Articles Tagged with Boston workers compensation lawyers; Boston work injury lawyers; Boston occupational disease workers compensation

On May 7, 2012 Sylbert Stewart fell from the edge of a dipping tank into a pool of chemicals, while cleaning the top of ventilation ducts in the course of his employment at the Belmont metal finishing factory where he has been employed for fourteen years. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited his employer for three separate violations in connection with the incident. Mr. Stewart sustained second and third degree burns from his thighs to his feet, and doctors removed skin from his back, chest, and arms for skin grafts to wrap around his legs.

Mr. Stewart received temporary total disability benefits through the Massachusetts workers’ compensation system, which pays 60 percent of his wage loss, and the full cost of medical treatment. However, he did not receive compensation for the scarring on his legs, which covers 38 percent of his total body surface. Currently, in order to be compensated for permanent scarring under the Massachusetts Workers Compensation Act a worker’s blemish has to be on the face, neck, or hands. Thus, if workers are disfigured on their arms, legs, or torsos they do not receive compensation. The disfigurement portion of the Act is obviously pro employer and insurer, which simply fails to take into account the burden it places on the daily life of an employee, like Sylbert Stewart. Continue reading

Boston’s construction industry saw jobs decline by more than 20 percent during the recession.  However, all signs indicate that Boston’s construction industry is once again booming, with 8,700 construction jobs added between August 2012 and August 2013.  With more construction projects both underway and in the planning phase, this profitable yet dangerous industry is likely to receive more attention for construction site safety practices.  The United States Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently released a new construction site safety rule aimed to prevent silica exposure to construction workers.  Silica exposure is known to cause  severe lung diseases characterized by shortness of breath, cough, fever, and cyanosis (bluish skin).

With more construction projects underway and more construction workers being exposed to job site hazards, this new OSHA construction site safety rule is timely.  The rule lowers the legal limit of silica dust that construction workers are permitted to breath by implementing new practices, such as wet cutting and improvements to ventilation.  OSHA estimates that nearly 2.2 million workers in the United States are exposed to silica dust, most of which are employed in the construction industry.

Workers who are diagnosed with lung diseases that are caused by working conditions are entitled to Massachusetts workers’ compensation benefits.  If the lung condition causes a worker to require medical treatment, the employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company is responsible for 100% of the resulting medical bills, meaning the worker is not responsible for paying co-payments and deductibles which they otherwise would have to pay by using their health insurance.  If the work-related lung disease prevents a worker from doing the essential functions of his job, then that worker is entitled to weekly workers’ compensation disability benefits (temporary total disability [60% of Average Weekly Wage for up to 3 years], permanent and total disability [66.7% for life] or partial disability {60% of difference between pre-injury average weekly wage and post injury wages, for up to a maximum of 5 years]).  In addition to medical and weekly monetary disability benefits, the employer’s workers’ compensation insurer may be responsible for payment of permanent loss of function benefits.

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