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Hackensack Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Cancer exposure in New Jersey workplaces

New Jersey doctors know a lot more about the development of cancers than they once did. The medical community is aware certain unavoidable and some preventable factors increase cancer risks. Researchers still have not pinpointed exactly why abnormal cells take hold in some people, but many doctors feel cancers occur as the result of a combination of circumstances.

Cancer affects people of certain races, ages and genders more than others. Cancer shows up among people with particular pre-existing medical conditions, evidence of cancer in their genetic histories and poor personal habits, like smoking and use of alcohol. Cancer is also prevalent among people who've suffered exposure to pesticides and other known carcinogens.

Worker protections at New Jersey construction sites

Bergen County companies are responsible for job site safety. For construction companies, those duties include taking precautions to prevent accidents at every job site and training employees about working safely. Training should, but often doesn't, provide guidance for working with or around potentially dangerous tools, equipment and machines and responding to accidents.

A lack of fall protection and scaffolding and ladder violations topped the list of construction safety citations issued by federal inspectors in 2014. Falls are the greatest danger facing construction workers in New Jersey and throughout the U.S.

New Jersey Comcast worker, father of 3, electrocuted on the job

Dangerous jobs don't have to be unusual. Employees who make certain Bergen County neighborhoods are supplied with heat, light, trash pickup and cable do work other people often take for granted. You may not associate those jobs with life-threatening hazards, but the dangers exist and accidents are real.

The power went out recently in a portion of Glen Ridge, Essex County. PSE&G dispatched two workers to the area to find out what was wrong. The utility workers found a blown fuse and came upon a man standing on a ladder.

Lung diseases caused by New Jersey work environments

Unhealthy habits, like smoking, and family medical histories have contributed to medical problems many Bergen County residents suffer today. However, lifestyle choices and pre-programmed genetic codes aren't the only reasons people develop serious health conditions. Some conditions, like occupational lung diseases, are caused by working in toxic environments.

Work-related respiratory illnesses and diseases can be chronic or life-threatening. In all cases, the conditions are linked to air poisoned by toxins. The health problem can be the result of frequent, long-term or one-time exposures to substances that irritate or damage the lungs, temporarily or permanently.

What happens if I am denied workers' comp benefits?

Bergen County workers may file claims for injury-related benefits without the help of an attorney, but sometimes there are good reasons to engage a lawyer. Some workers assume New Jersey workers' compensation claims approvals are automatic. That's not the case.

Before a claim is validated, a determination is made to ensure an injury occurred "out of the course of employment." An eligible benefits recipient must be classified as an employee. The time, place and details surrounding an accident must support the claim an injury occurred while the employee was fulfilling duties associated with a job.

New Jersey ink plant blamed for fire that injured 7 workers

Bergen County industrial workers have a right to expect employers to be concerned about safety. That doesn't mean all employers live up to those expectations. Lax safety precautions can lead to manufacturing accidents, serious worker injuries and sometimes, deaths.

The Chemical Safety Board recently reported the results of an investigation into a 2012 New Jersey industrial accident. The CSB advises the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The report reviewed circumstances surrounding a flash fire at U.S. Ink in East Rutherford, where seven workers were burned in a flash fire.

What are New Jersey's workers' compensation benefits?

Benefits are available for many Bergen County workers who suffer job-related accidents or illnesses. Some employees, like railroad workers, have coverage under federal workers' compensation or other specialized plans. Almost all other workers, with the exception of independent contractors, are covered by New Jersey workers' compensation.

Benefits, provided by employer insurance, are provided to take care of wage losses, temporary or permanent disability and medical bills. The payments are related directly to an injured or ill employee's ability to go back to work. Benefits are also available for families of workers, who died from job-related injuries or health conditions.

Hot work health problems for New Jersey employees

In cold working conditions, you can add layers of clothing to warm up. In hot environments, clothing changes often aren't enough to stay cool. Prolonged heat exposure at Bergen County factories, foundries, restaurant kitchens and outdoor construction sites places workers at risk of becoming seriously ill.

Elevated temperatures are one source of heat-related health problems. Heat exposure also occurs as a result of arduous physical work, high humidity, radiant heat sources and contact with objects that are hot.

Firefighters and New Jersey workers’ compensation benefits

Employer insurance covering workplace injuries and deaths is reserved for Bergen County workers classified as employees. Contract workers and volunteers can be excluded from workers' compensation benefits. However, unlike "employees," injured contractors or volunteers aren't restricted from taking legal actions against employers.

Governments are employers for most firefighters, but there are plenty of volunteers in New Jersey. Fortunately, the state recognizes the dangers volunteers face alongside paid counterparts. A provision in the state workers' compensation law presumes respiratory diseases suffered by volunteer firefighters are work-related, making benefits available.

How do New Jersey companies cope with manufacturing accidents?

Some Bergen County companies have no advance plans to deal with worker injuries or deaths. Without preparation, a manufacturing accident triggers an environment of chaos. Catastrophic injuries and fatalities are not the products of every workplace accident, but companies need to plan in case they are.

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration tightened rules about workplace accident reporting heading into 2015. Fatalities must be reported to the government, as well as individual job-related hospitalizations, eye loss and amputation injuries. Time limits are set for employers to contact OSHA: eight hours for a fatality and 24 hours for other reportable injuries.