The Dangers of Public Employment
May 6, 2015 | Workers Compensation
Workers’ compensation in the state of New York is a legally mandated insurance program that serves as a safety net for employees who are hurt on the job. It is illegal for an employee to be denied compensation from an on-the-job injury or aggravation of an injury. It is also illegal for an employer to take any sort of retaliatory or adverse action against an employee for filing for workers’ compensation. While it is true that all employers must provide insurance for their employees and a safe work environment, it is not true that all jobs can be made safe or hazard-free. In New York some of the most dangerous jobs are those that are held by public employees. Local government workers who are employed by public works departments across the state tend to suffer from job-related injuries at a higher rate compared to the private sector.
Public Works in New York
Within the state public employees in Yonkers logged the most on-the-job injuries last year. Yonkers, which is the region’s biggest city, logged 22.7 injuries per 100 workers last year alone. This is more than three times above the state’s average ratio of injuries, at 6 per 100 workers. These injuries range from aggravation of back pain all the way to the last year’s most serious injury when a Rockland County sheriff was bucked off a horse. The injury caused the officer to miss 238 days of work. Injuries to public workers were not only physical but psychological; one Westchester County corrections worker missed 17 days of work due to the stress of the job. Another Rockland County corrections officer missed 11 days of work owing to stress after an inmate took their own life. Some of these injuries that are caused by a public worker’s job actually happen off the job. For example, a Rockland County corrections officer had a firearm that was caught in his clothes and discharged, causing a bullet to go through his thigh.
It is required by law that municipalities report to the public the injuries sustained by their employees. There are many reasons why some municipalities might have higher injury rates than others. Some governments use their own employees for hazardous jobs, such as running and operating garbage collection. Others choose to contract outside employees from private companies to do this job. The two job sections that typically report the highest injuries are police departments and fire departments; some municipalities do not have their own but utilize those of larger cities. Smaller governments that naturally have smaller workforces with fewer employees will also show a higher rate of injury in some cases. For example, when five out of 21 employees in West Haverstraw were injured, the rate of injury was much higher than it would have appeared with a larger workforce.
A Workers’ Compensation Attorney Can Help
When you are injured on the job you are entitled by law to be compensated. If you don’t have a good understanding of how the system of workers’ compensation operates, you may be unfairly denied benefits or even receive less than you are entitled to. When your community needed your help, you were there for them. Now that you have suffered an injury, let us be there for you with the knowledge and experience you need. Contact Napoli Law today for a free consultation.