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Bridgeport Workers Compensation Law Blog

Construction elevator collapse kills two workers

This blog recently commented on the death of a Connecticut construction worker who fell through a stairway opening and died when she hit the concrete slab 10 feet below. Accidental falls are one of the leading causes of construction workers' accidents. Another example of a fatal fall occurred at a high-rise renovation project in Naples, Florida.

Two men were installing an exterior temporary construction elevator to be used by workers in renovating the tower. They were about 70 feet off the ground when the elevator structure crashed to the ground. The two men were pronounced dead at the site. Regulations enacted by the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration require that all exterior construction lifts be anchored to the building at intervals not exceeding 25 feet. Initial reports of the accident appear to state that the one or more fasteners that secured the tower to the building broke loose and caused the tower to fall. No explanation has been offered about why the fasteners may have broken, nor has anyone offered any other explanation for the accident.

Pizza worker settles workers' comp claim for $180,000

Custom pizza shops have proliferated in Connecticut and elsewhere over the last several decades. People who love the choice of cheeses and other toppings do not often realize that their culinary freedom depends on many behind-the-scenes workers. One of these workers recently settled a workers' compensation claim for an injury to his foot and ankle for $180,000.

The claimant was employed by Domino's National Commissary as a delivery man. He was delivering cheese to one of his employer's restaurants when the hand truck he was using slipped from his grip and fell on his knee and ankle. The truck was loaded with 400 pounds of cheese, and the impact was severe. The worker fell on his back and suffered a torn meniscus and a fractured foot. According to his attorney, the worker required surgical repair to the torn meniscus and several injections in his left ankle to reduce pain and improve mobility. Further surgery may be required to replace his injured knee.

Fighting distracted driving on Connecticut roads

As a driver in Connecticut, you know that distracted driving is a problem that poses a serious threat to you and others on the road. With the increase in smartphone use and in-car technology that requires significant driver interaction, there are now more things than ever before that can distract a driver. 

The source of distraction is often cell phone use. Texting and talking on the phone are two of the most common reasons for distracted driving, but they are not the only ones. Understanding distracted driving requires understanding how the brain works and how a lack of focus can affect a driver's ability to think and physically react in an appropriate amount of time.

Construction worker dies after 10-foot fall into empty stairwell

Construction worksites have many hazards that pose threats of injury or death to workers. One of the most serious risks is holes in floors that are awaiting the construction of stairs or installation of heating and cooling ducts and other HVAC equipment. A Connecticut worker appears to have been killed in a construction accident in Vernon, just off the Hartford Turnpike.

The accident occurred in an apartment house under construction at about 7:30 a.m. The worker, a woman who was employed by the sheet metal subcontractor at the site, apparently stepped into an empty stairwell and fell about 10 feet to a concrete surface. The exact cause of the fall - tripping over an obstacle or stepping unawares into the stairwell - has not been determined. Officials from the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration were on the site shortly after the accident occurred. The woman was taken by hospital to Hartford Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Second workplace injury prompts $390,000 settlement

A common question posed by recipients of workers' compensation benefits in Connecticut is "What happens if I suffer another injury in the same spot?" The question was answered for one injured worker who recently settled his second workers' compensation claim for nearly $400,000.

The man, who lives in Bristol, suffered a lower back injury while carrying pieces of steel in 2005. He underwent a surgical repair and received $45,000 in workers' compensation benefits. Eleven years later, while working for the same employer, the worker again injured his lower back while carrying pieces of steel. The second injury forced him to retire.

Tree trimmer killed when tree falls unexpectedly

Workers who trim and remove trees use many kinds of safety equipment, including hard hats, safety harnesses and specially designed boots and shoes. Occasionally, however, even the most mindful of precautions can be defeated by unexpected events, as was recently demonstrated by a fatal accident on the job in Trumbull.

The worker was employed by a tree removal service that had been hired to remove a tree from the lot occupied by a Pinewood Trail home. The man wore a safety harness as he climbed the tree to a height estimated to be 45 feet. According to co-workers, he began to trim the upper branches when the tree broke at its base. The trimmer was still holding on to the branches when the tree hit the ground. The worker was taken to Bridgeport hospital where he died from his injuries.

OSHA to investigate cause of death caused by snowplow

The winter of 2017-2018 has dumped record amounts of snow on Connecticut. As a result, the safety hazards usually associated with winter - poor visibility, slippery spots, snow plows operating in limited space - have been exacerbated. Workplace injuries have also increased across the state, as demonstrated by the death of a worker in Wallingford that appears to have been caused by a snow plow.

The accident occurred on the campus of Bristol-Meyers Squibb, The employee of a landscaping company working on the BMS grounds was killed by a snowplow, but the exact circumstances have not been revealed by any of the involved parties. A spokesman for the United States Department of Labor has announced that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration will open an investigation into the accident. The principal focus of the investigation will be whether either of the contractors, the landscaping firm Brightview Landscaping Service, Inc. and the snow clearing firm, Cherry Hill Construction, Inc. were following safety regulations at the time of the accident.

Truck drivers are overloaded with on-the-job safety hazards

If you are a truck driver who navigates massive 18-wheelers on the busy Connecticut roads, you might be concerned for the welfare of your family if you should suffer a debilitating injury or worse in a work-related accident. Transportation accidents claim many lives every year, and falls, overexertion and struck-by-object incidents can cause long-term health problems that might jeopardize your earning ability. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulates the hours you may drive without resting, but that only addresses the issue of accidents resulting from fatigue and drowsiness.

Your employer also carries some of the responsibility to ensure your safety such as providing the necessary training and ensuring only the best automotive mechanics look after your truck's maintenance. You carry a significant percentage of the quest to stay safe, and that includes the safety of other motorists, pedestrians and co-workers.

Four firms settle claims concerning improper asbestos removal

Many people in Connecticut regard the threat formerly posed by asbestos as virtually non-existent. While the use of asbestos as a construction and insulation material has been significantly reduced over the last 30 years, it still causes a number of workplace illnesses. A recent settlement between the state of Massachusetts and four asbestos removal firms, including one based in Connecticut, provides evidence that asbestos still poses a threat to construction workers, remodelers and persons who live or work in buildings that were originally built using asbestos.

The settlement involves the renovation of a public housing project during the winter and spring of 2015. Four firms were hired by the city of Salem to remove all asbestos from the building during a renovation project. According to the allegations in the complaint filed by the state, the four firms failed to adhere to Massachusetts' clean air law and regulations. The firms failed to properly contain and store asbestos-containing materials after they were removed from the premises. State investigators allegedly found violations by the general asbestos-removal contractor in every building in the project.

What are the most common construction site accidents?

Construction workers in Connecticut and elsewhere have a dangerous profession. Data recently released by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics show the variety and seriousness of construction accidents that bedevil construction workers across the country.

Not surprisingly, falls from scaffolding or structures are the most common cause of construction site accidents. In 2015, almost 40 percent of construction worker deaths resulted from falls. Also, the increase in the height of modern buildings adds to the probability that a simple mishap, such as tripping or slipping, might result in death or a serious injury. Tripping and slipping accidents are often caused by a tool or building material in frequently used walkways on the site. Rain, ice and snow also increase the hazards.

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