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Lawnside New Jersey Workers' Compensation and Personal Injury Law Blog

Prolonged screen use could injure the eyes of office workers

When people in New Jersey think about on-the-job hazards to eyes, they might imagine the risks faced by welders, construction workers or people who handle caustic chemicals. Although such occupations create risky conditions that result in thousands of eye injuries every year, people working on computers could experience eye injuries as well.

Blue light produced by LED backlight screens on phones, computer monitors, televisions and tablets has the potential to cause digital eyestrain syndrome and eventually retinal damage and blindness. The retina is highly sensitive to the high energy visible blue light emitted by screens. Many office workers spend over 60% of their time looking at screens.

Whiplash from a car accident may immobilize a victim for weeks

Car accidents can leave victims with many injuries, ranging from minor scrapes and bruises to severed limbs. It is always a good idea for any victim of a car accident to undergo a compete medical examination as soon as possible. In some cases, victims who do not feel any serious injuries at the scene of the accident may discover that they have injuries that have not yet caused pain.

Soft-tissue injuries like whiplash may not cause pain for a few hours, or until after a victim has gone to sleep then woken up. Once pain and stiffness sets in, however, the victim may find it difficult to move at all.

New Jersey Car Crashes Often Result from Distracted Driving

Distracted driving has become an epidemic, according to the Ohio State University Risk Institute. In order to reduce distracted driving and create a safer driving environment, the Institute has begun an initiative designed to coordinate the efforts of dozens of companies, governmental bodies and Institute researchers. The purpose of the newly launched initiative is to create actionable change that will reduce the number of injuries and fatalities caused by distracted driving.

According to a recent news report, distracted driving crashes in America account for at least nine deaths and 100 injuries per day. Common distractions include the use of cell phones, voice commands and dashboard touchscreens. The National Safety Council says that such actions pose a threat to highway safety. The nonprofit group sponsors a Distracted Driving Awareness Month in April of each year in order to bring attention to the problem.

Psychological factors can contribute to nurses' injuries

Fair treatment on the job could help to reduce the risk of physical harm to New Jersey nurses, according to one study. Researchers found that when nurses feel that they provide more support to others than they receive, they are at a greater risk for on-the-job injuries. The study measured several types of support, including help at work, advice and guidance or expressions of concern or empathy. One professor said that the physical demands of nursing work can combine with psychological stresses to make the job more burdensome. Nurses may find that their muscle and joint pain is exacerbated by feelings of anger.

The study involved over 400 nurses from two hospitals and 29 different units. It aimed to study how psychological factors can contribute to workplace injuries and accidents. Because nurses work long, 12-hour shifts in a physically demanding profession that may require them to move and position heavy patients or equipment, they already face an escalated risk of on-the-job injuries. The researchers found that this issue is worsened when nurses feel unsupported at work.

Legislators debate device to track distracted driving crashes

Thousands of people in New Jersey and across the country are injured or even killed each year in crashes linked to distracted driving. While most states have outlawed texting or surfing the internet while driving, distraction continues to pose a major threat to roadway safety. As a result, legislators in one state are considering adopting a still-untested technology that could allow police to determine whether a driver was using a mobile phone during or immediately prior to a crash.

Nevada legislators are debating a proposal to use the "textalyzer" machine. A similar bill was introduced in 2017 in the New York state legislator, but it failed there over privacy objections as well as concerns about feasibility. No law enforcement agency has yet made use of the device and it has not yet been tested in the field. The machine would be connected to a mobile phone after a crash to test whether messenger apps were opened or other activity was taking place at the time of the motor vehicle accident. The manufacturer claims that it only takes note of activity times rather than personal information.

Workplace injuries from violent nursing home residents

People might not typically think of a nursing home as a place where violence is likely to break out. But the truth is that many residents who are suffering from the side effects of dementia tend to lash out violently at the health care workers who are their daily caregivers.

While it may be impossible to avoid all instances of violence from nursing home residents, the facilities must have strict protocols in place that detail how potentially violent residents are evaluated, assessed and managed. There must also be steps to follow for staff to de-escalate the patients at the onset of a possibly violent confrontation.

Wearable tech for workers faces cost and privacy concerns

Many workers in New Jersey are using wearable technology, which refers to any mobile electronic device that attaches to the body for a set purpose. Some of the common types of wearable tech in the workplace are "smart" personal protective equipment, hard hats with sensors and safety glasses with heads-up displays.

Wearable tech plays an important role in boosting workplace safety, mainly by connecting workers to a group of safety professionals who can monitor their health and other vital statistics. For instance, electroencephalogram devices could monitor workers' stress levels. Biosensors that attach to the wrist can measure this as well. Other devices measure fatigue.

Changes to sleep patterns may make driving dangerous

Residents of New Jersey and most other states in the country lost an hour of sleep on March 10. While losing an hour of sleep may not seem like a big deal, it could significantly increase a person's risk of getting into a car accident. According to research by AAA's Foundation for Traffic Safety, losing that hour could double a person's risk of being involved in an accident.

Drivers may believe that they can will themselves to their destinations even if they are tired. However, research suggests that drivers who have slept less than five hours in a 24-hour period show similar impairment to those who are drunk. For the most part, those who operate motor vehicles understand that driving while tired is dangerous. However, the Foundation for Traffic Safety study found that roughly one-third of respondents admitted to driving while fatigued in the previous month.

Injuries suffered from combative patients

If you work in the health care field taking care of patients suffering from dementia, chances are good that you may have experienced combative behavior from one of the residents of the long-term care facility where you are employed. Dealing with these behaviors is challenging, as the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) discovered that approximately 6 percent of the million or so residents receiving care in nursing homes act physically aggressive toward staff and others at least once a week.

Some residents have longstanding psychiatric diagnoses that complicate their management and treatment in nursing homes. Others only began to display these aggressive tendencies after they were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or other conditions that affect their cognitive abilities. Either way, a nurse or aid could be walking into a lion’s den of danger when entering a combative resident’s room to provide care.

Bill proposes OSHA standards for workplace violence

New Jersey hospital workers know how unsafe their job environment can be. One overlooked threat is workplace violence. For example, there have been many cases of psychiatric nurses being attacked by patients. Assault can lead to traumatic brain injuries, which in turn can result in permanent or lingering issues like speech problems and continual headaches.

In the effort to keep hospital employees safe, a Connecticut congressman is sponsoring a bill that would require a workplace violence prevention plan from all health care and social service employers. At the same time, these plans would have to meet OSHA standards.

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