A recent ruling by a federal appeals court regarding a fine imposed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for workplace safety violations may significantly affect workers' compensation law in Massachusetts.
Readers of this blog may be aware that when they are injured on the job in Massachusetts, they may be able to receive workers' compensation benefits from their employer. However, there is an important aspect to keep in mind-one must be eligible to receive them. How does one determine eligibility?
When one is injured on the job, the last thing they may want to do is hold their employer accountable through a workers' compensation claim. However, most employees do not realize they are barred from filing any other form of claim against their employer and, as a result, may give up their right to get the compensation they legally deserve for an injury they have sustained while performing their jobs. On the other side, rather than file a claim, an accident victim may find it easier and be more relieved if offered a settlement and may end up getting less compensation than they deserve and need in the long run.
As most Massachusetts' residents prepare to bunker down in their homes during the winter, many others take to the streets to make it safer for others to travel to and from work. But, as one can imagine, snow and ice make for unsafe working conditions and certain precautions must be taken to ensure that workers exposed to extreme conditions do not get injured or contract an illness.
Workers may often feel like they are under their employer's thumb and cannot question or challenge any of the unsafe or dangerous decisions made by their employers, but this is not the case. Massachusetts employees, along with those across the country, have various rights that they can enforce to ensure their workplace is free from hazards.
As mentioned previously on this blog space, it is an employer's responsibility to create a safe working environment for all employees at all times, regardless of the type of workspace. One time an ordinarily safe working place can become unsafe is when a big sale or event is advertised and expected to attract a lot of customers in a store. At this, workers unprepared to deal with the crowd could sustain crush injuries.
As Massachusetts workers grow older, they may find that completing the same task requires more physical effort than before or that they are unable to react as quickly as they were able to previously. In fact, one survey found that 36 percent of older Americans surveyed claimed that it was more difficult now to complete the physical requirements of their job than it was before. This is a part of aging-one's vision grows weaker, hearing gets impaired and agility and cognitive abilities also get affected. This puts elderly Americans at a higher risk of getting injured on the job.
Working at a construction site is considered an inherently dangerous job-workers are more likely to fall, get hit by falling objects or electrocuted, than most other jobs. Many of the risks associated with the workplace have been identified by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and they publish standards so that employers can take the steps necessary to create a safe working environment and reduce construction workers' accidents.
Some workplace accidents leave scars and injuries that are visible to the world, making them easier to link to an accident in the workplace and recover compensation for. Others, however, develop over time or are more psychological rather than physical, making it harder to file a claim or receive compensation for them. Whether a workers' compensation claim for a physical or psychological injury or illness is denied, it is important to remember that appealing the denial is an option that must be availed as soon as possible, as mentioned in last week's post.
Most workers spend more time at their workspace than they do at their house, which is why when a worker becomes injured they expect to be taken care of by their employer. Generally, there are rules in place to protect injured and ill workers if their condition is related to a work accident. This form of protection is k known as workers' compensation.