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South Williamsport Personal Injury Blog

Construction workers at risk for heat-related illness or death

Pennsylvania construction companies stay busy with building projects during the summer. High temperatures and hard work, however, raise the risks of illness or death for construction workers. A representative from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration said that construction workers account for over 40% of heat-related deaths on the job. OSHA has established rules for all types of workers who are exposed to high temperatures indoors or outdoors. These safety regulations become especially important in the summer when heat and humidity create conditions that can cause heat exhaustion or heat stroke. People who perform heavy labor or have to wear bulky protective clothing face additional risk for heat-related illness or death.

Temporary workers, new employees or workers returning from a long vacation sometimes succumb to the heat more easily because they lack tolerance to the hot conditions. In the interest of safety, workers who have not acclimated to hot conditions should have their duties ramped up slowly. They will need additional breaks as well.

Are you doing everything possible to avoid underriding a truck?

Colliding with a semitrailer can be extremely dangerous. Because of their heavy weight and high ground clearance, semitrailers can cause severe injuries and death to the occupants of smaller, more vulnerable vehicles.

One particularly devastating type of collision that can occur with semitrailers is called an underride collision. This involves a passenger vehicle sliding or getting pushed underneath a semitrailer. When this occurs, the semitrailer often crushes or shears the top of the smaller vehicle, which can be especially hazardous to the occupants of that vehicle.

NHTSA estimates a 1% decline in traffic fatalities in 2018

Pennsylvania drivers should know that the number of motor vehicle crash fatalities has been decreasing since 2016. In 2017, a total of 37,133 died in these crashes, which represented a 2% decrease from the previous year. Now, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates in a preliminary report that there were 36,750 such fatalities in 2018, a decrease of about 1%.

On the one hand, the numbers are still tragically high. On the other hand, the risk of dying in a motor vehicle crash is not as high as it used to be. However, there are new factors to contend with. The rise of smartphones and in-vehicle technology like voice commands and touchscreens has led to more and more distraction behind the wheel. With urbanization, more people moving to cities.

The elements of a medical malpractice lawsuit

When Pennsylvania residents take legal action against negligent hospitals or doctors that have caused them harm, the success of their medical malpractice lawsuits hinge on their ability to establish two key elements. The first is proving that the doctors who treated them or the medical facilities where they were treated acted in ways that did not meet generally accepted industry standards. Patients then have to show that their injury, loss or damage was caused directly by this substandard care.

Proving that the treatment they received failed to meet commonly accepted health care standards is often a straightforward process for medical malpractice plaintiffs. Specialists could testify that an undiagnosed serious disease would have likely been detected if doctors had ordered the proper tests, or convincing a jury that a surgeon made an error may be done by showing X-rays or MRI images that depict foreign objects left in a patient's body.

Could website be held accountable for wrongful death?

Losing a child is a traumatic and deeply saddening experience for any parent. When a child has taken his or her own life, a parent may feel an extra sting, thinking perhaps something could have been done to prevent the death. One Pennsylvania mother began looking into what may have prompted her own daughter to end her own life, and she discovered that a website may have contributed to what surely seems a wrongful death

The distraught mother began to look through her deceased daughter's online history, hoping to find clues surrounding the circumstances of the death. By all accounts, the artistic young woman loved to draw, had friends and was a big fan of the Harry Potter books. After some digging, the woman found that her daughter, who was 25 when she passed away, frequented a forum website that admittedly gave users advice on various ways to commit suicide. 

Reducing the risks of road travel

Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death in Pennsylvania and around the country for people between 2 and 34 years of age. Most people killed on the nation's roads each year die in accidents caused by some sort of human error. The most common cause of these crashes is reckless driving behavior such as exceeding posted speed limits, following other vehicles too closely or attempting unsafe passing maneuvers.

Impaired drivers are another major road hazard. According to figures from the Centers for Disease Control, almost one in three road users killed in the United States each year lose their lives in car crashes involving a driver influenced by drugs or alcohol. While few drivers would get behind the wheel after drinking heavily, a worrying number admit to driving while dangerously fatigued. This is especially concerning to road safety groups because drowsy driving can be just as dangerous as intoxicated driving.

Mysterious death may be case for workers' compensation

Pennsylvania workers maintain a long tradition of pouring blood, sweat and tears into the daily grind. From the mines and steel mills of the past to modern industry, the Keystone State works hard. Some people perform dangerous jobs each day, and when a death occurs on the job, the victim's surviving family members may be entitled to benefits from workers' compensation

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is now investigating a death that took place at an industrial plant this week. A 49-year-old employee of a recycling company working at Multi-plastics Extrusions was found dead. His body was discovered underneath a heavy dumpster. 

NIH: crash risk goes up once teen drivers are licensed

The National Institutes for Health, together with Virginia Tech University, has analyzed the driving of 90 teens to determine their risk for a crash or near-miss before and after they obtain their license. Teens were monitored from the time they obtained their learner's permit to the end of their first year as licensed drivers. Pennsylvania residents may be startled to hear the results.

In the first three months of obtaining their license, teens were found engaging in dangerous actions like severe turns, quick acceleration and harsh braking. (Special software installed on the cars could pick up these actions. In-cab cameras also observed drivers and the road). Based on these results, researchers said that, compared to drivers in the last three months of their permit, drivers in the first three months of their license were eight times more likely to crash or get in a near-miss.

Workers' compensation may be appropriate for local victim

Pennsylvania workers are familiar with the term "daily grind," which usually refers to the mundane tasks a person performs at work each day to earn an honest living. Unfortunately for one local woman, the phrase took on a grisly new meaning. An accident that sounds like a scene from a horror movie claimed the life of a hard-working woman, leaving questions about safety surrounding her workplace and possibly raising a case for workers' compensation.  

The woman was working at a storage facility. A fellow employee heard a strange sound and went to check on her. Upon doing so, the employee discovered that the woman had somehow become mangled in a meat grinder. The woman was killed, leaving co-workers shocked and afraid. 

NIOSH fact sheet addresses construction worker fall risks

According to figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, falls claim the lives of more than 300 construction workers each year in Pennsylvania and around the country and are the leading cause of death in the industry. As part of an effort to reduce this number, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has released a fact sheet that contains tips on how to prevent falls at construction sites and avoid serious injuries when they do occur.

The NIOSH fact sheet stresses the importance of providing construction workers with comprehensive safety training that includes tips on avoiding falls. It also reminds construction companies to maintain ladders and scaffolding regularly and issue their workers with fall-related safety equipment such as harnesses. Other tips to prevent falls from scaffolds, 86 percent of which occur at construction sites, include ensuring that the equipment used meets standards laid down by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and is set up by qualified and experienced technicians.

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