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Hackensack Workers' Compensation Law Blog

How does a lockout/tagout program keep you safe at work?

Did you know that your workplace could put you at risk for exposure to a dangerous amount of energy? "But I don't work at a power plant," you may be thinking -- but that does not matter. Energized equipment from electrical sources to heavy machinery and even office equipment can be dangerous if it is not handled correctly. All too many New Jersey residents suffer injury because of industrial accidents that involve electrical or mechanical energy. Learn how to keep yourself safe -- and keep your employer accountable -- by knowing the rules of lockout/tagout.

What are some of the harmful effects of energized equipment? An energized piece of equipment has the potential to operate while someone is performing maintenance on it. Think about the table saw that activates while the user is changing the blade all because the equipment was still plugged in while the maintenance was occurring. Scores of other examples exist, but it is important to realize that energized equipment should always be controlled so industrial accidents can be prevented.

What do I need to know about workplace accident amputation?

What is the most life-changing workplace injury that you can imagine? If you said death or paralysis, you are probably in good company, but amputation also ranks pretty high on the list. A workplace accident that leads to the amputation of even a finger can cause significant long-term problems for workers, depending on the nature of their jobs in New Jersey. Today, we talk about the types of amputations and their potential to lead to major medical expenses or permanent disability.

What causes amputation? The most common causes of amputation are industrial or agricultural. Power-tool accidents at home are also the culprit. Factory accidents are particularly common, largely because workers' body parts can be sucked into machines if those moving parts are not adequately guarded.

Prolonged exposure can create significant hearing loss

Occupational hearing loss is often something that goes overlooked, as it doesn't happen all at once. Typically, you don't have an incident that stands out, where your hearing decreased quickly. After 20 years of working in the same factory, though, very pronounced hearing loss could be noted. It's important to remember that this could still be classified as an occupational injury, even without that lone event to point to.

As you may suspect, some occupations in New Jersey put you at a much higher risk than others. Industries that have been pegged as significant hazards include:

How soon can I expect my workers' comp benefits payments?

Do you know the rules for filing a workers' compensation claim in New Jersey? Too often, victims miss out on workers' comp benefits because they do not abide by simple requirements such as timelines and other limitations. The good news is that you can receive the information you need to comply with state requirements by working with a team of legal professionals. Educating yourself about workers' compensation limitations can make filing your claim far more efficient.

First, many workers do not realize that they have to have been out of work for seven days, which includes weekends and holidays, because of their injury before they qualify for temporary disability payments. Keep in mind that those seven days do not have to be consecutive. If you are seeking compensation for a permanent disability, no such restrictions exist; those benefits must be delivered regardless of the number of lost workdays.

What is the new standard for pits on construction sites?

When workers must complete tasks in confined spaces, such as in pits, there are several hazards that must be addressed. There is a new construction standard developed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The criteria for a confined space are:

-- Has limited exits and entry points; and

Why your employer may be to blame for your industrial accident

Your New Jersey employer is responsible for your health and safety on the job. Still, all too many workers suffer from industrial accidents, especially those related to forklifts, because their employers are too negligent to provide appropriate training or safety measures. In fact, forklift accidents are among the most common injurious mishaps in today's industrial workplace, which is why your employer should take steps to protect you and your coworkers.

Victims often suffer serious injury because they do not understand the principles of forklift physics and mechanics. You may have been injured because a forklift driver tipped the vehicle over. No matter whether you were behind the wheel -- or you simply happened to be nearby -- many of these tip-over accidents could be prevented through appropriate work procedures and training. Drivers should be trained about how to keep their loads stable so they do not harm themselves or another warehouse worker.

What do I need to know about construction crane accidents?

Are you up-to-date on your crane safety procedures? Although overhead cranes are common fixtures on today's construction sites, many workers are still unaware about the special safety protocols that are most effective at preventing injury. All too many construction worker claims deal with injuries related to tower or overhead cranes. That has lead the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to promulgate new rules governing the use of these potentially hazardous tools within the past five years. Your employer can help you avoid a construction site accident by working together with safety experts to improve procedures at your work site.

Who is at risk for crane-related injuries?

Exposure, chemicals lead to high rates of worker skin disease

Chemicals. Most of us have a cabinet full of them below our sink at home, and we rarely think about their effects. But, for the more than 13 million workers who are exposed to dangerous substances and chemicals at their jobs throughout the U.S., potential exposure is a very real issue that needs to be discussed. Too many New Jersey workers face unsafe conditions and the potential risk of health problems such as cancer from exposure to pesticide and herbicide or other chemical exposure. Occupational skin diseases are some of the most common conditions that can result from chemical exposure.

Most workplace safety initiatives focus on preventing respiratory issues: lung diseases from mesothelioma exposure to asbestos, or exposure to silica dust. New evidence shows, however, that these initiatives may not be enough to assist those who suffer from occupational skin disease. In fact, safety professionals and industrial hygienists are not always sure how to measure whether there are too many skin-irritating chemicals in a specific workplace.

DOT worker struck, seriously injured by negligent driver

A New Jersey Department of Transportation employee suffered critical injuries in late July after a vehicle struck him as he was attempting to remove litter from the road. The man, age 28, apparently suffered critical injuries because of a negligent driver who was attempting to pass a semi-truck on the right. The at-fault driver has been issued multiple summonses for charges including improper passing, reckless driving and failure to wear a seat belt, according to official reports.

Authorities say that the 27-year-old driver was initially in the center lane, but he moved to the right-hand lane to pass the tractor-trailer rig. When the driver changed lanes, he noticed several DOT vehicles parked in his way, and he attempted to swerve to avoid hitting them. However, his vehicle struck a concrete barrier and was pushed back into the right lane. The car bounced between vehicles and the concrete barrier several times before smashing into the victim. The DOT worker was reportedly pinned beneath the vehicle until emergency responders arrived to help. Incredibly, the victim received aid from a passing tow truck driver, who used a hydraulic lift to push the vehicle off of the man's head, which had been pinned to the ground by the at-fault driver's car.

What can I expect after my spinal cord injury in New Jersey?

Many victims of spinal cord injuries face a single question as they begin their recovery: "What now?" After such a life-changing event, emotional and physical effects may rise to the surface without warning. Victims who require long-term medical care because of paralysis and related conditions must adjust to an entirely new way of living, which can cause stress for both the injured person and his or her family members. Life after a spinal cord injury may be different, but there is hope for victims and their loved ones.

Is depression simply a part of living with paralysis?