Archive for the ‘Workers’ Compensation’ Category

Top Causes of Buffalo Construction Accidents in Focus

Buffalo work accident attorneyThe New York Daily News recently argued that the scaffold law in New York should be repealed because it stunts growth. The scaffold law says that developers and building owners are strictly liable for injuries resulting from unsafe scaffolding. Critics argue this has caused liability costs to rise dramatically and building projects are being stymied because the scaffolding law constitutes a “major tax” on construction work.

The reality, however, is that workers are at serious risk of being hurt in scaffolding accidents any time they perform work at elevated heights. Falls are one of the four leading causes of construction accident deaths each year – there were 47 workers killed in fall accidents in New York in 2012 alone, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Workers who are injured in a fall accident or family members of those killed by a fall, should contact a workplace accident lawyer in Buffalo.

OSHA Advises on Top Causes of Construction Accidents


Rather than trying to avoid responsibility for situations when workers are hurt in scaffolding accidents, it would be far better for employers, developers and building owners to focus on ways to prevent accidents from happening in the first place.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) identifies the top four causes of deaths in the construction industry and provides tips on preventing fatalities from these cases.  According to OSHA, the majority of deaths of construction workers occur as a result of:

  • Worker falls
  • Workers getting hit by objects
  • Workers getting caught in or caught between items
  • Electrocution



OSHA’s advice for preventing injuries based on these top causes of death include:

  • Making use of an appropriate fall arrest system and/or personal fall protection whenever work is done at a high elevation.
  • Establishing and maintaining appropriate perimeter protection.
  • Making sure that all openings in the floor or ground are covered securely and that the cover is labeled.
  • Following all safety rules and best practices for the use of both scaffolding and ladders, as well as other platforms.
  • Observing carefully where moving equipment and moving objects are and avoiding getting between those objects and a fixed object.
  • Wearing visible, bright clothing whenever equipment or vehicles are being operated.
  • Putting proper protection systems into place including benching, a shield system, shoring or sloping whenever trenching is done or excavation is ongoing.
  • Avoiding excavation areas and trenches that are five feet deep or more without adequate protection.
  • Locating overhead electrical wiring as well as other utilities before beginning to perform any construction work.
  • Maintaining a safe distance from electrical wiring and utilities, especially when utilizing ladders, scaffolding and other equipment.
  • Using portable tools only if the tools are grounded or double insulated.
  • Using ground fault circuit interrupters.

By keeping these important safety tips in mind, workers can do their part to reduce the risk of being hurt or killed on the job. Employers, too, need to focus on training, OSHA compliance and safety precautions and should be dedicating their efforts to making workplaces safer rather than to repealing laws that provides an added measure of protection in a dangerous industry.

Contact a Buffalo accident attorney at the Law Offices of James Morris at 1-800-477-9044.  Attorney advertising.

Hypothermia a Real Possibility for Workers During Cold Buffalo Winters

It should come as no surprise to anyone that winters are cold in Buffalo, Rochester and the rest of upstate New York. Cold winter creates a lot of risks for people, but those in the greatest danger of being harmed by very cold temperatures are workers who spend the bulk of their day working outside in inclement weather. This includes people who work construction, who work in snow removal or tree trimming after storms, or any other worker who routinely spends large blocks of time outdoors.

It is an employer’s responsibility to ensure that workers are safe and to provide a safe work environment. This includes making certain that workers are properly prepared for the cold and that they do not suffer from hypothermia. Our Buffalo, NY injury attorneys urge workers to pay careful attention to the OSHA information on cold stress and hypothermia and to heed the tips provided by OSHA in order to make sure that workers stay safe.

OSHA Information for Employers About Winter Safety

According to OSHA, there are a number of factors that can affect when a worker will develop hypothermia. The wind chill outside is one important factor, as is whether the worker is on medication, has certain health problems or is wearing damp clothing. Because so many things can affect when a worker develops hypothermia, it is important to realize that the problem is not limited to when it is below freezing outside.

Workers, therefore, must be properly trained to recognize signs of hypothermia any time they are performing outdoor work. Employers must be aware of the dangers that their workers face and take precautions. Some of the precautions that OSHA suggests include:

  • Advising workers of the signs of hypothermia. Signs include hardness of the skin, numbness and the skin becoming pale. The extremities, including the hands, feet, nose and ears, are most likely to develop hypothermia.
  • Ensuring that workers take frequent breaks to get warm. Hypothermia develops when the body is not able to warm itself back to a normal temperature. Prolonged exposure to freezing weather can cause serious and permanent injury or even death.
  • Provide warm beverages to workers. This can help them to maintain their body temperature as they are working outside in the cold. The beverages should not contain caffeine, so caffeinated coffees and teas should be avoided.
  • Try to schedule work for warm times. When possible, schedule outdoor work to occur on days that are above freezing. You should also always make a point to schedule outdoor work on the warmest part of the day.
  • Ensure that workers have proper clothing to keep warm. Layering can be very beneficial to workers in fighting off hypothermia.

These are just a few of the key tips that OSHA provides in order to help employers to make sure to keep their employees safe. During this long cold winter season, it is very important for all employers to protect their employees who are working outdoors and who are at risk.

If you’ve been injured in Buffalo or the surrounding area, contact the Law Offices of James Morris today at 800-477-9044.

Four Ways to Prevent Workplace Accidents

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents estimates that roughly 60% of accidents at work go unreported every year. Many avoid reporting workplace accidents for fear of executive confrontation or simple lack of will. Despite the perceived burden of reporting a workplace accident, employees actually benefit from recording such incidents. For instance, if an employee seeks time-off for an accident at work, referencing a log of when the accident occurred is helpful in determining how much time off is needed to fully recover.

What most people fail to realize is that, under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulation of 1995, employers are required to report all accidents in the workplace regardless of the incident’s severity. For this reason, it is imperative that employees do their part in recognizing when workplace accidents occur and properly recording them for employer review.  This requirement extends beyond the realm of erroneous human behavior to include spread of diseases and illnesses as well. Employees and employers should take every measure possible to prevent workplace accidents. The list below provides four preventive measures to take in every workplace:

  1. Safety Training for New and Current Employees: As part of orientation, all employers should enforce a rigorous safety training session to assure that employees know what to do if a workplace accident occurs.
  2. Ongoing Safety Education: an initial safety orientation is a good start, but continuing safety education in the workplace at regular intervals can save employers thousands of dollars in the long run if a workplace accident were to occur. Monthly safety meetings, bulletin board reminders and occasional informational video sessions are all good ways of continuing an employee’s safety education.
  3. Provide Necessary Safety Equipment: easily the most obvious point on the list, but also the most important. Without necessary safety and first-aid equipment readily available, an accident in the workplace can go from bad to worse in minutes. Essential safety protection includes eye goggles, adhesive bandages and ear plugs.
  4. Proper Training for Specialized Machinery: if your organization uses any sort of occupational-specific machinery, necessary training in machinery function should be given to all employees who will use it. This sort of training should not occur on the job, but rather before the employee begins work.

Scaffolding accidents serious threat in New York. Protect yourself.

Working on scaffolding can be extremely dangerous. Many people often get hurt working in such high places on construction sites. Or even worse, people die every year in scaffolding accidents. According to the latest government statistics, scaffolding accidents killed 88 people nationwide in 2008. Just recently, a 42-year-old man was killed when he fell 130 feet from scaffolding not properly secured.

What causes such accidents? How can you stay safe? A recent study by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics determined that 72% of workers injured in scaffolding accidents can attribute their injuries either to the planking or support giving way, or to the employee slipping or being struck by a falling object. All of these scenarios can be controlled by complying with federal Occupational Safety & Health Administration standards.

New York State has rigorous laws designed to protect the safety and rights of people working on scaffolding. New York Labor Law 240, which is often called the “scaffolding law,” enables workers who fall from collapsed or poorly maintained scaffolding to recover damages for their injury. The law also protects workers who sustain injuries that occur due to ineffective or improper safety equipment such as harnesses.

Have you been injured in a scaffolding accident in New York State? You may be entitled to compensation. You deserve to be treated with respect. You deserve justice. You need the Law Offices of James Morris.

When you choose us, you get experienced attorneys who will vigorously defend your rights and fight for the compensation you rightfully deserve. Don’t let a scaffolding accident ruin your life. Take control. Contact James Morris today. We mean business.

The information contained in this communication is provided for informational purposes only and should not be constituted as legal advice on any subject matter.