Last week's blog post discussed employers' responsibilities as they relate to OSHA regulations. These regulations are meant to uphold certain standards to ensure workplace safety. Though many employers adhere to these requirements, many others fail to do so for a variety of reasons. Sometimes an employer is uninformed, sometimes it tries to cut costs by sacrificing safety, and sometimes an employer just outright refuses to comply with safety standards. When this happens, you could be put at serious risk of harm, the results of which could be devastating.
If people work in the state of Massachusetts, or any other state for that matter, then they are likely protected by regulations created and enforced by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration, also known as OSHA. This agency creates responsibilities that employers must abide by in order to ensure their workers are kept safe. Failure to do so could result in fines, but also significant harm to employees.
The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) investigates in two ways: off-site and on-site. You are free to file a claim at any time, however, if you want an on-site OSHA investigation of your place of employment, then one of a list of criteria must be met. Amongst these criteria are a signed complaint that satisfactorily illustrates that a violation or danger threatens the physical safety of employees, a claim that alleges that physical injury has been suffered and the hazard that caused it still exists, a report that imminent danger exists, the employer against which a claim has been filed has a history of OSHA violations within the previous three years, and a claim that is referred from a whistle blower investigation, amongst others.
It is an unfortunate reality that many Massachusetts residents work in dangerous professions. Construction workers, factory employees, and police officers can all face real threats in the form of heights, moving vehicles, machines, repetitive stress, and other dangerous individuals. When an individual is hurt on the job, he or she may be left with significant physical and financial harm. The good news is that an injured worker can seek to recoup some of his or her financial losses through the workers' compensation system.
In the workers' compensation context, a lump sum is a payment that you receive one time. It replaces your weekly workers' compensation benefit checks. There is a lot to consider when deciding whether or not to give up your weekly checks in favor of a lump sum, and a judge will try to determine if a lump sum payment is in your best interest. It may be helpful to consider whether you are able to return to your job, if you have ongoing medical issues from your injuries, your current income, and how accepting a lump sum will affect your ability to pay for future medical expenses related to your injuries.
Every day, Massachusetts' construction workers put themselves at risk for the sake of their job. They often climb to extreme heights, work near moving vehicles, and operate heavy and dangerous machinery. Fortunately, most of the time, these workers are kept safe thanks to workplace laws and regulations. In some instances, though, mishaps occur and workers are left injured. When this happens, a victim could have a long road to recovery.
Our last blog post discussed times when your workers' compensation benefits can be reduced. This is just one of a whole host of problems that can arise during the workers' compensation recovery process. Everything from an initial denial to complications during appeal and cessation of benefits occur far too often, leaving Massachusetts' residents stranded financially, not knowing where to turn.
Worker's compensation can be a real life-saver. Injured workers may struggle to survive financially when injured on the job, and workers' compensation can help cover lost wages and medical expenses. Yet, the workers' compensation system in Massachusetts is very complicated. Fully understanding it can be difficult, but is imperative to ensure individuals are receiving the fullest compensation to which they are entitled.
Yes, you can. Massachusetts law allows individuals who have been disfigured by a workplace injury or illness to recover a one-time payment. However, in order to recover compensation for this injury, the worker must show that he or she has suffered disfigurement or scarring to his or her hands, neck, or face. The recoverable amount is dependent upon the severity of the scarring or disfigurement. Additionally, it is important to note that this recovery in independent from any recovery for medical expenses and/or lost wages.
As with the answer to most legal question, it depends. Typically, your employer will not forward your workers' compensation claim to its insurance company until you have been unable to earn full wages for five days, due to an on-the-job injury. However, once those five days have passed, then your employer has seven days to report the situation to its insurance company. These seven days do not include holidays or Sundays. Once the insurance company receives notice of the injury, it then has 14 days to send your first check or deny the claim. If the claim is denied, then the insurance company must state why.