Any Connecticut resident who has stopped to watch construction workers on a large building has seen tower cranes and movable cranes lift extremely heavy loads. One might wonder what would happen if the load should come loose and fall to the ground. An incident in another state demonstrated the potentially tragic consequences of such an event.
In today's economy, truck drivers often travel far from their homes or the states in which their employers are located. If a truck driver is killed or injured in a work-related accident, sorting out the applicable workers' compensation statute can be problematic. A recent about an accident that took the life of a resident of Seymour, Connecticut, demonstrates the problem.
One of the most catastrophic injuries suffered by Connecticut workers is the loss of a hand. The injury severely limits the ability of a worker to return to the job and requires extensive retraining. Prosthetic hands, ranging from hooks to complex electronic robotic hands, can be very expensive. Help may be on the way because Italian researchers recently announced the development of a robotic hand that may alleviate or eliminate these problems.
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.
What are the most dangerous occupations in the United States? Most people in Connecticut have intuitive answers to this question, but the actual statistics compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the United States Department of Labor provide some clear cut answers to the question of which occupations have the highest rates of workplace fatalities.
Connecticut and her neighboring states are dotted with small manufacturing plants. Many of these facilities use chemicals that can cause fires and explosions if they are mishandled or used improperly. A recent factory explosion in eastern New York state shows how even the manufacture of mundane products such as cosmetics can produce a devastating workplace accident.
The Connecticut workers compensation system is predicated on a compromise: workers give up their right to sue their employers for workplace injuries or illnesses and employers agree to pay benefits without a showing of liability. This compromise does not, however, include entities that may be entirely or partially at fault for a workplace accident. Employees are not restricted in any way from seeking damages from parties other than their employers for on-the-job injuries.
Semi-trailer trucks lined up at loading docks waiting to be loaded or unloaded are a common sight in Connecticut. When they are parked, big rigs appear to be harmless, but even a small malfunction in moving these large trucks can cause a serious workplace accident.
Construction workers are frequently required to move loads that are far heavier than human lifting and carrying ability. For short moves, workers commonly use "tow motors," a small truck powered by a battery or propane engine. These vehicles often resemble fork lift trucks without the lifting apparatus. A tow motor appears to lie at the center of a sequence of unexplained events that have resulted in a fatal accident on a construction site in Ansonia, Connecticut.
Most workplace accidents are caused by man-made items or equipment, such as ladders, scaffolds, retaining walls, saws, and drills. In a remarkable exception to this rule, a recent fatal workplace accident near Windsor, Connecticut was caused by a wholly natural object - a falling tree.