Serving injured workers throughout Connecticut
Cousins, Desrosiers & Morizio, P.C.
Speak With An Attorney — No Money Upfront Please call 866-225-9496 today for a free consultation. Free Consultation

Bridgeport Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Eye injuries a danger on the job

Keeping one's eyes safe on the job is important for people in Connecticut dealing with hazardous tasks and substances. However, even for workers in offices, eye safety can be a priority and a matter for action as eye injuries in the workplace can be costly and devastating. There are over 20,000 injuries to workers' eyes on the job each year in the United States.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates that $300 million is lost each year due to workplace injuries to the eyes. This is in addition to the personal cost to workers, which can range from severe pain to loss of eyesight. However, many such injuries are preventable; some estimates say that 90 percent of workplace eye damage could be avoided through the use of protective eyewear. There are a variety of eye injuries that people can experience at work, from a simple eye strain to serious, traumatic injuries.

OSHA continues alliance with entertainment industry groups

Connecticut workers in the entertainment industry may be interested to know that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has opted to continue an alliance with two major entertainment worker organizations for another five years. By renewing its partnership with International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees and the United States Institute for Theatre Technology, OSHA will continue to safeguard the health and safety of people who work in entertainment industry.

During the five-year period, the three participants of the alliance will provide workers with resources to educate them about electrical hazards, ergonomics, falls and other types of industry dangers. The two entertainment industry groups will provide information to state and federal personnel that addresses industry safety topics, such as the way to use portable distribution systems in a safe manner and fall prevention tactics. The participants of the alliance will also continue to disseminate information about OSHA's enforcement initiatives, rulemaking and outreach projects. Examples of these projects include the Safe and Sound Campaign for Safety and Health Programs and the National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction.

Determining a safe anchor point

For some workers and employers in Connecticut, the selection of anchor points can be a concern when aiming to comply with the standards set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Many safety professionals believe that the relevant regulations should have the anchor points capable of supporting 5,000 pounds per person attached. However, the actual standard for anchor points differs slightly from this common belief.

There are a number of reasons as to why OSHA may have selected 5,000 pounds per person as the needed strength for anchor points for fall prevention. Some estimate that 5,000 pounds is twice the amount of force generated by a worker in free fall. These regulations, which have been in place for decades, are calculated on the basis of an average weight of 220 pounds falling over 6 feet. However, when a worker who weighs 220 pounds falls over that distance while using a fall arrest system, the force generated ranges between 900 and 1,800 pounds.

Former OSHA head emphasizes enforcement for worker safety

Workers on the job in Connecticut and across the country face dangerous situations in many cases that must be addressed by clear enforcement and general oversight. The former head of the Occupational Safety and Health Association, or OSHA, emphasized these points in testimony before a Congressional subcommittee on protections for the workforce. He emphasized that voluntary programs are no substitute for inspections, standards and enforcement for their effect on workers' health and safety on a job site. Voluntary programs produce only limited benefits for a restricted subset of workers, he said.

He noted that the Voluntary Protection Plan, one initiative by OSHA, requires a substantial amount of resources to accept an employer into the program. Because being a VPP member provides employers with official recognition and exempts them from required inspections, a lengthy vetting and inspection process is required in advance. In the program's earlier days, he said, some unqualified employers were accepted; in order to restore the program, serious resource investment is required. In addition to the direct cost, however, he noted that each VPP program only affects one company rather than making industry-wide change that affects workers in more dangerous conditions.

Report shows decrease in tree care worker deaths in 2017

According to a new report from the Tree Care Industry Association, 2017 saw a 22 percent decrease in tree care worker fatalities and a 16 percent decrease in worker injuries. Out of 129 incident reports that researchers analyzed, 72 involved fatalities. This is an improvement from 2016, when 153 incidents occurred, 92 of them fatal. Tree care workers in Connecticut may be wondering, though, what's being done to enhance their safety.

This is because OSHA currently has no set safety standard for the tree care industry. The TCIA petitioned OSHA for one back in 2006, and though the latter issued an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, it later struck the proposal from its agenda due to a lack of resources. In 2015, another move was made to implement safety guidelines, and they are currently under "long-term action" status.

OSHA publishes tree care safety guidelines

Tree care businesses in Connecticut and across the U.S. will benefit from the new safety guidelines that OSHA has published specifically for them. Its guidance document covers five majors hazards that tree care employers and employees face.

The first is lack of car and pedestrian traffic control. The document explains the risk factors and guides employers on how to keep workers safe from moving vehicles. This is closely connected to another hazard, falling objects. OSHA recommends drop zones for tree limbs and clear communication between ground workers and the tree trimmers overhead. A third deals with power lines, which can endanger trimmers if they are entangled in the tree.

OSHA provides guidelines for silica exposure on the job

Connecticut residents who work in construction or other industries where exposure to silica is a possible danger may be concerned about related long-term health consequences. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued a fact sheet to accompany rules that lay out the standards for exposure to respirable crystalline silica, a substance that could lead to the development of occupational diseases like silicosis. The fact sheet provides suggested and required actions that employers can take to implement the standards for exposure to the mineral substance in order to reduce the danger to employees, including providing training and establishing plans in case of exposure.

Throughout the country, 2.3 million American workers are regularly exposed to silica dust. This number includes 2 million construction workers, who are at the greatest risk from the substance. The OSHA regulation lowers the limit for permissible exposure to 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air for respirable crystalline silica, as measured as an average over an eight-hour shift on the job. Crystalline silica is known to pose a number of serious health risks and is a carcinogen.

Marijuana and workers' comp in 2018

Marijuana is a "hot-button" issue for 2018 in workers' comp, according to Property Casualty 360, which frames the issue around the idea of a "potentially impaired workforce."

We should ignore some of the anti-marijuana hysteria that warns of a tremendous influx of employees all high and impaired on the job - considering that employees may use marijuana legally to treat qualifying medical conditions - but it's safe to say that marijuana will play a role in the context of on-the-job injuries and workers' comp litigation.

Employers and insurers, in other words, may defend some claims on the basis that the injured employee is alleged to have been under the influence of marijuana while working, as against company policy.

GAO reports on meatpacking industry safety concerns

The Government Accountability Office issued a report in November 2017 concerning the safety concerns of meat and poultry workers. Workers in this industry in Connecticut should be aware of what the report states as well as what OSHA's response to it was.

The report first of all recommends that OSHA, together with NIOSH and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service, should investigate worker complaints within the meat and poultry industry. The GAO specifically mentioned the lack of bathroom access among employees, a frequent complaint that has plagued the industry since the late '90s and led to countless injuries.

The link between mental health and workplace injury

In Connecticut, the law of workers' comp includes what's known as a "physical/mental" injury, in which a claim for an accepted mental health injury can be made in conjunction with a physical injury as the precipitant. 

With that in mind, we turn to a study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, which found that depression, anxiety and fatigue may increase the odds of being injured at work. The study looked at claims data from 314 businesses in a range of occupations and involved roughly 17,000 people. 

While the "physical/mental" injury claim begins with a physical injury as the precipitant, in contrast to mental injury as the precipitant, surveys like these clearly show that there is a need for treatment of both the physical and mental aspects in workers' comp claims.    

  • Board Certified | Workers' Compensation Specialist | Connecticut Bar Association
  • Super Lawyers | Lawrence Morizio
  • Super Lawyers | Albert E. Desrosiers
  • Avvo rating Guidance the Right Lawyer
  • Connecticut Bar Association
  • GBBA
Email Us For a Response

Free Consultation With A Specialist Attorney Will Respond Within 12 Hours

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Cousins, Desrosiers & Morizio, P.C.
2563 Main Street
Stratford, CT 06615

Toll Free: 866-225-9496
Toll Free: 866-225-9496
Fax: 203-386-9714
Stratford Law Office Map

Toll Free: 866-225-9496 | Fax: 203-386-9714