionate allowance. Medical conditions that qualify as a compassionate allowance are those that by their very definition meet the requirements for disability benefits. Many types of cancer qualify for compassionate allowance.

Latest numbers for workplace accidents shows rise in fatalities

Massachusetts workers can suffer injuries and fatalities in any type of job. These workplace accidents can have a negative impact on them and their families with financial and personal implications. To avoid these accidents, it is wise to be vigilant about potential risks. Part of that is understanding which jobs are statistically the most dangerous. Even workers who take all the necessary precautions could fall victim to a work accident. To seek compensation for an injury, having legal advice could be essential.

The most recent statistics for fatal workplace accidents were released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. There were 5,250 fatalities in 2018, which was a 2% increase from 2017.The highest number of worker deaths came from transportation accidents, with 2,080 total fatalities. These deaths accounted for 40% of the overall number of deaths.

What should I know about a Social Security disability review?

Massachusetts residents who are suffering from an injury, illness or condition that prevents them from working or limits their ability to work could be approved for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. Simply being approved for disability does not mean that the person will continue to get the benefits indefinitely. There are rules that must be adhered to and the Social Security Administration (SSA) requires that the recipient take part in periodic disability reviews to ensure that there has not been an improvement and the person should continue getting SSD benefits. Understanding disability reviews is important to maintaining the benefits.

The reviews will be done whether the person is getting SSD or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The time-frame for when the reviews will take place hinges on the medical condition the person suffers from. If it is a condition where improvement is expected, the initial review will be within six to 18 months following the date of disability. If the improvement is possible, but it is not predictable, the case will be reviewed around every three years. If no improvement is expected, the case will be reviewed every seven years.

Amazon fulfillment centers prone to workplace accidents

While there is undeniable convenience from the ease of purchase and rapid delivery options for many online retailers, it is easy to forget that people across the nation are often tasked with dangerous or stressful jobs to complete those orders in the necessary time-frame. For Massachusetts workers in these factories and warehouses, workplace accidents can happen in an instant and change their lives forever. Understanding the danger and taking precautions is, of course, necessary. Still, when accidents do occur, it is imperative to know what steps to take to receive workers' compensation and other benefits.

Several reports state that Amazon places workers in jeopardy of injuries and even death due to its hard-charging culture. The need to meet strict deadlines is believed to have been a major factor in these accidents with serious injuries suffered by workers. The investigation stemmed from internal incidents as they were reported by the company. For its part, Amazon says that it maintains a safe culture at its fulfillment centers. The high rate of injuries, it says, are due to the number of workers it employs -- an estimated 125,000 people at its centers.

Independent contractors are often misclassified

If you are an independent contractor, then you may already be aware that you are not covered by workers' compensation when you work for a client. However, you may also know that many people are misclassified as independent contractors when they are not. People who are misclassified may be able to seek workers' compensation from their employers, even if the employer has previously stated that they were independent contractors.

Employers who are responsible for paying workers' compensation are required to buy it and have it on hand for their employees. This is an additional cost for a business, which may be a reason why many turn to independent contractors for labor. With independent contractors, there are fewer benefits offered, saving the client (or employer if improperly classified) money.

Workplace accident with chemicals leads to employee death

Workplace accidents can happen in a seemingly endless number of ways. Workers in Massachusetts who are simply going about their duties in jobs that are generally expected to be safe can suddenly suffer injuries, get ill and even lose their lives if the circumstances come together in an unfortunate way. One situation in which people can become sick and lose their lives is through chemical exposure and toxic fumes. After such an incident, those who become sick can be impacted for an extended period, if not their entire lives. In a worst-case scenario, a person can die.

According to reports, a man working at a Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant died after a mistaken combination of cleaning products created fumes and a toxic atmosphere. The man, 32, was a new father. He was the general manager of the restaurant. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, he got sick after a colleague used two cleaning substances that were not supposed to be mixed. The other employee left the restaurant to get air when the fumes took effect.

Workers' compensation might help contractor with broken leg

When a construction accident occurs, it is important to think about workers' compensation benefits for medical care, lost wages and the possibility that the person will not be able to do the same work for an extended period of time. For example, according to recent reports, a 69-year-old man who was working on a residential site suffered a broken leg when it he was run over by an excavator. The accident happened at around 10:20 a.m.

Emergency services arrived to help and found that the man needed to be flown to the hospital via helicopter. According to the emergency responders, he had a compound fracture. The helicopter landed at a nearby school and transported the injured worker. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the accident.

Near-fatal fall shows danger of construction workplace accidents

There are always many construction projects ongoing throughout Massachusetts. This could involve building, maintenance and repairs. While this is beneficial for the economy and provides jobs, there is no denying that construction work can be dangerous. Workers who are stationed at significant heights are among the most vulnerable to workplace accidents. These can lead to severe, life-changing injuries and even fatalities. Understanding how to receive workers' compensation is imperative to covering for medical expenses and lost wages after workplace injuries.

According to reports, a construction worker nearly lost his life when he fell from the roof of a building recently. The man was working as a roofer and had apparently just started on the job, because he was unfamiliar to his boss. The employer was also unaware if the worker was credentialed for safety under the Occupational Safety and Health requirements. The accident happened in the afternoon at around 3:30 p.m. at a power plant. The man fell around 20 feet.

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Torrisi & Torrisi, P.C.

Torrisi & Torrisi, P.C.

Torrisi & Torrisi, P.C.
555 Turnpike Street
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North Andover, MA 01845

Phone: 978-291-6161
Fax: 978-682-3330
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