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Waste Disposal Workers: Why Are Injury and Illness Rates So High?

Waste disposal workers have one of the most dangerous, physically-demanding jobs in the United States. Not only are they required to operate industrial-grade equipment routinely, but they are also exposed to numerous toxins, pollutants, and chemical contaminants daily. This repeated exposure can lead to several long-term, life-threatening illnesses.

According to a report from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the injury and illness rate for waste disposal workers is almost two times higher than any other occupation in America. From 2017 to 2018, occupational injuries and illnesses for waste management workers increased from 116.9 thousand to 118.6 thousand.

In a 2017 study published in Occupational Medicine, researchers found that “rates of fatal, non-fatal injuries and self-reported work-related illness were found to be higher in the waste and recycling sector than in [the work] industry as a whole.”

Some of the most common illnesses for waste disposal workers include:

  • Extrinsic allergic alveolitis – A respiratory condition caused by the regular inhalation of organic dust, typically within a work setting.
  • Aspergillosis – A type of fungal infection caused by repeated exposure to the fungus Aspergillus, located in waste disposal settings
  • Occupational asthma – Asthma caused by the repeated inhalation of irritants such as toxic vapors, specks of dust, or gases
  • Abnormalities of lung function – There are a wide range of lung conditions that can cause abnormal functionality, such as diseases, viruses, irritations, and infections
  • Lead poisoning and exposure to other heavy metals – Exposure to heavy metals, such as lead and mercury, have been linked to DNA damage and congenital disabilities

Unfortunately, protective respiratory gear for waste disposal workers isn’t enforced throughout the United States. When the protective equipment is worn, it is typically very minimal. Industry professionals agree that the waste disposal sector still has much room for improvement when it comes to protecting workers from occupational hazards.

Contact a New York Toxic Exposure Workplace Attorney

Employers have a responsibility to protect their workers from known occupational hazards. If you or someone you love has become injured or ill due to exposure to hazardous substances in the workplace, the workplace injury attorneys of Hach & Rose, LLP will be ready to help you get justice and fair compensation for the harm you’ve suffered. Call us at (212) 779-0057 or reach out online to schedule a free consultation with our team today.


What to do if you’re injured at work

Sustaining an injury at work is always a possibility, especially for laborers who carry out physically demanding tasks on a daily basis. According to the United States National Safety Council (NSC), “every seven seconds, a worker is injured on the job.” This means that each year, an average of approximately 4.6 million workers sustain work-related injuries — amounting to a whopping total of 104 million lost production days in the United States. Some of the most common types of work injuries include:

  • Injuries from overexertion, such as strains or sprains due to repetitive motion or handling heavy objects
  • Injuries from falling objects or other types of contact with heavy-duty industrial equipment
  • Injuries from being caught in or compressed by machinery
  • Injuries from being crushed or trapped within a collapsing structure
  • Injuries from slips, trips, and falls

Unfortunately, many people sustain injuries because of workplace hazards and unsafe conditions. In too many cases, workers end up being taken advantage of by employers and insurance companies alike. If you have been injured at work, here are some steps you can take to ensure your well-being.

  • Seek medical attention for your injuries as soon as possible.
  • The medical provider might have you sign an A-9 form before treating you. This form states that you might be responsible for paying medical bills if the claim is rejected by the Workers’ Compensation Board, or if you do not pursue a workers’ compensation claim.
  • Inform your boss as soon as possible. If you are pursuing a workers’ compensation claim, you only have thirty days to formally notify your employer of your injury in writing. After this time period, you may lose your rights to worker’s compensation benefits.
  • If you are pursuing a workers’ compensation claim, fill out a C-3 form, then send it to your nearest Workers’ Compensation Board office. You have two years to file a claim, starting from the date of the injury. If you do not file a claim within this time, you may lose your right to benefits.
  • If you are filing a personal injury claim, it may be extremely beneficial for you to seek legal advice. Only a professionally trained attorney can help you with the details of a complex personal injury case.

Contact a New York Work Injury Lawyer

If you or someone you love has been injured on the job, you are undoubtedly going through a frightening time. Injuries, medical bills, and recovery costs can be overwhelming for anyone to deal with. At Hach & Rose, LLP, we want you to know that you do not have to go through this alone. Our skilled team of attorneys will help you understand your rights and seek fair compensation, either through a claim for workers’ compensation benefits or through a personal injury claim. Call us at (212) 779-0057 to discuss your rights. 


“Sharps” Injuries: What Are the Risks?

“Sharps” is a term that is often used in the medical field to refer to needlesticks, scalpels, and other medical instruments that are used to penetrate the skin. When these medical instruments are improperly disposed of, they can become a serious biohazard — even a small nick, cut, or puncture wound could have devastating consequences.

This is because used medical instruments can potentially carry several different types of bloodborne pathogens, such as the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), Hepatitis B Virus (HBV), Hepatitis C Virus (HCV), and more. According to a report from the United States Department of Labor, researchers estimate that “5.6 million workers in the healthcare industry and related occupations are at risk of occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens.”

Anyone who works in or with a medical facility is at risk of sustaining a sharps injury, including medical professionals, custodians, waste management workers, and more. There are several procedures in place for correctly disposing of used medical instruments, and if those procedures are not followed, this could constitute negligent behavior on behalf of several parties. Proper procedures for disposing of and containing sharps include:

  • Discarding used sharps into their appropriate containers as soon as possible
  • Disposal containers must be sealable, puncture-proof, and leak-proof on all sides
  • Disposal containers must be upright, accessible, and regularly emptied
  • Used sharps must be properly labeled according to OSHA biohazard regulations

Contact a New York Workplace Injury Attorney

Medical facilities and professionals have a legal obligation to properly label and dispose of any materials that may be a potential biohazard. If you or someone you know was hurt due to the improper disposal of a medical instrument, contact Hach & Rose, LLP to discuss your rights and legal options. We will sit down with you to discuss your case when you call (212) 779-0057 or fill out a contact form on our site to schedule a free and confidential consultation.


The Five Most Dangerous Jobs in America

It’s no secret that certain occupations carry higher risk-factors than others. So, what are the most dangerous occupations in America, and why are they so dangerous? According to an updated report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are two ways to answer this question:

  • By the overall number of on-the-job fatalities
  • By the fatal work injury rate

Using these factors, researchers have compiled a list of the five most dangerous jobs in America.

  1. Refuse and recyclable material collectors

Because refuse and recyclable material collectors spend so much time operating commercial vehicles, they are at a higher risk for traffic accidents. Additionally, these workers are exposed to various types of pollutants and contaminants on an almost daily basis, which can cause serious illness — and even death. With 30 fatal injuries and 1,340 non-fatal severe injuries in 2017, this is the fifth most dangerous occupation in America.

  1. Roofers

While falls, slips, and trips are a hazard in any occupation, they are a particularly dangerous risk-factor for roofers. Because these laborers often work on ladders, scaffolds, or roofs, falling can result in devastating injuries. Moreover, roofers are at risk for heat-stroke and other heat-related illnesses during the hottest months of the year. In 2017, the roofing industry saw 91 fatal injuries, 2,810 nonfatal injuries.

  1. Aircraft pilots and flight engineers

Aircraft pilots and flight engineers are often under an immense amount of stress and pressure on the job. As a result, these workers can quickly become mentally and physically exhausted, meaning they are at a higher risk for transportation accidents. According to the BLS, the total number of fatal injuries for pilots in 2017 amounted to 59 incidents, while the overall number of non-fatal injuries was 630.

  1. Logging Workers

 Because of the nature of the work, logging is an inherently dangerous occupation. Loggers are expected to operate industrial machinery such as chainsaws, harvesters, and commercial vehicles daily. Additionally, workers perform labor that is extremely strenuous and physically demanding. Because loggers often work in remote locations, medical facilities are difficult to reach in the event of a severe accident. In 2017, the logging industry saw 55 fatal injuries and 350 non-fatal severe injuries.

  1. Fishers and related fishing workers

Overall, fishers and related fishing workers experienced the highest rates of on-the-job fatalities in 2017. Laborers have to face many hazards daily, such as slippery decks, extreme weather, and heavy-duty industrial gear. Also, fishers are often working in boats out at sea, where injured individuals cannot seek immediate medical attention. Unfortunately, a significant majority of worker deaths are from drowning accidents. According to the BLS, the fishing industry saw 41 fatal injuries and 120 non-fatal injuries in 2017.

Contact a New York City Work Injury Lawyer

If you or someone you know has been seriously or fatally injured at work, you may be entitled to financial compensation for treatment, lost wages, medical bills, and more. At Hach & Rose, LLP, our experienced New York workplace injury attorneys will fight for justice on your behalf and work around the clock to obtain the compensation you deserve.

 


Exposure to Toxic Substances Cause Roughly 2.8 Million Worker Deaths Per Year

According to a report from the New York State Department of Health, a toxic substance can be defined as any substance that causes “harm [when it] enters or contacts the body.” Exposure to toxic substances can result in a number of long-term, life-threatening illnesses — and even fatality. In a 2018 study from the United Nations (UN), researchers estimated that one worker dies from toxic substance exposure every 30 seconds. On a global scale, this amounts to almost 2.8 million worker deaths per year.

Despite the presence of clear laws outlining the obligation that employers have to maintain a reasonably safe work environment, many laborers are still routinely exposed to toxic substances that could have long-term negative effects on their health. According to the UN report, one of the most common illnesses that exposed workers develop is cancer, which amounts to approximately 70% of all diseases in the workplace.

Some of the most common toxic substances that laborers are exposed to are:

  • Toxic industrial chemicals
  • Pesticides
  • Paint
  • Petroleum products
  • Radiation
  • Solvents
  • Glues
  • Acids
  • Caustic substances
  • Heavy metals like mercury, lead, cadmium, and aluminum

While exposure to some of these listed substances can almost immediately result in negative health effects, it may take years before those effects are discovered. In many tragic cases, workers do not even realize they are sick before it is too late. However, even in these cases, workers — as well as their families and loved ones — deserve their right to pursue legal action.

Contact a New York Toxic Substance Exposure Lawyer

If you or a loved one has developed a long-term, life-threatening illness as a result of being exposed to toxic substances in the workplace, turn to an experienced work injury lawyer to discuss your rights. Our experienced and compassionate attorneys will guide you through the necessary steps to determine liability and get you the compensation you deserve. To discuss the potential merits of legal action in your case, contact our offices by calling (212) 779-0057 today.


Bensonhurst, NY – Construction Worker Hurt After Falling Through Roof of School in Brooklyn

Bensonhurst, NY – Construction Worker Hurt After Falling Through Roof of School in Brooklyn

Bensonhurst, NY (July 5, 2019) – On Friday morning, July 5th, police stated that a construction worker suffered injuries on the job after falling through the roof of a school located in the Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn. The accident happened around 9:00 a.m. at a school on 16th Avenue.

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Chinatown, NY – Man Killed After Safe Falls on him Inside Manhattan Building

Dunkirk, NY – Woman Taken to Hospital After Hit by Neighbor’s Firework

Chinatown, NY (July 1, 2019) – According to police, a man was sadly killed by a falling safe on Sunday, June 30th inside of a building located in Chinatown. Authorities confirmed that the incident took place on Mott Street at an unspecified time for reasons that are under investigation.

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Midtown, Manhattan, NY – Three Construction Workers Hurt Including One Seriously by Falling Debris

Bensonhurst, NY – Construction Worker Hurt After Falling Through Roof of School in Brooklyn

Midtown, Manhattan, NY (June 27, 2019) – On Thursday morning, June 27th, three workers were reported to have suffered injuries, one seriously, after debris fell inside of a theatre located in Midtown Manhattan. The incident took place at the Golden Theatre, at 252 West 45th Street, located in the Theatre District near 8th Avenue, around 11:30 a.m.

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Staten Island, NY – Worker Injured by Chemical Exposure at Water Treatment Facility in Oakwood

Staten Island, NY – Worker Injured by Chemical Exposure at Water Treatment Facility in Oakwood

Staten Island, NY (June 25, 2019) – An injurious incident was reported to have occurred at 7:57 a.m. at the Department of Environmental Protection water-treatment facility located in Oakwood, Staten Island, on Tuesday morning, June 25th. Authorities stated that a worker suffered injuries after being exposed to a chemical at the facility.

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Chelsea, Manhattan, NY – Update: Woman Struck and Killed on Bicycle Identified

Phelps, NY – Bicyclist Seriously Hurt in Crash with Pickup Truck

Chelsea, Manhattan, NY (June 25, 2019) – Authorities have released the identity of the young woman who was tragically struck and killed while riding a bike in Chelsea on Monday morning, June 24th. Police have stated that Robyn Hightman, 20, was killed after she was hit by a delivery truck on 6th Avenue, in the vicinity of West 23rd and West 24th Streets.

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