Articles Posted in Workers’ Compensation

Most of us who live in Maine love Maine. But according to a recent study by financial website, Maine is among the worst states in the country to earn a living.

While other states in the bottom 10 ranked poorly because of low wages, high cost of living, high taxes and other economic disadvantages, Maine’s ranking was primarily because of workplace injuries.

The site, which ranked Maine the third-worst state, just ahead Hawaii and Oregon, indicated it is tied for the highest frequency of workplace illness, injury and death.

Specifically, Maine public officials reported 5.3 workplace injuries, illnesses or deaths per 100 workers. Continue reading

As a growing number of companies rely heavily on technology to conduct their business, more and more are allowing workers to telecommute from home (or the local coffee shop or wherever else outside the office they can be productive).

The American Community Survey reports telecommuting has risen nearly 80 percent from 2005 to 2012, and now comprises more than 2.5 percent of the workforce in the U.S. – or about 3.2 million workers. Some estimate the number of telecommuters could balloon to 30 percent of the workforce at some point in the future.

While this often saves on overhead costs, there is one way in which it might complicate matters: Workers’ compensation.

Maine is no stranger to brutal cold. As one of the northernmost states in the country, our municipalities and other infrastructures are well steeled for frigidity.The polar vortex, however, has resulted in record-breaking winter weather, with wind chills in some areas causing temperatures to plummet as far as 60 to 70 degrees below zero. In this kind of environment, frostbite can attack exposed skin in a matter of minutes. A person who travels outside without the proper dress would be at grave risk for hypothermia, and even death.

Employers have a responsibility to take every necessary precaution to protect workers toiling under these conditions. Employees who suffer severe cold stress injuries as a result should file a Bangor workers’ compensation claim.

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For the majority of the winter season here in Maine, workers and residents must contend with a potentially hazardous mix of ice and snow.While some might consider a slip on the ice or a fall in the snow just one of those inevitable cold-weather nuisances – perhaps even a comical one – there is also a high potential for such an incident to result in a serious injury. The result is sometimes that victims are forced to take leave of their job and suffer serious medical complications, including broken bones and joints, as well as back and head injuries. Filing aspremises liability claim may best protect your rights in the wake of serious injury.

A recent report by the Maine Department of Labor Standards took pains in detailing just how widespread the problem is, and how much it costs us all each year.

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Our emergency medical responders are the people we count on when seconds matter and fast, proper care can mean the difference between life and death.But according to a new report by the Maine Department of Labor’s Labor Standards division, these workers, who include EMTs, paramedics and firefighters, are especially vulnerable to injuries. On the job, these employees are at high risk for overexertion injuries resulting from lifting, transporting or otherwise assisting ill or injured persons.

Those type of injuries accounted for more than third of all injuries suffered by emergency medical crews, with strain injuries accounting for some 94 percent of all overexertion injuries. Most often, it was the employees’ back that was affected, accounting for about 45 percent of all cases.

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Did you know that if you’re injured on the job, you’ve got 30 days to report it?sIf you don’t do so within this time frame, your claim will be barred. And the report shouldn’t include just work injuries, but should also include any kind of pain that you experience on the job, even if this pain doesn’t prevent you from completing work.According to newly-released preliminary statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were more than 4,300 people who were killed on the job in the U. . in 2012. Although this is down from the 4,600 work-accident fatalities witnessed in the country in 2011, we still have a long way to go.

Our Bangor workers’ compensation lawyers understand that there were millions more who were injured on the job throughout the year. If you’re injured on the job, your employer may require you to see an occupational health doctor. After that, you have the right to see a doctor that you choose. After 7 days of missed work due to your work injury, you are entitled to receive weekly compensation benefits beginning on the eighth day. If you miss more than 2 weeks of work, you will then receive payment retroactive to the date of injury.

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A Deer Isle teen escaped serious injury when her vehicle veered off the road and flipped over. According to BDN Maine, the 18-year-old driver was heading west on Snows Cove when the accident happened just before 2:00 a.m. Her vehicle went off the road, hit a tree and rollover over. Deputies report that the young driver fell asleep at the wheel. The vehicle was deemed totaled.The truth of the matter is that teens and young adults have higher accident rates than any other age group of drivers. Traffic accidents continue to be the number one cause of death in this young age group. We not only have to worry about our teens driving drowsy because of a night on the town, but we also have to cautious of the long hours they’re putting in at work and school.

Our Bangor car accident lawyers understand that sleepiness while driving has become a serious problem and a major traffic hazard. Fatigue and sleepiness seriously impairs driver performance, creating a life threatening combination. Safety is more important than productivity or deadlines. You should never get behind the wheel if you’re feeling drowsy or fatigued. It’s a risk no one should be willing to take on.

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The number of work accidents is down. Is this because work places are safer or because we had less people on the job during the release of the most recent stats?sAccording to CNN Money and the most recent release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were close to 5,000 people who were killed at work in 2011. That’s down slightly from 2011. In 2010, there were about 4,700 people who died because of a work accident.These numbers are more than 20 percent lower than the number of workplace fatalities recorded in 1994. As a matter of fact, almost every year has seen a decrease. Still, more than 12 employees a day are killed on the job.

Some say that the most recent decline is a result of employers stepping up their work safety game. Others say that it’s because there weren’t as many Americans working during the economic downturn. Either way, the risks for work accidents is expected to climb as the economy continues to improve and more people head back to work!

Our Portland workers’ compensation lawyers understand that employers are required by law to make sure that each workplace is safe for employees. It’s not only a moral obligation, but it’s a federal one, too!sOfficials with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) continue to enact rules and regulations to make sure that employers are doing their part when it comes to employee safety.

One of the most common causes of on-the-job injuries is traffic accidents. According to the most recent statistics, there were close to 800 truckers who were killed on the job last year. The U. . Department of Transportation is working to combat these accident risks, too!sThey’ve enacted a number of rules and regulations, including Hours of Service regulations, to help to keep truckers safe. The most recent HOS regulations aim to ensure that drivers are spending no more than 8 consecutive hours behind the wheel without a 30 minute rest break. They’re also not allowed to drive more than 70 hours a week anymore.

Even though there aren’t very many fishermen in the country, in comparison to more popular job positions, these workers have the highest fatality rate at work. Last year, there were 40 fishermen killed on the job. This gives them a death rate of 121 per 100,000 workers, which is a rate that is five times higher than the rate for truckers.

As more people go back to work, risks for fatal on-the-job accidents will increase. According to the most recent release from the U. . Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the unemployment rate for August has dropped from last year. There are more workers now in 325 of the 372 metropolitan areas. Only five areas reported an unemployment rate of at least 15 percent. There were 20 areas that reported an unemployment rate of less than 5 percent!

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Employers have an obligation to keep employee’s safe on the job. Work accidents in Bangor and elsewhere in Maine are more likely when a company fails to live up to safety requirements.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently cited several Maine businesses for fail noncompliance.Employers are required to make sure that all employees are safe on the job. They’re required to make sure that each and every employee is properly trained and that they’re provided with all of the proper safety equipment that’s needed to complete the job. When employees are not offered adequate safety measures, they are at greater risk for a serious fatal work accident. Safe employees equate to happy employees. If you’re on the job and you feel that your safety is in jeopardy, you’re urged to voice your concerns to a supervisor, to a boss or to the head of the company. Each and every one of these concerns should be taken seriously and should be appropriately corrected.

Recently in Augusta, Cives Steel Company was issued a number of citations by OSHA officials for violating workplace safety standards. With these citations, the company is facing more than $130,000 in proposed fines. All of the citations were the result of an inspection that started back in January.

“For the safety of its workers, this employer must take effective and expeditious action to eliminate these conditions and prevent their recurrence,” said Maine’s area director for OSHA, William Coffin.

These employees were not offered the right protective equipment to keep them safe on the job. The company was also cited for misusing cords and wiring, which served as serious shock hazards to employees.

Interstate Brands in Biddeford, Maine was issued more than $100,000 in citations for failing to install the proper guardrails on machinery to help to keep employees from falling into and through hoppers. The company was also issued a number of other safety violations. Some of those were repeat violations, meaning they were cited for problems and dangers that OSHA officials had already addressed once before within the last five years.

“Our inspection identified mechanical, electrical, fall and exit hazards, including some similar to those cited at other Interstate Brands facilities,” said Coffin.

In another New England case, officials with Tribe Mediterranean Foods in Massachusetts were also cited for failing to provide employees with the proper safety training needed to help to prevent ‘needless and avoidable loss of life.’sAn inspection was opened on the company back in December of 2011 after an employee was killed as he attempted to clean and sanitize a machine at the hummus factory. He was caught in the machine, pulled into it and then crushed to death between two rotating augers.

“The employer knew it needed to train these workers so they could protect themselves against just this type of hazard but failed to do so. The result was a needless and Aavoidable loss of life,” saidsDr. David Michaels, with OSHA.

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It’s that time of the year, the time when we focus on preventing work-related injuries in Portland and elsewhere. The entire month of June is used by the National Safety Council (NSC) to push for safety both at home and at work. During this time, the campaign will be working to spread the word about the most common forms of preventable injuries across the nation.From the 10th through the 16th of June, officials will be educating workers about the risks of injury associated with poor Ergonomics. Every year, millions of workers are injured because their work areas aren’t designed to fit them and to fit the job they’re doing. It’s important that you focus on proper ergonomics to avoid unnecessary and preventable injuries.

Our Portland injury attorneys understand that ergonomics involves making sure that a work area is designed to get the job done effectively and comfortably. All too often, workers are forced to work in conditions that are uncomfortable and painful. Ergonomics help to prevent injuries related to overexertion and other similar conditions. Ergonomics is especially important for those who work at a desk or on a computer all day. Repeating the same movements in the same position day after day requires a set up that can help to reduce the risks of a variety of conditions.

Every year, there are nearly 3.5 million people who suffer the unintentional injury of overexertion. As a matter of fact, these injuries constitute as the third leading cause of unintentional injury each year in the U. .

Ergonomic Conditions Leading to Injuries:

-Repetitive Motions.


-Resting on sharp edges or corners.

-Overexertion while pushing, pulling, stretching, reaching, lowering or lifting.

-Use of Excessive Force.

-Extreme Temperatures.

-Working in Awkward and Uncomfortable Conditions.

-Standing or Sitting for Too Long.

Desk workers are urged to make sure that their computer monitor is placed at least 20 inches away from their face at that it’s leveled slightly above their eyes. You also want to make sure that your keyboard is petitioned in such a way that you wrists can lie flat. It’s also important that your desk chair is adjustable and that it keeps you in an upright, comfortable position. By making just a few adjustments to your work area, you can help to reduce the risks of one of these accidents and can potentially save yourself from a life-altering injury. Make sure your work place is working for you and your safety.

Would you be able to recognize the signs of an ergonomic condition?sIt’s rather simple. You just have to know the signs!sIf you experience any tingling, numbness, pain, swelling, loss of grip strength, clicking or tenderness, you may be suffering from an ergonomic condition and are urged to see a physician immediately. Early recognition and treatment of these conditions may be your best defense against a permanent injury.

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