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New Efforts Aim to Prevent NY Work-Related Death from the “Bends”

Several workers have been killed in the past while on the job in New York due to decompression sickness, so the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and Nassau University Medical Center (NUMC) are working together to help fight the "bends" that so many workers experience. Help will be aimed at those involved with the East Side Access Project, which aims to connect Long Island Railroad with a new station below Grand Central Terminal. The MTA intends to build four tunnels using pressurized tunnel boring machines, which will expose workers to pressurized conditions that put them at risk for the bends.

The bends, or decompression sickness, occurs when a worker is in a situation where the pressure around the body
increases to the point that nitrogen is absorbed into body tissues. When that pressure is rapidly reduced, the gas is not properly metabolized by the body. The bends is often fatal, and can cause initial symptoms of joint pain, chest pain, "choking," and balance issues. It commonly afflicts divers and compressed-air workers.

NUMC will be offering 60 foot "dives" in its hyperbaric oxygen chamber as training for workers, and will also be available to lend aid at the worksite if a worker suffers from decompression sickness.

The New York workers' compensation lawyers with Markhoff & Mittman, PC salute NUMC and the MTA for planning ahead to keep workers safe on the job.

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