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Gastonia Injury Law Blog

New safety devices could help electrical workers

Electrical workers in North Carolina can face serious and unique safety threats while on the job. While electrical workers are vulnerable to all of the accident and injury risks of other installation workers, especially when dealing with buildings under construction or outdoor installation, securing an electrically safe workplace is a particular concern.

In order to abide by federal workplace safety standards set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, qualified electrical workers must wear personal protective equipment when conducting voltage studies inside an electrical panel. They must also use voltmeters when performing these tests. However, there has recently been a greater understanding of the electrical science behind arc flash energy as well as the danger that it can pose to workers on the job. In response to this, permanent electrical safety devices (PESDs) have been used in many places in order to make electrical work safer. These devices make it far more likely that workers will be exposed to zero voltage while performing tests.

New technology helps parents prevent distracted driving

Distracted driving accidents are often related to the use of technology. Reading or sending text messages, responding to social media posts and participating in social gaming cause drivers to take their eyes off the road. Ironically, technology may also be the way to stop the distractions and avoid preventable accidents on North Carolina roads.

To solve this problem, the technology company Katasi has developed a product called Groove. Groove is a small device that plugs into the car and disables texting, email and social media while the vehicle is in use. Parents that are concerned about what their teens are able to do with their phones while they are driving can customize the device to disable music streaming and navigation as well. This particular technology works with the carriers' networks and allows the apps to start working soon after the driver turns off the vehicle.

Trucking accidents can cause severe injuries

North Carolina drivers may be worried about the injuries that can accompany truck accidents. Collisions with these massive vehicles can cause serious problems for vehicle drivers and passengers. Indeed, up to 97 percent of those killed in crashes involving large trucks and passenger vehicles are the people inside the smaller vehicles. Even when everyone survives a crash, severe injuries could result.

Some of the most damaging types of injuries after truck accidents involve damages to the spinal cord. Back injuries can even be fatal if vertebrae are fractured or compressed. In other cases, these injuries can cause temporary or permanent paralysis due to nerve damage. The physical, emotional and financial costs of these types of injuries can be substantial and long term.

3 anti-accident car safety features you should know

Cars, in many ways, are safer than they have ever been. Modern technology has, thankfully, made it easier to avoid accidents and stay safe on the road. You likely notice that car ads commonly tout a plethora of novelty new safety features. Which of these are worth the investment, and what should you know about them? The following are a few examples of features that are becoming common in cars. Even the safest car in the world, though, is susceptible to the dangers of the road.

According to the North Carolina Department of Transportation, as many as 130,000 people sustain injuries in accidents in a given year. If you have suffered an injury, you should seek medical care and legal assistance as soon as possible.

FMCSA publishes report on 2016 truck crash trends

While safety measures and technology have kept truck crash fatality rates relatively low for the past two decades, there is still a lot more to be done. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 2016 saw a 3 percent increase in fatal truck crashes. This came down to 233 more deaths and 139 more large trucks involved in accidents. North Carolina motorists want to know more about the common factors in these accidents.

Of the 4,317 fatalities in 2016, 722 were large-truck occupants. Unfortunately, 13 percent of them were not wearing a seat belt. However, this rate decreased from 43 percent in 2015. Among driver-related factors, speeding and distracted or inattentive driving were at the top. Drunk driving was also an issue; although, it was far more prevalent among passenger vehicle drivers than large truck drivers.

New wearable tech could improve workplace safety

Workers across North Carolina are probably aware of the risks they face on the job site, including slip, trip and fall hazards. Many incidents are unforeseeable, which is why workers' compensation claims are costing employers in the U.S. hundreds of billions of dollars each year. However, a new device from an Iowa-based software company could help improve workplace safety as well as streamline workers' compensation procedures.

MākuSafe has developed a wearable band that collects real-time environmental and motion data, processing it immediately in a cloud platform. Besides information like lighting and temperature differences, it includes any near-misses and unsafe situations. Once the workplace safety managers analyze the data, they can identify hazardous areas and trends. The managers can then be proactive in setting up safety equipment or laying down new guidelines to prevent injuries.

The rise of e-commerce raises warehouse safety questions

Many consumers in North Carolina and around the country avoid retail malls and choose to do most of their shopping online, and the resulting rise of e-commerce and companies like Amazon has led to a noticeable surge in warehouse and fulfillment jobs. This has concerned workplace safety advocates because warehouse workers are more likely to be killed or injured while on the job than workers in other sectors, and e-commerce companies have a reputation for placing great pressure on their employees to work quickly.

Meeting safety standards laid down by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, installing guardrails and pedestrian barriers and putting comprehensive training programs into place could prevent many warehouse accidents and injuries. Slips and falls are especially common in warehouses, but they can often be avoided if workers are made aware of the risks, and spills are cleaned up promptly. Awareness training could also prevent accidents caused by poorly stacked boxes and back injuries caused by improper lifting techniques.

Study shows texting and driving peaks in afternoon

Drivers in North Carolina who are concerned about the widespread threat created by texting and driving should know about a recent study conducted by app developer Drivemode. After reviewing one year's worth of text messaging data that was captured by one of its Android apps, the company stated that the peak time for drivers to text is during the afternoon rush hour, between roughly 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.

The data included 6.5 million instances of messaging from more than 177,000 drivers. Apparently, drivers hit their highest peak between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m., sending an average of 6.87 messages per hour. That rate was 6.59 between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. and 6.19 between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. Dividing drivers by state, Drivemode discovered that New Yorkers sent the most messages (an average of 8.21 per hour), followed by Hawaiians (7.90) and Floridians (7.87).

Coalition aims to reduce deaths on the road

For many drivers in North Carolina, the road can be a dangerous place. In 2016, 37,461 people lost their lives in U.S. roadway accidents. This was 5.6 percent more than the year before. However, a coalition of 675 experts, government agencies and industry participants is working to change this. The Road to Zero Coalition aims to reduce traffic deaths to zero by the year 2050. In a report issued in April, the coalition lays out the steps it recommends to help improve safety on American roads.

Large trucks can be a particular concern to safety advocates. In 2016, 4,317 people were killed in crashes that involved large trucks, a 5.4 percent increase over 2015. Many of these vehicles were very heavy -- 80 percent of the vehicles involved weighed 26,000 pounds or more. The coalition includes trucking companies and vendors that work with the trucking industry alongside others. In general, the coalition aims to apply similar safety initiatives to cars and trucks, including promoting seat belt usage and improving the use of safety technology.

Are injuries that develop gradually covered by workers' comp?

If you work for a manufacturing company, you must always be careful around equipment and alert to the possibility of sudden injury.

However, is workers' compensation coverage limited to a single event? What about a condition that develops over time, such as a repetitive stress injury?