Proposed Legislation Would Allow Uniformed Workers 75% of Their Salary for Retiring on Disability

If passed, de Blasio’s amended disability pension legislation could be a triumph for disabled workers. The changes made to the original bill would allow three-quarter pensions for uniformed workers hired after 2009 retiring on disability, as well as workers who suffered severe injuries on the job. The original proposed plan gave uniformed workers only 50% of their salaries and was met with backlash from critics who said that 50% was too low for workers who risk their lives on a daily basis to perform their duties.

The proposed changes to the bill also leveled the field by giving newer hires the same disability benefits as those who were hired prior to 2009. Under the original bill, uniformed workers hired post 2009 would have been forced to live on $27 a day if they were injured in the line of duty. Uniformed workers covered under the proposed bill include sanitation workers and corrections officers, as well as police officers and firemen. However, in order to receive the disability benefits, workers would have to qualify for social security first, which has also been a source of contention for union advocates backing the NYPD and NYFD.

It is estimated that the 75% pension plans would cost the city $342 million between 2015 and 2019. De Blasio’s original disability pension plan was calculated to cost the city $47 million.

Uniformed workers are subjected to physical harm daily in the workplace, and risk their lives for the public. In addition, due to the conditions of their employment, they face a number of work related health conditions such as the risk of developing various cancers, stress, sleep deprivation related conditions, depression issues, and heart attacks. According to statistics, firefighters have significantly higher rates of testicular cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, prostate cancer, and multiple myeloma, than the general population. Additionally, due to hectic work schedules and stress, and other factors affecting metabolism, studies have shown that police officers are 8% more likely to develop obesity issues than their civilian counterparts.

If you have been injured during the course of your employment, contact an attorney who is experienced in dealing with disability benefits. Contact an attorney who is experienced in helping clients obtain the benefits they deserve. Call The Law Offices of McIntyre, Donohue, Accardi, Salmonson, & Riordan, LLP at (866)557-7500.

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OSHA Censures Staten Island Construction Company

The employment related death of a construction worker sparked a six month investigation of the company for which he worked. The worker was killed last November, after being crushed and asphyxiated by a mezzanine that fell from a car dealership the crew was demolishing.

The investigation found numerous violations both prior to and during the demolition, including:

• Failure to initiate programs to inspect the worksite, materials, and equipment
• Failure to properly inspect the demolition site
• Failure to conduct an engineering survey prior to the demolition
• Failure to obtain a valid permit to demolish the building
• Failure to properly train employees
• Failure to inspect support walls and floors for the potential to collapse
• Failure to keep a record of workplace injuries and illnesses

This was not the first death that resulted from the construction company’s negligence. The owner had pled guilty to criminally negligent homicide several years ago when he had admitted he knew the trench he had sent a worker into was not safe. Similar to the recent occurrence, the worker was also asphyxiated when the trench caved in on him.

OSHA has released statements regarding the company’s disregard for safety protocol. The Staten Island OSHA director stated that the worker would not have been killed had proper demolition procedures been taken. However, OSHA is waiting for the findings of the DA’s office to release further commentary regarding the possibility of criminal prosecution for the construction company’s owner. OSHA has fined the company $121,000 for “willfull,” “serious,” and one “other than serious” violations.

If you have been seriously injured at the workplace, contact an experienced attorney who is knowledgeable about Worker’s Compensation claims to discuss your legal rights and remedies. The attorneys at McIntyre, Donohue, Accardi, Salmonson & Riordan, LLP have experience representing clients before Workers’ Compensation boards throughout New York City and Long Island, including Manhattan, the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island, Nassau County, and Suffolk County. For a consultation, call (866)557-7500.

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