New Focus for Talcum Powder Cases

Two recent court cases involving Johnson & Johnson’s (J & J) baby powder have resulted in the awarding of damages to plaintiffs suffering from mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer that generally affects certain cells lining the lungs and abdomen. The cancer is often caused by asbestos exposure and rarely appears without cause. During May 2018, jurors in California state court awarded a 68-year-old woman compensatory damages of $21.7 million for asbestos-related mesothelioma that she claims resulted from extremely heavy usage (two bottles a month) of J & J’s powder over decades. Earlier, in April 2018, New Jersey jurors in the company’s corporate hometown of New Brunswick found J & J liable for $117 million in damages. A 56-year-old man claimed that his asbestos-related mesothelioma was due to daily usage of the company’s talcum powder products since his birth in 1972. These two cases are game-changers when it comes to the dangers of talcum powder and cancer risk. Previous cases have focused on ovarian cancer and have not involved claims of asbestos in Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powders. What is Mesothelioma? The cancer known as mesothelioma usually results from workplace exposure to asbestos that occurs over many years. The most[…..]

Occupational Hazard: Beryllium in the Workplace

MD Beryllium Injury Lawyer

Beryllium is a substance that probably doesn’t appear in your everyday conversation, unless you are studying chemistry or you work in certain industries. But repeated exposure to beryllium can cause a number of health problems and serious diseases. After four decades, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) finally issued a safety exposure rule for beryllium in January, 2017. However, in June of 2017, the new administration’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) argued for changes to the agreement that was so long in the making. What is Beryllium? A metallic element found in nature, beryllium has many commercial uses. Some businesses that use or expose their workers to beryllium include: Aerospace and aircraft manufacturing and maintenance Computer manufacturers Construction workers in certain industries Dental laboratories Foundries and metals reclamation/recycling Shipyard workers Telecommunications industries. Risk arises from repeated exposure in situations where beryllium is mined, processed, or converted into metallic alloys or other substances, or from living near an uncontrolled hazardous waste site containing beryllium. Exposure to Beryllium: When is it a Problem? We all experience low levels of beryllium in the course of our lives—it’s in our air, water, and food—and these low levels pose no risk. However, persons employed[…..]

Summer Dangers for Construction Site Workers

Workplace Accident

For some of us, summer is a time of trips to the beach and other types of fun. But for those who work in construction, it means long days laboring in the sun, sometimes in extreme heat and under hazardous conditions. Construction jobs are some of the most perilous occupations in which you can engage, and the hottest months often make such jobs even more dangerous. The 2013 estimates for the months with the most work-related injuries per day, from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), were June (3,336.0), July (3,282.4), and August (3,375.5). If you work in the industry, perhaps this is not news. However, you might not be aware of some of the special hazards that summer brings your way. What’s So Risky About Construction Work? Construction work’s deadliest accidents are called “the Fatal Four:” falling, getting struck by objects, being caught between or inside objects, and electrocution. Year-round, such accidents cause many of the fatalities and injuries suffered on construction sites. The most common and most dangerous risk of construction work comes from falling: falls from high places such as roofs, falling off scaffolding, collapsing scaffolding, slippery surfaces, and so forth. However, summertime carries its own special[…..]

New Public Database Helpful for Workers

In an effort to bring greater transparency to the reporting of workplace injury and illness, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published a “final rule” on May 11, 2016, that creates a publically-viewable database. This final rule revises OSHA’s regulations known as the Recording and Reporting of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses. The new database will likely benefit workers in certain industries, who will be able to look up whether one employer has a higher numbers of injuries than another. The names of companies and a listing of injuries and illnesses, along with their numbers of occurrences, will appear in the database. (No personally-identifying worker information will be listed.) Under the present system, employers keep logs of all on-the-job illnesses and injuries. The logs can be viewed by employees and by OSHA inspectors, but no others outside the company can usually see the information. However, the new rule will require certain changes, especially for industries considered “high hazard” (construction, manufacturing, freight trucking, waste collection, hospitals, nursing homes, and grocery stores). Among the changes is the obligation that companies with over 249 workers will have to send detailed injury and illness information electronically to OSHA. How can this new database help[…..]

Give Electricity the Respect It Deserves

Those who work with electricity generally develop a healthy respect for its power and dangers; those who don’t often don’t live to tell the tale. But we can all use reminders now and then. National Electrical Safety Month, held in May and sponsored by the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), is a good time to review safety practices and procedures when it comes to working with electrical current. Founded in 1994, the ESFI was created to promote electrical safety at home, at school, and in the workplace. Their annual campaign is meant to educate all of us about the appropriate safety procedures to use when working with it. One of the groups they focus on is workers who are around electrical current routinely. Worker Fatalities The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that, for the period 2003 through 2010, 1,738 workers died due to contact with electrical current. Contact with current is the sixth-likeliest cause of workplace death. Of those fatalities, the construction industry had the largest number of deaths, with 849. Additional facts to consider include: More than 32 percent of all fatalities due to electricity are centered in only five occupations: electricians, construction laborers, roofers, painters, and carpenters.[…..]

Extra Clean? Extra Safety Needed

Window Washer

It’s no secret why Window Safety Week happens in early April; this year it’s April 3-9. When “spring has sprung” after a long winter, we itch to throw open the windows and invite the fresh air inside. It’s also a time when homeowners and businesses alike become aware of dirty windows and long for a little deep cleaning. Washing your own windows isn’t terribly risky if you can do most of it without ladders. But it’s a different story if window-washing involves suspended scaffolding, ropes, and multi-floored buildings. Can you imagine doing it for a living? Window Washing: The Job Working as a window washer appears to be a daredevil’s undertaking. Dozens of stories in the air, standing on narrow planks: you’d certainly need a lack of fear of heights to be successful at the job. It’s not quite as dangerous as it looks. Window cleaning is not on the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health’s (NIOSH) list of the top 100 most dangerous occupations. However, that doesn’t mean it’s not dangerous. To clean windows commercially means using scaffolding. In terms of safety violations, scaffolding is part of a category that ranks third with the Occupational Safety & Health[…..]

The Dangers Of Space Heaters

As cold weather settles in again, a tragic accident in Westminster, Maryland, reminds us that space heaters, when improperly used, can be the cause of serious injuries, property damage and death. Early in the morning on November 9, Bernie Toporzycki opened the door of a backyard shed and was met with a huge explosion. Mr. Toporzycki received second and third degree burns and died two days later at the Johns Hopkins Burn Center in Baltimore. The Toporzycki home and those on either side were so severely damaged that they were condemned. As many as 11 homes in the neighborhood were harmed by the blast. The Maryland State Fire Marshal is investigating the cause of the explosion. Officials said the explosion may have happened because of a space heater that was placed too close to propane tanks. Senior Deputy State Fire Marshal Bruce Bouch told WUSA 9, “We’re always reaching out to the public, ‘Please make sure you have a 3 feet area around any portable space heater, wood stove or fireplace.” Space heaters cause 25,000 home fires a year and 6,000 emergency room visits, according to the Harvard University Environmental Health & Safety group. Statistics from Nationwide Insurance indicate that[…..]

Pick Your Order, Not Your Injury

A worker falling from a scaffold, platform or forklift just doesn’t have time to react in a way that could lessen his injuries on impact. In fact, it only takes 2.5 seconds to fall 100 feet. That’s not much time, is it? And falls of shorter distances take seem to happen almost instantly but can be just as deadly. That’s why workers must be protected from falls by safety harnesses and lanyards. Safety belts alone don’t do the job. It’s critical to note, however, that all the safety equipment in the world will not help if it is not properly installed and if the worker is not adequately trained in its use. According to an OSHA incident report, a Circuit City employee was restocking a New Hampshire warehouse shelf with a color television, using a stock picker lift. He fell approximately 8 feet from the picker to the concrete floor. The employee suffered severe head trauma and died in the hospital two days after the accident. He had been wearing a body belt, but the belt was not properly attached to the stock picker. In addition, the guardrails on the picker’s work platform had been removed. An employee of Baxter[…..]

Steven H. Heisler, The Injury Lawyer, Wins Workers' Compensation Case for Client with Severe Restrictive Lung Disease

Baltimore workers’ compensation attorney Steven H. Heisler, The Injury Lawyer, won a case before the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission for a claimant suffering from severe restrictive lung disease. Baltimore, MD – The legal team at The Law Offices of Steven H. Heisler is proud to announce the success of attorney Steven H. Heisler in a recent workers’ compensation case (# B763242) before the Workers’ Compensation Commission of Maryland. Attorney Heisler secured compensation from the Commission for a 63-year-old worker who had become disabled from severe restrictive lung disease caused by substances exposed to in his work. Heisler proved to the Workers’ Compensation Commissioner that the claimant was permanently totally disabled due to his severe restrictive lung disease, as well as pre-existing conditions including renal insufficiency from hypertension and diabetes. According to the evidence, the claimant developed the lung condition due to exposure to asbestos, soot, and other harmful substances while employed as a boiler operator for 20 years. As a result, the 63 year old claimant is entitled to weekly benefits for as long as he remains permanently totally disabled. “The client was literally unable to finish his testimony because of his significant difficulty breathing. The Commissioner reached the right[…..]

Connecticut Power Plant Workers Suing Over Injuries Sustained During Explosion

According to a recent report, workers injured in a Connecticut power plant explosion have filed a lawsuit against the owners of the facility for failing to provide adequate safety measures that could have prevented the explosion from taking place. The incident occurred when workers were purging a natural gas pipeline, and a buildup of natural gas ignited as it was released. The workers filing the claim sustained head and other injuries. The injured workers’ attorneys claim that their earning potential has been greatly diminished as a result of the accident. A total of six workers lost their lives during the explosion, and dozens more were injured. The suit alleges that Kleen Energy Systems, the power plant owner, and O&G Industries Inc., the facility’s primary contractor, disregarded implementing certain safety measures in order for completion of the 620-megawatt gas-fired power plant to be sped up. Specifically, it is being argued that Kleen and O&G failed to supervise the purging process and that there was no safety engineer on site on the day of the explosion. When employees are injured on the job, the circumstances surrounding the work accident need to be carefully examined to determine whether or not negligent action played[…..]