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Hackensack Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Aviation maintenance workers more prone to occupational disease

Every day, tens of thousands of airplanes safely take off and land around the world due to the hard work and dedication of airline maintenance workers. While the work can be fulfilling, there is a downside for those who thrive in the airplane maintenance profession. They are often at a higher risk of developing an occupational disease.

While there are many different conditions that maintenance workers can develop, some of the more common ones may include carpal tunnel syndrome from the repetitive stress of working with heavy tools, kidney disease from chemical exposure and even hearing loss from aircraft noise. In fact, the Federal Aviation Administration reports that aircraft maintenance workers who experience noise-induced hearing loss while they are on the job typically have a hearing loss of more than 20 decibels in common speech frequencies. Sadly, this condition is not reversible and once the hearing is gone, it is lost forever.

New Jersey high court rules on workers' comp claims venues

The New Jersey Supreme Court has decided that cases involving an injury or death can be heard as tort claims rather than workers' compensation cases if there is a dispute over whether the worker is/was an independent contractor or employee. The state's high court ruled unanimously that if "there is a genuine dispute regarding the worker's employment status…the Superior Court has concurrent jurisdiction to resolve the dispute."

The Workers' Compensation Act was enacted over a century ago to give injured workers quick access to benefits. In exchange, they agree not to sue their employer in Superior Court. However, the Act, as the justice writing the decision noted, does not address independent contractors. Therefore, workers "cannot be presumed to have accepted the provisions of the compensation act" until it's been determined that they are/were an employee rather than an independent contractor.

Are mast climbers more at risk for construction accidents?

Mast climbers, or rather, workers who spend their days on motorized scaffolding systems, first began appearing on the construction scene around 1983. A decade later, they were a familiar sight in cities with tall skylines, such as New York and Philadelphia. When the recession struck in the year 2008, however, many of the high-rise buildings that were scheduled to be built were either canceled or put on hold.

Flash-forward to today and with the construction industry on the rebound, builders are once again relying on these mast climbing work platforms and the mast climbers that work on them. Although the platforms are easy to place and dismantle, they are generally considered safe, but workers do require a special type of training to operate them.

What are the causes of most forklift accidents?

Although accidents can happen in any type of workplace, the odds typically increase when there is a lot of activity going on. This can be particularly true in industrial type warehouses where there is complex machinery, such as forklifts, employee traffic on the floor, and a continuous sense of urgency to get things done.

While employers commonly have plans and training in place to help reduce the risk of accidents, there are still some common forklift injuries that are more prone to happening in a warehouse type environment.

What you should know about carpal tunnel syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition in the hand and arm that is caused when a nerve becomes pinched in the wrist. The condition can cause tingling and numbness, among other symptoms. It can also cause weakness in the hand, which can give those who suffer from the disease a tendency to drop things they are holding.

Although there are a number of different factors that can contribute to a person developing carpal tunnel syndrome, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke have indicated that it is often associated with certain tasks commonly found in the workplace, such as making repetitive hand motions, vibrations from tools, using a strong grip, and mechanical stress that is placed on the palm.

What benefits does workers compensation provide?

Workers' compensation is a type of insurance that is mandated by the state. It is purchased by employers as a way to cover the costs of payments that are made to an employee if he or she becomes injured while on the job and can no longer work.

Although the amount of money that an employee will receive as a payment through workers' comp is a relatively small amount, the insurance does cover other costs that the employee might incur. As an example, workers' comp covers the medical care that the employee receives due to his or her injuries. This may include doctor visits, x-rays, surgery and even follow-up medical care if it is needed.

Construction worker dies after Franklin Township trench collapse

A 43-year-old construction worker from Plainfield, New Jersey, who was in the process of running a drainage line for a house that was being built on Nueville Drive in Franklin Township, died after the trench he was working in collapsed and fell in on top of him. According to authorities, the accident occurred on May 4.

Police state that the man was working in a trench that was about eight feet in depth and approximately three feet in width. Other construction workers who were on the scene initially attempted to rescue the man, but after their rescue efforts were unsuccessful, they notified 9-1-1 that there have been an accident. Although rescue workers quickly appeared on the scene around 4:11 p.m. and began working to rescue the man, they were unable to extract him from the collapsed trench until about 5:43 p.m. The man was later pronounced dead on the scene at 6:10 p.m. by medics from the Robert Wood Johnson Hospital located in Brunswick.

What you should know about mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that typically appears in the lungs as well as the abdomen. This type of cancer was considered extremely rare until industries began using a fibrous material known as asbestos back during the 20th century. This material was once commonly used as a type of insulation since it was known to be both fire and heat resistant. Unfortunately, after a period of investigation, it was found that people who developed mesothelioma all had one thing in common. They had been exposed to asbestos.

Although asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral, most people who have been exposed to it and developed mesothelioma came into contact with the asbestos while they were on the job. Some of the more common occupations for this type of exposure to occur are for those who work in occupation, such as shipyard workers, industrial workers, chemical plant workers, auto-mechanics, construction workers, boiler workers and insulators.

New Jersey construction worker dies after wall collapse

A death at an industrial building located in the northern part of New Jersey remains under investigation today after a cinder block wall fell on a construction worker who was working at the job site. According to the Ramsey Police Department, the 56-year-old man from Riverdale was working around the outside area of a building located in the community of Bergen County around 11:30 a.m. when a 9 by 12 foot portion of the wall gave away and fell on top of him.

Police state that the man and other construction workers were in the process of removing the wall to prepare the site for a new garage door that would provide access into the building when the wall fell. No other workers were reported to be injured.

What you need to know when you're injured on the job

Accidents happen and sometimes, they happen on the job. Unfortunately, some people who are hurt while they are at work choose not to report that they have been injured. They try to continue doing their job, but then the pain becomes intolerable and they can no longer perform their duties. Although they can report it at a later date, this can often cause delays in getting benefits started.

If you are injured at work, there are certain things you should know. First, it is important to report your injury to your supervisor immediately. Since you have a right to receive medical treatment, ask to see a doctor and request a workers' compensation form. You will not be able to receive benefits until you return the claim form to your employer, so fill it out as soon as you can.