As we turn the clocks forward in anticipation for spring, it will not be easy for Massachusetts’s residents to forget the past few wintry months. This certainly has been a winter to remember here in the New England region, and not for the most pleasant of reasons. Certain areas of Massachusetts have seen over 100 inches of snowfall in less than a month’s time, and the many difficulties it has caused have been well documented. In order to keep up with the rapid accumulation, companies and officials have been rushing to clear snow from roofs and roadways. Thus, Massachusetts’ workers have been exposed to dangerous working conditions that have led to devastating, and sometimes fatal, consequences.
Separate incidents were reported in Canton, Massachusetts that lead to the deaths of two workers. Both men fell while working to clear off snow from severe heights. One of the men reportedly fell through a skylight while evaluating snow removal, and the other fell from a roof in the process of clearing snow. Other similar accidents have been recounted throughout the state of Massachusetts including the hospitalization of a worker in Avon and a worker in Burlington. Sadly, a Whole Foods employee was hit and killed while at work by a snowplow that was clearing the Medford supermarket parking lot.
In addition to snow removal workers being exposed to dangerous conditions caused by the Boston winter weather, many workers in other occupations such as construction have been forced to work in dangerous condition. Construction sites that are exposed to the weather may contain dangers such as the presence of snow and ice in areas where workers are required to walk and work. During winter months when the weather has made working conditions more dangerous, those who are responsible for workplace safety must take extra precautions in order to keep the workplace safe for the benefit of the workers. On a construction site, a general contractor should inspect the site for dangerous conditions before construction workers arrive and begin each work each day. If this is not done as required, the general contractor may be civilly liable for any harm that is caused to a construction worker on site who had been injured to a dangerous condition that should have been recognized and made safe by the general contractor.
Those who have been injured at work in Massachusetts are entitled to Massachusetts workers’ compensation benefits and may also receive additional compensation if someone other than their employer (such as a general contractor or another trade contractor) has negligently caused their injury. A person or company who may be responsible for paying a claim will be quick to blame anyone other than themselves for the accident, such as mother nature or even the injured worker themselves. For this reason it is important to contact a Massachusetts or Boston area workers’ compensation lawyer as soon as possible after a workplace injury occurs. Chances are, the injured worker will be receiving calls (that may be recorded) by claims adjusters and investigators who are working on behalf of an insurance company who is looking to develop any evidence possible to deny or shift blame elsewhere. For a free consultation regarding a workplace injury that has occurred due to dangerous conditions caused by winter weather, ice or snow, please contact our Massachusetts workers’ compensation attorneys.