As spring emerges in New England, it's common to see many construction crews out in force. The long winter is over, and those looking to build or remodel start laying their plans.
Boston construction workers know all too well the pain of working through an injury on the job in order to keep earning a paycheck as the family breadwinner. But could pushing through the pain be contributing to the opioid addiction problem here in Massachusetts?
If an employee gets hurt on the job, the traditional trajectory of the incident is that they seek medical treatment, recuperate and return to work. During their recuperation period, they may draw workers' compensation benefits that supplement their income.
When you go to work each day you don't anticipate winding up in the hospital or even seriously injured to the point where you can no longer work. Workplace injuries are serious, and many of them are preventable. Employees have the right to file complaints against their employers with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) when they do not feel safe on the job.
Boston workers could face severe injury from a condition they may never have heard of — acute compartment syndrome (ACS). The condition can develop in the muscles of a worker's limbs following a fracture or a crushing injury.
Regardless of where you stand on marijuana legalization issues, there are many reasons to be glad that recreational marijuana is now legal here in Massachusetts. For one, the new laws protect otherwise law-abiding people from getting arrested on pot charges. However, that does not mean that all residents are free to light up without consequences.
Most people understand that if they break a leg on the job while carrying out their duties that they can file for workers' compensation benefits. They may realize that they also qualify for injuries and conditions that occur over time, like mesothelioma from asbestos exposure or repetitive stress injuries from an assembly line job.
When you consider all the ways in which employees can get hurt on the job, most people think first of more obvious hazards and workplace accidents like those affecting construction workers and others in typically dangerous jobs.
According to federal investigators, the trigger for the series of deadly gas explosions in and around Lawrence last month was Columbia Gas of Massachusetts' failure to move from an abandoned pipe an underground pressure sensor while construction work was taking place in Lawrence.
If you are a Boston construction worker, you could be at risk for a condition you may never have heard of. Compartment syndrome is often a serious complication of an on-the-job crushing injury, although that is not the only cause of the condition.