Lever & Ecker, PLLC February 3, 2017 General
Everyone knows that electricity is necessary to make a majority of household goods work. But unless they work for the power plant producing that electricity, New Yorkers are rarely aware of the dangers that employees face every day.
Did you know that from one coal plant, 125,000 tons of ash and 193,000 tons of sludge are produced every year?
The sludge, which is removed regularly from smokestacks via a “scrubber” must be disposed of properly. This is because it contains toxins like mercury, chromium, and cadmium which, if ingested, can cause serious damage to the nervous system and internal organs. Due to the large quantities produced, employees frequently use heavy machinery to move it. But if the mountain of sludge being moved becomes unstable, the resulting avalanche can cause terrible injuries.
Just recently, this exact scenario occurred. A 40-year-old man was using a front-end loader to shift sludge onto dump trucks when he saw a crack form in the pile. He was unable to back the loader up quickly enough and several tons of sludge came crashing down on top of him.
The front-end loader was most likely the only thing that saved his life. The sludge cracked the windshield and damaged the dashboard and steering wheel, trapping him inside. Thankfully, nearby co-workers heard his cry for help and dug him out.
He was taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital where he was treated for multiple injuries.
This worker is hardly the first to be injured on the job while working for a power plant and almost certainly will not be the last.
There are more than 7,500 power plants in the United States which consist of:
This type of plant uses a fossil fuel, typically coal, to boil water. The water enters a superheated steam turbine that then works to create electricity.
Like the thermal power plants, heat which produces steam is used to work a turbine, however instead of fossil fuels, radioactive elements such as uranium are stored in a nuclear reactor.
The power of falling water is what runs the turbine and produces electricity in this power plant.
Each of these plants comes with their own hazards and when employers don’t educate their employees or provide them with proper safety gear, injuries happen.
New York employers are required by law to obtain a workers’ compensation insurance policy to cover their employees in the event of an accident. This insurance is a no-fault insurance which means that even if the employee makes a mistake which causes the accident to occur, they should be covered.
Payments for medical bills and, in some cases, a portion of wages if the employee has to take time off of work to recover may be obtained. Without these payments, it’s quite easy for an injured worker to fall deeply in debt.
However, although this process sounds cut and dry, the fact is that a disturbing number of workers’ compensation claims are denied. This often occurs because of a simple mistake made on a claim form, missing medical records, or an employer contesting the claim.
The very first thing you should do it contact a workers’ compensation attorney who can review the denial and inform you of your rights. Denials can be appealed but the process is time consuming and difficult. It can take months to even get in front of the board who will be reviewing the case and when that time comes, it’s vital to have all the necessary information that is needed to prove the claim.