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Bergen County, New Jersey Workers' Compensation Law Blog

New Jersey nurses suffer workplace violence in silence

Many Bergen County nurses go to work with the expectation they will encounter both cooperative and uncooperative patients. Aggressive behaviors in some patients can lead to violence, especially in psychiatric facilities and emergency rooms. Nurse injuries caused by violent patients often are dismissed as job hazards rather than workplace accidents or crimes.

A report on job violence among 50 New Jersey hospital emergency departments was compiled from internal and federal reports obtained between 1992 and 2001. The majority of ED nurses interviewed had been verbally abused or threatened, with nearly one-third reporting assaults annually and 12 percent claiming repeated attacks. Seventy-two percent of ED nurses never filed official reports about the incidents.

Worker on scaffolding killed in Midtown construction accident

Construction work in Bergen County intensifies as the cold weather fades to spring's warmer temperatures. Work confined to the indoors for the last several months has moved outside, with jobs that require some workers to scale buildings. Employees working on new projects, renovations and maintenance are back in the danger zone.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health found similarities among fatalities caused by occupational scaffolding falls. Some workers don't use fall protection devices, but employers aren't blameless – some don't train workers to use scaffolds properly. A scaffold also can be defective or incorrectly installed.

New Jersey construction project halted after collapse injures 3

Who is responsible for a Bergen County workplace accident? The answer can be as individual as the circumstances. New Jersey employers carry workers' compensation insurance to provide benefits for employees injured on the job and their families, but other compensation may be available through civil claims when third party negligence is uncovered.

A serious at-work accident frequently triggers an internal probe. Depending upon circumstances, local law enforcers and the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration or other agencies may conduct independent evaluations. The results point to fault and sometimes penalties for employers with unsafe working conditions.

New Jersey workers' comp bill for responders faces uphill battle

First responders don't think about insurance coverage when they are called to take emergency action. Public safety takes priority over personal need. It's only after a volunteer or professional is injured or dies that some responders learn New Jersey workers' compensation doesn't cover them.

A proposal to change state law would guarantee workers' compensation coverage for volunteers or paid workers during catastrophic emergencies. Calamities would include terrorist attacks and epidemics. Assembly Bill 1347 states workers' comp benefits should be available automatically for public safety workers who are injured, disabled or killed on the job.

Construction accidents up, fatalities way down in major city

Construction crews are a common sight in New Jersey, especially during spring and other fair weather months. It's easy to forget how dangerous construction jobs can be. Working at great heights and around or on unstable or pitched surfaces can increase the likelihood of construction site accidents.

New York City is likely to attract some Bergen County construction workers. The city announced a 29.3 percent jump in construction permit approvals last year over 2012.

New Jersey contractor suffers severe electrical shock

Some Bergen County jobs are more dangerous than others, but that does not excuse negligence when a worker is injured or dies. Many employees hurt at work never look beyond workers' compensation benefits to cover their losses. They could be missing the chance to receive a damage award through a New Jersey civil claim.

Early reports of an accident in Alloway Township didn't identify a man who was shocked by 7,200 volts of electricity while doing work on a utility pole. The website NJ.com later reported that the 52-year-old victim was an out-of-state man, employed by a contractor for Atlantic City Electric.

Informed workers may lead to lower workers' compensation costs

Workers' compensation cases often evolve from merely a worker suffering an injury and filing a claim into something more when the workers' feel that they are being gamed or played for a fool. Much outrage follows the discovery of a worker, who after obtaining some level of workers' compensation payment, is later found to have exaggerated his or her injuries.

What is less noted, perhaps because it is so pervasive as to be standard operating procedure, is the habit of many employers playing "hide the ball" with workers over workers' compensation claims. 

Company continues to place workers at risk

Workers at many industrial sites recognize the danger that exists at their jobsite. They know that if they work in a chemical plant or a petroleum refinery, the danger of fire, explosion and toxic exposure is great. They, however, do not control the overall safety of the process.

That is why there are state and federal safety regulations in these industries. However, enforcement of these regulations, in part, relies on the companies themselves recognizing the danger and actively creating a culture of safety.

Workers' compensation system, heal thyself

Dealing with insurance companies, workers' compensation forms, administrative hearings, courtroom proceedings and appeals can be stressful. We know, we are workers' compensation attorneys and spend a great deal of time in the system, so we understand why workers who are suffering from a work related injury or illness could be stressed by their dealings with the workers' compensation system.

It is not too surprising that a recent study found that in some cases, the stress of filing a claim and dealing with the workers' compensation process was itself stressful and this stress could create negative outcomes for many injured workers.

Will we all be temporary workers one day?

Temporary workers face a greater risk of death and injury according to an investigation by ProPublica, that reviewed millions of workers' compensation claims made in five states. The study found that workers in some states faced up to a 72 percent greater chance of being injured on the job.

What is troubling is that temporary workers are becoming a more significant element of the work force, and that for blue-collar temporary workers, the risks are increased because they are often hired to perform dirty, hazardous or dangerous work. Companies use temporary workers to protect skilled full-time employees and to avoid workers' compensation expenses associated with temporary workers.

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