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Hackensack Workers' Compensation Law Blog

The costs of ladder and scaffolding falls for New Jersey workers

Vulnerability to job injuries is something that concerns certain types of Bergen County workers more than others. Employees most prone to injuries are those engaged in high-risk physical activities, like working with large machines or performing tasks at great heights.

Construction site accidents can be among the most devastating for victims and their families. Injuries may be severe and disabling, threatening the wage earner's health and livelihood. Coverage for injury-related medical costs and wages losses are accessible through workers' compensation claims.

Fatal construction accident caused by fallen tape measure

Bergen County companies are expected to design safety plans to limit workers' exposure to on-the-job dangers or risks. Simply having a plan isn't enough. Employers are responsible for training employees how to work safely and supervising workers to make sure plans are carried out.

A man delivering materials to a Jersey City condominium construction project died recently, after he was struck on the head by a one-pound tape measure. The tape measure slipped from the hands of another worker, an employee of AJD Construction, who was 50 stories off the ground working on a wall in the partially-completed, residential high-rise.

What New Jersey workers’ compensation benefits are available?

Workers' compensation benefits are paid to Bergen County employees who suffer work-related illnesses or injuries. Mandatory employer insurance is the source of the benefits for workers and their dependents. Benefits cover short- and long-term medical treatment, employee income losses, temporary or permanent disability and death.

Employers retain the right to select the health care providers involved in a worker's treatment, unless an injury is the result of an emergency. The medical professional preferences of an employee also supersede an employer's choices, when necessary care is wrongfully denied.

First responder workers' comp benefits guaranteed under bill

The first time the legislation reached the desk of Chris Christie, the governor of New Jersey vetoed it. It's not certain how Christie feels about an amended bill that would make it easier for public safety workers to receive workers' comp benefits. The Senate has given approval to the revised Thomas P. Canzanella 21st Century First Responders Protection Act.

The bill is named after a late Hackensack firefighter who was among the crews exposed to toxins following the September 2001 attack at the World Trade Center. The legislation, outlined on the New Jersey Fraternal Order of Police website, ensures first responders receive medical benefits for certain injuries related to their work.

How can I find out about toxins in my New Jersey workplace?

Many New Jersey employees work with or around dangerous chemicals, although workers may not know how harmful they are. Employers are expected to inform workers about toxic chemicals and the hazards they pose to employees' health and safety. Those rules, regulated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, are sometimes ignored.

The agency's Hazard Communication Standard compels chemical manufacturers to label products and include "material safety data sheets." MSDS let chemical buyers know about dangers involved in using the products. This information should be -- but isn't always -- passed along from employers to employees.

Qualifications for New Jersey workplace accident benefits

New Jersey laws protect Bergen County workers injured on the job. Employers are required to self-insure or carry workers' compensation insurance to cover wage losses and medical bills for victims of work-related injuries. Temporary and permanent benefits are paid to eligible employees, and in the event of deaths, to employees' families.

Eligibility depends upon worker status and circumstances surrounding an injury or illness. The victim's job classification must be "employee" -- an independent contractor classification would not fit this criteria. Employer guidelines on this issue are posted in a guide on the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development website.

Compensation for New Jersey work-related illnesses

New Jersey officials monitor the health status of workers each year. Data collected clarifies which employees carry the highest risks of on-the-job injuries and illnesses. The information helps identify occupational illnesses and influences state and national health policies and resource distribution.

State health officials learned asbestos was linked with more than 90 percent of worker pneumoconiosis hospitalizations between 2000 and 2010. Pneumoconiosis, including silicosis and asbestosis, are lung diseases caused by prolonged inhalation of metallic or mineral dust. New Jersey's rate of malignant mesothelioma, an asbestos-related cancer, was significantly higher than the national rate during the same period.

The prevalence of New Jersey construction accidents, injuries

Hazardous conditions are inherent in construction work. Bergen County construction workers labor at great heights on ladders, roofs and scaffolding, operate heavy equipment and are exposed to falling objects and harmful substances. It's not surprising, with all the potential for on-the-job harm, construction workers are among the most injured employees in the nation.

Federal health officials reported 3.3 million workers nationwide suffered job-related illnesses or injuries in 2009. Construction workers made up nine percent of the total.

Work illness proof is vital to New Jersey benefits approval

A loss of productivity keeps New Jersey employers interested in the health of employees. A workplace flu outbreak can decrease the supply of products or services to customers. Ultimately, an unhealthy workforce can eat into a company's profits.

The flu is an illness that can be picked up through contact with anyone at work, at home or in public. Some illnesses or aggravations of medical conditions can be traced to unsafe job environments. Job-related illnesses made up more than 5 percent of 3 million occupational conditions that harmed employees in 2012, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

New Jersey companies have new job injury reporting rules

Bergen County employers must follow reporting requirements when a worker is hurt or dies on the job. Employees or their representatives must let companies know about workplace injuries as soon as possible. The employer is responsible for filing a workers' compensation claim in a timely manner and when an injury is serious or fatal, the employer also must inform the federal government.

Federal injury reporting conditions will change at the beginning of the new year, according to the U.S. Labor Department. Employers will be required to let the Occupational Safety and Health Administration know about work-related fatalities within eight hours and severe injuries, requiring hospitalizations within 24 hours.