Landscape Worker Injury Attorney in Boston
Landscaping is a dangerous business. Landscapers and other outdoor workers often sustain serious injuries working with power tools or in falls from trees or ladders. Statistics show that approximately 200 landscape workers die from on-the-job injuries each year.
The attorneys at the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman understand how devastating such an injury can be to you and your family.
If you’re a landscape worker who’s been seriously injured while performing the duties of your job, we encourage you to contact our law firm for a free consultation. Our skilled and knowledgeable attorneys are pros when it comes to handling work injury claims and recovering maximum compensation for our clients.
If you’re wondering whether you can afford a lawyer, keep in mind that we handle cases on a contingency fee basis. There are no upfront fees. We only get paid when we recover money for you. This type of payment system allows everyone, regardless of their financial situation, to obtain top-notch legal representation.Am I Entitled to Workers’ Compensation for My Landscaping Injury?
Landscapers who are injured on the job can file a workers’ compensation claim to recover for things such as medical expenses and lost wages. In Massachusetts, the workers’ compensation system is a no-fault system, which means you’re entitled to benefits regardless of who is at fault for your injury.
Landscape workers should not assume that injuries are a part of the job. An experienced workers’ compensation lawyer can help make sure that your claim is properly handled and that you receive full compensation for your injuries. In addition, an attorney can step in and help if your employer’s insurance carrier denies your claim.
It is important that you report your injury to your supervisor immediately, even if you believe that the injury is a minor one. If the injury turns out to be more serious than you had initially thought, the insurance company can use your delay in reporting as a reason to deny your claim.
You should seek medical attention as soon as possible and make sure that you tell your physician that you were injured on the job. It is also a good idea to taking photos of your injury as well as the dangerous or defective condition that caused the accident. You should also ask any witnesses for their contact information.
You can read more about the workers’ compensation system in Massachusetts here.
In some cases, you may be able to sue a third party for your injury. To do so, you must be able to prove the someone acted in a negligent manner and that this negligence caused your injury. For example, you may be able to sue a property owner for failing to warn of a hazardous condition on their property or a product manufacturer if your injury was caused by a faulty piece of equipment. You can obtain broader compensation, including payment for pain and suffering, in a personal injury or product liability claim.Common Causes of Landscape Worker Injuries
The broad term “landscaping” includes a number of diverse tasks that present workers with unique dangers, including:
- Wood chipping
- Tree trimming and removal
- Stump grinding
- Lawn care and maintenance
- Hardscape construction
- Snow removal
Landscapers perform these jobs at homes, businesses, golf courses, parks, cemeteries and many other settings.
Some common causes of landscaping injuries include:
Motor vehicle accidents: According to a number of industry groups, motor vehicle accidents are the number one cause of landscape worker fatalities. Landscapers are often involved in traffic accidents while driving from one job to another and are at risk of being struck by vehicles while working on or near the side of the road. Jobs should be planned out when they take place near roadways; flaggers and caution signs should be used on these jobs. Workers should wear brightly colored clothing when performing this type of work.
Heavy machinery: Bucket trucks used for tree-trimming and backhoes used for heavy digging are dangerous and can cause serious injuries.
Power tools and other equipment: Landscape workers use dangerous equipment to perform their various job duties. Mowers, weed whackers, trimmers, pruners and other pieces of equipment have sharp blades that can cause lacerations and even amputations. Blades should be kept sharp and equipment should be inspected on a regular basis to ensure that it’s safe for use. Employees should be trained on how to use each piece of equipment. Mower tip-overs can cause fatal accidents. Equipment should always be powered down before maintenance or repairs are performed.
Pesticides and toxic chemicals: Toxins can enter the body through the mouth, skin and eyes. Workers can be sickened after a single, acute exposure, or chronic, low-level exposures over a period of time. Safety gear can protect workers from toxic chemicals found in lawn care products, weedkillers, fertilizers, fill dirt and other substances.
Falls from ladders or trees: As in many other industries, falls from ladders or other elevated surfaces can cause serious injuries, including back injuries and head trauma.
Noise exposure: Mowers, wood chippers and other pieces of equipment are loud and can cause hearing loss and other damage.
Electric power lines: High-voltage lines in the air, and buried in the ground, are not only dangerous, but can be deadly. Workers should use care when trimming trees near power lines. Before digging, the area should be deemed free of buried power lines.
Exposure to heat and sun: Landscape workers work long hours in the sun, which can lead to heat stress, exhaustion, and increased risk of skin cancer.
Winter dangers: Landscapers care for properties throughout the year. In winter months, workers in the Boston area plow, shovel snow, and salt icy pathways. Workers are at risk of frostbite and slipping on icy surfaces.
Lifting and awkward positions: Landscapers are required to do a good deal of lifting on the job and must bend to perform tasks such as shoveling, weeding and planting. These activities are hard on the back and can cause a variety of overexertion injuries. The most common landscaper injuries are caused by overexertion. Workers should be trained in safe lifting procedures.
The Occupational Health and Safety Administration has information regarding the hazards and solutions of landscape and horticultural services available on its website.
Landscape worker injuries range from mild to serious and include:
- Sprains, strains and other overexertion injuries
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Back injuries
- Hearing loss and tinnitus
- Eye injuries
- Heat exhaustion and heat stroke
- Electric shock and electrocution
- Toxic exposure
- Skin cancer and other types of cancer
- Infectious diseases
- Wrongful death
As in other fields, landscape workers are at a high risk for slip, trip and fall injuries. Workers are usually performing job tasks on uneven terrain and around rocks, sticks, holes and other tripping hazards.
Chemicals can cause burns to the skin and worse. Long-term exposure can cause chronic diseases and even cancer. The weedkiller Roundup has been linked to certain kinds of cancer.
Heat is the number one weather-related killer in the nation. Employers can mitigate heat-related injuries by providing workers with water, frequent breaks and training on the symptoms of heat-related illnesses. OSHA has information on preventing heat illness in outdoor work.
Unfortunately, amputations are all too common in this line of work. Workers can get a foot caught in the fast-moving blades of a mower or they can be pulled into a wood chipper. To prevent amputations and other injuries, workers should never try to unclog a mower or other piece of equipment until it has been turned off and properly powered down. Landscapers should keep a safe distance away from co-workers who are using power equipment. Safety guards should never be bypassed or removed from power tools or other machinery. Workers should never wear loose-fitting clothing as it can become caught in machinery. Long hair should be tied back and dangling jewelry should be removed before a work shift for this same reason.
Employers should provide landscape workers with proper protective equipment. For example, industrial earplugs or earmuffs to prevent hearing loss and eye protection to protect against rocks or sticks that are projected into the air while a lawn is being mowed. Long or repeated exposure to sounds at or in excess of 85 decibels can cause hearing loss. Chainsaws have a jobsite sound level of 110 decibels, a backhoe has a job site sound level of 85 decibels, and a power mower has a sound level of 90 decibels. Workers sometimes experience hearing damage as a buzzing or ringing in the ears. This condition, known as tinnitus, is common.
To learn more about how our workers’ compensation attorneys can help you with your landscape injury claim, contact The Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman, LLC today at (617) 777-7777 or use our online form.