Articles Posted in Workers Compensation

A Towson, Maryland rehabilitation center has been sued by the United States Department of Labor for allegedly mishandling employees’ retirement contributions. According to a news release, the U.S. Labor Dept. has filed a lawsuit against Towson Rehabilitation Center LLC and its CEO for failure to remit employees’ retirement contributions to the company’s 401K plan.

The lawsuit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland in Baltimore, seeks to restore all plan losses and “permanently bar the defendants from serving in a fiduciary capacity to any employee benefit plan…” covered by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).

A case such as this suggests an alleged breakdown in trust between the employer and employees–in this case, with workers’ retirement contributions at stake. Trust can also break down when someone is injured at work, and the employer may not always do what is in the best interest of the injured employee.

Which are the most dangerous occupations in Maryland? What types of fatal work-related accidents occur most frequently? As we look ahead to 2012, it’s worth looking to the recent past to consider Maryland workplace safety, accidents that happen on the job, and trends.

The answers may be found in the most recent Maryland Occupational Safety and Health (MOSH) survey results, which are available to the public (see link below). Some highlights from the 2008 Maryland Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries…

> Nonfatal work related injuries and illnesses in Maryland declined in 2008, numbering at 75,000. Maryland is statistically one of the safer states in which to work in the U.S., with a “TRC” (total recordable case) incidence rate that’s 12 percent below the national average. (Md.’s TRC rate was, for 2008, 3.7 injuries and illnesses per 100 equivalent full-time workers.)

What would happen to you and your family if you were hurt on the job and temporarily or permanently disabled? For construction workers, electricians, machinists, farmers, truck drivers, and others in high-risk occupations, surviving a Maryland work accident can be just the start of an uphill battle. Keeping up with day-to-day medical and living expenses, while recovering from a work-related accident, can be an enormous struggle for injured Md. workers and their families.

Harford County, Md. work comp injury lawyers know families may struggle just to get by in the wake of a work related accident. This is why we work hard to relieve injured Maryland workers and their families of the burden of dealing with their Maryland Workers’ Compensation claims and well as related legal claims and lawsuits.

How much money can a Maryland injured worker expect to receive when filing a Workers’ Comp claim on their own? The Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission posted its Workers’ Compensation Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA) for the New Year. Let’s take a look at a few numbers and consider what that could mean for injured Md. workers and their families.

Did you know that in the U.S., an average of 12 people die on the job every day? As an experienced Baltimore County work injury lawyer will tell you — no one heads off to work in Maryland not expecting to make it home for dinner that night.

But for people in dangerous jobs, including shipyard workers, commercial truck drivers, farm and agricultural workers, and those in the construction fields, serious and fatal work accidents can and do happen in Maryland.

New Bureau of Labor Statistics reveal that the U.S. as a whole showed little change in the overall number of workers killed on the job last year as compared to 2009. Preliminary results from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries show that in 2010, an estimated 4,547 workers died from work-related injuries, down from 4,551 fatal work injuries in 2009. Some improvements…

“Whistleblower.” The name itself conjures up images straight out of a Hollywood thriller. Many movies have been made over the years about the plight of whistleblowers — brave souls who try to expose corporate corruption, greed, and danger in the workplace — usually at their own peril. Memorable movies about whistleblowers include Silkwood (nuclear power plant dangers), The Insider (tobacco and smoking health risks), and Erin Brockovich (toxic waste dumping).

Some of these movies are based on the real-life stories of whistleblowers and the consequences they suffered from those who’d silence them. Whistleblowers are indeed real working people who speak out against their employers and bring problematic situations to light. Their grievances may center on workplace safety violations, illegal workplace practices, and poor working conditions.

As the experienced Baltimore, Maryland workers’ compensation lawyers at Butschky & Butschky, LLC know — it can be very tough to speak out against one’s employer. This is especially true in this struggling economy, where working people are happy to have any job at all. However standards for workplace safety in Maryland and around the country are required, not optional. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) wants to ensure that workers who have concerns about their workplace safety may raise those concerns without fear of reprisal from their employers. The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act)…

This month, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) updated regulations protecting shipyard workers from work-related injuries. The new ruling reflects advancements in maritime industry technologies and practices. OSHA reports that its employment standards for shipyard workers had not been significantly updated since 1972.

As we can attest, Maryland waterfront work is dangerous business. There are many ways that Baltimore’s hard-working longshoremen can get hurt or killed, including slip and fall injuries, crane and forklift accidents, being hit by falling cargo, and drowning. The amended OSHA standards for waterfront workers in Baltimore, Md., and ports around the country address the following safety concerns:

  • Adequate lighting for work spaces

Getting in an auto accident while on the job in Maryland can be the worst of both worlds.

As if a car or truck accident isn’t stressful enough, when a traffic crash occurs while you’re on the road for a Maryland employer — it’s easy to feel pulled in multiple directions at once. There’s the hassle of dealing with insurance companies, auto body shops, doctors, and lawyers. Throw in a company car or even your own car used for business, and then bring your employer (and all that potential drama) into the mix, and it’s no wonder accident victims get quickly overwhelmed.

Let’s say you’re driving to a sales call at a company in Baltimore City. All of a sudden, BAM! You are sideswiped at a downtown Baltimore intersection. The knee-jerk reaction if you’re involved in a work traffic accident is to call the boss immediately. Makes sense, right? Wrong!

In Maryland, work-related injuries make the news from time to time, particularly when a serious construction accident or accident on the loading docks of the Baltimore waterfront occurs. Slip and fall accidents from roofs and scaffolding, and crane, forklift, truck and other construction vehicle accidents are all hazards that come with the job in the construction and longshoreman trades.

As Baltimore work accident injury attorneys, we’ve assisted many hard-working individuals in Maryland who’ve been injured on the job. But one type of workplace injury we hear less about — which can have serious, lifelong consequences — is eye injury. The National Safety Council reports that eye injuries in the workplace are on the rise. According to advocacy group Prevent Blindness America, some 2,000 people sustain eye injuries at work every day.

The organization is offering free tools to employers to help raise awareness of eye safety and eye health among employees (see link below). Prevent Blindness America cites the most common causes of workplace eye injuries are flying objects (e.g., pieces of metal or glass), tools, particles, chemicals, and harmful radiation. Of the 2,000 people who sustain eye injury at work yearly, some 10 to 20 percent will suffer temporary or permanent vision loss. Computer related eye strain is another common form of eye injury in the workplace.

Last fall, we posted a blog article on the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) preliminary results for its 2008 census of fatal occupational injury rates. The BLS recently released its final numbers, which were slightly higher than originally reported based on identification of new cases of work-related injuries and deaths. The final data offer the following insights regarding worker safety in the U.S.:

o A total of 5,214 work fatalities occurred in the U.S. in 2008 — the lowest number of work-related deaths since the BLS began conducting its census in 1992. This represents a national fatal work injury rate of 3.7 per 100,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers.

o Private industry construction accidents causing death have declined (975 deaths in 2008 — 19% lower than in 2007); and the fatal work injury rate for this sector is down by 10%. However, even with these notable statistical gains — which translate to lives saved — construction remains one of the most hazardous forms of work, with a 9.7 fatal work injury rate (per 100,000 FTE workers).

Construction work in Maryland often involves long hours, hard labor, modest wages, and job security that’s entirely dependent on the season, the market, and the employer. As experienced Baltimore, Maryland Construction accident attorneys, we’ve represented many clients over the years who were injured while performing their construction jobs. One question we get asked all the time is…

“Can I file a claim under Maryland Workers’ Compensation and a lawsuit against the at-fault party (or parties) at the same time?”

The answer is YES. However, as with most things legal, there are many factors to consider.

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