Workplace Safety Task Force

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Douglas K. Sheff 

Chair 

SheffBusiness Address: Sheff Law, 10 Tremont St., 7th Floor, Boston
Email: [e-mail dsheff]
Phone: (617) 227-7000

Bio: Douglas K. Sheff is the senior partner at Sheff Law. Sheff has more than 30 years of experience in all aspects of personal injury law and has earned a reputation for obtaining consistent, outstanding recoveries for his clients. Sheff focuses his practice on representing victims of traumatic brain injury, wrongful death, construction site and trucking and other automobile accidents, workplace accidents, and defective products. A nationally renowned brain injury litigation expert, an accomplished writer and speaker, Sheff regularly lectures other attorneys, both inside and outside of Massachusetts, on issues regarding personal injury, and appears on television, radio and in print media as a legal expert in the field. Click here to learn more.

Why have you decided to lead the Workplace Safety Task Force (WPSTF)?
As an attorney who has spent much of my career advocating for injured workers in Massachusetts, I believe it was critical to create the WPSTF in support of working families. With the help of the MBA, we established the task force in order to research and advocate for programs and efforts which reduce and/or eliminate injury and death in our workplaces. We are proud to announce that we have already been effective in bringing about positive changes for Massachusetts workers. In furtherance of our goals, I have agreed to serve as the chairman of the task force. What makes this group so unique is that it is comprised of professionals from all walks of life. It includes both plaintiff and defense attorneys as well as representatives from labor, industry, academia, insurance, public safety organizations, grassroots workers' organizations, the Massachusetts Medical Society, the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office, the City of Boston Mayor's office and other leading organizations and entities. The task force has spent thousands of hours studying trends, educating the public, and successfully supporting legislation in a manner which we believe is unprecedented in its scope and success.  

The task force is focused on creating safe and fair conditions for all Massachusetts workers. One of our current initiatives involves educating the public on issues ranging from fall hazards, the leading cause of death of Massachusetts workers, to the dangers of prescription drug addiction as it relates to disabled workers on medication.

Research and education often leads to meaningful legislation. The task force and the Massachusetts Bar Association spearheaded an effort in our legislature which recently resulted in a new law signed by Gov. Deval L. Patrick that protects more than 100,000 workers annually. The MBA, along with worker groups, finally prevailed in creating justice for workers after nine previous attempts by others had failed. Along with fair wages, workers are now ensured a higher level of safety than ever before.   

The MBA WPSTF recently received an award for innovation and community service from WILG (Workers Injury Law & Advocacy Group) a national non-profit organization representing the interest of millions of workers across the nation. In addition, many other attorneys around the country have been inspired by the work of the WPSTF and organizations in several states have now begun creating their own task forces using the Massachusetts WPST as their model. My hope is that every state will follow the MBA's lead and some day we will see workplace safety task forces throughout the country, advocating for the rights of workers.

What do you hope to accomplish as a Workplace Safety Task Force member?
I pledge that the task force will continue to educate the public on issues regarding health and safety in our workplaces. We are dedicated to getting into our communities in order to reach workers and their advocates, and to maintain a strong support system for all.

The WPSTF has already accomplished a number of goals including the implementation of the "Right to Know Law."  This law was designed to protect the interests of temporary workers in Massachusetts, some of the most vulnerable employees in the workforce. We were also active in preventing Massachusetts state legislators from taxing workers compensation benefits for injured workers who already only receive 60 percent of their wages under the current workers compensation statute.  

We have been working diligently to lobby Massachusetts legislators to approve a new burial bill which would increase burial benefits from $4,000 to $8,000 for families of Massachusetts workers killed in the course of employment or as a result of injuries sustained therein. We are also working in support of a bill which would protect domestic workers, some of the most vulnerable to abuse. Needless to say, I hope the task force continues to stay active and effective in our Legislature in order to protect the rights of workers.

Finally, we will seek to work with the media and other organizations, in a positive way, so that workplace safety issues are brought into the consciousness of everyone living and working in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and beyond. We hope to share our ideas and experiences with many groups and individuals throughout the country, and to bring back new ideas and concepts learned in the process.

These and other initiatives designed to advocate for the rights of working individuals and families in Massachusetts will continue to be the focus of this unique group, of which I am so proud to not only be a member, but to lead.

Robert Bower 

Email: [e-mail bbower]

James P. Campbell 

CampbellBusiness Address: TKCK Law, 510 Rutherford Ave., Hood Business Park, Boston MA 02129
Email: [e-mail jcampbellassoc], [e-mail jimcampbell]
Phone: (617) 413-6965

Bio: James P. Campbell joined TKCK in July 2010 as a consultant to and for our clients on best practices and policies in the field of workers' compensation and other insurance areas. Campbell served as commissioner and chief executive officer of the Department of Industrial Accidents between 1991 and 2001, as the state shot from being one of the worst workers' compensation systems in the country to being a role model for reform. Today, Massachusetts is recognized as having the best workers' compensation system in the country, largely by virtue of protecting and building upon the reforms he fought for and implemented. Campbell's scope of experience as commissioner included enforcement of workers' compensation regulation, work safety promotion, implementation of medical treatment guidelines, and many other initiatives to both reduce the cost of workers' compensation and protect the state's workforce.

Why have you decided to become a member of the Workplace Safety Task Force?
I became a member of the MBA Work Place Safety Task Force because I believe that through communication and education we can make positive changes in the workplace by helping management establish a vision and a culture of safety that will include both management and their workforce.

What do you hope to accomplish as a Workplace Safety Task Force member?
I believe the diverse group of experts we have brought together and the prestige and credibility offered by the Massachusetts Bar association will allow us to help employees do their work better and in a safer way and also help employers become more productive and more profitable in the future.

Brendan Carney 

CarneyBusiness Address: Carney Law Firm, 185 Devonshire St., Suite 802, Boston, MA 02110
Email: [e-mail bcarney]
Phone: (617) 426-9797

Bio: Brendan Carney focuses his entire practice on the representation of injured workers and their families in claims relative to workplace injuries, including workers' compensation, third party negligence and social security disability. Carney was recently recognized by Boston Magazine's Super Lawyers publication as a "Rising Star" in 2012 and 2013 in the area of workers' compensation law. Carney has successfully represented clients in a wide variety of complex personal injury matters, including construction site accidents, product liability, wrongful death, premises liability and motor vehicle collision which have resulted in six and seven figure monetary recoveries. Click here to learn more.

Why have you decided to become a member of the Workplace Safety Task Force?
As an attorney who represents injured workers, many of whom are employed in the construction trades, I see firsthand how most workplace injuries and accidents are preventable (most at no increased cost to the employer). I want to work with people from fields outside of law to prevent the needless endangerment of workers.

What do you hope to accomplish as a Workplace Safety Task Force member?
I hope to bring awareness to how easily preventable most workplace accidents are and bring change to workplace safety procedures through publicity and legislation in a way that positively affects working families in Massachusetts.

Jennifer L. Comer 

ComerBusiness Address: Workers' Injury Law & Advocacy Group, 333 Daniel Webster Highway, #33, Meredith, NH 03253
Email: [e-mail jennifer]
Phone: (917) 280-5237

Bio: Jennifer L. Comer has over twenty years of experience in executive management and association administration. Comer received her Master in Public Administration from Suffolk University in 1996 and Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Rutgers University, Douglass College. A state trial lawyer association executive director since 1997, Comer also served as vice president of public affairs and marketing for the largest hospital based health system in New England. In addition to her public affairs and marketing duties, Comer also created a foundation for the health system and has sat on numerous boards and consulted for a multitude of associations and community organizations. An executive committee member of the National Association of Trial Lawyer Executives (NATLE), Comer is a member of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE).

Why have you decided to become a member of the Workplace Safety Task Force?
I have a direct interest in serving on WPSTF as the executive director of the only national association advocating on behalf of workers' compensation attorneys and their clients. The Workers' Injury Law & Advocacy Group is the national non-profit membership organization dedicated to representing the interests of millions of workers and their families who, each year, suffer the consequences of workplace injuries and illnesses. The group acts principally to assist attorneys and non-profit groups in advocating the rights of injured workers through education, communication, research and information gathering. WILG is a network of like-minded advocates for workers' rights, information and knowledge, a sense of commitment and kinship, and networking to help each other and our clients.

What do you hope to accomplish as a Workplace Safety Task Force member?
WILG is replicating the Massachusetts WPSTF model throughout the country with the vision of reducing workplace injuries and occupational disease.

John James Davey 

Email: [e-mail jdavey]

Marisa DeFranco 

DeFrancoBusiness Address: Marisa A. DeFranco Esq., Attorney at Law, 14 North Main St., Middleton, MA
Email:
[e-mail mdefranco]
Phone:
(978) 539-8628

Bio: Marisa DeFranco is an immigration attorney with 17 years of experience and a practice on the North Shore. In 2011, she was honored as a Top Woman of Law by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly. DeFranco is also a National Award Winner, receiving the National Legal Aid & Defenders Association's Beacon of Justice Award for her Pro Bono Service in 2010. DeFranco is an expert in her field and represents a wide array of companies and individuals across the country, from small local businesses to international companies in the healthcare, biotech, and construction industries, as well as families and asylum seekers. DeFranco is a trailblazer in her practice, taking on and winning cases other attorneys turned down as unwinnable. DeFranco won cases for her LGBT client fleeing persecution in Uganda and for clients escaping sex trafficking. DeFranco served as a commissioner on the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women, where she led the fight for a bill on equal pay. DeFranco is also a media contributor, serving as a political analyst on CBS' NightSide with Dan Rea, making frequent appearances on WGBH radio and TV, and publishing Op Eds and scholarly articles.  

Why have you decided to become a member of the Workplace Safety Task Force?
I joined WPSTF to help contribute to the safety of all workers. As an immigration attorney, I see exploitation first-hand, and I want to work with the task force to improve the level of working conditions for all workers, immigrants and U.S. citizens alike.

What do you hope to accomplish as a Workplace Safety Task Force member?
I hope to accomplish an increased awareness of and dedication to safety for all workers, and to contribute to smarter regulations that will improve safety but not hurt small businesses. Large corporations often disregard safety measures with little consequence -- fines are not large enough to deter them from their poor safety measures that endanger workers. Fines and penalties for putting workers' lives at risk should be much higher. Laws and regulations should be implemented so that preventative measures are not only the right thing to do to save workers' lives, but also the cost effective way to do business.

Marcy Goldstein-Gelb 

Goldstein-GelbBusiness Address: Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health (MassCOSH), 1532B Dorchester Ave., Dorchester, MA 02122
Email: [e-mail marcy.gelb]
Phone: (617) 825-7233 x15

Bio: Marcy Goldstein-Gelb has served as executive director for MassCOSH since 1999. A certified popular education trainer, Goldstein-Gelb has provided training and train-the-trainer programs to thousands of unions, workers and community group leaders. Goldstein-Gelb has a Masters in Community Economic Development and is the author of numerous reports, articles and publications, including "Addressing Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses: A guide for Primary Care Providers in Massachusetts." Goldstein-Gelb received awards from the American Public Health Association, SEIU Local 509, and the National Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health for her leadership efforts in addressing environmental health and safety issues for vulnerable populations. Click here to learn more.

Why have you decided to become a member of the Workplace Safety Task Force?
The WPSTF has been an invaluable opportunity to bring together experts from a range of disciplines and networks to identify and have an important impact on priority occupational safety and health issues. It has served as a unique forum for examining different perspectives so we can approach solutions in a way that considers a range of stakeholders -- labor, business, legal and health professional, to name a few.

What do you hope to accomplish as a Workplace Safety Task Force member?
The task force has already contributed to promote dialogue as well as having a meaningful impact on pressing health and safety concerns. The task force contributed to the Temporary Worker Right to Know Bill, which went into effect this past January. Task force members have also contributed to a burial benefits bill for families of fallen workers, which has already moved favorably through the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development. There is lots more that can be done when a diverse group such as this comes together to weigh in on critical occupational safety and health issues.

Philip Hillman 

Email: [e-mail philip.hillman]

Lauren E. Jones 

Jones, LaurenBusiness Address: Office of the Mayor, One City Hall Square, Room 603, Boston, MA 02201
E-mail: [e-mail lauren.jones]
Phone: (617) 635-3416

Why have you decided to become a member of the Workplace Safety Task Force?

Lauren Jones serves on the Workplace Safety Task Force as a designee for Martin J. Walsh, Mayor of Boston.

Jocelyn B. Jones 

Jones, JocelynBusiness Address: Fair Labor Division, Office of Attorney General Martha Coakley, 1 Ashburton Place, Room 1813, 100 Cambridge St., Boston, MA  02108
Email: [e-mail jocelyn.jones]
Phone: (617) 963-2339

Bio: Assistant Attorney General (AAG) Jocelyn B. Jones is deputy chief and special counsel for Fair Labor Policy in the Fair Labor Division (FLD) of the Office of Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley. Jones manages FLD policy and outreach, directs the division's public construction bidding unit and child labor enforcement program, and assists in overseeing wage and hour enforcement and litigation. Click here to learn more.

Why have you decided to become a member of the Workplace Safety Task Force?
I was pleased to be appointed by Attorney General Martha Coakley to represent her because the work of this task force is extremely important to the critical mission of ensuring worker safety in Massachusetts.

What do you hope to accomplish as a Workplace Safety Task Force member?
To contribute any and all wisdom, knowledge and insight I have gained over the past 15 years of being a labor lawyer, working with a vast array of workers, stakeholders and other government entities, in an effort to improve the lives of workers and to promote their safety in a meaningful and effective way.

Deborah G. Kohl 

KohlBusiness Address: The Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl, 191 Bedford St., Fall River, MA  02720
Email: [e-mail dkohl]
Phone: (508) 677-4900

Bio: Deborah G. Kohl is an attorney concentrating in the areas of workers' compensation and disability law. Kohl has been in practice for over 30 years with an office in Fall River, MA. A graduate of the University of Rhode Island and Northeastern University School of Law, Kohl is a frequent lecturer and author on workers' compensation law. A fellow and president of the College of Workers' Compensation Lawyers, Kohl has been elected as a member of the National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI). Kohl has served as chair of the AAJ Lawyer's Workers' Compensation Section and as president of Workers Injury Law and Advocacy Group (WILG). Kohl currently serves as a member of the WILG board, as a vice president of the American Bar Association's TIPS Workers' Compensation Section, is on the board of the Massachusetts Academy of Trial Attorneys and is the chair of the MBA Workers' Compensation Section.

Why have you decided to become a member of the Workplace Safety Task Force?
As an employee's counsel for over 30 years, the necessity of workplace safety has become more and more important to me. Seeing the devastation wrought on injured workers that could be prevented is difficult. Knowing that you can help work to change that, is invigorating.

What do you hope to accomplish as a Workplace Safety Task Force member?
I hope to bring about education of employers and changes in work places that will not protect the injured worker but will lead to a more efficient and productive work environment.

John Channing Migner

John Channing Migner 

Business Address: J Channing Migner, Esq., Attorney at Law, 446 Main St.., Suite 2104 Worcester, MA  01608
Email:
[e-mail cm]
Phone: (508) 792-6060

Bio: Channing Migner is an attorney concentrating in the areas of workers' compensation and disability law since 1985 in Boston and Worcester. Migner is a graduate of the University of Maine and Suffolk University Law School, is a fellow of the College of Workers' Compensation Lawyers, serves on the board of  the Workers Injury Law and Advocacy Group (WILG), the American Bar Association's TIPS Workers' Compensation Section, is a member of the Massachusetts Academy of Trial Attorneys, the Worcester County Bar Association, the National Organization of Social Security Claimants' Representatives (NOSSCR)  and  the Massachusetts Bar Association Workers' Compensation Section Council. He serves on the Board of Concord Prison Outreach, the Board of the United Church of Christ Congregational, Boxborough and is a member of the Boxborough Democratic Town Committee.

Why have you decided to become a member of the Workplace Safety Task Force?
Simply said … an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

What do you hope to accomplish as a Workplace Safety Task Force member?
I would like to help to significantly improve the quality of life of those individuals struggling with the disruption caused by chronic pain.

Edward M. Moriarty Jr., Esq. 

MoriartyBusiness Address: Moriarty & Associates PC, 301 Edgewater Place, Suite 330, Wakefield, MA 01880
Email: [e-mail edwardm]
Phone: (781) 246-8011

Bio: Edward M. Moriarty Jr. is senior partner at Moriarty & Associates PC in Wakefield, MA. Moriarty graduated magna cum laude from Northeastern University with a major in political science in 1976 and received his J.D. from Temple University Law School in 1979, where he was executive editor of The Jurist. Moriarty has been representing the interests of insurers, self-insurers, and self-insurance groups at the Department of Industrial Accidents for 34 years. Moriarty has participated in numerous continuing legal education groups for bar associations and the insurance industry and is a member of the Massachusetts Bar Association, the Defense Research Institute, the Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health, the Council on Litigation Management, the Massachusetts Defense Lawyers Association, and the Massachusetts Bar Foundation IOLTA Program. Moriarty is A/V rated Martindale Hubbell 2013 and is listed in the 2013 Martindale Hubbell Register of Preeminent Lawyers, as well as in Boston's Top Rated Lawyers, 2013 Edition.

Why have you decided to become a member of the Workplace Safety Task Force?
As a member of the WPSTF, I aim to improve worker safety and stabilize the Commonwealth's Workers' Compensation insurance market.

John J. Morrissey 

MorrisseyBusiness Address: Morrissey, Wilson & Zafiropoulos LLP, 35 Braintree Hill Office Park, Suite 404, Braintree, MA 02184
Email: [e-mail jjm]
Phone: (781) 353-5500 (office), (781) 353-5502 (direct)

Bio: John J. Morrissey is a founding partner of Morrissey, Wilson & Zafiropoulos LLP, a multidisciplinary firm with its primary office in Braintree, Mass., and satellite offices throughout Massachusetts including Boston, Cape Cod, Brockton, Worcester, Lowell and Salem. Morrissey has been representing individuals and families throughout Massachusetts in personal injury claims for over twenty years including claims involving catastrophic injury and wrongful death. Morrissey handles claims arising from car accidents, construction site accidents and injuries, work injuries, workers' compensation claims, slip and fall injuries, alcohol related injuries, injuries from defective products, medical malpractice claims, negligent security claims, premises liability claims, scaffolding accidents, and crane accidents. In addition to his personal injury practice, Morrissey represents individuals and businesses in commercial and real estate disputes. Click here to learn more.

Why have you decided to become a member of the Workplace Safety Task Force?
I decided to become a member of the WPSTF to work with my colleagues at the Massachusetts Bar Association and other interested parties to insure Massachusetts' residents and their families are provided with a safe workplace environment.

Robert Naparsteck MD 

Email: [e-mail robert.naparstek]

Audrey Richardson 

Business Address: Greater Boston Legal Services, 197 Friend St., Boston
Email:
[e-mail Arichardson]
Phone:
(617) 603-1662

Bio: Audrey Richardson is a senior attorney with the Employment Unit of Greater Boston Legal Services (GBLS). Richardson represents low-wage, predominantly immigrant workers in employment law matters, with a focus on wage enforcement. Richardson also provides legal support to community-based worker centers and other community-based organizations, and engages in policy advocacy on workplace-related issues, including wage enforcement and workers' compensation benefits. Prior to joining GBLS, Richardson was a Skadden Fellow with the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and clerked for a federal district court judge. Richardson is a graduate of Harvard College and the University of Michigan Law School.

Alan S. Pierce 

PierceBusiness Address: Pierce, Pierce & Napolitano, 27 Congress St., Salem, MA 01970
Email: [e-mail apierce]
Phone: (978) 745-0914

Bio: Pierce has been an attorney representing injured workers and their families for over 30 years. A past president of the Massachusetts Academy of Trial Attorneys (MATA), Pierce is the former chairperson of the Massachusetts Bar Association's Section on Workers' Compensation Law and is an American Bar Association member. He is a former appointed member of the Governor's Workers' Compensation Advisory Council. He currently serves as Recording Secretary of the Workers Injury Law and Advocacy Group (WILG). In 2007 Alan was inducted as a fellow in the College of Workers' Compensation Attorneys. Alan hosts a podcast Workers' Comp Matters, which can be heard on the Legal Talk Network. Click here to learn more.

Why have you decided to become a member of the Workplace Safety Task Force?
During my career it became apparent early on that many workplace injuries were highly preventable. Despite the attention workplace safety is given on the federal and state governmental level, as well as in the loss prevention departments of insurers, employers fall far short of their obligation to provide their employees a safe workplace. This is particularly true within certain industry sectors and perhaps more true among those employers whose workforce tends to be less educated, literate and without union or political "clout" and therefore more vulnerable to hazardous work sites. I litigate those cases but have always thought that I had an obligation to help ensure those cases never existed.

What do you hope to accomplish as a Workplace Safety Task Force member?
The task force thus far has made an impact in the area of opioid use in chronic pain cases through our Chronic Pain Subcommittee. We have gathered professionals from various disciplines to help educate each other and necessary stakeholders in the WC setting of problems associated with long term opioid use and to seek better ways to manage this problem.

We have had an initial legislative success with the Temporary Worker Right to Know Bill, enacted into law earlier this year, and we have been guiding a Burial and Funeral Workers' Compensation bill through the legislative process. I hope we can build on these initiatives by having the trust and respect of the legislature as we tackle even more substantive initiatives.

Michael J. Shor MPH 

ShorBusiness Address: Best Doctors, 100 Federal St., Boston, MA 02110
Email: [e-mail mshor]
Phone: (617) 733-6667

Bio: Michael J. Shor, M.P.H., is the managing director of the Best Doctors Occupational Health Institute, an organization within Best Doctors dedicated to improving quality of care for injured workers and reducing the economic waste associated with prolonged disability and medical inefficiency. Shor is the past chair for the Cost Effectiveness Interest Group of the Collaboration for Healthcare Renewal, a national non-profit organization dedicated to improving clinical outcomes and reducing medical costs. A former ICU nurse, he chaired the Audit Committee at the former Boston City Hospital, a teaching affiliate of the Boston University School of Medicine. Click here to learn more.

Why have you decided to become a member of the Workplace Safety Task Force?
Much of our work involves patients and physicians dealing with chronic pain. That will also frequently involve attorneys assisting injured workers, and attorneys representing the workers compensation entity. WPSTF provides an exceptional environment for all parties to work together to address the chronic pain and opiate issue in a collegial public interest based  format.

What do you hope to accomplish as a Workplace Safety Task Force member?
If we can collectively reduce the incidence of dependency, addiction and death due to opiates and improve the quality of life for those suffering with chronic pain, I would consider that a pretty good day's work!

Thomas L. Smith 

Email: [e-mail tsmith.justiceatwork]

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