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Lawnside New Jersey Workers' Compensation and Personal Injury Law Blog

Why truck drivers are prone to drowsiness

Commercial truck accidents are some of the most serious imaginable, leaving the occupants of passenger vehicles with catastrophic injuries or killing them outright. What's even worse is that commercial truck drivers tend to be the most vulnerable to drowsiness behind the wheel. New Jersey motorists have good reason to be wary around large trucks, as the following will show.

There are at least 100,000 accidents every year in the U.S. due to drowsy driving. No exact number can be given since drowsiness is hard to determine as a cause after an accident. Fatigue impairs drivers' judgment, cognition, sense of distance and reaction times. When drivers fall asleep, they can drift off the road or collide with vehicles or pedestrians.

USDA may speed up meat processing despite worker dangers

Meat workers in New Jersey and across the nation face serious on-the-job risks every day. For example, amputations, fractures, head trauma and second-degree burns are common weekly occurrences in the industry. Even so, the government is considering speeding up pig processing lines, which could make some jobs more hazardous.

Statistics show that American meat workers face three times the risk of serious injuries when compared to the average U.S. worker. Meanwhile, beef and pork workers face seven times the risk of repetitive strain injuries. Despite this, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is debating whether to scrap current speed restrictions on pig processing lines. Government officials say the move will allow the USDA to focus on food safety and improve the welfare of animals. However, unions and worker safety advocates are worried that the proposal will lead to more injuries.

Bicyclists are out more during the summer months

During the summer months, there is an increase in bicycle traffic partly due to people wanting to get out and enjoy the weather. All drivers have to be aware of this and keenly watch for bicyclists on the road.

Some people tend to think that bicyclists don't have any right of way on the road, but this is false. In almost all cases, bicyclists must ride in traffic lanes because they can't lawfully ride on the sidewalks. Here are some important factors to remember about bicycle safety that can help drivers and cyclists:

CMV brake inspection spree set for September 16 to 22

Commercial motor vehicle drivers in New Jersey should know about Brake Safety Week, an annual brake inspection spree held by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance. While the 2017 spree lasted a day, this year the CVSA has returned to a weeklong scheme, and it will be conducting mostly Level I inspections. These are 37-step inspections covering both vehicle mechanical fitness and driver operating requirements.

The issues that the CVSA will be looking for are manifold. Personnel will check the integrity of the air reservoirs, the size of the air chambers and the amount of wear on linings, pads, drums and rotors. They will note any air or hydraulic fluid leaks as well as any missing or loose parts. Braking efficiency will be measured in those 12 jurisdictions where performance-based brake testing equipment is used.

Do mail carriers really get bit by dogs?

As a mail carrier, you know that dogs often react aggressively whenever you approach the house. You are used to hearing them bark, paw at the window and jump up against the door. It often happens before you even get to the house, as if the dogs are just sitting and waiting for you to come up the sidewalk.

And perhaps they are. Dogs are very territorial, and they may honestly think that they are protecting the home from a potential intruder. Never mind that it happens every day. That may even strengthen this belief, as the dog feels like it has chased you away day after day.

Heat can be a workplace safety danger

Workers in New Jersey may face increasingly difficult and dangerous conditions on the job as the summer deepens. Heat stress can be the cause of multiple injuries and illnesses caused by an excessively hot workplace. The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration recognizes the threat caused by heat; while there are no formal regulations governing heat stress and heat exposure on the job, the agency has conducted an extensive awareness campaign promoting employer use of preventive technologies to help avoid the dangers posed by heat.

Excessively hot workplaces can be the cause of a number of threats to workplace safety. For example, many studies indicate that the ambient temperature changes the body's ability to absorb chemicals. Therefore, workers dealing with toxic chemicals may have a higher level of toxic exposure in a shorter amount of time due to changes caused by the heat. This has the potential to lead to occupational disease and other serious side effects.

Drugged driving on the rise, says new GHSA study

Residents of New Jersey may already be aware that drugs like marijuana and opioids can impair one's driving. While there are limitations to current studies of the effect of drug use on crash risk, what's certain is that it does impair and is on the rise. The Governors Highway Safety Association has conducted a study of drivers who were fatally injured in 2016, finding that 44 percent of them tested positive for drugs.

It should be kept in mind that not everyone who gets in a crash is tested. The GHSA also states that with no national standard for drug testing, the numbers can indeed be distorted. However, its findings can be compelling. Of the impaired drivers in the study, 38 percent tested positive for marijuana, 16 percent for opioids and 4 percent for a combination of the two. Just over half were discovered with two or more drugs in their system, and 49 percent were found with traces of alcohol at the same time.

NSC warns against slip, trip and fall hazards

Employers, property owners and employees alike in New Jersey will want to know what the National Safety Council has to say about one of the most common hazards in the workplace: slip, trip and fall hazards. According to the chartbook that the NSC produced in 2017, 660 workers died in 2014 after falling from a height, and 138 died after a fall on the same level.

The hazards that contribute to slips and trips are often overlooked, especially in familiar surroundings and environments. When people do spot hazards, they all too frequently ignore them, assuming that others will do something about them. The NSC advises such people to always consider the bigger picture and report them.

Patients are a potential source of injury for nursing home staff

The people who dedicate themselves to caring for the most vulnerable among us also accept a lot of risk that comes with their job. Medical staff at nursing homes, including nurses, aides and other medical professionals, can easily end up hurt while working on any given day. Many of these injuries can result in long-term or even permanent disability.

As the weight of the average American has gone up, so too has the amount of physical labor demanded of nursing home caregivers. Just lifting and moving a patient could lead to severe injuries. However, patients also pose another risk to staff. Sometimes, patients with mental health or addiction issues can become combative and violent, causing injuries to the people who attempt to care for them.

New report shows the increasing dangers of truck accidents

Statistics show that more large truck collisions are occurring throughout New Jersey and the rest of the U.S. According to a report recently released by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, there was a 3 percent increase in fatal truck accidents from 2015 to 2016. Furthermore, the number of commercial trucks involved in deadly crashes increased from 4,074 to 4,213.

The American Trucking Associations responded to the data by saying that the overall trend over the past two decades has been increased safety. They also questioned changes in how the numbers were calculated and said that the tabulation techniques made it difficult to make accurate comparisons.

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