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Hackensack Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Is filing for New Jersey workers' comp benefits a job risk?

Hackensack employers may not fire workers for the wrong reasons -- reasons that violate an employee's rights. Job terminations due to filings for workers' comp benefits are one of those reasons. However, New Jersey workers' compensation claims do not immunize employees from being fired for legal reasons.

At-will employment rules allow employers to fire most Bergen County workers at any time with or without cause. The only workers not subject to at-will employment laws are employees with job contracts, outlining conditions under which terminations may take place. State laws forbid employers from retaliating against workers simply because employees sought benefits for job-related injuries or illnesses.

What are occupational lung diseases?

The source of some chronic or life-threatening illnesses can be found in Hackensack workplaces. Occupational asthma is one of several lung diseases contracted by working in contaminated environments. Employees who suffer occupational asthma are people who initially develop asthma at work or whose existing asthma is aggravated on the job.

New Jersey was part of a seven-year study to identify jobs with a high risk of occupational asthma. Making up about one-third of all identified victims were fabricators, operators and laborers. More than 20 percent were managers or professionals and another 19 percent were salespeople, office support staff and technical workers.

The national impact of workplace injuries and illnesses

The federal government tracks the number of job-related deaths, injuries and illnesses each year in New Jersey and all other states. The Bureau of Labor Statistics then calculates incidence rates -- the number of fatalities, injuries or illnesses per 100 employees. The most recent reports summarize details related to 2013 non-fatal workplace injuries and illnesses in the private and public sectors.

In 2010, more than 139 million people were in the U.S. civilian workforce. In 2013, over 3 million employees in the private sector suffered reportable illnesses or injuries. Other than 2012, the numbers over 11 years reflected an ongoing nationwide drop in occupational injuries and illnesses.

Subcontractor killed in construction accident at sports arena

Some Hackensack, New Jersey, employees face more dangers commuting than they do at work. Other employees perform tasks in environments, like industrial settings and construction sites, where dangerous conditions are an everyday occurrence. Although employees must be aware of risks, New Jersey employers are responsible for minimizing unsafe working conditions.

A construction accident at Barclays Center -- home court of the Brooklyn Nets, the former New Jersey Nets -- fatally injured a 52-year-old man. DNAinfo.com reported that the ironworker was part of a crew, working since last fall on a "green roof" installation project. Police said the man, a subcontractor, died at the scene.

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.