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Lawnside New Jersey Workers' Compensation and Personal Injury Law Blog

An overview of cervical spine injuries

The cervical spine is the topmost portion of the spine and comprises seven vertebrae in the neck, which are designated C1 to C7. New Jersey residents should be aware that injuries to this area are the most severe.

Injuries to the C1 to C4 spinal nerves can lead to quadriplegia, which is limited or absent feeling or movement below the shoulders or neck. This may be accompanied by the inability to breathe on one's own, uncontrollable bowel or bladder movements and potential speech impairment.

Workers' compensation: What if I cause a car accident on the job?

Imagine you're a pizza delivery person and you're driving through Lawnside traffic on the way to deliver a large order of food. Suddenly, you find yourself spinning out of control into opposing lanes of traffic. Next, you slam into a semitruck head-on.

Fortunately, you survived the incident with a broken leg, whiplash and a traumatic brain injury, but not before the semitruck pushed your car into another lane of traffic, which involved you colliding with even more vehicles. Doctors expect you to fully recover -- but now you have to pay for your costly medical bills. Even worse, the accident report says that the entire incident was your fault.

OSHA revises NEP on excavation and increases enforcement

Construction employees in New Jersey who work frequently may be aware that OSHA has a National Emphasis Program for trenching and excavation. On Oct. 1, a revised NEP went into effect and initiated a 90-day outreach period for employers across the U.S. who need help complying with OSHA's safety standards. The updates come as a response to the increase in deaths and injuries among trenching and excavation workers.

Once the outreach period ends, the Compliance and Safety and Health Officers at OSHA's regional and area offices will be inspecting open trenches and excavations regardless of whether safety standards are violated or not. Should health hazards or other violations be in plain view, the inspector can widen the scope of the inspection. The CSHO can also inspect operations after taking any incidents, referrals and complaints into account.

AAA study reveals an overreliance on safety tech

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has released a study showing that many drivers do not understand the limits of vehicle safety technology like blind-spot monitoring systems, automatic emergency braking and adaptive cruise control. This overreliance on technology has become a concern in New Jersey and across the U.S., raising questions as to whether drivers are really prepared for autonomous vehicles.

The study found that nearly 80 percent of drivers overestimated the ability of blind-spot monitoring to recognize fast-approaching cars, bicycles and pedestrians. A quarter of drivers with this system neglect to look behind when changing lanes.

Inadequacies found in OSHA's reporting of work injuries

Employers in New Jersey may know that in 2014, OSHA revised its rules on reporting cases of work-related deaths and serious injuries. Despite the fact that these rules have been in effect since January 2015, the Department of Labor's Office of Inspector General has released an audit report showing that there are inadequacies in OSHA's current data as well as a lack of assurance that employers have abated the hazards connected to the incident.

The OIG report states that 50 percent or more of severe work-related injuries went unreported in the first year after the rule changes took effect. It also shows that a lack of information prevented OSHA from enforcing the rules and consistently issuing citations as a deterrent.

Prepare yourself for a workers’ compensation claim denial

How you suffer an on-the-job injury is not nearly as important as the steps you take after this happens. With the right approach, you can treat your injuries and get back on your feet soon enough.

While not always the case, there's a good chance you'll qualify for workers' compensation benefits. But there's a problem: You don't automatically receive benefits just because you were injured on the job. You need to file a claim if you want to secure this financial assistance.

Mass inspection places thousands of trucks out of commission

When drivers in New Jersey share the road with trucks and other large vehicles, there's a certain expectation of safety. This is because there are rules in place that govern how well-maintained trucks have to be and how long drivers should be on the road per shift. A recent round of mass roadside inspection conducted by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, or CVSA, resulted in nearly 12,000 trucks and buses being put out of commission. During the three-day event, more than 67,000 roadside inspections were conducted with the majority of them being Level I inspections.

The CVSA periodically conducts "inspection blitzes" as part of efforts to minimize the risk of truck accidents and improve vehicle safety. Approximately 20 percent of the trucks that underwent Level I inspections ended up being placed out of service. Altogether, nearly 4 percent of the drivers of the inspected vehicles were sidelined. More than 40 percent of the violations for drivers were for issues related to hours of service.

The construction industry's top five safety hazards

In New Jersey, as in other states, construction workers run a high risk of getting into accidents. Though they comprise 6 percent of the population, construction workers make up 20 percent of all private sector employee deaths. The following are the top five safety hazards that they encounter on construction sites and how they can mitigate them.

Fall protection and prevention equipment, such as hard hats and nonslip boots on the one hand and guardrails and safety nets on the other, can go a long way toward preventing falls, which is the leading cause of death among construction workers. Employers should also ensure that elevated work surfaces are stable and free of holes. People should be trained on the safe use of ladders and scaffolding.

Work-related injuries common for nursing home assistants

Research published by RTI International points to significant job-related injuries suffered by certified nursing assistants (CNAs) working at nursing homes. These injuries include cuts, back injuries, human biting injuries, black eyes and many other issues.

The truth is, being a nursing home industry worker is not that easy, and it can be very dangerous. If you've been injured while working at a nursing home, make sure you understand your rights.

The young and old are guilty of distracted driving

Despite the many traffic laws aimed at prevention, distracted driving continues to be a problem in New Jersey and across the country. Because distracted driving often involves phone use, many people tend to assume that younger drivers are the most likely offenders. However, a new study suggests that more mature adults are actually the biggest culprits when it comes to phone use behind the wheel.

The survey by Volvo and the Harris Poll discovered that distracted driving is on a lot of drivers' minds. Most people surveyed worry about distracted driving more than drunk driving or speeding. But the tendency of respondents was to blame others for distracted driving while maintaining their own relative innocence. Drivers generally think that around 90 percent of other drivers use phones while driving, but far less admit to doing it themselves.

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