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Hackensack Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Company fined for safety violations

OSHA has fined a New Jersey company nearly $400,000 for what were referred to as repeated safety violations at a plant in Pennsauken. The fines were levied after an inspection in April 2019 found violations related to lockout/tagout procedures. An obstructed loading dock as well as blocked electrical disconnects were discovered during the April inspection. OSHA also said that the warehouse had improper lighting.

In 2015, an employee lost two fingers while operating a machine at the facility, and the issue had not been corrected when OSHA inspected the facility in 2017. At the time, OSHA said that the company had failed to train workers on how to properly use the machine and others like it. An agency representative had also said there were issues related to compliance with lockout/tagout rules and rules related to machine guarding.

Carpal tunnel syndrome: Symptoms, diagnosis and treatment

Some injuries come on in an instant and cause immediate pain. Others, however, slowly take a toll on your body. And that's where carpal tunnel syndrome comes into play.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is the result of pressure on your median nerve, which runs the entirety of the arm and ends in the hand.

Management has a vital role in creating workplace safety culture

The safety hazards at workplaces vary by industry throughout New Jersey, and management and workers share the responsibility for promoting safety. The role of developing a strong safety culture falls on management. Managers who take active steps to identify hazards and reduce workers' exposure to danger promote greater trust throughout an organization. Managers who only speak about safety but do not pursue policies to improve safety inspire disengagement within the workforce.

Leaders who are serious about reducing on-the-job accidents and injuries instill a sense of collective responsibility throughout the company. Managers and workers will feel a duty to speak up about risks and take action to improve safety. A workplace culture with a genuine focus on safety will also support good housekeeping and welcome discussions about safety.

Overall employment conditions can affect worker health, safety

Many workers in New Jersey don't work traditional jobs with regular hours and job security but instead make money in the growing gig economy. The resulting differences in employment conditions can, taken together, have an effect on workers' mental and physical health as well as on their occupational injury risk. This was the conclusion of a study from the University of Washington. What makes this study unique is that it analyzes all employment conditions rather than a single factor like pay or the type of contract. The following are just some of the findings.

Compared to those with traditional employment, workers in "dead-end" jobs and "precarious" jobs reported poorer mental and physical health. In the former case, workers may be well-paid and unionized, but there is little empowerment or opportunity to advance. In the latter case, workers are on short-term contracts and may find it hard to obtain full-time hours.

The top concerns parents have regarding teenage driving

When a teenager in New Jersey gets their driver's license, they are usually focused on the excitement and privilege of driving. Parents are the ones who tend to be more worried about safety. New research reveals how concerned parents are and how common distracted driving is among teenagers.

Almost 900 parents were involved in the study, which was conducted at the University of Michigan. They all had teenagers that ranged between 14 and 18. Parents were asked to respond to questions about their actions and attitudes regarding teen driving. Around 40% were especially concerned about their teenagers being in the car with other teens. About 40% were worried about cell phone usage, and over 45% were concerned about teenagers driving with loud music playing.

The effect of floor markings on workflow and safety

There are a number of benefits that employers in New Jersey can reap just by laying down floor markings around the facility. First off are the safety benefits. Employers can place reflective or fluorescent markings around structures like ramps, loading docks and beams as well as equipment that is easily overlooked, including electrical outlets and control panels.

Every facility has its own unique safety hazards, and floor markings can point these out, complementing the more general safety procedures that workers are aware of. Markings can also serve as an extension of the site's visual communication. Reminders to wear the right PPE or return tools to their proper places can be clearly spelled out.

Avoid a mistake that could cause a workers’ compensation denial

While workplace injuries and illnesses are typically covered by workers' compensation, it doesn't mean that filing a claim will result in an immediate payout of benefits.

If you suffer a workplace injury, there are a few key steps to take:

  • Call 911 for help if you're unable to transport yourself to a local hospital
  • Report the incident to your employer
  • Follow the treatment plan suggested by your medical team

Lead can cause many different health problems

New Jersey workers who ingest or inhale lead could be at risk for developing health issues. It is used in the creation of ammunition, building materials and fishing weights. It is also commonly used in car batteries and was used in gasoline until the 1980s. When lead enters the body, it can travel through the blood stream and come into contact with internal organs.

Common health issues related to lead include anemia, kidney disease and various neurological impacts. Since lead can be hazardous to an employee's health, employers are required to take steps to protect them against exposure to this substance. Employers who are covered by OSHA rules must ensure that workers are not exposed to any more than 50 µg/m3 of lead per eight hours. Employers must start taking action if workers are exposed to 30 µg/m3 of lead.

Keys to a healthy work environment

Regardless of their industry, New Jersey employers have a duty to provide a safe environment for their employees. There are several keys to a safe workplace, and they include clean indoor air, ergonomic designs and continual training on how to identify and address hazards.

For good indoor air quality, employers need to protect their work space from pollutants like asbestos. This can be found in building materials like roofing sheets and pipes from before the 1970s. Certain industrial chemicals like benzene and chloroform can also contaminate the air. Wood industries are no stranger to silica, which can be found in dust and cause lung disease. Ventilation and the regulated use of common chemicals like benzene are important.

How to prevent pinch point accidents

Many New Jersey factory workers face serious risks from pinch points. A pinch point is a gap between two moving parts where a person or a body part could get caught or stuck. In some cases, pinch points involve spaces between a moving part and a stationary object. They are generally found in printing presses, press brakes or conveyors. Powered covers, doors and hatches may also contain dangerous pinch points.

Workers can be protected either by guards or devices. Devices are designed to either stop when a worker's hand or other body part is in a machine or to not allow a worker to get stuck in a machine at all while it's in motion. For example, a machine may not run unless both of a person's hands are on the controls. Any guard or device should be difficult to remove or tamper with, and it should be strong enough to withstand damage.

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