As this blog has discussed before, workers' compensation pays for two basic things after a New York employee gets hurt on the job. First, the program will cover the employee's medical bills and some other out-of-pocket expenses as well.
Workers in New York warehouses face various safety hazards every day. Warehouse employees file workers' compensation claims every year, ranging from musculoskeletal injuries to forklift accidents. The dangers posed by forklifts do not always receive the necessary attention. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration prescribes strict regulations related to forklift safety, one of which is adequate training and allowing only certified forklift drivers to operate the dangerous machines.
In New York, as elsewhere, the tree care industry is one of the most hazardous. According to the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries, landscape service workers make up 3.5 percent of all workplace fatalities despite composing less than 1 percent of the nation's workforce. Approximately 75 percent of these fatalities are related to tree trimming or removal with the three leading causes of death being falls, struck-by incidents and electrical accidents.
New York businesses that work with hazardous chemicals will want to pay close attention to several safety rules. The first rule is for workers to perform all their duties according to established practices. Second of all, workers should be trained to anticipate all potential dangers while working.
Many workplaces in New York include machines of some type. Even small equipment has the potential to injure people, but heavy machinery often presents the greatest dangers of serious injury or death. Employers have a responsibility to evaluate hazards at work, take protective measures and train workers properly.
A recent study from the International Commission of Occupational Health, or ICOH, indicates that more people have died from asbestos exposure in New York and around the world than previously reported. The Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health published the study.
Employers in New York are responsible for the safety and health of their employees. As part of that responsibility, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration expects employers to provide safety training to equip all workers with the knowledge of the potential hazards they may face and how to avoid injuries. Specific fields like electrical work are particularly hazardous, and thousands of victims of electrical shocks file workers' compensation claims every year -- sadly, many victims of such shocks do not survive.
New York workers whose jobs involve transportation face a heightened risk of death and injury while at work. Data collected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics from the 2016 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries revealed the most dangerous occupations nationwide and the sources of danger. In 2016, transportation-related accidents were the top cause of fatal incidents across industries and accounted for 40 percent of workplace deaths. During that year, 632 truck drivers, 116 farmers and 62 landscapers had deaths attributed to transportation.
New York workers may not sue their employers for work-related injuries and illnesses -- except under specific circumstances. The workers' compensation system typically provides financial assistance to injured workers while protecting employers from being sued. However, gross negligence by employers could lead to personal injury lawsuits.
Losing loved ones in workplace accidents is not something wished upon anybody. Along with the trauma and the need to grieve, additional financial hardship may be experienced. This applies particularly if the deceased worker was the breadwinner. Fortunately, the New York workers' compensation insurance program offers assistance for surviving family members of workers who died in on-the-job accidents.