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Lawnside New Jersey Workers' Compensation and Personal Injury Law Blog

Preventing lead exposure in the workplace

Employers in New Jersey may have heard that the city of Newark has some of the highest levels of lead in its drinking water. Officials are even giving out bottled water to residents. Of course, any level of lead in water is dangerous to one's health, affecting brain development, fertility and the functioning of the heart and kidneys. Employers must be careful, then, that they are not exposing their workers to lead.

OHSA requires employers to give free water to employees both for drinking and for washing one's hands. The water must be potable and adequate for workers' needs. Tap water can meet these requirements if it is potable. Employers can provide water by way of a drinking fountain or a covered container together with disposable paper cups. When potable water is not available, employers must hand out bottled water.

Bill introduced that may require AEB on all commercial trucks

Truckers in New Jersey may have heard that a bill was introduced that could mandate automatic emergency braking on all commercial trucks. The bill, called the Safe Roads Act of 2019, is seen as providing a "common-sense solution" to the rising number of truck crashes in the U.S., many of them fatal, and it has the support of truck safety groups like the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety.

According to Injury Facts, there was a 9% increase in fatal truck crashes between 2016 and 2017. Between 2009 and 2017, the increase came to 45%. A total of 4,657 commercial motor vehicles were involved in fatal crashes in 2017.

Bullying bosses can make workplaces less safe

New Jersey workers might be interested to learn that workplaces with bosses who bully employees tend to experience more on-the-job injuries, according to a recent study. Researchers found that this may be because employees are more likely to make decisions that benefit a bullying boss rather than the group. This can potentially cause hazardous conditions for others.

When employees are not confident in their skills and are then constantly bullied by their superiors, they could respond negatively. In industries where workplace safety is of the utmost importance, this might lead to other employees being at an increased risk.

It's the conversation, not the phone, that makes a call dangerous

No matter how long your daily commute lasts, you probably find yourself wishing you could get through it more quickly. Whether you spend an hour or 20 minutes getting to work each morning, the time you spend traveling to your job can feel like wasted minutes. You may get bored with the same scenery and route, which opens the door to distraction.

Some people try to battle that sense of lost time or boredom by multitasking at the wheel. They may do things like apply their makeup, eat their breakfast or handle some tasks they know need to be addressed. That might mean calling their boss, a client or a loved one.

Minimizing the risk for nursing injuries

Nurses in New Jersey and the rest of the U.S. are frequently exposed to health and safety risks. However, there are ways they can minimize their risks for potentially life-threatening injuries. The following tips were collected by a panel of experts and presented by NurseZone.

The first and most obvious tip is to wash one's hands to prevent the spread of illness. Second, nurses should always use lift and transfer equipment even when it takes additional time. If they try to lift a patient themselves, they risk hurting their back. Practicing good body mechanics is the third tip. This includes wearing supportive shoes and rotating a task from one hand to the other.

Fatal accidents involving older drivers are becoming more common

Nearly one in five drivers throughout New Jersey and the rest of the country are older than 65. That figure has risen by almost a third in just the last decade, and it is expected to climb even further in the years ahead as the baby boom generation enters its golden years. Accident statistics compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reveal that fatal crashes involve an older driver about 14% of the time. The rise in the number of seniors killed on the nation's roads each year is outpacing other demographic groups.

In 2017, which is the most recent year for which NHTSA car accident data is available, almost 7,000 senior citizens lost their lives in motor vehicle collisions. The statistics show that 18% of the traffic fatalities in 2017 were individuals over the age of 65, but they also reveal that seniors account for 19% of America's licensed drivers. While this may suggest that older and more experienced motorists are safer drivers, analysts point out that retirees generally travel far fewer miles each year. They are thus involved in more fatal crashes for each mile covered.

Gathering evidence for your claim after a truck accident

Accidents that involve large commercial trucks cause incredible destruction, and may leave victims with serious, life-threatening injuries and significant property damage. The process of building a personal injury and property damage claim is complicated and lengthy, and many victims miss out on important forms of compensation because they do not understand the intricacies of the claim process and the rights that they have to protect.

If you or someone you love experiences a commercial truck accident, then it is wise to begin gathering evidence from the scene of the accident as soon as possible, once you are not in any physical danger. Remember, it is always important to receive a full medical examination after any traffic accident, to identify hidden injuries before they cause larger problems.

Construction industry's five leading hazards in the summer

The construction industry faces five hazards in particular whenever summer comes around. Both employees and employers in New Jersey will want to know what these are and what can be done to prevent them from causing injury. The first is fatigue. Workers do not make sound judgments or react quickly to dangers when fatigued. The second is heat-related illness, which ranges from heat rash to heat stroke.

Employers are encouraged to supply plenty of hydrating fluids and a shaded area for rest breaks. Breaks should be frequent and mandatory. Workers' PPE should be appropriate for the weather. Modifying work shifts may be wise as long as workers are willing to work earlier in the morning or later at night.

Longer driving hours for truckers

New Jersey motorists may want to know that long-haul truck drivers may soon be allowed to drive longer without having to stop for a rest. The Department of Transportation has stated that it intends to relax the federal regulations that limit the number of hours truck drivers are able to work. This is a development that the trucking industry has been working towards for some time. Opponents of the move assert that loosening the regulations will weaken them to the extent that there will be fatigue-related safety hazards on the road.

Long-haul truck drivers are currently limited to driving no more than 11 hours during a 14-hour on-duty window. They are required to have 10 straight hours of being off duty before their on-duty period can start again. Truck drivers who plan to drive for over eight hours are required to have a 30-minute rest before the end of the initial eight hours.

Filing a workers’ compensation claim isn’t always good enough

If you're injured on the job, it won't be long before you're looking into your options for obtaining compensation. More specifically, you should learn more about your legal rights in New Jersey to file a claim for workers' compensation benefits.

With the right approach, it's your hope that your claim is approved and you begin to receive payments in the near future. This will give you some financial relief as you recover.

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